Strippers Are Employees
On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court passed a ruling that changed the classification of workers in the state of California: Dynamex Operations West VS The Supreme Court of California, making it harder for employers to classify their workforce as “independent contractors.” The case pertained to delivery drivers, but before that, these misclassification of employment cases have long been fought by everyone from seasonal workers to car washers, and strippers too have been affected by these same unfair, illegal labor classifications.
As a result of the Dynamex ruling, strip club owners have been scrambling to keep strippers from obtaining our basic rights as a legit workforce. Along with mass firings, they have been coercing strippers to sign various arbitration agreements to prevent us from claiming back wages, or from joining together in class action suits, as well as colluding to ensure we can only work super short shifts, so our workforce remains very part-time so that they avoid paying us any basic benefits like basic health insurance or workman’s comp.
The short shifts and confusing shell game they are playing with our paychecks keep us desperate, afraid, and unable to survive on our tips. You should know that this is how they silence workers and bust union efforts.
You also need to know that, for employers, the economic incentive to misclassify workers is colossal. For instance, if they push to classify workers as independent contractors, they don’t have to pay workers’ comp, social security, federal and state employment taxes, or payroll taxes. They evade regulations governing wages, hours, safe and sane working conditions of employees, as a well as other legal protections all workers have under the law. This evasion of federal and state taxes has denied millions of workers labor law protections to which workers are entitled.
Here’s the good news:
We can unionize. If we do, they are legally obliged to negotiate with us about how we work, when we work, and for how long, we can finally end racist policies, sexist policies, and fight for workers’ comp.
Also, we have retained a labor lawyer to educate and protect us.
Don’t you think it’s time to stop the extreme exploitation, random fees, mandatory tip outs, and negligent security staff? Don’t you want to see an end to the financial violence of wage theft and sexual assault inside clubs, gas lighting and fraudulent tip stealing?
Let’s make stripping great for future baby strippers and injured veterans.
After all, we are employees. And we are soldiers of pole. Let’s unify again. We’ve done it before. Strip Talk is a series of meetings of strippers and our legal allies, our lawyer, and our mentors where we can ask questions and enact our plans for change.
~ Antonia Crane