Maybe I should do the same thing! I am sure that I will find pleasure! Immobilien Mallorca
Posted by ronald donovan on May 9, 2012 at 7:57 AM
After learning about Ruby’s, I began to wonder if dancers across the country should go to court to be treated as independent contractors, rather than suing to be paid like employees .net development
Posted by Marc Wallberg on May 9, 2012 at 9:07 AM
The issue for the LL, like all other hourly wage workers, is applying a cooperative model but employing both the capitalistic union and business model that has its limits. The LL was always a social experiment. The long list of structural imbalances were never rectified as they’ve been encountered. The employee status of the indy vs hourly wage workers in an industry had the LL, (the hourly wage workers) were out numbered, (by the indys) plus the male support staff had been excluded from the union membership
while being equal owners of a female dominate and dependent business where just the beginning of the structural imbalance that has
plagued this group of workers.
Industrial organizing could have help leveled the playing field so the LL as a business could can remain cooperative and competitive. Being unionized hourly wage workers was supposed to be only a step in addressing industry wide exploitative practices, not the end game.
Posted by mistressmax on May 9, 2012 at 1:46 PM
As one of the lawyers who successfully filed one of those employee-status lawsuits, I think the idea represented by Ruby’s is great. The beauty of it is that you can have all the advantages of a union, while preserving the independence of independent contractors. You just can’t force it on the clubowners as you could with a union vote, you have to sell it to them. But dancers could form an independent company, which might offer economies of scale that would be attractive to clubowners. As the article says, the dancers can probably think up all the angles they need to to make it work. They might hire a lawyer to set it up and a manager to keep it organized, and recruit and sell the concept nationally. I wish them all good luck.
Posted by Douglas Wilson on May 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM
While I agree 100% with the Rachel Aimee’s sentiments that paying stage fees is wrong & unfair (not to mention illegal), I don’t agree with her or the other women’s arguments for continuing to misclassify strippers as independent contractors. The only “real” independent contractor strippers are feature performers who tour for a week at a time at a club before moving on to another club. They’re usually porn stars or big names in the adult entertainment industry AND they actually get paid to perform. The club isn’t dependent on the feature weekly stars to carry their business. Its the house girls who are what keeps the strip clubs operating. The irony is that the strippers don’t see the strength in their position to leverage for fair & legal labor conditions.
The key point that’s missing is that it’s not up to the dancers or management to decide if someone’s an employee or not. It’s decided by the actual working conditions themselves. It’s because dancers have been determined to be employees that they are owed wages—minimum wages at least. It’s because they’re employees that won their stage fees back because it’s illegal for employers to take any portion of an employees tips.
And this is another point that’s been lost in your article: the stripper employees should not only get paid minimum wages (at least—since that’s required by law), but they should also be able to keep 100% of their tips. Those of us who faught to be recognized as employees are NOT asking for just minimum wages. That would be ridiculous: what’s the point of working in the sex industry for minimum wage? We’re asking for wages PLUS being able to keep 100% of our tips.
The IRS & most state Labor Commissions & Dept of Labor use 11 to 13 criteria to determine whether there’s an employee-employer relationship. In nearly 99% of the class-actions + individual wage complaints filed against the clubs, the strippers have won on nearly every one of those criteria. Here’s some of those criteria (you should research the remaining):
Can the strip club operate without strippers? NO. The customers aren’t there to drink or eat. They’re there to see strippers & if the strippers aren’t there, they will either opt to go to a place that does, or go to a bar to drink.
Are the strippers responsible for marketing & advertising? NO. Therefore, they have no control over the flow of business.
Can strippers work anytime they want? NO—there’s actually distinct times when they can come to work, whether they choose to do so or not (i.e. a stripper can’t work after hours when the business is closed or at 8:30am…)
Does management exert control over their working environment? YES (telling you how many dances you must perform on stage, which shifts are available, etiquette towards customers, which music isn’t permissible to dance to, what to wear, how much dances are, etc)
What’s more, if it’s a flexible schedule you’re looking for, the strip club could (if they wanted) arrange for that. But instead, they want to figure out ways to charge you for the privilege of working specific shifts, which is illegal. While the managers at Ruby’s seem like they’re doing right by their dancers, unless they’re paying wages AND NOT CHARGING fees to work, they they too are just like their male counterparts: in violation of labor laws.
For more info about strippers’ labor rights, check out: http://licensetopimp.com/stripper-labor-rights-101/
And subscribe to receive info about current sex workers’ conditions here: http://licensetopimp.wordpress.com/
Posted by License to Pimp on May 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Thanks for all the comments!
In response to License to Pimp, I do understand the facts about the legal definition of independent contractors and employees, and you make a good point that, as employees, dancers are entitled to keep all their tips. The problem, as I understand it, is that they are not entitled to keep the money they earn for lap-dances.
This paragraph, which got edited out of the final version of my article, addresses that point:
“According to Ms. Per Se, 16 out of 22 dancers, when interviewed informally about the shift over to employee status, said they preferred being independent contractors. She explains that the minimum wage and overtime that dancers are guaranteed as employees is little comfort to most dancers because they are making less money than they used to. “As IC’s, our private dance fees belonged to us. Today strippers don’t have to pay a tip out, and they get a salary, but since the clubs are now officially their employers, the dance fees belong legally to the club. How much they give back to the dancers is at their discretion.” While the less adept dancers benefit from the new system, she says, the popular dancers suffer, because, after doing a certain number of dances, one begins to lose money.”
Even taking this into account, I don’t necessarily think that it would be a bad thing if all strip clubs treated dancers as employees, stopped charging house fees, and paid them wages. I don’t think this kind of leveling the playing field is necessarily a bad thing—in fact I personally think it would probably be a good thing, and I used to be a strong advocate of that position. But, like Pussy Per Se, I have found that the vast majority of the dancers I’ve spoken with disagree. After a while I began to feel I wasn’t being a very good advocate for dancers if I wasn’t actually paying attention to what most dancers said they wanted.
I still think it’s really important to raise awareness about the rights that dancers are entitled to as employees, and to provide information to help dancers file lawsuits and get the compensation they’re entitled to, but I also want to be cautious about pushing an agenda that might result in a system that most dancers don’t actually want (as seems to have happened in Massachusetts), especially since I’m not even a dancer myself anymore.
Posted by Rachel Aimee on May 14, 2012 at 3:34 PM
In some union hotels, workers who were formerly classified as “tipped employees” (bartenders, servers, etc) and made $3/hr and tips, were able to fight for contracts that raised their hourly wage to well above minimum wage in addition to keeping their tips. So this is doable. As a former dancer in Manhattan myself, I also ended up losing money for working. Also, house fees give management incentive to hire too many dancers, making it even harder for us to make the tips that are supposed to be our wages.
Posted by Janice Shin on May 16, 2012 at 9:33 PM