April 25, 2012


  • M1 op-ed letter submitted
  • Catskills Workshop
  • Radical Arts
  • Labor cluster, now renamed Labor Alliance
proposals/agenda items:
1. proposal: Intern labor flyer [PASSED]
2. proposal: A&L website publicizing musician action [PASSED]
3. agenda item: community garden unconference
4. proposal: Giant intern check for M1 [PASSED]
5. proposal: M1 statement on website [PASSED]
6. proposal: Radical Arts photos posted on website [PASSED]
7. agenda item: M1 schedule

Arts & Labor meeting minutes, Wednesday, April 25, 2012

60 Wall St.


facilitating: AB

minutes: BY

stack: MP/AG

time: EG

intros (some new people)


proposals/agenda items:

1. proposal: Intern labor flyer [PASSED]

2. proposal: A&L website publicizing musician action [PASSED]

3. agenda item: community garden unconference

4. proposal: Giant intern check for M1 [PASSED]

5. proposal: M1 statement on website [PASSED]

6. proposal: Radical Arts photos posted on website [PASSED]

7. agenda item: M1 schedule


BY: M1 op-ed letter submitted, should hear back tomorrow or Fri at the latest, after that can release it everywhere. Have proposal for posting to website.

AS: Went to Catskill w/M over weekend, met at community center, art in the commons workshop. Q how people experience artwork, can work toward system outside market/gallery. 6 diverse people in Catskill, got general idea that people experience art in widely diff’t ways, everyday experiences, annoyance w/art world defining art in ways they’re not interested. Problem of going into community, someone showing up w/big problem they want to air. Man from Pakistan, couldn’t sell his carpets in the city, looking for help. Q of support structure for artists. Looking fwd to going to Berlin, preparing for more discussions on commons.

AB: Radical Arts met at CT’s studio last Sat, produced a lot more posters, banners, flower sculptures, etc., announcing may day. Festive + red fist. Happening again this Sat., Apr 28, 2-7 PM.

YA: How to get access to signs on M1?

CT: We’ll figure out scheduling soon, was waiting for my schedule to shake out. Materials we still need for this coming Sat: posterboard, backing material for signs. Also translating signs into chinese and Spanish, so if you know foreign languages, help translate.

PW: Busy w/intern labor rights. 6 letters to job boards re: unpaid internships at for-profit businesses. Playbill.com got back to us telling us they’ll amend terms of service, planning a response; we don’t think it goes far enough. Reporter from NYT also contacted us who has been covering the issue, will speak to him tomorrow about forthcoming article.

MP: [flyer for musician’s union] music/labor stuff on M1: 1) Presence in march. 2) 8PM, part of 99 pickets, meeting in Washington Sq Park, Musicians Union will march w/band and musicians to jazz clubs, leaflet them, raise issue of collective bargaining agreements w/the clubs. Blue Note, Village Vanguard. Many jazz musicians retire poor w/no support. Am also part of Musicians’ Solidarity Council, working on lower level clubs where you’re not paid for playing, planned smaller action for mic-checking other clubs, leafleting them at 9:30 PM.

AG: Labor cluster, now renamed Labor Alliance, working on joint flyer, asked to include things we’ve done in addition to mission statement language. Not a lot of work on language of the joint statement, A&L people could jump in here to help draft. Contact me if you’re interested.

Also, Sat, May 28, 24 hr boycott of Golden Farm in Kensington for not paying min wage, getting ready for upcoming union vote. Plans to blockade the store coincides with block party where people will be selling fruits and veggies, etc. Will be fun M1 warm up.

M2 is impressionist and contemporary sale at Sotheby’s, trying to get a picket going, let’s try to get as many people there as possible.

YA: What is timeline for Labor Alliance language?

AG: Unclear, presumably before M1, but who knows. Have offer to print 5,000 flyers, wd be good to get on the ball to take advantage of these resources. If we contribute now, they/unions will support us later if we need stuff printed.

AS: Someone from A&L union group here? No?

AG: Would be good to have them and an intern group person in labor cluster.

1. Proposal: Intern labor flyer

YA: Intern labor group produced this workplace poster, was posted to GG earlier. Would like to distribute it tomorrow at Exit Art unpaid intern event, then Ross Perlin event on Fri. Want to distribute widely, post to workplace info boards, go on A&L website.

EG: the bullet points come from Dept of Labor flyer, which is an interpretation of the labor law.

AB: Can you restate the law vs. DoL guidelines?

EG: Fair Labor Standards Act of 1933 establishes rules for employees’ minimum wage and overtime. Businesses use education as exemption from these rules, started in gov’t, spread into nonprofit, now into profit business. DoL in April 2010, issues public memo/fact sheet summarizing the results of lawsuits that have established criteria for legal unpaid internship. Flyer incorporates 4 bullet pts from DoL flyer that speak most to workplace conditions.


X: what is policy for not-for-profits?

YA: regulations from DoL only apply to for-profits. The “don’t forget” box on flyer identifies negative consequences for all workers, incl at nonprofits.

PW: We’re starting w/the most egregious examples of breaking the law first. Would then like to start pressuring nonprofits at some point.

EG: Want to question the whole culture of it.

Al: How does this apply to students working for artists who may or may not sell the work?

EG: Depends on how the artist is set up as a business.

YA: My position is, it’s fine to work for free, we’re doing it now, but call it a volunteer position, but don’t sell it as an “internship” because that has a certain meaning in the workplace.

PW: Cd be grey area. If it were Damien Hirst, clearly not okay.

EG: At the fed level, min wage and overtime don’t kick in until business has certain no. of employees and turnover, but NY State rules kick in w/first employee.

AS: And doesn’t apply to independent contractor?
EG: Right.

AS: And I think a lot of artists are in this grey area.

EG: And businesses also use independent contractors as a way to get around min wage; another, separate problem.


BW: concerned about the mystery meat tinyurl links: don’t see where they point.

YA: placeholders, one will point to A&L webpage; other will go to DoL site, their URL is just really long, difficult to copy down from poster you see in workplace.

BY: less confrontational so it doesn’t get torn down when posted in workplaces?

MP: HR will probably tear it down anyway if it’s official posting place, not sure it matters.

YA: maybe do a poster w/just the bullet points.

BY: something to consider.


BW: more info for Fact Sheet 71 . . .

AS: add language “read Fact Sheet 71 on Dept of Labor website” on first mention of fact sheet. Then explain that tinyurl redirects to DoL website.

AB: wanted you to clarify it’s a living document that may change to reflect law if necessary. Doesn’t have to be stated in flyer or website post, just want that to be clear as part of proposal, in minutes. Okay: proposal is to distribute flyer in print and on A&L website with amended language.



2. Proposal: A&L website publicizing musician action

MP: Would like A&L website to publicize/endorse Musicians Solidarity Council M1 actions. Will make it clear it’s our own action though. Would name OWS A&L as a “supporter”.


PW: So not related to Musician’s Union action earlier at 4PM?

MP: No.

AG: What is language of “endorsement”?

MP: Could be a list of endorsers, or “members of . . .”

AB: Understand why advertising the event on webpage, don’t understand what A&L endorsement means for the action.

MP: Doesn’t mean a lot for it other than if A&L people come. Clearly not an A&L core issue necessarily, but would like to maintain the affiliation.


AG: hypothetical concern. we should be endorsing lots of people’s actions, to create solidarity and get it back. concern is that people not at the meeting not into sharing the glow of A&L. suspect a cantankerous post-M1 meeting. if people wouldn’t support statement against bogus sanctions against TWU people, they may have concerns.

MP: could put it out to GG asking for concerns or blocks. . .

AB: if they’re not here, then they can’t object, so we can’t worry about it.

EG: have we ever endorsed anything before?

AS: Chelsea sculpture park.

AB: No, I think we just consensed to publicize on website, and it looked like we produced or endorsed the letter.

AG: are there other groups endorsing?

MP: nobody else yet.

AG: maybe labor alliance?

BW: what about Occupy Broadway?

AS: seems like another topic about solidarity. shouldn’t have to discuss this case by case. support all the concerns expressed by MSC. similar to when we joined the Commons Coalition, it becomes simpler to get things done.

[friendly amendments]

MP: I propose to pass it and put out something on GG that it’s open to change on language.

AB: I was going to propose that instead of saying A&L “endorse” it, we publicize it and you say “members of A&L” participated.

MP: Would reject that.

F: AB is saying A&L is standing in solidarity.

EG: It sounded like the “members of” language was saying that we couldn’t get consensus on it.

AB: well, has precedent of how we treat/report on actions on website that were not consensed A&L.

PW: publicizing is straightforward and should be done. endorsement is Q of language. “A&L supports MSC on their action”.

F: Q why people think it won’t reach consensus.

AB: fine with publicizing and “in solidarity with”; b/c if it says “endorses” it sounds like A&L organized it.

MP: how about we list A&L as “supporter” of the action.

LB: yes, “endorse” sounds wrong; “solidarity” sounds fine. one person from A&L involved.

AS: Why don’t you just give us sentence that we can approve.

AG: Seems like there are 2 statements: 1) A&L says we support 2) How we would be listed.

MP: okay language wd be “A&L stands in solidarity with this action” or something. . .

AB: why don’t you take time to formulate it we’ll come back. . .

MP: Website post w/ statement: “A&L stands in solidarity with MSC on their May Day action against nonpayment of musicians. Details below. [Link]” If A&L listed on poster, would be “MSC with supporters from A&L”

LB: Let’s just use 1st sentence.

BY: And its posted in “In Solidarity” category on website?

MP: proposal restated: Will post link to MSC action page w/ following language: “A&L stands in solidarity with MSC on their May Day action against nonpayment of musicians.”



3. Agenda item: community garden unconference

AS: NYC Community Garden Coalition having an un-conference June 1–3. Form for workshops, skillshares, deadline is mid-May. Helping w/arts and culture side.

Trying to talk to arts groups, get them plugged in. Interested in labor of artists that isn’t paid by money. But does it make sense for the group? Any alt econ group here? No?

PW: Where?

AS: Last time was New School, but they’re trying to hold it in gardens this year. All over the city. Puppets will be there. I’m interested in artist interventions in gardens, political consequences. Historical approach in Weeksville, old African-American gardens.

AB: Sounds great, not really a proposal. As it gets closer toward date, maybe you could build support more w/1-on-1 convos. Do want people to get involved if its an A&L thing.

AS: More looking for ideas/interest, not endorsement.

BW: So you should start having these convos soon. . .

EG: Curious about agenda item, just topic of discussion?

AS: Right, not seeking consensus.

AG: Do you have ideas for how A&L can participate directly?

AS: More suited for alt econ. Cooperative farms teach-in would be great. Issue of commons as shared and managed resource also impt topic. Unless we want a gardeners union. . .

F: What are the puppets planning?

AS: Entertainment for the kids on gardening. Thinking of poetry reading, discussions, panels, etc.


4. Proposal: Giant intern check for M1

ASh: Intern group is making giant bank checks for may day. Here is a proof. B/c of production schedule, can’t be changed.  Will be 2.5 ft x 5 ft. Will be 3 of them.

YA: Reusable.

ASh: Content is blank, so we can still decide what to say. Have some ideas. Design can be used after M1 for other things. Proposal is to use this design as shown, which has listed on it: OWS: Artsandlabor.org/internlaborrights.

LB: Looks great.

AB: Question of what will be written or it, or how it will be determined.

EG: Check is from unpaid interns. If you’re legally due wages and not claiming them, that amounts to a giveaway to their employers. One estimate is $2 billion/year, based on min. wage, of giveaway from unpaid interns to govt/nonprofit/profit.

ASh: To: Employers of America / $2 billion / Unpaid interns. Fake signature.

AS: So just saw student debt people out at Union Sq, calculating money how much debt was in that square at that time. Asking people, adding it up w/calculator on the spot.

BY: Imagine it the other way around: check is written to unpaid interns from corps who owe them money. Makes more sense to me that people demand the money from corporations, rather than give money away to corps. Might be like, wait, why are they giving money to corps, shouldn’t OWS be demanding money from them? But maybe the confusion is good.

LB: Rad Arts made a bunch of signs diff’t signs, didn’t hash out language in meeting, we have to trust what they’re doing.

EG: Yeah, maybe the confusion will make people stop and think.

AB: See BY’s point, but possibly the confusion could be generative.

YA: Will have flyers with info on intern labor, so that will help explain this.

EG: Concept is giveaway approach, want to get people to think about how much money they are donating. . .



5. Proposal: M1 statement on website

BY: So M1 statement has been submitted as op-ed. I have some problems with some of the last-minute edits that happened before it went in. Since we’re not constrained by what we can say on A&L website, I propose using this alternate, less watered down version as M1 call on website if op-ed version does not run in newspaper. [hands out both versions]

YA: Concerned that you’re not happy with final version.

BY: Whatever my reservations with the language & the way final decisions got made, letter was already consensed last meeting, it’s already gone off. Also, there was always the issue whether it was two different letters to begin with: call to artists for M1, and letter listing A&L issues that we’d try to get in as newspaper op-ed. I’d be happy to have even more radical call or direct address to artists go on A&L site, but that hasn’t been written and we should use what we have.

ASh: What are diff’s btw letters? Can you list 5 examples?

BY: Only really 3 significant differences. 1) In op-ed version: first graph, concluding sentence ends at “join us” and following is cut: “in making May 1 a day of creative, festive and non-violent reclamation of public space, replacing our society’s emphasis on private profits with public solidarity and mutual aid.” 2) in op-ed, second to last graph: “Joining with us on May 1” is glossed w/ phrase “a significant date representing the opening of the spring auctions, the art world’s very own ‘sweeps month,’” 3) In op-ed version, last graph concludes that “we demand government and industries start establishing fair practices that create economic justice and sustainable ways of living on this planet.” Alt version instead calls on “those who work in arts to assemble together w/others” to establish greater equality and create sustainable ways of living on this planet. Then concludes with: “By sharing art’s power to enrich all of our lives, let us make it part of our struggle to reclaim the commons.”

LB: shouldn’t be published before Fri. Question of who will read it, what language can you get away with in the newspaper version?

AS: I don’t mind the director’s cut. Might cause splintering to happen if posted as alt. version of op-ed.

RH: I feel like a bit weird since it’s already consensed. Just question why it’s so necessary to speak for A&L. Why can’t we acknowledge that it’s a written by one person, if the people writing the letter can’t agree. If it’s controversial, why feel the need to sign all of our names on it. Maybe it’s less productive than not putting it out there at all.

AB: Am near stand-aside or block on op-ed version. Was part of edits, adding something to the convo then felt cut out. Understand need for compromise, but have to draw the line on compromise somewhere. Can see alt version is more representative.

BY: To be clear: Not trying to hash out how final edits to the letter went down, that’s done. I still support publishing submitted version in newspaper if we’re offered the chance.

MP: Yeah, we did already consense on giving them authority 2 wks ago.

AG: If we don’t feel the letter represents us, then we shouldn’t post it. If there’s not consensus among the authors, then maybe we should say it didn’t work out, don’t need to put it in newspaper if it’s not fit to print. Retroactive block instead of retroactive consensus.

ASh: First time really reading letter, like the alt one a lot. Can understand why last sentence would get cut out for newspaper. Was thinking on the way here it would be a shame if A&L doesn’t make a statement on M1. If newspaper posts it, not so imp’t what’s on A&L. If newspaper doesn’t post it, let’s do alt version.

AS: I understood the process that it was special circumstances, certain connections. Felt like it came up that first these things are so protected, but then people complain that you don’t do any work. If you’re going to seal it off, can’t complain that others aren’t involved. Not just this action, has come up with many others. Interested in forming radical arts group that doesn’t care about NYT, has their own black-and-white radical zine, whatever.

EG: How do we know if/when it gets in?

BY: We don’t. Only notified if it’s accepted. We think it gets read within 3 days so if no word on Thu, probably not going in. Fri probably safe to publicize on website.

LB: Feel good about the letter, compromise is hard but worth doing.

[friendly amendments]

RH: Think this is an issue of framing this letter. If there is disagreement, why not just sign it autonomous members of A&L? Doesn’t this solve problem of claiming to speak for everyone. Only applies to publishing it on the website.

AG: One way to reject getting published in newspaper wd be to publish it on A&L website first.

BY: I’d reject amendment to post alt version on website if there is also a newspaper version. Too confusing if there are multiple versions, close but not identical.

PW: I think that if we agree, we should be able to get behind it as a group, as a statement on the website. Would be better to try to reach consensus as A&L rather than only some autonomous members.

BY: proposal restated: if we don’t hear from newspaper by Fri 5PM, and M agrees that chance for op-ed has passed, will post alt version of letter to A&L website.

[temp check, AS stands aside]



6. proposal: Radical Arts photos posted on website

LB: would like to get consensus to get photos from last Sat, Radical Arts Group w/signs, on website.

AB: concern about showing people’s faces

LB: will check w/anyone pictured.

AG: Point of info, you don’t need consensus to post stuff to website, if you have access.

LB: I disagree, had discussion with W about this awhile ago. This is grey area. Happy to bring it to group.

CT: Some pictures can’t be published b/c of what’s in background.

LB: Will check with you to make sure we’re clear.

AS: Q: to Aaron re: website. This was contentious issue before. Also concerns that website not look like a blog.

LB: proposal: short description of Rad Arts group and photos on website.



7. agenda item: M1 schedule

AG: Need to identify not just place/times of interest, circulate on GG. Places with reasonable space/time btw them to rally as A&L. To be in group with friends/family, people you feel safe with. Make sure we identify rallying pts. One shd be 5PM NW corner of Union Sq, Labor Alliance meeting then.

ASh: Can we identify a time to work on this, maybe face to face? How about end of Radical Arts?

AS: Any other subgroups have times yet? No?

ASh: meet at/after Rad Arts, 7PM?

AB: Post it on GG, say we’re meeting after, at someplace like Lucky Strike.

[end of meeting]

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