Exotic Dancers Take Over Lusty Lady

July 2, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Threatened with the prospect of shutting its doors, the Lusty Lady Theater is now owned by its unionized stripper workforce.

The San Francisco dancers, upon hearing high cost may force their establishment to close its doors, pooled their experience and solicited help from a local grocery cooperative to form their own co-op and buy the club. So far, about 45 of the club’s 60 dancers and 10 nondancing staffers have signed up, according to an Associated Press report.

This comes after the Exotic Dancers Union, Local 790, which joined the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in 1995, reached a new two-year contract with management in January to boost hourly wages, increase sick pay and lower the number of dancers hired (See SF Stripper Bare All for More Bucks ). However, now the strippers are calling their own shots. Under the new management, dancers still earn an hourly wage, but each can pay $300 to buy into the co-op. At year’s end, each member receives a portion of the profits based on the number of hours worked.

The new owners elected a board of directors and will vote on all major managerial decisions, including new hires. Terms of the co-op’s establishment were not disclosed.

“We’re seizing the means of production,” Donna Delinqua told fellow dancers at a ceremony in which the new owners cut an oversized frilly garter belt outside the club. “We’re focused on running our own place and keeping our heads above water.”

Located near downtown San Francisco, the Lusty Lady is an adult entertainment club where customers in private booths drop in quarters to watch lingerie-clad dancers strip in an enclosed room. The club does not allow touching, lap dancing or tucking dollars under G-strings.