The Lusty Lady is the name of two peep show establishments, one in the North Beach district of San Francisco and another now-defunct location in downtown Seattle. It was made famous by the labor activism of its San Francisco workers.
The Seattle Lusty Lady, known originally as the Amusement Center, was opened in the 1970s by two business associates, who soon after opened the other location in San Francisco. Originally, both Lusty Ladys showed 16mm peep show films only, but in 1983 live nude dancers were added and became the main focus of the businesses. Until 2003 they were both owned by the same company; in that year the San Francisco franchise was bought by the strippers working there and began to be managed as a worker cooperative. The San Francisco branch had already entered the news in 1997 when it became the first (and as of 2009 only) successfully unionized sex business in the U.S. The San Diego strip club Pacer’s had seen a unionization effort in the early 1990s, but it was short-lived. Former Lusty Lady employee Siobhan Brooks commented in a 1997 article in Z magazine that “In some cases the media misquoted us as being the first strip club to unionize. But the first strip club to unionize was Pacer’s in San Diego. However, Pacer’s union, Hotel Management, Employee Management, Local 30, negotiated an open clause in its contract. Open shop means there’s no requirement that employees join the union, so the club recruited workers and discouraged them from joining the union and were able to decertify the union.”