As some of you know, the independent contractor legislation originally meant to offer much needed protections to strippers was briefly given an amendment that would have made it mandatory for venues that have live performers [djs, comedians, strippers] to have workers comp for these performers.
Workers comp would have made a huge difference to me the times I’ve hurt myself at work: the time I cut myself on a broken mirror and had to leave and missed five shifts; I know other many other workers who have similar stories [although funnily enough, the anecdote that a worker at Acrop fell in a puddle onstage is completely untrue. There’s a lot to say about the management at Acrop and that disaster of a building, we don’t need to go making up transparent and easily dismissable lies to make the point that Acrop is awful].
The fact that a well off worker with health insurance and a backup income took it upon herself to dismiss this amendment for the thousands of performers in Oregon, without seeking any feedback from the community, is gross and completely unethical.
So for those of you interested in supporting sex workers rights here, one of PAPA’s members [whom I do not want to name bc outing, but she can name herself! such an articulate lady!] has written a very articulate and smart letter to the Chair about the proposed and abandoned workers comp amendment. She has given me permission to use it as a template and I’ve edited it a little to remove the name of another dancer but if you want to email the Chair [Rep.PaulHolvey@state.or.us] abt it, here is a really great template!
Hi Representative Holvey,
I am writing you to encourage you to rethink adding the workers’ compensation amendment to House Bill 3059.
I am aware that you have talked to another Portland-based dancer, who has expressed her intense dislike of such an amendment. She said as well that she got a personal guarantee from you that you would take the amendment off the table, after hearing that dancers would not like such an amendment. She does not speak for all of us.
The lobbying process that has informed the production of HB 3059 and 3060 was not inclusive to all dancers or independent contractor entertainers. The lobbyists did not attempt to solicit feedback from entertainers outside of Portland. They did not solicit feedback from dancers working in small clubs, marked by working class status. There were very, very few entertainers of color involved. Essentially, the voices that have been invited to speak and the voices that have been the loudest are very privileged voices: people who do not rely on dancing as their sole source of income and would be okay if they could not dance for some reason, white dancers, and dancers who work in well-established clubs and earn in the higher bracket.
I was thrilled to hear that an amendment had been introduced to provide workers compensation to all workers in an establishment, because it would start to correct the structural inequities inherent in the industry. I was immediately dismayed when I read that this other dancer reacted so strongly and attempted to speak for the industry before even trying to reach out to the limited community she is connected to.
I would appreciate hearing back from you and having continued dialogue about this, as I strongly believe the equity of the industry relies on it.