At the Pepsi Center: Tents and Unions
With the opening of the Democratic National Convention exactly two weeks away, national media organizations have begun to move into the giant white tents that surround the Pepsi Center. As you can see, there’s much work to be done, and the matter is complicated by the union labor laws that govern the site.
Almost all items -- from tables and chairs to snacks, water bottles and vacuum cleaners -- used by media organizations must be weighed and transported by a unionized staff, even for a distance of a few feet in some areas. With union reps zipping around in golf carts, making sure everything is copasetic, it feels a bit like a dress rehearsal for the watchful eyes of the Secret Service. For now, however, Hawaiian shirts are welcome in the face of imminent ear buds and black ties.
Pre-convention credentialing for workers and security around the arena is tight. The air conditioning, piping into the tents with massive, snakelike tubes from generators outside, has yet to turn on, so the conditions inside are delightfully unpleasant. Sweat drips down on credentials, turning up edges and beading around lanyards. The tents themselves are enormous -- much larger within than they appear without -- and will host dozens of different organizations, all partitioned by gray fabric walls. Where walls have been erected, the scene looks like a gigantic, white-topped cubicle wedding reception. Where walls do not yet stand, tiny pieces of paper are stuck to the ground with scribbled notes as to what organization will soon put up stakes -- markers of a vast journalistic city that has yet to take shape.
Most of the TV media will have their workspaces and offices inside the tents while maintaining one or two skyboxes in the Pepsi Center, requiring what will no doubt be a series of frantic runs between the parking lot and private boxes with the latest news or instructions. Altitude will be a factor here, conditioning critical. Between the fleet of golf carts hurtling wildly around the tents, the ever-watchful eyes of union bosses, the screams of Elitch’s plummeting Tower of Doom patrons just across the fence line, and the finish line of Invesco Field both temptingly close and infuriatingly far from the media tech trucks, August on Auraria is shaping up to be one hell of a month. -- Joe Horton