by Doug French
by Doug French
Could it be that Andrea Hackett will get the last laugh? Ms. Hackett, who once used to be Mr. Hackett, is the gal who formed the Las Vegas Dancer Alliance in an attempt to organize the legions of women who ply their trade at the numerous adult cabarets around town.
In her former life, Hackett was a union organizer while employed at Boeing in Seattle.
But, evidently organizing strippers who grind out a living as independent contractors at all hours has turned out to be a bit more challenging than organizing a bunch of blue-collar workers who toil together under one roof.
However, the way the planets are lining up, Hackett's perfect world of strippers wearing the union label with insurance, sick pay, seniority and union wages may be just a few years away.
Hackett graced the cover of CityLife more than a year ago following the county's new lap dance ordinance. Hackett founded the LVDA to fight that ordinance. She believed that it would severely hamper her and her fellow strippers' ability to earn a living. "I've been told by reliable sources that the casinos were all in favor of a lap dance ordinance," Hackett told CityLife's David Hare. "It gave them the opportunity to compete with the strip clubs."
But, Ms. Hackett's perceived enemies — the casinos — may ultimately turn out to be her friends. It is now common knowledge that the casinos wish to open adult cabarets on their properties. The gamers are sick and tired of watching dozens of taxis filled with their customers leaving their properties nightly to spend money elsewhere.
Jack Sheehan, author of the book Skin City, told Jon Ralston in an interview recently that it is just a matter of time before the big casinos have strip clubs on their properties. Sheehan even floated the idea with Ralston that the legal problems that various adult clubs are facing may have their genesis on the Strip.
Mayor Oscar Goodman told Time magazine's Joel Stein that he is in favor of allowing strippers in casinos. "It's guaranteed," Goodman told Stein. "It's just a matter of when."
So, with the MGM buying Mandalay Resorts and Harrah's buying Caesars, not only will the two emerging behemoths control most of the gaming in town, they'll likely control the lap dance market.
But, unions negotiate for one wage to be earned by all. So once Ms. Hackett gets her wish, the dog-eat-dog competition between girls will be a thing of the past. There will be no need for girls to invest in improvements like breast implants because they will all be making a good middle-class union wage with benefits. And, forget about having to retire because customers don't appreciate what age has done to a dancer's assets. Union seniority will keep girls on the job into their golden years. Don't believe me? Take a look at the cocktail waitresses at union hotels such as Bally's, Paris and Caesars. Heck, the girls may not even have to be somewhat friendly anymore.
Most strippers won't like this new world of punching a clock, paying union dues and bringing home less money, but for a 50-year old gal like Hackett, it will mean job security forever.
August 20, 2004
Doug French [send him mail] is executive vice president of a Nevada bank and a policy fellow of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
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