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00:00:00 - Introduction 00:00:29 - Choosing UW for graduate school

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Partial Transcript: So first I was hoping to ask you what it was that brought you to graduate school.

Segment Synopsis: Pagac (AP) describes her interest in graduate study in sociology and her work history. She is particularly interested in educating youth and working people, and not only the “standard college student.” She chose to study at UW-Madison because it is a top-ranked program in sociology and also so that she could study with Erik Wright, who also advised her undergraduate mentor, Vivek Chibber.

Keywords: Department of Sociology; Erik Olin Wright; UW-Madison; Vivek Chibber; activism; graduate school; social change; sociology

00:03:30 - Research interests

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Partial Transcript: What are your primary research interests here at UW-Madison?

Segment Synopsis: AP studies economic sociology and class, particularly as they relate to economic inequality, which she defines as a material rather than social category. She developed an awareness of economic difference while young in noting the differences between her family and others. Her upbringing in Catholicism also encouraged her sensitivity to social justice issues. Her awareness of these issues grew as she watched the union struggles of graduate students at her undergraduate institution, New York University and when she witnessed economic protests when she traveled abroad as an undergraduate in Argentina.

Keywords: Argentina; Catholicism; New York University; economic class; economic inequality; economic sociology; labor; occupations; social justice; teachers union; upbringing

00:06:52 - Joining the TAA

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Partial Transcript: When did you first become directly involved yourself in labor activism?

Segment Synopsis: AP joined the TAA soon after becoming a graduate student at UW-Madison. She became a TAA steward for her department during her second year. She held that position until this current academic year, when she became the Co-President of the TAA.

Keywords: Department of Sociology; TAA; TAA stewardship; Teaching Assistants Association

00:08:11 - Project assistantship at COWS

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Partial Transcript: What type of assistantship, if you had one, did you have in Spring 2011?

Segment Synopsis: AP has worked as a project assistant for the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), which is part of the Department of Sociology. She briefly outlines the mission of COWS and her responsibilities as a PA. She has held this position throughout her graduate career. The staff of COWS was supportive throughout the 2011 protests against the Budget Repair Bill, and attended some of the protests themselves.

Keywords: 2011 capitol protests; COWS; Center on Wisconsin Strategy; Department of Sociology; project assistant

00:10:07 - Lead up to 2011 Capitol Protests

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Partial Transcript: When the protests first began, where you involved in the beginning?

Segment Synopsis: AP recalls that, one week before the protests began, she read an article in the Isthmus by David Blaska that described the implications of the Budget Repair Bill before members of the TAA or others in the state understood its meaning. Although the article was discussed in a TAA meeting, the TAA Political Education Chair assured them that the claims made in the article were impossible and provocative.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; David Blaska; Governor Scott Walker; Isthumus; PROFS; Professional Representation of the Faculty Senate; Representative Mark Pocan; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association

00:14:28 - Emergency TAA meeting

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Partial Transcript: Later that day, I went to dinner with a friend where I received a call at about 9:00 that night, that Thursday...

Segment Synopsis: At dinner that Thursday, February 10, AP received a phone call from the TAA staff requesting her attendance at an emergency meeting. Meeting attendees included AP, the two Co-Presidents, one of whom was Claiborne Hill, as well as the Political Education Chair, the Membership Secretary, who was Sigrid Peterson, another steward from the sociology department, and TAA staffers. The meeting’s attendees sought to determine how to respond to the bill. They learned about the contents of the bill during this meeting as one of their contacts in the state legislature read the contents of the bill, which had not yet been released, to them over the phone.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association

00:16:15 - Mobilizing TAA members

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Partial Transcript: And for the next several days, I mobilized or attempted to mobilize most of the folks in my department...

Segment Synopsis: AP spent the next days mobilizing TAA members in her department with emails and Facebook messages. She also forwarded her emails to the Stewards’ Council email list so that they could benefit from the language she drafted.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; TAA; TAA stewardship; Teaching Assistants Association

00:17:12 - Preparing the first protest

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Partial Transcript: And that following, that weekend-- So on Friday, that's when Governor Walker, I believe, announced the bill...

Segment Synopsis: On Friday, February 11, Governor Walker held a press conference announcing the bill. AP and other TAA staffers stayed at the union offices throughout the weekend, making posters and holding phone banks to prepare for planned protests. Participation in these efforts grew from the seven in attendance during the emergency meeting on Thursday to one hundred people in the office on Sunday, February 13.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; Governor Scott Walker; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; phone banks; protests

00:18:32 - "I Heart UW" campaign

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Partial Transcript: It was incredibly lucky, actually, because we had already had an event scheduled for February 14.

Segment Synopsis: The TAA had already planned to hold an event, named “I Heart UW” for Valentine’s Day that stated that graduate students loved UW and that asked Governor Walker not to break the hearts of the graduate students; the protests asked that Governor Walker allow UW to remain a strong research university by continuing to provide it with financial support. AP describes the preparations that the TAA had made for the “I Heart UW” campaign.

Keywords: "I Heart UW" campaign; 2011 Capitol Protests; Governor Scott Walker; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association

00:19:43 - First capitol march

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Partial Transcript: So we amassed in front of Memorial Union on Monday the 14th...

Segment Synopsis: On Monday, February 14, TAA members gathered in front of the Memorial Union with the “I Heart UW” protest materials. Members of AP’s workplace, COWS, also joined in the march. AP believes that over one thousand people participated in the march from the UW campus to the Capitol building, with most entering the building and some delivering the cards Governor Walker’s office. AP and William Scott, a History TAA steward, remained outside to divert the crowd to the opposite side of the Capitol building on King Street, where the Governor’s office is located. The crowd then held a rally and dispersed.

Keywords: "I Heart UW" campaign; 2011 Capitol Protests; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; Wisconsin state capitol

00:21:23 - Joint Finance Committee meeting

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Partial Transcript: So that was the first day, and the second day, February 15th, Tuesday...

Segment Synopsis: On Tuesday, February 15, the Joint Finance Committee began hearing public testimony on the Budget Repair Bill.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; Joint Finance Commitee

00:21:48 - TAA phone banks/ Committee hearing testimony

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Partial Transcript: I do-- particularly for maybe the first weekend, in regard to the committee's hearings...

Segment Synopsis: The phone banks held by the TAA on February 12 and 13 prepared TAA members to protest outside the state Capitol and demonstrate against the Budget Repair Bill from Tuesday, February 15. The TAA also sent emails to members encouraging members to come to the Capitol and give public testimony. These emails also encouraged members to bring sleeping provisions in case the wait to testify was long.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; Joint Finance Committee; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; phone banks; sleeping in the Capitol

00:23:27 - Support from Madison Teachers and UW students

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Partial Transcript: So after a whole day of protesting outside in the cold, it was about-- that Tuesday at about 4:00...

Segment Synopsis: AP describes the activities at the rally on Tuesday, February 15. AP was on the State Street side of the Capitol, directing people into the Capitol to give testimony if they wanted to do so. Representatives from the United Council of UW Students also arrived. Rally activities continued for days.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Joint Finance Committee; MTI; Madison Teachers Inc.; United Council of UW Students; phone banks

00:24:56 - Attempt to end testimony at the committee meeting

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Partial Transcript: On Tuesday night, myself and Lenora Hanson, I would say, were three-- we were three people away...

Segment Synopsis: On Tuesday night, AP and another graduate student were the third and fourth people in line at the desk of the Joint Finance Committee room. When they approached the desk to fill out their slips indicating whether they would testify for or against the bill, the aide manning the desk informed them that they would not be allowed to speak. They could register their positions, but could not take two minutes to testify before the Joint Finance Committee. AP and others began to make a ruckus, that traveled like a telephone line to communicate to the others in the line that they would not be allowed to speak. They and others in line used their smartphones to text TAA members and others in the building, many of whom were watching the testimony on monitors in other rooms. AP called a contact at WKOW in order to notify the media that she was not allowed to testify. The ruckus, which included chants of “Let us speak,” drew attention from the Joint Finance Committee. Lena Taylor came out of the hearing room and asked the protestors to quiet down, explaining that she was trying to negotiate with the other members of the committee to allow testimony to continue. Peter Barca issued a letter of support that night to the protestors, which AP read at the top of her lungs to the crowd. They waited until after 1 a.m., when the Joint Finance Committee hearing ended, to find out whether they could testify. When AP and others were ultimately told that they could not testify, they returned to the Rotunda floor and prepared to stay there for the rest of the night. At that time, Bob Jauch, Peter Barka, and Lena Taylor spoke to the protestors with a microphone and indicated their support. AP recalls that they explained that they were interested in hearing the protestors’ testimony and would hold non-stop hearings until all who wished to speak had testified. The Democratic Party’s Representatives and Senators held non-stop hearings on the Budget Repair Bill, and TAA members worked to testify themselves and bring others to the hearings to testify. AP and others heard testimony from others, including high school students, teachers, and retirees.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; Joint Finance Committee; Representative Peter Barca; Senator Bob Jauch; Senator Lena Taylor; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; WKOW; Wisconsin state capitol; media coverage; sleeping in the Capitol

00:31:54 - Growth of protests

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Partial Transcript: We also, within-- I believe it was Wednesday, February 16th when the TAA was able to get its own room...

Segment Synopsis: On Wednesday, February 16, the TAA received its own room in the Capitol at 315 NE or 415 NE that it used as an outpost. Members of the TAA and other protestors’ efforts mushroomed from that point, as union members communicated with one another and with the outside world, including representatives from the media. Marches and protests continued outside the Capitol. Students from East High School marched nearly three miles to the Capitol in support of their teachers. Firefighters and police supported the protests, as did private sector unions such as the Teamsters.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; Madison East High School; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; Teamsters; Wisconsin State Capitol; firefighters; labor unions; media coverage; private sector unions

00:34:35 - Speech by farmer Tony Shultz

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Partial Transcript: You had mentioned you couldn't remember precisely who was speaking at which rally...

Segment Synopsis: AP heard many speeches during the protests, but she remembers particularly Tony Schultz’s statement on the connections between farming and labor. She recalls that this speech occurred on the day of the tractorcade, in which individuals paraded large farming equipment around the Capitol in support of labor. Schultz noted, AP recalls, that farmers are quite appreciative of the educations provided to their children by teachers, and he worried that changes in working conditions would change farming communities’ children’s learning conditions.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Tony Shultz; Wisconsin public schools; farmers; labor unions; public school teachers; rural Wisconsin; tractorcade

00:38:36 - Delivering her testimony

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Partial Transcript: You initially were not able to speak to the Joint Finance Committee...

Segment Synopsis: AP testified at the hearings held by the Democratic Party. She gave her testimony early in the morning after staying up all night waiting to deliver it. She recalls that she was not coherent but that she cried throughout her comments.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol Protests; Joint Finance Committee

00:39:44 - Size and sound of the protests

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Partial Transcript: What were your strongest memories of the protests generally?

Segment Synopsis: AP recalls the shocking size of the protests and the variety of attendees. They wore red to the protests, and created what looked a sea of red. AP also remembers the cacophony of noise and the “marble echoes” in the Capitol building. Protesters learned and created chants. They also demonstrated creativity, such as through their protest signs. One protest sign read, AP recalls, “Now you’ve pissed off my grandma.”

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Forward Marching Band; Wisconsin State Capitol; bagpipes; firefighters; protest chants; protest signs

00:42:36 - Generosity of protestors

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Partial Transcript: The other thing about generosity that I'm never going to forget...

Segment Synopsis: AP also recalls the generosity of the protestors. Protestors shared their resources with one another. The TAA received food donations and donations in kind, which staffers left at a food table for protestors. Ian’s Pizza delivered food to protestors that people from Madison, Wisconsin, and throughout the world purchased. Some pizzas were ordered by individuals in Egypt, soon after the Arab Spring. Protestors also received donations of hand warmers and fruits and vegetables from the Willy Street Co-Op. Defend Wisconsin, which was a website established by the TAA, also received monetary donations. Big Labor also mobilized many resources for the protestors, including water and food.

Keywords: 2011 Budget Repair Bill; 2011 Capitol protests; Arab Spring; Defend Wisconsin; Hosni Mubarak; Ian's Pizza; Iraq War Protest; TAA; Teaching Assistant's Association; Willy Street Co-op; Wisconsin State Capitol; food donation; fundraising; labor unions

00:50:30 - Relationship with state and local police

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Partial Transcript: And then the final thing I'll share-- Because you've been so patient listening to me...

Segment Synopsis: TAA protestors understood the ways that they negotiated space with the Capitol Police and state troopers. They stressed communication and acknowledged that police officers had a job to do regardless of their personal politics. The police and state troopers likewise understood that the protestors had a purpose for being in the Capitol building. These lines of communication were conscious decisions, and protestors worked to treat one another, including police officers, with respect and kindness. AP spoke to a retired police officer from outside Wisconsin who had volunteered to serve as a police force. She thanked the officer for treating protestors with respect and asked him his opinion of the protests. AP recalls that the officer indicated that his loved ones were fearful of him coming to what they assumed were violent protests. In phone calls checking in on him, his family worried that the noise they heard in the background was evidence of a riot. AP recalls that the officer noted that the noise was instead an indication that protestors were having a good time.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; MPD; Madison Police Department; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; Wisconsin State Capitol Police; Wisconsin State Patrol

00:54:02 - Camaraderie among protestors

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Partial Transcript: And in talking with a variety of-- You made kind of fast friends in this space...

Segment Synopsis: Many protestors had not experienced a demonstration on this scale before, as protests like the 2011 Capitol protests had not occurred since the Civil Rights era and other protests of the 1960s.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Civil Rights era; Feminist movement; Vietnam War protests

00:55:29 - Media coverage of the protests

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Partial Transcript: Do you believe your experience of the protest was accurately presented in the media?

Segment Synopsis: AP notes that media outlets offered varied treatments of the protests. FOX News in particular used stock footage of a protest that led to a violent scuffle that occurred near palm trees. There are no palm trees in Madison, Wisconsin. Coverage on MSNBC was largely accurate and some of the most in-depth coverage the protestors received. More alternative outlets such as The Nation, Progressive Magazine, and blogs offered the best coverage. Social media allowed the TAA to mobilize people quickly and tell the story as it was happening without specific filters.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol Protests; Ed Schultz; Fox News; MSNBC; The Nation magazine; The Progressive magazine; alternative media; blogs; independent media; media coverage; social media

00:58:35 - Media coverage diverted by Fukushima disaster

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Partial Transcript: Unfortunately, I think coverage in the media was actually truncated, at least nationally...

Segment Synopsis: National and international media coverage of the protests was truncated by other events, including the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; Fukushima nuclear disaster; media coverage

01:00:03 - Role of social media

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Partial Transcript: Could you say a little bit more about what types of social media you were relying on?

Segment Synopsis: AP recalls that the TAA relied in particular on Facebook and Twitter as their primary social media outlets. AP recalls that, one day, one of the Co-Presidents told her that the protests had trended to number one on Twitter. Blogs and independent media outlets also provided important coverage.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; Facebook; Twitter; alternative media; blogs; independent media; social media

01:01:55 - Budgeting time during the protests

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Partial Transcript: How did you budget your time during the protests?

Segment Synopsis: AP did not budget her time, but instead spent most of her time at the protests and then spent her other hours continuing to think about the protests. She placed her personal and academic responsibilities on the back burner.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests

01:02:44 - Enduring interest in labor activism

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Partial Transcript: How did your experience of the protest - if it did - shape your experiences now...

Segment Synopsis: AP does not believe that the protests changed her academic or professional life. She has always considered membership in her union to be important. AP considers direct action and political protest to be important, and hopes that Wisconsinites understand that political participation is more than merely voting. AP is thankful that she could participate in the protests. Collective direct political action allows individuals who themselves may not have many power to voice their demands and complaints.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; activism; citizenship; collective bargaining; labor unions; private sector unions; public sector unions; social justice

01:08:21 - AP's academic plans

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Partial Transcript: To the extent that you would wished to do so, can you tell us about your final plans--

Segment Synopsis: AP considers her academic plans to be nebulous. She plans to continue pursuing her Ph.D. Yet her experience of the protests has led her to question whether she might wish to work in the labor movement in a professional capacity. She plans to remain a TAA member. Her current role as co-president of the TAA is rewarding but time-consuming, so she might choose not to run again for the next academic year.

Keywords: Graduate school; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; labor movement; leadership

01:10:17 - Influence on Occupy Wall Street

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Partial Transcript: Are there any additional comments or thoughts you would wish to share with us?

Segment Synopsis: AP believes that the protests in Wisconsin influenced the Occupy Wall Street protests throughout the United States. She met students from CUNY who attended the protests in Wisconsin, who ultimately became very active in the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Occupy Wall Street protestors, much like the protestors of the Budget Repair Bill, established individual resources such as food tables, medic stations, and lending libraries because participants recognized needs and took action. Big Labor might wish to assume credit for the success of the protests, but much of what occurred was bottom-up.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; CUNY; City University of New York; Occupy Wall Street; grassroots; labor unions

01:13:15 - Care for the Capitol and sense of community ownership

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Partial Transcript: I also just want to say too that some of the other things that the TAA did that I think was again a recognition that we were all sharing one space...

Segment Synopsis: AP recalls that the TAA also created the Trash Brigade, in which members understood that they existed in the Capitol building as a shared space and public property that should be maintained. They also used painter’s tape to protect the walls of the Capitol building when they taped up protest signs. People also volunteered to marshal to prevent scuffles from occurring between anti- and pro-Walker individuals. No one in the TAA set out with a plan to mobilize people to create a Trash Brigade or marshal services. Individuals took ownership of the occupation.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; Governor Scott Walker; TAA; Tea Party; Teaching Assistants Association; Wisconsin State Capitol; trash brigade

01:15:42 - Tensions with Big Labor leaders

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Partial Transcript: I hated it, actually, when Big Labor came in and tried to dictate to us what we were supposed to do.

Segment Synopsis: AP recalls tension between Big Labor leaders and individual, rank-and-file protestors.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; grassroots; labor unions; union leaders

01:18:00 - Introduction to Interview Addendum 01:18:09 - Gender dynamics in the protests

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Partial Transcript: I mentioned to Megan that I wanted to add sort of just one comment or reflection on the gender dynamics...

Segment Synopsis: Immediately following her interview, AP wished to add another comment she would like to add to her interview regarding the gender dynamics of the protests between TAA members and other protestors. She and some other women protestors felt that the relationships between men and women were gendered and that men condescended to women, intended that they perform gendered labor such as cleaning up and watching the food table, and expected them to not make intellectual and tactical suggestions.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; chauvinism; gender dynamics; gendered labor; gendered work; labor unions; misogyny; sociology

01:20:21 - "Women's Auxiliary Meeting"

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Partial Transcript: And so a number of us got together and had a drink outside of the Capitol

Segment Synopsis: A number of women graduate students met for a drink outside the Capitol about mid-way through the protests, which AP named the Women’s Auxiliary Meeting. This meeting provided them with a safe space to talk about and validate their experiences as women in the protests. The setting of the protests had proved very patriarchal.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; Flint sit-down strikes; Women's Auxiliary Meeting; gender dynamics; labor history; labor unions

01:21:58 - Male protesters claim to be feminists

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Partial Transcript: And so it was shocking because so many of these men who I interact with on an everyday, would claim themselves to be feminists...

Segment Synopsis: AP believes that many of the men who created this atmosphere would normally claim themselves to be feminists, but failed to reflect on their behavior during the protests.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; chauvinism; feminism

01:22:42 - Emotional work

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Partial Transcript: One of them who did acknowledge this was, in fact, someone from our sister union, MGAA...

Segment Synopsis: One man, a student of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association (MGAA), the sister union for students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, did reflect on his behavior. He thanked AP for doing emotion work with him, which none of the male protestors was willing to do with him. This emotion work concerned addressing his feelings that he was mistreated because he was not a TAA member.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; MGAA; Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; UW-Milwaukee; emotion work; emotional work; gendered labor; gendered work

01:24:08 - More on "Women's Auxiliary Meeting"

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Partial Transcript: That struck me, and it struck me that the 15 or 20 or so women who came to this meeting...

Segment Synopsis: Fifteen to twenty women attended the Women’s Auxiliary Meeting.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; chauvinism; feminism; gender dynamics; labor movement; labor unions

01:24:42 - Women's attempt to push back

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Partial Transcript: Is this an issue that you or perhaps the other women who went to this meeting were able to give some type of push-back or feedback on...

Segment Synopsis: AP expects that some women brought their individual concerns regarding men’s chauvinistic behavior to individual men, but this did not occur formally. AP did challenge some individual men regarding their behavior. One of the men she criticized was saddened by his behavior but happy to receive feedback.

Keywords: 2011 Capitol protests; TAA; Teaching Assistants Association; Women's Auxiliary Meeting; chauvinism; emotional work; feminism; gender dynamics

01:26:54 - End of Interview