Russian Mining and U.S. Showbiz









Our Union Health and Safety resolution says:

“there exists indisputable evidence from scientific, medical and empirical studies linking sleep deprivation and fatigue to critical safety and health hazards.”

This truth is not denied by anybody who works excessive hours making entertainment, and that includes producers and directors that are obliged to supervise our employment conditions.

Even OSHA, a government-chartered organization, “is well aware of the hazards of long work hours and extended workshifts.  OSHA has  publically acknowledged that fatigue is a risk factor for occupational injuries and illnesses.” So why do we continue doing something which seriously impinges on our health and safety?

Strangely, the answer can be found in a far away Russian city on the slopes of the Ural mountains.  The NY Times headline reads: “Russian City Named for Asbestos Can’t Give up it’s Carcinogenic Livelihood.”

Workers develop asbestosis, a respiratory illness caused by breathing in asbestos fibers which scar lung tissue.  Asbestos exposure also causes cancer.  The town of Asbestos “is one of the more extreme examples of the environmental cost of modern Russia’s deep reliance on mining.”

A former employee says, “Every normal person is trying to get out of here.”  “Gasping for air,” he asks, “If we didn’t have the factory, how would we live?”

It may be less apparently dramatic than the Russians with asbestos, but we also make a Faustian bargain with the multinational corporations who call the tune in the profitable enterprise known as entertainment.  In either case, it is strikingly clear that corporate greed has tipped the scales against human priorities.

In our case, those organizations chartered to protect us — like OSHA, like the SEC, the FDA and the CDC — all seem to be rendered impotent by compromised politicians of both parties.  The longer we remain quiet about this Faustian deal, the more we are obliged to accept it as a natural phenomenon.

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