Sep 11, 2023 - News

Portland's Magic Tavern becomes second unionized strip club

Illustration of a woman in high heels standing next to a gavel.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Magic Tavern in Northwest Portland just became the second unionized strip club in the country.

Driving the news: Last Thursday, 16 dancers at Magic Tavern unanimously voted to unionize, marking the beginning of the bargaining process with management.

  • Magic Tavern remains open, with non-unionized dancers on stage.
  • Those dancers were hired after the club's strippers went on strike five months ago.

Why it matters: Dancers at the Magic Tavern are part of a wider effort to bring better job protections to workers in historically marginalized professions.

Flashback: On April 4, workers went on strike to protest "unsafe working conditions" and "unfair removal of dancers from the schedule" after management failed to address safety concerns, including unstable poles, an uneven stage and lack of security, according to their petition.

  • Two months later, the dancers filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board to be represented by Actors' Equity, the same union that represents America's first unionized strip club — Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood, California.

Meanwhile, management for Magic Tavern has called the strike and circulating petition, which has garnered over 2,000 signatures, a "false narrative [...] disrupting our ability to do business."

What next: Once Actors' Equity certifies the election, it will begin negotiations on behalf of the Magic Tavern dancers.


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