Strippers go on strike: Dancers in America’s strip town win major victory in fight against employer

Dancers at a club in Portland, Oregon, became the second group of strippers in the country to unionize after a unanimous vote.

“Watching the pile of yes votes grow bigger and bigger was incredible,” a dancer who goes by the stage name Poppy said in a press release.

The legs of three strippers in high heels on a dance floor

Dancers at the Magic Tavern in Portland have become the second unionized group of strippers in the U.S. after a unanimous vote. (iStock)

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Many of the dancers at the Magic Tavern strip club went on strike in April, citing “dangerous working conditions.” Last week, striking dancers voted 16-0 to unionize with the Actors’ Equity Association.

“When I heard all the yes votes … I felt so incredibly proud of my fellow union members and so incredibly hopeful for the future of this industry,” Nyx, another striking dancer, said in an interview Press release from the Actors’ Equity Association.

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Magic Tavern management did not respond to a request for comment, but wrote in an Instagram Story that a “small number of strippers” unhappy with policies at the club were engaging with a “desperate group of politically active ‘sex workers’ “were associated. [whose] The goal appears to be a desire to corporatize Portland’s strip club industry.

The dancers said numerous safety concerns sparked the strike, including an unstable pole, inadequate security cameras, unmarked and uneven stage floor and more. Magic Tavern called the allegations “false” and “defamatory.”


Portland has long boasted the title of America’s most diverse metropolitan area. With 54 venues, it had by far the most strip clubs per capita in 2015 Pricenomics research. The total number of strip clubs in the City of Roses was surpassed only by Houston, whose population is nearly four times that of Portland.

The dancers announced in June that they were merging with Actors’ Equity, which represents more than 51,000 actors and stage managers in the live theater industry.

Magic Tavern is the second unionized strip club in the country, following Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood, California. The Star Garden dancers – who are also represented by Actors’ Equity – won their union bid in May after a 15-month battle against management.

Strippers hold signs and pose on a pole in Hollywood, California

Dancers at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood became the first unionized strippers in the United States earlier this year after a petition for “dignity and respect.” (Mario Tama/Getty Images)


“This is evidence that strippers joining a union is no accident and that workers who want a union can have a union,” Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association, said in a written statement. “In this moment, it means another group of dancers is on the path to a fairer and safer workplace.”

Shindle added that the strippers are “eager to get to the negotiating table” and “back to their club.”

Rick Schindler

Rick Schindler is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Rick Schindler joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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