News & Commentary

May 18, 2023

Linh Tang

Linh is a student at Harvard Law School.

Star Garden Topless Dive Bar will soon become the first unionized strip club in the country in almost four decades. On Wednesday, after fighting a fifteen-month long organizing campaign, the Los Angeles club finally reached an agreement to recognize and bargain with a union representing its dancers. Star Garden dancers held an election last November, and the National Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the Actors’ Equity Association as their exclusive representative this week. This is an important win for dancers following their legal recognition as employees rather than independent contractors in late 2019.

On Tuesday, an NLRB judge ruled that a Missouri hospital had violated federal labor law when it prematurely stopped bargaining with its workers’ union before they voted to oust their labor representative. In June 2020, the maintenance staff at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, who were represented by SEIU, petitioned to hold a decertification election. The outcome of this election wasn’t final until February 2022, but the hospital unilaterally stopped bargaining with SEIU as early as August 2020. The hospital, said Administrative Law Judge Christine Dibble, violated federal law by refusing to bargain with SEIU, refusing the union facility access, and unlawfully sending flyers out to workers telling them that SEIU had been decertified before the election results were final.

On Wednesday, the Illinois state legislature successfully cleared bill HB 3129, which mandates employers to include in job listings a salary range and a broad description of benefits. If Governor J.B. Pritzker signs this bill into law, Illinois would be joining a growing trend of pay transparency laws, which were passed last year by several states like California, New York, and Washington State. These laws are intended to improve pay equity, helping marginalized workers avoid being underpaid and closing wage gaps among racial and gender groups.

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