Star Garden Petition for Jobs and Safety
Star Garden Petition for Jobs and Safety
Why this petition matters
10/06/2022 Declaration to our community:
The Star Garden campaign has been in action since 03/18/2022. In this campaign and on our social media page, @stripperstrikenoho we do not tolerate anti-Blackness, racism, ablism, xenophobia, transphobia, or homophobia. The Stripper/Sex Worker community is vast and diverse, made up intersecting identities that need to be heard and protected.
Until the most marginalized among us are uplifted, our work is not done. Until we have created a safe space for BIPOC, Transgender, queer, and disabled Sex Workers to speak about their experiences in this industry and point us toward real change for all Sex Worker, or work is not done.
We recognize our privilege and position within institutional racial oppression inside and outside the club and are committed to speaking up when we witness racism in and around our community.
The discriminatory hiring practices that led to the club's predominately white cis workforce are policies we will continue to denounce publicly, and fight vigorously to change when we re-enter the club and negotiate the first strip club union contract in over twenty years.
On Friday, March 18th, 2022, dancers working in the North Hollywood strip club Star Garden presented to the owners a petition signed by 15 out of their 23 coworkers demanding an end to retaliatory firings and bad club policies that put their safety at risk.
"At the Club, we navigate a room which is regularly full of belligerently drunk men who push our boundaries and often scare us. Our employer should not prioritize customers’ desire for entertainment over our health and safety. When customers become drunk, we expect the bar to cut them off, as is required by law. When customers film us performing without our consent, we need the Club to demand that they stop. "
The club owner, Yevgenya ‘Jenny’ Kazaryan, who was sick at home, told the dancers over the phone that if they didn’t feel safe to work that night they could go home “no problem”. She said she’d give them notice when she’d be back at the club and at that time they’d have their meeting. When the dancers returned to work the next night they weren’t allowed to enter and were told to schedule one-on-one meetings with Jenny. Since then, the locked out dancers have remained unified in their request to meet with Jenny as a group and have been picketing in front of the club, fighting for their jobs and their right to a safe workplace.
"Dancers were recently told that our security guards do not have the authority to kick customers out of the club under any circumstance without first getting approval from a Club owner. This is not a security system appropriate for a strip club, where customer misbehavior often comes in the form of physical assault. When customers become intimidating and physically aggressive towards us, we depend on the Club to intervene and protect us."
Since the picket began more of our coworkers at Star Garden have added their signatures to the petition. Now we wish to share with our fellow activists, allies, stakeholders, and friends, the opportunity to add your signatures in an effort to spread awareness and support for our ongoing labor action at Star Garden.
Below is the full version of our petition. If you believe Star Garden’s owners, Yevgenya ‘Jenny’ Kazaryan and Stepan ‘Steve’ Kazaryan, should reinstate fired dancers, end the lockout, and meet our demands for a safe workplace, please sign and show your support.
We, the dancers at Star Garden, demand that club management immediately reinstate Selena and Reagan to our workplace and respect our right to a safe and healthy work environment free of unlawful retaliation. We demand to be treated with basic dignity and humanity at work.
In recent months, Star Garden has punished and fired dancers for asking the Club to take basic steps to protect our safety and privacy in the workplace, in violation of the National Labor Relations Act as well as Cal-OSHA regulations and other laws that protect workers. Our coworker Selena was fired after intervening when a customer was filming a dancer without her consent. Our coworker Reagan was fired after she asked the club not to allow customers to linger in the club after closing, because it was compromising dancers’ safety and privacy. Instead of retaliating against us when we ask the Club to protect us at work, we want the Club to listen to our legitimate safety concerns and take them seriously.
Safety and privacy considerations are interrelated and extremely important in strip clubs because dancers in strip clubs face a disproportionate risk of violence, stalking, and harassment compared to workers in other industries. Many dancers choose to keep our occupations private for important reasons related to the stigma and discrimination that we face in society. We use stage names and costume makeup to protect our identities, we have security guards walk us to our cars after work, and we depend on our employers to intervene when customers become threatening towards us at work. At the Club, we navigate a room which is regularly full of belligerently drunk men who push our boundaries and often scare us. Our employer should not prioritize customers’ desire for entertainment over our health and safety. When customers become drunk, we expect the bar to cut them off, as is required by law. When customers film us performing without our consent, we need the Club to demand that they stop.
Dancers were recently told that our security guards do not have the authority to kick customers out of the club under any circumstance without first getting approval from a Club owner. This is not a security system appropriate for a strip club, where customer misbehavior often comes in the form of physical assault. When customers become intimidating and physically aggressive towards us, we depend on the Club to intervene and protect us. We expect security staff to enforce our safety, and we should not feel that our jobs at Star Garden will be threatened anytime we seek security or enforce our boundaries.
We are particularly concerned about the Club’s retaliation against those of us who have dared to speak up about our rights. This reaction sends the message to every Star Garden dancer that we are not safe or respected at work. We know that if we keep quiet about serious workplace issues out of fear of losing our jobs, our working conditions will only get worse and never better.
In general, we think it’s unfair that Star Garden dancers are often fired without any warning. We are not provided with copies of our contracts or with a handbook explaining our Club’s policies, which seem to change from day to day. We deserve to know what the rules are so that we can avoid breaking them, and we deserve to know what the Club’s safety policies are so that we can ask to revise and improve them if they’re insufficient to keep us safe at work. We request copies of our signed contracts and an employee handbook that lists all of Star Garden’s work rules and policies. We also want to know about the Club’s policies towards customers.
These demands can easily be met by Star Garden, at no cost to the company but with massive positive impacts for the dancers’ workplace safety and dignity. By working with us to achieve these safety goals, Star Garden can gain a reputation among the community of being a safe workplace that respects its dancers and attracts high-quality clientele. We want Star Garden to set an example of how our industry can empower and support dancers.
We demand that management:
Immediately reinstate Selena and Reagan
Affirm that we will not be fired for standing up for ourselves in dangerous situations with customers, when we call on security to protect us and when we bring issues to the attention of management
Enforce a strict policy that no customers can film or photograph dancers in the club
Enforce a strict policy that no customers can remain in the club after closing, unless they are actively getting a lap dance
Stop overserving customers
Issue us copies of our signed contracts and an employee handbook listing all of Star Garden’s work rules and policies, including policies towards customers.
Give security authorization to respond to our calls immediately and to remove dangerous customers from the club immediately without going through management first.
The Star Garden Dancers
Please do not donate when prompted by this website. We do not receive the funds. If you wish to donate to the locked out dancers, please give at bit.ly/stripfund thank you!