Solidarity with East Coast Sex Educators (SECSE)
For Immediate Release - August 19, 2020
When Good Vibes Only isn’t Enough
On Saturday, August 15, workers at Good Vibrations East Coast announced a strike at both the Brookline and Cambridge stores under the worker coalition Solidarity with East Coast Sex Educators (SECSE). SECSE joins Babeland NYC and The Pleasure Chest in labor organizing within the adult retail industry.
SECSE’s strike is a culmination of years of effort for greater transparency from Good Vibrations’ California-based headquarters as well as a response to the handling of reopening as COVID-19 continues to spread in Massachusetts.
The Good Vibrations East Coast workforce informed management of their intention to strike Saturday morning and send a list of demands including:
Better cleaning and sanitizing guidelines in light of COVID-19
Advance communication of and worker input in changes to day-to-day, in-store policies and procedures such as opening hours, worker recall timetables, handling customers, and planning for a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
Prioritization of handling of human resources concerns including sexual harassment within the workplace, timely communication, and confidentiality
Immediate annual check-ins and subsequent raises for the year of 2020
Additional resources and support for local workers and management
SECSE seeks to empower its collective and workers everywhere to insist on equity and justice during this pandemic and beyond.
Good Vibrations’ stores are high touch environments. They’ve always been proud to have floor models of every product they carry for customers to touch and try out in a non-intimate way before taking them home. Under normal circumstances, Good Vibrations’ floor models have been an important educational tool for their customers, but in light of COVID-19 and the increased risk of customer-facing workers, anything that increases touch is irresponsible and exacerbates workers feeling unsafe on the job.
In 2001, Good Vibrations was the first sex toy retailer to stop selling toys containing phthalates, an important stride in advancing body safety in intimate products. In light of this historic commitment to body safety and high quality materials, Good Vibrations’ lack of current proactivity with regard to worker and customer safety during a pandemic is particularly disappointing.
Babeland NYC, Good Vibrations’ sister store, was the first workforce in the adult industry to unionize after they joined the RWDSU in 2017. Babeland and Good Vibrations are both know nationally for embracing queer sexualities and making LGBTQ+ health and wellness central to both their business and their community advocacy. Queer workers are also central to the labor force and in maintaining the welcoming, education-forward reputation of Good Vibrations. Now, queer workers need your support.
Businesses have chosen to reopen during a public health crisis and, without universal federal guidelines for health and safety, workers have even fewer protections than they did several months ago. For queer workers, in particular, the effects of this are significant. Queer folks, particularly queer low-income workers, face complications from all aspects of the pandemic. In addition to worse health outcomes and higher instances of chronic conditions, queer communities have been impacted by higher unemployment as layoffs continue. Good Vibrations strives to be an agent for community and social change, and it is in that spirit that employees are striking to ensure their own safety and to look forward to long-term change in support of workers’ rights at their company, in the adult industry, and beyond.
Good Vibrations’ workers are—and have been—committed to supporting their customers through sexual exploration and now they are asking for customers to support them.
SECSE is asking that their customers and communities look else where for their erotic goods until their demands are met. First and foremost, they want to urge everyone to support sex shops and sex toy retailers online in order to mitigate the risks of in-person shopping and working. Additionally, SECSE recommends the following businesses as alternatives to shop with during their strike:
Early to Bed, Chicago, IL
SheBop, Portland, OR
LyLyth Erotica, online only, *Black owned
Spectrum Boutique, online only
Self-Serve, Albuquerque, NM
Smitten Kitten, Minneapolis, MN
40 Winks Lingerie, Cambridge, MA
If you want to support SECSE online, use #StandWithSECSE and #ImWithSECSE to show your support on Twitter and Instagram. You can also find updates on their website SECSE.net