This will only be a short diary but I thought I'd share my observations gleaned from spending hours in line at my local unemployment office in a "cattle call" for a handful of jobs at the local Ford plant.
Ironically, this is one of the few times I forgot my camera phone, the pictures would have really helped illustrate how easily more than 2000 people showed up where Ford was accepting 500 resumes. The pictures would also help destroy the right wing memes of people - particularly those brown people - being too lazy and beholden to welfare to go out and try to find a job.
So pissed off right now.
I live in the southern suburbs of Chicago. I've been employed for the past few moths as a lockup officer at one of the local jails, but its a part-time job and I could always use a move up into something more stable.
Last night, my brother got a text message saying Ford was accepting resumes for those 1200 new jobs opening up at the Chicago Assembly plant where I used to work before taking a buyout in early 2007. Resumes were only being considered from the first 500 people who showed up at the local IDES office with 2 forms of ID. We get there an hour before the office opens and the line is already stretched around the parking lot. The parking lot is running over with cars so he parks at the Currency Exchange next door while I parked at the Burger King across the street.
Wait, I thought the reason people are unemployed is because those two week checks from IDES were making them too lazy to work? If that's true, where did all these people come from? There were easily three times as many people in line than there were spots available. These were mostly Blacks and Hispanics of all ages - you know, the ones we constantly hear about wanting to live on other people's money - willing to stand in line for hours in the hot sun IN HOPES of getting a decent job.
Here's where everything started to get stupid. The neighboring businesses start acting dickish and threaten to tow people's cars, causing a bunch of people to lose their place in line (including my brother) because a tow is an instant loss to $500 PLUS whatever towing/storage fees the tow company socks you with. Meanwhile, there's this huge lot adjacent to the IDES parking lot capable of handling the overflow of cars...but there's no way to enter because the entrance gate is padlocked. Apparently no one at the office considered how many people might actually show up to apply and made no plans to deal with such overwhelming numbers of people.
After being in line for over two hours the IDES employees start walking the line coming up with these bullshit excuses to turn people away. They started telling people they needed a "hard copy" of their resume because many had a digital copy on their usb/zip drive. (It would be a simple matter to set up a printer with USB inputs that could print out those resumes in under a minute but hey, why be a part of the 21st century when you can use that as an excuse to exclude people from the process and make your job easier at the same time?) It was fascinating watching how cold-hearted and condescending people are to the unemployed or barely working folks, and these were people who were TRYING to find a job. You can imagine how discouraging it can be to someone out there struggling to make, showing up to find a better job to help make ends meet and then being shit on and belittled by the people who are supposed to be there to help you.
My brother and I managed to be in the group of 500 that got their resumes taken. As I was leaving, a full four hours after I first stood in line, the line was still snaking around the parking lot, out the gate and down the street with more cars coming. And just imagine how many more would have showed up to jam the parking lots, block traffic and overwhelm the local IDES office if they weren't all at home celebrating the Obama bucks with T-Bone steaks and big screen TV's!
OK, my rant is over. Peace.
UPDATE: Sorry, I neglected to mention they were only taking 500 resumes at this suburban site. They were taking another 500 resumes at another IDES site on the south side of Chicago. I'm not sure if there was a third or fourth site involved. Some of those in line were in contact with friends who went to the Chicago location and said they had an even bigger turnout than the suburban site. I'm just hoping there were local Kossacks there with cameras to record what took place today. There was a cameraman with professional photo equipment who tried to take a few pics but was shooed away by an IDES employee accompanied by a security guard, so hopefully one of the local papers is planning a story on the overflow crowds.