It was a similar story for Actors Equity, which has recently gone public with campaigns to represent strippers at a club called the Star Garden and lecturers at the Griffith Observatory, both in Los Angeles. In each case, a worker who was a member of Equity through other employment vouched for the union's bona fides, general counsel Andrea Hoeschen told Law360.
In some ways, the work of representing strippers or lecturers isn't so different from supporting the theater performers the group has typically organized, Hoeschen said. Like actors, strippers and lecturers are performers, and they share certain key concerns including stage safety, ensuring the integrity of their performances and dealing with audiences, she said.
And where these workers' interests diverge with stage actors', the union is adaptable. While Actors Equity is best known for representing Broadway actors, it has long served performers of other stripes, including improv performers at the famed Second City comedy club in Chicago and mock trial witnesses.