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Federal Labor Board Sees Through Star Gardens’ Settlement Violations

March 28, 2024 | Employment Law

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against Star Garden, a topless dive bar in North Hollywood, alleging that it violated terms of a settlement reached in May 2023 with Actors’ Equity Assn., the union representing the club’s dancers. 


The complaint states that the club failed to fully follow through on commitments made after the dancers won the right to unionize. According to the union, the club made significant changes to its operations, including reducing operating hours, implementing a cover charge, reducing the number of performers, and restricting interactions between dancers and customers. 


The club’s attorneys deny any violations and accuse the dancers of insubordination and attempting to shut down the business. The NLRB is being asked to order Star Garden to comply with the settlement terms, compensate dancers for financial losses, and post notices of employees’ rights. 


This complaint comes after a series of disputes, including a 15-month tussle during which the club fired dancers, contested a union election, filed for bankruptcy, and closed temporarily. 


The club, which used to be open every day, is currently open only three days a week with limited hours and a newly implemented cover charge, said Andrea F. Hoeschen, general counsel for Actors’ Equity Assn. It also cut back the number of dancers who perform, inflated drink prices and stopped accepting cash, Hoeschen added.


After arriving at the settlement agreement last year, Regional Director Mori Rubin noted “Workers have the right to take collective action for a safe and equitable work environment. I admire the dancers who had the courage to protest their unsafe working conditions.”


Dancers and the union have accused the club of engaging in bad faith bargaining and implementing arbitrary rules to weaken resolve in contract negotiations.


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