PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One month after dancers at a topless dive bar in Los Angeles became the U.S.’s only unionized strippers, dancers at a Portland strip bar are hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Magic Tavern, a Northwest 24th Avenue bar that provides live adult entertainment, began operating in November 2022. Daphne, a dancer at the bar, said in a statement that she and her coworkers have faced “dangerous working conditions” and a “lack of professionalism” from the owner and fellow employees since the bar’s opening.
In an online petition to support Magic Tavern dancers’ rights, staff members list uneven flooring, a lack of security, and offensive remarks among their other reasons for wanting to improve their work environment.
According to the strippers’ statement, the business terminated some employees for expressing their concerns in late March. The petition says some staff was notified through Instagram or text message, while others were taken off the schedule without being told prior.
Magic Tavern dancers launched a strike in early April, declaring that they’d only return to the strip bar if management presented a legal contract, hired qualified security guards, installed security cameras and more.
On Tuesday, the strippers announced that they had filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board and were being represented by Actors’ Equity — the same labor union that represents the dive bar dancers who became the U.S.’s only unionized strippers in May.
“We’ve already demonstrated in Los Angeles that strippers who want a union not only deserve one, but can win one,” Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle said in a statement. “[Magic Tavern dancers’] boldness in sticking up for themselves and their tenacity in holding to what they know is right is going to get them union recognition and a contract worthy of their labor.”
The Portland strip bar dancers are organizing a rally outside of the business this Sunday, June 11 at 3 p.m. They and the Actors’ Equity Association encourage community members to show up in solidarity while the employees talk about their desired working conditions and hope to become an official union.
“We love our jobs, and we’re good at what we do,” Daphne said in a press release. “Sex work is work, and as workers we deserve to be treated with respect. We are unionizing to demand that respect and ensure we can go to work every day ensured of both safety and dignity.”
KOIN 6 reached out to Magic Tavern for comment, but the club did not respond.