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Season 4, Episode 121

Star Garden Dancers become the first union dancers in over 25 years

AEA Gray


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Organizer and dancer for Star Garden, Reagan, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the 15-month journey to receiving recognition to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association. Reagan also discussed the issues that led to the dancers' fight to unionize and shared some of the reactions to their efforts.

It was a 15-month journey for the dancers at Star Garden to receive recognition of their desire to form a union with the AEA. The desire to form a union came from the dancers' concern for their safety, wage issues due to worker misclassification and discrimination issues in the hiring process. Reagan believes the discrimination issues are something that has been widely under reported, despite being one of their primary discussion points. It is her hope that these issues will be resolved in the negotiations for a first contract.

The dancers had many safety concerns, but Reagan pinpointed two main issues that led to the desire to unionize. First, security guards were not allowed to intervene on the behalf of a dancer without receiving the direction of a manager who had to review security footage first. The second issue was that customers were allowed to stay in the club after closing putting the dancers at an even greater risk. Seeing the blatant disregard by management for the protection of the dancers, Reagan and the AEA are determined to win major safety protections in the first contract negotiations.

While it was a long journey to get to where they are now, Reagan and the other dancers at Star Garden have received support from the labor movement every step of the way. From the AEA joining them on the picket line or the Writers Guild of America using their idea for theme days on the picket to keep morale up, there have been several positives for the dancers. Media coverage has even surprised Reagan, who said they have been “surprisingly supportive given the nature of the job.” With the support they’ve received along the way, and having the AEA at the table for negotiations, Reagan believes this will be the first step to improve the working conditions and safety of dancers at clubs across America.

Listen to the entire episode to learn more.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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