Thursday, April 12, 2007

Burning Man Recent Feedback From Laughing Squid

I picked this up at

This was the original post that set this off. The issue doesn't seem to be going away.

Today, Feb. 18, 2007, a few workers, some with their heads covered by paper bags, staged a small demonstration outside of Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco to protest what they say are reductions in pay, forced "death waivers" and lack of adequate health care for the workers who primarily clean the desert up after the Burning Man event.

# comment by Ian
on Friday, March 16th, 2007 at 9:49 am

Many people who are whistle blowers have a grudge against the corporation they work for. The point here is that Burning Man is now a large theatrical production, akin to a haunted house or other participatory theater event. They are a legal entity that has a large impact on our economy and the culture. This is a big responsibility.

It seems that there are legitimate concerns about their labor practices and treatment of workers. This is not the kind of thing an organization should try to sidestep. If this is the first time these concerns have been raised, they should confront them in public, through a public process. Any organization that has workers needs to abide by a minimum code of ethics and standards because they are responsible for the health and wellbeing of their people—independent contractor or not.

Any time you have this many people participating in an event, bad things will happen. That is not the problem. The problem arises when the organization responsible for the infrastructure of the event handles these bad things in an immoral way. It seems that there is enough information, based on the above comments, to warrant further investigation of the labor practices of Burning Man.

The event is very fun, and the majority of the people are good folks who want to have a good time. Burning Man (the organization) shouldn’t create an environment where worker injuries, workplace safety issues, unfair pay and unfair employment practices interfere with the running of a healthy culture/business.

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