Shakers Studies: Devon

Do any of my readers have the surname of a Shakers staff member who went by Devon? He was the very skinny young man who served soft drinks and expressed sentiments of disgust whenever rambunctious customers were degrading the dancers. I didn’t like it when Devon watched me on stage, because I knew he was judgmental about dancers.

Sometimes Devon often complained about feeling tired, because of his multiple wage slave jobs that were draining him of energy.

When it came out that I am a labor activist who has sued some strip clubs, Devon became even more rude to me than he was before. One night I almost missed my house fee and thought I would be terminated. Devon said “Haha” during a conversation between Dillon and I. It struck me as strange that a scrawny, fatigued victim of capitalist greed like Devon would not be in favor of my type of activism, but then again, what’s the matter with Kansas?

What’s the matter with Devon in Nebraska? Will someone please send me his surname so I can research him on Google? I know almost nothing about him, other than his strange face that is shaped like male genitalia.

Shakers Studies: Creepy Customers

I wish I had all of their names to post on the site, but unfortunately I don’t. I must resort to including them all, mostly nameless, in one post. If you have any of their names, please contact me through the contact tab at the top of this page.

I’ve made a previous post in response to a Nebraska political figure who was running on the platform that clubs like Shakers are sources of “trafficking” that need to be more regulated. While I wouldn’t describe what goes on at Shakers as “trafficking,” the club is undeniably a brothel.

In so many instances, I heard and saw brothel activities at Shakers. While I didn’t participate in full service myself, which often angered the customer base, it is my firm believe that the full service sex workers who provide for clients in Shakers are the reason it stays in business, despite the club’s lack of advertising. Sometimes at the beginning of my shifts when I would watch customers bumble into the club from their farms or factories or wherever else in the rural breadbasket of America’s underbelly, it reminded me of watching an episode of “To Catch a Predator” with Chris Hansen.

In the wasteland of grotesqueries that was the Shakers client base, one geriatric, hefty man named Gary really stands out to me. Gary was the type of customer mainstream America was afraid of, the type of customer one might see in a John Waters film or Texas Chainsaw massacre. His face looked like it was melting off, or like he had skinned another person’s face and was wearing it as a loose mask over his own face. His eyeballs drooped like a frying egg yolk in the hot sun. He sat in his truck in the parking lot long before Shakers opened in the evening, and often had baked goods that he prepared for everybody. He would sit on the stools in front of the stage and tip one dollar per dancer, per set. However, because I usually did not get fully nude, Gary would often withhold a dollar from me. He would inform me that he was punishing me for not getting fully nude, and complain about it to the DJ. Sometimes if I was getting a lot of money from other customers and got fully nude for them, Gary would hold a dollar up after I got off stage and wave it around, in an attempt to get me to walk over to him. He wanted to reward me with one dollar, for getting fully nude. I usually did whatever I could to avoid him seeing me. He didn’t want to get up off of his stool to hand me the dollar, so he would just make high-pitched noises, like one might make to a small mammal in order to make it come over. I didn’t go by him though, because I didn’t care about his stank dollar. This made him more angry and confused, which caused him to complain more. Gary’s favorite dancer was a trollish little recovering addict named Sash, who wore a diaper and dressed as a toddler. She would often sit on his lap and receive massages from him, while staring defiantly at me, as though she had one over on me for doing that.

Gary would sometimes bring his relatives into the club, several of whom worked at the Hormel pork factory. Some of Gary’s relatives get by in life by stabbing and murdering pigs for a living. They would share tales of things like neck stabbing rates per day, or pigs escaping from where they were delivered in the factory, and group efforts to try to find them hiding in other departments of the factory. One of Gary’s pig murdering relatives, with a name that escapes me, had a problem with me reading in the club and doing mathematics. Although he didn’t spend money, he didn’t like it that I wasn’t acknowledging his presence while he was in the club, so he would ask me if I was in school, or do dumb impressions of me reading, like an old fashioned schoolyard bully. He was a dumb guy with nothing going for him, so it confused him why someone would want to read a book or learn.

Because Shakers was paranoid that I was going to sue them, the owner and DJ used to have their friends come to the club and pretend to be normal customers. The DJ would have various perverts and biker friends of his ask me questions about my job and my thoughts on him. Because I am not stupid, have been in the industry for a long time and understand human behavior, it wasn’t really a secret to me that they were attempting to be clandestine spies. One man who stands out was named Rick. He owned a roofing company and employed scabs to do his manual labor. Rick would get drunk before coming to Shakers and quote my blog to me while we were talking, but then not admit to knowing anything. When things became really tense at Shakers near the end, he threatened to spray battery acid in my face mafia-style, in order to get rid of me.

A tisket, a tasket— a basket of deplorables. Even when the club was slow, it was pretty easy for me to make money off of other people in this basket of deplorables, because they were not used to speaking with articulate dancers who were willing to talk dirty. Being in Waverly was like going in a time machine to like 1940, and whoa Nellie, did they get excited easily. There’s not much else going on out there for them. Unfortunately for dumb people in Nebraska, many of them were unable to discern the difference between talking dirty and being an actual prostitute. That made a lot of people really pissed off. While I am really good at fighting men and asserting myself, I do sometimes wonder what the less assertive, younger, newer dancers did when they started at Shakers, surrounded by so many prostitutes and dedicated customers. Most of the VIP rooms don’t have cameras.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline for RAINN is 1-800-656-4673.

Shakers Studies: The Stinky State

When I went into Shakers to ask for an audition, manager Dillon Maynard informed me that dancers do not have to audition. I simply had to show my ID and fill out some paperwork. No prior work experience was necessary to dance at Shakers, which is important to note, because it is a factor that is in favor of the argument that dancers are employees.

Shakers manager Dillon Maynard very clearly explained to all new hires that they are lease holders. Contracts were freely distributed to anyone who asked. Because Shakers wanted to treat dancers as lease holders, they had rental slots for every night, which were filled on a first come, first serve basis. I was almost always the first dancer to come to Shakers on shifts that I worked, so I was never turned down to work. Sometimes I worked for a couple of hours before leaving, and they didn’t care. I don’t know that I ever worked a full shift while there. Sometimes if all of the slots were filled for the night and a dancer came in later, she was told to leave. Shakers made exceptions for a long-time dancer of theirs named Karma. During my time at Shakers, I recall two dancers who were angry that Karma got to come in even though all of the slots were filled, while they were turned away. Other than that incident, Shakers complied with their slot rental space system that was supposed to be a first come, first serve basis with no exceptions.

One thing that made Shakers stand out to me, is that the interiors were extremely cute and well maintained. There were black and white photos on the walls of people like Johnny Cash, which added to the club’s quaint, Americana hipster vibe. There is handcrafted masonry work in a few different parts of the club, sculptures of naked people, clean facilities and soft pink lighting. These things make a difference. Sometimes in clubs that allow dancers more freedoms, there tends to be disgusting interiors and unpleasant spaces with regards to things like sanitation, plumbing, masonry, lighting, flooring and carpentry. Shakers wasn’t like that.

Once in a while, I got sexually harassed by a customer or had my photo taken while I was on stage. Shakers was cool with me doing things like jumping off of the stage completely naked and picking a fight with customers who had violated my boundaries. Rather than being told that I had to rely on the employed staff of Shakers to tend to such issues, I was able to act as my own bouncer, in a way that a non-employee is able to do. I considered it an aspect of hiring my own helpers, or helping myself, that was part of my self-employment.

There are other economic realities tests that are more detailed than the seven-factor test that I used for this first portion of Shakers Studies. Google is a great resource for finding and determining all of the factors. With my experience suing strip clubs, though, I knew that suing Shakers probably would not have worked out for me. Labor lawyers agreed with me, including attorney Kathleen Neary, who beat Shakers earlier that year. Other lawyers suggested that while they would consider taking clients who danced at Shakers and didn't know their rights, my distribution of Know Your Rights fliers and the monologues that Shakers staff delivered to me were demonstrating that Shakers allowed me to assert my rights.

Shakers had no stupid t-shirt sales, no hourly gathering where all of the dancers are required to walk across stage, no mandatory minimum amount of hours worked, no requirement to do anything specific on stage, no dress code, no pressure to sell bottles of booze. For all intents and purposes, I was allowed to do whatever I wanted there. But, just because Shakers complied with labor laws for me doesn’t mean that they complied with them for everybody. In fact, they probably would not be in business if all of the dancers knew their rights and exercised them like I did. That is probably another reason why they made the temporary switch to employee status.

As stated that in the beginning of this series, Shakers will always be gambling when they refuse to categorize dancers as employees, but run the operation and invest in their building. Their temporary decision to change over to employee status is fascinating to me, because it demonstrated what is possible with persistence.

Just because Shakers didn’t want to get sued again and let me do whatever I wanted, doesn’t mean they don’t still suck. There was a good handful of horrible people who made it damn near impossible for me to make a living there, and they are to be outed on StripperLaborRights.com. They are to be dissected, described and never forgotten so long as the internet exists. If there’s one rule in life that I follow, it is to fear stupid people in numbers. When they get together, they can make the Earth shake.

When I was a child, I described Nebraska as “the stinky state.” It was an eight-hour gap of feces-and-urine-filled air, during road trips from Chicagoland to Colorado every Summer. It was a place to plug one’s nose. Nebraska is a vast emptiness that separates beautiful places from one another, but with it’s grotesque stench and quiet nothingness, there is beauty in the absurd. So, let’s unplug our noses, unroll the windows and take a whiff, as we barrel along the highway, into the second portion of Shakers Studies.

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Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #7

The seventh factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

“The degree of independent business organization and operation.”

I was able to organize and operate my business in any way that I wanted to at Shakers, without owners or management telling me otherwise. While they eventually encouraged other dancers to harass me, and could have possibly caused a constructive discharge case, this factor is arguably still in Shakers favor. I didn’t feel like putting forth the effort to argue otherwise.

As you can see, factors 5, 6 and 7 are vague and can overlap. For other clubs I have sued or am suing, the argument can be made that the constant badgering from staff and owners, about what to do and when, indicates that a dancer is unable to operate and organize her own business.

The next post will wrap up the factors portion of Shakers Studies, discuss the factors I didn’t mention in this small list of seven, and segue into the personality profiles of the people who I encountered while working there.

Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #5

The fifth factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

"The alleged contractor's opportunities for profit and loss."

This factor and subsequent factors are kind of similar, but I'll try to interpret what this means. Several things that Shakers did might apply to this factor.

Most strip clubs spend significant amounts of money advertising their business to the public, in order to attract patrons. This has usually been in my favor during lawsuits, because the club is the one spending time and money to attract the patrons. Clubs have tried to argue that strippers advertise with social media, but since social media is usually free and not always dependable, it hasn't always worked out for the club to say this. Shakers was a lot different though, because as far as I was able to see, they didn't spend money on advertising AT ALL.

While I worked at Shakers, there wasn't always a lot of opportunity for profit. Shakers was often dead and dancers would complain that the club needed to be advertising more. Secretly, I was thinking about how interesting it all was that Shakers didn't make overt efforts to attract clients. Some of the dancers had regulars who had been coming there for a long time, and came in to visit them. Shakers does have a facebook presence, but that was all that I think they do. I don't have enough information about their past advertising attempts to compare. Shakers had a friend-spy to come in and talk to me about advertising, so I think maybe they stopped after the lawsuit. The slowness of the club had everyone at an economic disadvantage, and I legitimately worried how much of a struggle it must have been for the Robinson family to survive like they were off of their club.

Having to go on stage when called and having a piece of paper with dance prices on them were two things that other dancers experienced which affected their opportunities for profit and loss. Since I was treated special and heard special monologues all the time, this factor didn't apply to me according to most lawyers.

Factors six and seven are kind of similar to factor five, so I will describe other things at Shakers in those posts while acknowledging that they can also be applied to this one.

Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #4

The fourth factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

"The nature and degree of control by the principal."

The "principal" was Shakers. We will explore some of the control situations below.

When I first started working at Shakers, before they knew who I was, I was told to participate in the stage rotation, with music selected by the DJ, rotation selected by the DJ and set lengths selected by the DJ. However, shortly after I started working there, when they discovered who I am, the DJ and manager began coming up to me and delivering paragraph-length monologues, explaining to me that stage rotation was not mandatory. I participated in the stage rotation until the last week or so of work. When I stopped participating, I encouraged others to stop participating as well. Prior to this, I asked around to find out if other dancers were receiving such a disclaimer about stage rotation, or if they were instructed to just do it no matter what. The latter was the case.

Prior to being sued, Shakers had dress code rules, in an attempt to control how the dancers looked. When I worked there, from the very beginning, I saw no such dress code. There were multiple dancers wearing footwear such as ballerina slippers, sock-like slippers, athletic shoes and boots. There was one dancer who sometimes dressed like a dinosaur in a full-body onesie. This is the type of activity that a self-employed person would engage in, and while a dinosaur walking around was probably not good for business, it was interesting to see the lack of rules unfold before me. The most disgusting outfit was the mentally ill woman who dressed like a baby and brought diapers to work, which will be covered in a future post specific to her. As nauseating as that was, I thought to myself, "Ok, this place REALLY does not want to get sued again."

I've been bullied a lot in the strip club world for not always shaving off all of my body hair. I've been fired from places for it. Shakers was a place run by bearded men in v-neck t-shirts, filled with dancers with more bush than I had ever seen in my life. In many ways I was able to exhale at Shakers like I had never experienced before-- not even in places like Boulder, Colorado or Portland, Oregon. There were definitely times when I thought, "This is how it's supposed to be. I could stay here forever."

Thoughts about staying weren't realistic though, because the backdrop to all of it were the ticking time bomb noises and the paranoia that Shakers exhibited about me being there at all.

Shakers had dedicated dance areas depending on whether or not it was individual songs being sold, or price of the "VIP" rooms. They took a modest cut of $5 for the individual songs sold, and a reasonable cut of the rooms sold. Near the end, I did a funny thing where instead of giving dances in their designated areas, I started doing them out on the main floor at the tables or wherever my customers were sitting. If I was really a self-employed person, that was my right to do that without being controlled. This upset Shakers, because they weren't getting cuts of those songs. Low-IQ dancers, who were eager to get me in trouble, would scurry over to management, urging them to take action. Because Shakers didn't want to get sued, they just pitifully watched me do it, knowing they could do nothing (directly) to stop it. Eventually their dancer friends began harassing me. Whenever I told management about the harassment, they reminded me that they could not control self-employed people. I was instructed to tell the police about my problems, by manager Dillon Maynard, who viciously smirked when suggesting it, knowing that I dislike police.

Prior to Shakers discovering my blog, I was bullied by DJ Steven Loe for reading in the club. I made a post about it without naming him. That post can be found in the search bar with the key words "reading in the club." After Shakers discovered who I am, their attitude toward my studies changed dramatically. I had to take entrance exams to get into the trades earlier this year, so I had to brush up on my fractions and algebra. Not only did I read prose books at Shakers, but I started bringing in math text books and doing thousands of problems during my down time. It REALLY pissed some people off. But, by the beginning of 2018, I was a wiz of all the trades tests.

From the beginning, Shakers was cool about coming into work whenever and leaving whenever, as they should be. I've covered this in past posts without naming them, such as the post "prostitution accusations as a control tactic." This leniency was a signal that they were trying their best not to get sued again by anyone.

Shakers is a fully nude club, but I didn't get fully nude on stage very often. Other dancers, particularly dumb ones, cowardly ones, or ones who had worked there prior to their losing the lawsuit-- the majority of the dancers-- always got fully nude on stage. They thought it was mandatory. Customers complained that I wouldn't get fully nude on stage, and would tattle on me to their loser friend, DJ Steven Loe. While Shakers really wanted to make me get fully nude on stage, that was another rule they avoided enforcing, to avoid a lawsuit. All the while, I would wonder what it was like to be a person so pathetic, he would go to a strip club as a customer and complain to a DJ that the woman on stage wasn't showing her genitals. The mindset of that was fascinating to me, absurdly hilarious and grotesque. Other dancers would get mad about me not getting nude too sometimes, like somehow I was slighting them personally. Clubs that aren't fully nude, but misclassify, will usually have rules regarding when the top is supposed to come off.

Shakers had dance prices listed on a piece of paper, but did nothing to enforce those dance prices. For example, there is a club in Minnesota I worked at prior to Shakers, which sent dancers home if they sold songs for more than $10. That place definitely misclassified and deserves to lose a lawsuit.

One of my favorite things that Shakers did was refuse to touch our dance money. A lot of clubs make dancers turn over their money, and won't give it to us until the end of the night. It is sickeningly degrading and humiliating to be infantilized in that way. Shakers wouldn't allow customers to hand over money to them at the counter prior to dances. They would instruct the dancers to receive the money from the customers, and then hand it to the club. This delicate practice should be a bare minimum, but often isn't.

Most of the rules described in the original judgement were removed by the time I got to Shakers. If you have a question about a specific rule, feel free to email me. There were so many differences in control between the Elizabeth Mays decision and when I worked there, and I have not listed all of them in this post. The rules they did keep were removed for me specifically, verbally described to me in detail, once Shakers realized who I am. Shakers wouldn't let me get away with it long-term of course, but it was fun while it lasted. Sometimes at Shakers, I was able to distill all of the joy I felt there so intensely that my skin burned.

Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #3

The third factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

"The amount of the alleged contractor's investment in facilities and equipment."

Facilities and equipment at Shakers included things like stage, lighting, furniture, bar, DJ equipment and the building itself. All of these things were bought by the club. The dancers, who the club alleges were not employees, invested little if any money in objects or supplies used solely for their jobs.

While strip clubs sometimes attempt to argue that objects like makeup and lingerie are proof that dancers are contractors investing in their own businesses, these objects are basic hygiene and living expenses that any other employee would use. Strip clubs like to ask plaintiff dancers if they deducted any of their personal hygiene and grooming objects on their taxes. However, these kinds of objects cannot be deducted if used outside of the workplace.

The investment that the club makes in maintaining the business running is overwhelmingly in favor of employee status.

Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #2

The second factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

"The permanency of the relationship."

When I signed my first contract at Shakers when I first walked into the building, I was informed that I would have to sign another one in a month or so. In addition to the normal contract, Shakers also had dancers sign a specific contract for nights they weren't normally open. Shakers was willing to distribute contracts to dancers whenever one was requested.

The Shakers contract was very specific about how it would expire in a few months time. Dancers at Shakers informed me, several times, that they had to fill out new contracts every so often. Clubs create contracts that expire, to preserve their right to argue that their relationship with the dancers was not permanent. While Shakers preserved this right by including an expiration date on each of their contracts, it could be argued that Shakers kept dancers aboard who did not argue or protest their working conditions, while they banned dancers who gave them problems.

At the end of my time at Shakers, I asked my manager, Dillon Maynard, if I was going to be the only one not getting a job on January first. He wouldn't give me a yes or no answer about any of it or explain much of anything.

If you have worked at Shakers and feel as though you were not allowed back after your contract expired, but other dancers were allowed back, it is entirely possible that you were being misclassified, but that Shakers is hiding behind the ambiguity by using expiring contracts.

Shakers did not want me to be working there, but didn't want to risk firing me. One day after discussing the contracts with my manager Dillon Maynard, the DJ Steven Loe played a bunch of songs about New Year's Day being wonderful. He also played ticking time bomb noises, which he had done before, while staring me down.

It is these kinds of ambiguities and subtleties that Shakers utilized to dance around labor laws conflicting with the way they wanted to run things.

Shakers Studies: FLSA Factor #1

The first factor in determining whether a worker is an employee, under the fair labor standards act, is described as:

"The extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the principal's business."

Shakers exists solely to make money off of dancers and the customers who come to see them. This factor is the easiest to determine. Sometimes clubs that serve liquor or food will argue that their focal point is making money off of liquor and food, but even those clubs lose that particular argument. Of course Shakers, which does not serve liquor, would not have this factor in their favor.

Shakers Studies: Appeal

Since last month's post, I have received news that the appeal Shakers filed finished. The results of the appeal are somewhat disappointing. While it was decided that Elizabeth Mays was an employee, the appeal took away a bunch of her money that she should be receiving. Nebraska sucks, and so even if someone is found to have been misclassified, that doesn't necessarily mean one would be given money that was stolen from them by greedy small businesses.

Small business owners often like to abuse employees. They get away with it, by victimizing themselves in comparison to large corporations and the government. Supporting small businesses does nothing positive for worker rights.

Original Judgement

Appeal

Pasted below is my Whores of Yore article from last month:

In August of 2017, I began working at a strip club called Shakers. When I was hired, Shakers classified dancers as “lease holders.” By the end of my time at the club in December of 2017, they decided to start classifying dancers as employees, starting January 1st. While Shakers will never admit that my pressure had anything to do with the switch, my newest series on StripperLaborRights.com will discuss circumstances surrounding the switch, during the period of time that I worked there. This series will explore each Economic Realities factor of interest at Shakers, and each person of interest within this time frame.

Waverly, Nebraska-- population 3,500-- is home to Shakers. Prior to European arrival, the area was home to indigenous people including the Sioux, Lakota and Pawnee.

Some would describe Shakers as “in the middle of nowhere.” The club is a large pink barn-like structure that sits among miles upon miles of corn, with a freight train running through town, which is across the road parallel to the the club, just a turn off of Cornhusker Highway in the eerie open sky of Eastern Nebraska-- a place where tornadoes brew in the Spring time.

In early 2017, Shakers lost a misclassification suit that it had been fighting. Elizabeth Mays, represented by attorney Kathleen Neary, claimed that she was a misclassified employee at Shaker's while she danced there. Among behaviors dictated to Mays while she worked at Shakers included making dancers clean the bathroom, preventing them from leaving or entering the dressing room whenever they wanted, telling them to “act like ladies,” being subject to song selections and a stage rotation dictated by the Shakers DJ. The judge ruled in Elizabeth Mays's favor, meaning that she was entitled to all of her back wages, fees and staff tips.

Different strip clubs respond to lost misclassification suits in different ways. Larger clubs that can afford to, will usually conduct misclassification business as usual and pay off settlements to make their problems go away on the rare occasion that they arise. After losing a multi-million-dollar class action, Rick's Cabaret chose to correctly classify their dancers, by acknowledging them as employees.

Sometimes after losing a lawsuit, a club will go in a different direction. That direction involves removing most, if not all, of their rules that misclassified employee dancers had to follow prior to the lawsuit. In doing so, the club hopes to avoid future misclassification suits. To a degree, that is the direction that Shaker's chose to go. However, so long as they choose not to call their dancers employees, clubs like this will always be liable for a misclassification suit.

Many employee status experts would argue that there is no way strip club dancers will ever be anything except employees, due to the fact that dancers are an integral part of the business. Even when all of the rules are removed, according to many employee status experts, the dancers are essentially still employees, who could unionize if they ever wanted to. Continuing to classify dancers as non-employees was a risk that Shakers knowingly took after losing their suit. It was a risk that they decided to stop taking after I worked for them-- at least for a while.

Shakers was strip club #69 for me, year #12, state #8, vehicle #4. Blacklisted out of most of my beloved blue state territory, my labor activism and lawsuit fame forced me to resort to dancing in red states. I had been hearing about Shaker's through the grapevine for a few years before they were sued. I forgot that they had been sued until after I started working there. Several transient dancers who I spoke with in places like Colorado, Chicago, Minnesota or Nevada told me the same things-- that Nebraska is boring as hell, but the money is amazing, and that the money at Shaker's was amazing. For a lonely pink barn in the middle of corn, Shaker's is somewhat well known to USA traveling strippers on the open road, because of it's accessibility and ability to provide an economic windfall for women in need. Waverly is just a few minutes away from Lincoln, and for a red state, Lincoln is a relaxed, progressive college town.

I have strong reason to believe that several weeks into my Shakers work life, the staff found out about my history and website. As a result, I had an experience at Shakers that was different than a lot of dancers who worked there. The staff explicitly told me that I didn't have to do things which they gave no explanation to other dancers about, such as participate in stage rotation. For the most part, I participated anyway, but near the end, I was taking them up on their offers not to do stage. I was also exercising other Economic Realities freedoms, in ways that seemed to upset Shakers. New dancers who were unaware of The Economic Realities Test were asking me questions about how I was able to skip stage. I didn't want them to think that I had special privileges, so I began explaining to them that Shakers got sued and that the workplace obligations dancers thought were rules were not legally rules. I created and distributedKnow Your Rights fliers, to notify them that they too could break these rules. Like most strip clubs, Shakers had a core group of loyal dumb scabs who harassed, assaulted, threatened and slandered me in reaction to my speaking out and not conforming. They were all shook up into a frenzied anger, as stripper scabs become when cool things happen that they wish they could have enough confidence to do themselves. It was an extremely tense situation, all the more because Shakers is such a small structure in terms of square footage.

By the end of my time at Shakers, management announced that they would be switching over to employee classification, starting on the first of January when the “lease” contracts expired. It was a Holy Shit moment for me for sure. I never had that happen before. My manager told me that they “had been trying to do it for a few years now.” I don't believe him. It doesn't take years for a small business to make a simple switch to recognize that their workers are employees. I firmly believe that they made the switch because I started talking about their lost lawsuit and I was behaving like a non-employee, spreading non-employee distinctions with fliers throughout the club to encourage other dancers to know their rights.

Their employee switch came with a catch, which they advertised on their facebook. It appeared as though Shakers was intentionally advertising employee status as unappealing, by offering only part time hours that they picked, and other unsavory rules that they didn't need to enforce. I did not stick around to feel what it was like to be an employee dancer at Shakers. They hinted that I may not get the hours that I wanted. This was a threat to my survival. I would not have been unable to sustain myself financially. While I am an amazing hustler, Shakers is a toxic place that was filled with irrational women angry at me for talking about or exercising my rights, so these sad pathetic women did whatever they could to sabotage my income during my last week working there.

About a week after January first, I called Shakers. I wanted to know how the employee status switch was going. The manager informed me that about a week after switching to employee status, the club took the employee status away and began calling dancers “members” of their membership club. I had never heard of such a classification before, but it sounded like some more lease holder misclassification bullshit. After I asked a few more questions, the manager hung up on me. As far as I know, they are currently calling their dancers “members” instead of employees.

This Shakers Studies series will be of interest to any labor law advocate who is wondering how a small club reacts to a lost misclassification suit and subsequently having me come to town. It is interesting from a sociological, anthropological and cultural perspective, because Shakers is a place that was willing to comply with labor laws more than most clubs, but a place where the very workers who are oppressed by widespread dancer misclassification and could have fought for their rights, chose to behave like psychotic freaks instead. No pension, healthcare, paid sick days or job security will ever come to any of the batshit crazy lowlife women who threatened me, my life and my income.

Shakers was a turning point for me, and we will explore the many tentacles of that in the new series: Shakers Studies.

Press Rejections

A few months ago, I announced that StripperLaborRights.com would be featured in the New York Times. A journalist from that publication had contacted me back in January about an article, and I had spent hours on the phone, letting her interview me. However, in the subsequent months after that post, our communication fizzled and she decided to do articles about pregnancy in the workplace instead. I told her to fuck off.

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A few weeks ago, some journalist with Associated Press contacted me about sex workers being excluded from the #MeToo movement. However, since she misread my website and thought I had retired from dancing already, she didn't actually want to interview for her piece. She just wanted to waste my emotional labor and time by contacting me. I emailed her a string of expletives, and then she emailed me one more time to tell me that she really liked my website.

There were a couple of inaccurate and unauthorized articles published on the internet, about a lawsuit in Southern Minnesota that I am currently involved in.

Late last year, around the time that the #NYCStripperStrike and #MeToo really took off, what happened was a lot of journalists thought they could catapult their careers, by wasting the time of sex workers who are perfectly capable of writing for themselves. Journalists have a history of exploiting vulnerable people for click bait, wasting our time, emotional labor and energy. I am haunted all the time by that horrible, inaccurate and grotesque article that Bryce Covert put out about me on ThinkProgress, and I'd love to meet her in a back alley some time to sort it out.

Ear Damage

Many strip clubs violate OSHA standards with regards to noise safety in the workplace. They misclassify dancers, and sometimes misclassify workers such as DJs, security, bartenders and cashiers. That way, strip clubs don't have to worry as much about ear damage that workers experience. As a general rule, workers should be able to hear one another speaking from three feet away. If not, ear plugs should be worn. Strippers and staff almost never wear ear plugs, but owners don't care about any of that.

Here's a guide on ear safety to get you started: Ear Safety

I have been so pre-occupied with misclassification and title VII violations that I have barely given attention to hearing damage. Sadly, I have never filed an OSHA complaint about ear safety, despite many opportunities to do so. There is only so much time in the day. My hearing abilities are irreversibly damaged after 12+ years.

It would be nice if some of the more popular dancer websites and internet personalities gave attention to stripper ear damage.

Is Greg Flaig in Jail?

An anonymous tipster told me that Greg Flaig was put in jail. Flaig does this thing where he tells dancers that he has a special relationship with the local police, then he speaks to dancers on behalf of the police about club rules. The trouble is, he makes stuff up. The police found out about it, called some clubs and told them Greg's a liar. I had nothing to do with that, but I do have some audio recordings of him speaking to me about how I wasn't supposed to be using the customer bathroom. He suggested that the police would come in to help him explain things to me. Recently, I learned about the broader scope of his misrepresentations. If anyone has information about his time in jail or related subjects, please contact me by clicking the contact tab at the top of this page.

I wonder if Greg's wife Carrie is worried!

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Some Bullshit in The Injustice System

Many businesses really enjoy misclassifying their employees and denying them their rights. This can lead to death, suffering, discrimination, injuries, union busting and sexual assault in the workplace. Strip clubs definitely love this, but business owners in other industries love it too. Arbitration is a bunch of bullshit, and today a new union-busting decision said that it is OK for workplaces to continue pushing forced arbitration and anti-class-action clauses in their contracts.

Please remember to vote, everybody. It matters. Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer for trying. This wouldn't have happened if Merrick Garland was seated with them.

Today is a sad day.

Who are The Wobblies?

When most people think of unions, the AFL-CIO may come to mind. However, there is another organization called the Industrial Workers of the World, otherwise known as the IWW or The Wobblies.

The dancers at Lusty Lady Lounge were Wobblies, as are most unions made up of extremely far left people. The Wobblies have been around for a little over one-hundred years, and were founded in Chicago. I highly recommend choosing the IWW for strippers who are unionizing, rather than the AFL-CIO-- because smashing the white supremacist, imperialist, war mongering, capitalist patriarchy is really important for the survival of our species and planet! Their website is IWW.org.

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Toilet Talk

Apparently at full time workplaces outside of the strip club world, talking about menstrual problems and going to the bathroom whenever is not normal. Even with other women coworkers, this is not a normal thing to do or to openly joke about. Non-stripper women don't always like to talk about gushy blood chunks and period poop around the water cooler.

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Recently I have been pursuing a career in the building trades, which is male dominated. I was informed that bathroom breaks should be limited, and when I tried to have friendly conversation with the small amount of other women I encountered in the facility, they did not have the same bathroom warmness that strippers usually show to one another about being a cunted creature. I spent today in agonizing endometrium pain, oozing with blood, bloated, and in more uterine muscular agony than hauling cement caused to the rest of my muscles. I didn't want to take pain killers for it, because that would have slowed me down. I couldn't smoke medical marijuana for it in the bathroom stall. I didn't want to spend a half hour or more sitting on the toilet like I usually do, because that was not permitted. It was the single most physically painful day of my entire life. All of this got me to thinking about some of the wonderful things that I have experienced in strip club workplaces, that are uncommon outside of the sex worker world. It brought me to tears thinking about, but maybe that was just my hormones. Here's an incomplete list of how the rest of the world's workplaces should strive to be more like strip clubs:

#1: Strippers often make more money while they are bleeding. I have sold my blood for hundreds of dollars. Many customers just like the odor, and will buy dances for that reason. If it grosses you out to read that, it just means that you are fucked up, not me.

#2: Save for a few clubs, male strip club staff are generally sympathetic to menstrual problems. They are usually very blasé about hearing explicit details of biological realities. Over the years, I have discussed the passing of bloody tissue chunks, endometriosis and menstrual diarrhea with hundreds of bouncers, DJs, managers and door men. Most of them are unphased by all of this. While they may be financially exploitative and misclassifing, one thing these men do have going for them that most other men don't, is that it's very easy for a woman to talk to them about unpleasant bathroom issues.

#3: Strippers talk about menstruation with each other ALL. THE. TIME. It is open, honest, frank and relieving to have the comradeship of my coworkers to just know what I am talking about and not judge any of it. It can be funny or vulgar at times, but it's mostly business as usual. Many times, I have had a conversation with a coworker while casually changing a tampon right in front of them, or vice-versa. It's not a big deal at all, nor should it be.

#4: Strippers can take time off of work while they are bleeding. Many do this if the pain is unbearable. Strippers who choose to work during this time can sit on the toilet for as long as they want, in most clubs that I have worked. This is one way to not get in trouble for missing a stage rotation, with the exception of a few clubs, out of the 74 that I have worked at.

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The world outside of strip clubs is filled with toilet shaming and secrecy. Many people hate themselves and what their bodies do, and feel weird about strippers who love their bodies. Part of loving our bodies is not being ashamed to profit from, talk about, joke about, or take care of our blood and related subjects. It shouldn't be a secret in the workplace. If sitting on the toilet in blinding pain for a half an hour to squeeze out blood chunks and shit is slowing down the rest of the crew, then maybe that's a signal that the world is moving too fast, too cold, and too unsympathetic.

Menstruation is a medical issue, and it's fucking disgusting that women don't get to have paid disability for it. Many people with disabilities are drawn to sex work, because it allows for flexibility and enough money to take time off when needed. Many shitty feminists don't want to admit that menstruation is a medical issue that deserves disability checks for workers, and many of these same shitty feminists are against sex work. Sadly, many misogynist men who run the world agree with them. Their whole system is a bloody mess.

I'd rather be banished to a menstrual hut in the woods than to work with endometriosis. It would be a wonderful vacation. If only I could be so lucky.

Thanks, strip clubs, for making me so shameless. It's too bad the rest of the world has not caught up.

ABC in California!

Congratulations to California adult entertainers and strippers! It just became much easier to argue your employee status. This new ruling will encourage more lawyers to take cases when they might not have before. Hopefully more brazen dancers will sue their misclassifying clubs and have an easier time unionizing. Good luck to you all!

For the rest of the country-- please remember to vote for the farthest left candidates as possible so we can be as cool as the 9th circuit.