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Oregon Strippers Unionize, Lobby to Fight for Better Conditions

© AP Photo / Wayne Parry Professional Dancer at Strip Club
Professional Dancer at Strip Club - Sputnik International
A group of strippers in the Beaver State are clamoring for better working conditions and they’re enlisting the help of lobbyists.

WASHINGTON, February 2 (Sputnik) — The Oregon professional club dancers want poles that don’t wobble, a clean area to do their aerobic acrobatic movements and dances, and good security to keep the creeps and weirdos away.

Several of the strippers say they’re happy where they are, but that they’ve seen too many bad things and are speaking up for those who maybe don’t walk to raise a ruckus for fear of being shown the door.

“Some of the buildings are literally dilapidated and not maintained,” says Elle Stanger, who’s been working as a stripper for five years and is the assistant editor of a magazine devoted to exotic dancing. “You have entertainers that could injure themselves from broken glass on the stage, poor wiring with the sound system. We just want to get these workplaces up to a minimum safety standard at least.”

Part of the problem, says Stanger and other advocates is that the strippers usually classified as independent contractors and not staff employees of the establishments where they work, and that means they have the clubs don’t give them healthcare and other benefits, and the young and inexperienced ones could be exploited and forced into working long hours or in conditions that are less than ideal. In most cases, the strippers even have to pay a stage fee and tip the DJ, bartenders, and waitresses, and give a percentage of their earnings to management.

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Stanger and others want the clubs to also put up a poster displaying dancers’ rights – much like the postings normally seen at worksites – with a hotline to report problems, and they want the hotline staffed by people familiar with how the business works.

The strippers are working with a group of social workers who enlisted the help of lobbyists to convince the state legislature that these changes need to be implemented. It looks like it could be an uphill battle, however, because Oregon voters have three times already rejected ballot measures to change the state constitution and crack down on shady strip clubs, and opponents say a hotline would be too expensive.

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