I receive regular harassment, death threats and assaults from other women who are scabs or scab sympathizers-- the kinds of people who are uneducated about the beautiful history of labor struggles. One word that these ignorant scabs and scab sympathizers use when describing me is "entitled." If I leverage independent contractor perks, these ignorant people will call me entitled. If I suggest that a workplace is misclassifying, and perhaps a union with recognized employee status should be respected, I am also called entitled. These kinds of people expect me to complacently go along with being misclassified. These kinds of people are usually other women in the industry.
I want other dancers to understand what you are entitled to under each classification. I don't want you to ever let a scab or a scab sympathizer make you feel bad for being entitled to your rights. Some of the best people in history succeeded because they knew their worth, but who were called "entitled" by other people who did not care about worth.
If you are truly an independent contractor, you are entitled to leave or enter your workplace whenever you wish. You are entitled to not be infantilized by your business partner, which is the club, by having them keep your money all night. You are entitled to treat your services like a business, set your own prices, and decide how to perform those services within the confines of the law. You are entitled to wear whatever you want. You are entitled to so much freedom if you are an independent contractor, freedom that will help you run your life like a personal business. You are entitled to tell the club owner what misclassification is, without experiencing negativity. You are entitled to exercise every factor on the Economic Realities Test that defines what a contractor or lease holder is. You are entitled to so much, and worth so much.
If you are a misclassified employee, you are entitled to a lot too. You are entitled to Title VII protections. You are entitled to form a labor union. You are entitled to a living wage. If you work full time, you are entitled to many benefits that current laws deny part time employees. You are entitled to stand up for yourself if your rights are violated. If you are misclassified, you are entitled to your back wages and other stolen fees. The checks that you will receive is money that is yours, money that you are 100% entitled to. Any woman to say you are greedy because you want your money is a really sad person who should not be influencing other women in any way.
You are entitled to all of these wonderful things, because there were entitled people of the past who fought for all of us. Entitled people like Jimmy Hoffa, Mother Jones, Eugene Debs, Samuel Gompers, Joe Hill, Frances Perkins, Timothy Healy, William B. Fitzgerald, Timothy Murphy, Michael J. Quill, just to name a few. In their day, they too experienced threats and criticism for being "entitled." How dare one tell a business how to operate? How dare one not just leave and go someplace else? How entitled.
For so long, strip clubs have felt like the entitled ones. They have a workforce that isn't always respected in society, a workforce that has been laughed at when bringing labor issues to agencies like the EEOC or NLRB. They have a workforce that so-called feminists often scorn, or tell them to just quit their jobs if they hate it so much. They have a workforce that is left out of labor rights, because the stigma that being a stripper carries is not acceptable. Because of this stigma, society has pushed dancers into the shadows. Entitled strip clubs have felt comfortable calling dancers contractors, but controlling them like employees. Entitled clubs have felt comfortable firing dancers who stand up for their rights, be them contractor or employee rights. For so long, women have accepted lower wages in the regular workforce, and told to feel thankful for bread crumbs. For so long, strip clubs have felt entitled to break labor laws. It has happened for so long, that to be a woman with the audacity to shamelessly stand up for those rights will result in threats, violence, and being called "entitled." People have lived so long with an accepted reality that favors entitled strip clubs, over dancer rights.
I'm entitled to what I have and so much more. I'm going to keep being entitled, and I know that other modern labor advocates will also continue to be entitled by fighting for correct worker classification, a higher minimum wage, shorter work weeks, benefits for part time workers, protections for contractors and so-called "lease holders," and a more strict way of protecting those who stand up for themselves. Yeah, you're goddamn right I'm entitled.