New York's Babeland Becomes First Unionized Sex Toy Shop

The workers of Babeland, a sex toy shop with three locations in New York, have voted to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, making them the first adult retailer to organize.

Babeland has 25 employees, who voted to unionize 21-4, per the New York Times. Employees told the Times they organized for better workplace transparency and protections, and, in an industry-specific issue, to force management to create better support and training for dealing with “problematic” customers, i.e. the creepy, harassing ones. Trans employees also told the paper they wanted workplace measures in place that reflected and respected their gender identity:

When Massima Desire clocks in and out of her shift, she cringes when she sees the name that pops up on the screen.

While her co-workers call her Massima, the company uses her legal name in its computer system, she said. Getting Babeland to respect her gender identity was just one of the reasons she voted to unionize.

“That’s a question of dignity, and that’s what we’re going to be negotiating,” Mr. Appelbaum, the retail union president, said.

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The RWDSU represents around 100,000 workers in retail, food processing plants, bakeries, hotels and in public sector jobs. Babeland also has a Seattle location, which was not part of the unionization.

Truly: we bet nothing feels better than a proudly union sex toy.


Babeland’s Brooklyn location. Photo by Ti-Ti Saienni via Babeland Toys/Instagram

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About the author

Anna Merlan

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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