Why a Union?
The idea of a full-fledged labor movement demanding rights in the workplace now seems somewhat quaint and old fashion in the modern day and age. Talking about labor activism calls forth images of Henry Fonda in the 1930’s or Cesar Chavez marching in the 1960’s. Those fights are relics of another time, pressed like leaves between the pages of history books.
And yet, a union for the adult industry has been talked about and tried many times through out history, with very little success. Until recently that is, when one adult performer decided it was worth, at least one more try.
Adult entertainers, whether it be adult film performers, exotic dancers, go-go dancers, burlesque or EDM dancers, tattoo artist to cocktail waitresses and bartenders are banning together.
The fight for the right to use basic financial instruments, such as credit cards, PayPal, bank accounts; for protection from exploitative club managers who pay them as contractors while demanding the commitment level of full employees; to be able to call on the law in cases of discrimination or violence; to be able to rent apartments without “anti-trafficking” laws that force the landlord to evict them; to ultimately leave the sex business if they choose, and not to be shut out of straight work because they were an adult entertainer.
All the great advances in labor rights have come about as a result of workers standing up and joining together.
The obsessions, fears, hopes, fantasies and taboos surrounding the workplace are every bit as complicated and overwhelming as the ones that dominate how we think about sex. With either, we’re raised to believe that the path to satisfaction lies down the same simplistic path: “Do what (or who) you love.”
Virtually everything that’s written about adult entertainment work in the mainstream media is primarily meant to say one thing to its readers: You’re not like them. It’s because of that assurance that we vigorously question the working conditions in porn studios, dungeons, massage parlors, or strip clubs in ways that would be unthinkable in any other industry.
But the more you know about the politics of adult entertainment work, the more you will say, Yes, I am like them. Questions about whether we have meaningful consent when we decide whether to take a job or leave one; about the health and safety conditions of our workplace; about what is a fair wage for work; about where we are fairly allowed to draw the line between our personal lives and our work lives.
Courtesy of Forbes Magazine