Strippers Deserve Minimum Wage, Judge Finds

As the AFL-CIO blows off Obamacare, it seems unions have been hard at work in recent days. In a ruling on Tuesday, current and former 'dancers' from the tastefully decorated (from what we hear) Midtown Manhattan Rick's Cabaret have won a class-action suit that protects them under labor laws and entitles them to minimum wage at least. The club, having argued unsuccessfully that the strippers were independent contractors, plans to appeal the Judge's ruling that the dancers are 'the main attraction" and integral to it success (though personally we would only go there to read the articles). Whether this will raise (or lower) the price per dance, VIP room access fees, mark-ups on beer and bottles of vodka, or acceptance (or not) of EBT cards has yet to be made clear.

 

Cue gratuitous-stripper-plus-cash image...

or two...

 

Via NY Times,

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Rick’s, a chain of “upscale adult nightclubs serving primarily businessmen and professionals” based in Texas, argued that its dancers were independent contractors, more akin to stand-up comedians than fry cooks. But Judge Engelmayer was not persuaded. He said the list of rules Rick’s laid down could be described as “micromanagement.”

 

Among the dos and don’ts detailed in the company’s pamphlet of “Entertainer Guidelines” were requirements that the dancers work eight-hour shifts at least three days a week, wear stiletto heels at least four inches tall, skip body glitter and cover any tattoos with makeup.

 

The decision also said the dancers were mandated to “dance your first song with your dress on and your second song with your dress off.” Then, while entertaining the customers up close and personally, they were to keep one foot on the floor and could never have both knees “on a guest” at the same time.

 

On Tuesday, as Vanessa gyrated on the main stage, the other dancers on the day shift appeared to be obeying the rules as they coaxed men into $20 lap dances or to splurge on a visit to a “private room” upstairs — at a rate of $150 for every 15 minutes.

 

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“These women don’t have their own business — Rick’s has a business and they work there,” said Ms. Drake, a partner in the Nichols Kaster law firm. “Adult entertainers, like every other worker in this country, are entitled to receive wages and not be forced to rely on tips from their customers to make a living.”

 

She declined to say how much her clients were seeking in back pay, but it would be more than the minimum wage of $7.25 for every hour worked by every dancer since the club opened.

 

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the ruling would have “no impact on Rick’s Cabaret New York City, since we changed our independent contractor practices some time ago.” He said minimum wages would amount to “a fraction of the $1,000 or more” that some dancers said they earned in a night’s work.