RWDSU/UFCW members who work at Babeland in New York unanimously ratified their first contract on Feb. 13. Babeland is a mission-driven, queer-owned sex toy boutique, and the contract covers the company’s sex educators and retail sales associates who work in three New York stores.
Under the new contract, workers will receive health benefits, general wage increases and adjustments, as well as signing bonuses and post-probationary wage increases. Most significantly, the contract includes added safety and security trainings and protocols to protect Babeland’s predominately LGBTQ and female workforce.
“This is the only workforce in this industry that is unionized, I think that’s significant,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “The provisions negotiated in this contract sets a standard for protecting LGBTQ workers in this and many workplaces across the country. I am proud of the Babeland workers and their tenacious work to ensure all of their coworkers have the safety measures and training they need.”
“In organizing with the RWDSU, we were able to do together what we never could have done alone,” said Phoenix Casino, a Babeland employee. “Not only do we have a greater sense of solidarity on the sales floor, but we now also have health benefits, a service that many of us have a dire need for. We were able to improve the quality of our lives both in and out of the shop, an accomplishment that we only could have reached with collective action.”