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Author Topic: Work Tomorrow (Wisconsin Protest)  (Read 20867 times)

Vactor

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Work Tomorrow (Wisconsin Protest)
« on: February 14, 2011, 09:21:30 pm »

Tomorrow is going to be in all likely hood the worst day of work i've ever had, and I need to vent about it preemptively.

I work for the Wisconsin State Senate Sergeant at Arms' office, and tomorrow is the Joint Finance Committee's public hearing on a new bill introduced by our new Governor.

This is a budget repair bill that is going to be giving all state employees a 9% pay cut, and effectively dissolving the state worker's union.  In his rhetoric, he is declaring that the only alternative to this is to boot 200,000 children from their health coverage.  Needless to say, a lot of people are extremely upset about this.  The Wisconsin Capitol building was choked with protesters today, and there were no actions being taken by anyone.  Phones have been ringing non-stop in legislator's offices, and the majority party, which holds both houses and the governor's office had to caucus late into the night to try to get their own members on board with it.

In an effort to try to reduce the impact of the protest on the proceedings of the hearing, the committee has decided to restrict access to the hearing room, so that only 100 members of the public are allowed in at any one time.  This runs counter to the normal free hearings where people are allowed to enter, and leave due to overcrowding at their discretion.  This has created a situation where people waiting in line to speak will be registered and then told that they need to go to a room across the Capitol to watch the proceedings.  This creates a problem as then they cannot be in the room when they are called on to speak.  Even if they do a "on deck, in the hole" system, the people would have to work their way back to the front of the line to get back in.  A hearing like this will have anywhere from 500-1000 people register.

I am going to be the guy at the door.  The one who helps them register, and then informs them that they cannot enter the room.  I'll have to try to explain to them that they need to go to some other room, and wait until their turn is up, then come back and see if there is room.  This also will put me in the situation where 20 people will leave the hearing room, and i'll have to tell the next 20 people that they can't go in so that there is room if anyone who is registered ahead of them needs to get in. 

This is a catch 22, where I'm stuck at the point where 1000 angry people are going to converge.  And it'll be a 16-20+ hour day.

I'm still glad i've got a job though.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 02:09:46 am by Vactor »
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Qloos

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 01:17:30 am »

Be loud and assertive but neutral and diplomatic at the same time.
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Retro

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 06:50:09 am »

Jesus.

Bring a flask, dude.

Farseer

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 08:07:12 am »

I read it and then I was like "Why is a small South American woman working as a doorguard? ???"

Then I noticed it was Vactor and not Vector. :p

Vactor

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 08:08:47 am »

Jesus.

Bring a flask, dude.

this was one of the first things I asked my boss.

I'm on my way, going to stop by and vote before work.
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Vector

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2011, 05:31:31 pm »

I read it and then I was like "Why is a small South American woman working as a doorguard? ???"

Then I noticed it was Vactor and not Vector. :p

Vactor is not Vester is not Vector.

I, Vector, am the math nerd (small, female, but not a Pacific Islander).
Vester is the Filipina.
Vactor is the OP.
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Tellemurius

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2011, 05:36:39 pm »

yea, i was scratching my head when i read the filipina part cause "i thought she was euro-descendant".



t

Zrk2

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 07:00:15 pm »

yea, i was scratching my head when i read the filipina part cause "i thought she was euro-descendant".



t

Isn't that an assumption in the internet? Like everyone (supposedly *Looks at Vector*) is a guy on the internet?
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Tellemurius

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2011, 07:08:03 pm »

well she has said some info on her background.

Vector

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2011, 07:19:08 pm »

There's also photos of me, yadda yadda... where the fuck else would I get a girl with a bunch of math textbooks and really long hair on short notice.

Geez, I'm kind of tired of having to "prove" my gender, though.  I'm a chick.  Big honking deal.
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Tellemurius

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 07:20:01 pm »

hey its cool that you're a chick, keeps reminding me that its not a total sausagefest in here XD

Zrk2

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2011, 09:02:22 pm »

There's also photos of me, yadda yadda... where the fuck else would I get a girl with a bunch of math textbooks and really long hair on short notice.

Geez, I'm kind of tired of having to "prove" my gender, though.  I'm a chick.  Big honking deal.

... the *look* was more of a please don't stab me then a I don't believe you. I'm not that much of an asshole.
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Argembarger

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2011, 10:46:47 am »

Off-topic topic is off-topic.

Damn, Vactor. I can't even imagine...

But yes, you still have a job. That sounds like it would make a somewhat decent mantra to get through that day.

You just know plenty of people are going to assume that you have some control over the situation and hate you for it.

Good luck. Tell us how it goes. I know I would definitely need to vent if it was me in your shoes.
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Zangi

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2011, 12:54:01 pm »

Whoever is organizing your stuffs is incompetent or willingly making it hard for people to voice their opinionscomplaints. 
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Vactor

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Re: Work Tomorrow.
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2011, 02:20:38 pm »

Just got home,

It was better than I expected, it was worse than I expected.

To give you some perspective, I expected 1,000 people, and we got around 10,000

The day started off well, with people rather cheery and polite as we instructed them how to line up.  People kept it together as we sent them back to the overflow room. When, late in the afternoon we were only getting to the people that had signed in 20-30 minutes after sign ins started people started to get ugly.  We had an attempted rush on the door when one of the Senators declared that there were over 30 empty seats in the room. (a bit of an exaggeration, we were bringing people over from overflow as seats opened up.

This was about the time that suspicion set in, and i became "the man" I was then the guy trying to mislead them into complacency as I tried to explain the system that we were using to make sure that people would be in the room when their name was called.  We would still get the odd person come up and sincerely thank us for our work, but the crowd was getting ugly. 

I finally managed to talk down the mob, and get them to return to the overflow.  We continued registering on into the night, with more and more people coming as they got off of work.  After having spent the entire morning trying to assure people that we were not trying to squelch them, the co-chairs had us close off registration at 9pm last night, in front of a 200 person line.

The crowd immediately erupted, and as minority party senators realized what was going on, the proceedings ground to a halt, and the people inside the room erupted.  One minority party member went out and assured the crowd that they would get to speak, to many cheers.  However we were at the moment under the rule of the co-chairs and could only do as they instructed us.  Leaving us in a position where people had been told by a Senator that they could register, while we had not been instructed to register anyone.  My co-workers in the overflow room were completely in the dark as to what was going on at the door to the hearing room, and as things started to boil over, I headed over and did my best to give people frank answers to calm them down.  Needless to say this was the worst part of the night, a door panel got kicked in, there was chanting and anger.  Our staff was briefly put into emergency mode.

The people who had been turned away ended up congregating in the rotunda of the capitol, where they eventually camped out overnight.  Around midnight the people who were testifying had signed up at about noon.  Others continued to trickle into the hearing room and testify until 3:00 AM, when the committee adjourned the hearing while there were still people who were waiting to testify, something i've never seen happen, and had spent most of the day assuring suspicious people wouldn't happen.

The members of the minority party as a reaction to this decided to hold an impromptu listening session where they would stay and continue to listen to those who wished to testify.  They maintained the rules of 2 minutes per person, and had us staff that session for them, we quickly signed up an additonal 150-200 people  This lasted all night, until 8:30 this morning, when they had to leave the room that they were using due to it having a scheduled event, at which point they recessed and moved to an assembly room.  This was also shortly after the capitol doors unlocked for the morning, allowing in an entire new stream of people who wished to testify.  By about 10:00 am we had a line back up to around 200 people waiting to testify.  I kept working the room, and ran a few more errands before heading home.


here's a relevant news article to those interested:
http://www.channel3000.com/politics/26881932/detail.html

Also, if anyone has any questions they'd like to ask of "the man" in the government, ask away.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 01:16:07 am by Vactor »
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