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April 5, 2020

Present: Corey, Hannah, Richard, Zack, Carl, Philip, McAllen, Giselle, Russ, Ryan, Nolan, Sarah, Karen, Jill, Serene, Robert, Kelsey, Yvette 2.0, Tarvis, Paul (minutes)

Meet and Greet

Louise (first meeting), Ryan (first meeting), Susanne (first meeting)

Review of Minutes

Minutes approved with minor changes.

Wiki Updates

No wiki updates, but Nolan is going to pick up the wiki updater torch.

Agenda Item 1

(Corey) Dismiss my no-shows from March 12th through March 26th due to 2 week isolation stemming from travel in Berlin.

Corey: My partner was abroad in Berlin for weeks when the international travel ban happened. I was taking care of her pets. We both self-isolated for two weeks after she returned, as a precaution. My labor was maintenance and cleaning in the commons, and with a medical risk I felt it wasn't good to be doing that labor while I was self-isolating.

Point of information: Between fines being cancelled for March and Corey not being reviewed for March because he was already reviewed in March, I don't think there are any material consequences to this item, and it can be tabled.

Corey: I could still be reviewed in the future for this.

POI: Probably not, just because of how our process works.

Clarifying question: Do we have a system in place for notification of labor vacations?

POI: Yes. With a week's notice you can request up to two weeks of labor vacation a year. We also don't assign labor when people are sick in the hospital or in other situations.

Concerns / friendly amendments

CQ: We didn't hear about this at the time?

Corey: I was vocal on the email list, but I didn't make a specific thread.

Agenda item passes.

Agenda Item 2

(Ryan Nill) Increase Monthly food budget by $150 per month and kitchen supplies budget by $20 per month.

Please see treasurer report sent on 3/31 for more info.

Ryan: I took the monthly kitchen budget, assumed half of our food comes from Keep Austin Fed. Since we're getting KAF half as often, I'm increasing the monthly kitchen budget to compensate - about a 20% increase. The kitchen supply budget increase is because items are scarce and we might buy higher-quality goods more often, but this gives the food buyer some more leeway. I'm sure we'll have other tweaks to this, but this is an improvement. We'll have to drop the budget again after the crisis is over.

CQ: Haven't we been under-spending already?

Ryan: Between July & February, we under-spent by $400, which is out of a $6000-7000 budget over that time - that's like a 3% underspending.

Concerns / friendly amendments

POI: It sounds like we have enough money to go over-budget for the next two months?

Ryan: I'm assuming we're going to spend that and also this increase.


Agenda item passes.

Agenda Item 3

(Nolan) Waive some, or all, of my weekly labor given I am no longer living at the co-op. If not all of my labor is waived, come up with remote tasks I can perform independently.

Note that I'll need to attend this meeting remotely. Thanks.

Nolan: I was assigned weekly maintenance without good email communication, and there were some other issues. I'm very concerned for labor at the cooperative, the serving of food, mingling in hte commons, etc. Should we be discussing item 4 first?

POI: Seems like agenda item 4 would nullify this item anyway. Let's discuss that first.

Agenda Item 4

(Nolan) Cancel all labor that isn't essential to keeping the building standing and the bills paid during Austin's shelter-in-place order.

This can be combined with, or can replace, item 3.

Nolan: At the moment we are in a shelter-in-place ORDER. I have a lot of respect for people who want to keep doing labor. I respect us as adults who can make their own risk assessments. If people choose to do labor and other people choose to, say, eat that food, but I have issues with us requiring labor when schools and churches and sporting events and everything else are shutting down. What do we need to keep this building standing and the bills paid? How do we keep our members safe and healthy and happy? Kind of a discussion item, but hopefully we can walk away with a tangible plan.

POI: I think the way this is stated, it leaves a lot of room to discuss what labor is essential. It seems subjective.

Nolan: I think the point of this item is to discuss what we think is essential. Like, say we decide food is too risky right now, not essential. That could free up a lot of tasks for us to tackle other labor. Sarah's apartment is doing only emergency maintenance, which sucks because we have laundry issues right now, but we need to decide where the line is as well.

CQ: Should we have the labor czar decide? How many members need prepped food? Do we have a number? Is it zero?

POI from income bookkeeper: I think it's pretty obvious we need to keep up our books, receipts and rent payments. As far as food, we don't know who has this virus. People can be asymptomatic carriers. If we want to prevent transmission, the commons is the 'vector' that would occur in. My suggestion is that if we're going to keep the commons food program, maybe everyone could wear gloves or even masks. Also, if we're going to regularly be using the commons for food or even for gathering, we should have labor for bleaching the place regularly.

POI: I am also concerned about the commons cooking situation. I've been trained in avoiding transmission and using masks properly, and I'm happy to train people. We should all be careful about social distancing, all the time.

Concerns / friendly amendments

Concern: I just don't know that people here are educated or knowledgeable about this issue. We're trying to do our best in this difficult situation, but we're being led by fear. I've got numerous credentials in food preparation and I don't feel qualified to deal with this.

Concern: Maybe we should discuss everything short of shutting everything down. Getting rid of shared utensils and so forth. It seems like the pressures here are coming from people who do not depend on regular co-op dinners. This is one of those situations where applying external rules is harder for us because we're not exactly a public space, but we're also not a single-family residence.

POI: I don't think getting rid of shared utensils is a solution.

POI: I hate to say it, but I think we need to cancel labor in our shared spaces. People have discussed voluntary meals, but I don't think anyone should be required to put themselves at risk.

POI: I think it's possible to find middle-ground solutions. There are ways to make these individual labors safe, but I don't have the answers here. I think UNTIL we know how to make those labors safe, we should suspend the whole program.

Nolan: I recognize that this is not a well-defined item. That was kind of intentional - I think it would make sense to cancel commons labor. I'd be fine with that. It's not my intent to arbitrarily shut down everything, but we need to have this discussion about what we can reasonably ask members to do. I'm submitting a friendly amendment to narrow this to commons labor, and accepting my own amendment.

Friendly Amendment: Narrow this to commons labor.

Friendly amendment not taken up immediately.

Concern: Essential labor is still not defined. Is expense bookkeeper essential labor? Getting the receipts? That's a risk too.

Nolan: I'm trying to have that exact discussion, about which of our labors are essential. I wasn't trying to single out financial labor. I think it would be possible to shuffle a lot of our missing labor to cover safety gaps, like having a runner who maybe has an N95 mask to pick up the receipts and store them for a few days before handling them. I'm not trying to put you at risk; I'm having a discussion about how to reduce everyone's risk. This whole situation is moving so quickly I feel like if we don't act quickly we'll get left behind.

POI: People will still use the commons. If we shut down meals, we'll still need to have a protocol for when people do go in.

POI: I don't think there's a way we can make the commons safe. People have different risk profiles. I'll just say that it's much better to shut everything down hard NOW, and then reduce the shutdown as we can, rather than waiting for things to get very, very bad and then shutting things down.

POI: Taos Coop has been serving meals with no left-overs.

POI: If we keep commons cleaning, it sounds like we're just talking about getting rid of dinner and dinner cleanup. Events is obviously a no-go right now. Is grounds essential? Probably not. Is maintenance? Some part of it.

Friendly amendment: That receipts can be turned into the expense bookkeeper via photograph.

Friendly amendment not taken up immediately.

POI: Maybe Trash Patrol in the courtyard.

Point of process: Are we discussing the friendly amendment about commons labor?

POI: It sounds like we're getting there through amendments.

POI: We need to get nitrile gloves and showing people how to sterilize things. I agree that this is not a business OR a family, that we're in-between. I also agree that voluntary labor could be the middle-ground.

POI: We could also close the laundry room to the public. We could use the commons key for the laundry room.

Friendly amendment: We will not process no-shows for members who refuse to do cooking, DCU, events, commons clean, or non-essential maintenance.

Friendly amendment accepted.

Friendly amendment: Members should take pictures of receipts and send them to the expense bookkeeper rather than physically turning them in.

Friendly amendment accepted.

POI: We still want masks and nitrile gloves.

POI: I think using our kitchen budget for those items is totally legitimate. It fits within the discretion of the food buyer, so that doesn't require an agenda item.

POI: We need different sizes of gloves, powdered or non-powdered. We can make our own disinfectant.

Friendly amendment: Can we request people performing essential labor wear gloves?

Not accepted.

Item passes unanimously as amended.

Agenda Item 5

(Ryan Nill) I set up remote call info for this meeting. Posting at 11:58 AM on Friday so it should be here in time to make it on the paper posted meeting schedule.

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New business

Board representative: Just updating everyone on what we discussed last week about Covid rent relief. Everyone's going to get an application posted on their doors, and we'll ask you to fill that out. How much we can offer depends on how many people need it and how we decide to budget for that. It will probably apply to May rent. We are also applying for some grants. We're working on it.

Yvette: My contract is vaguely worded and I want to be around here sometimes at night without breaching it.

POI: Sounds like we didn't transcribe the original amendment into our house policy very well. We can just ask the wiki updater to change that language.

Yvette: So I don't have to make any agenda items?

POI: I don't think so. Maybe check up to make sure it got done.

Richard: It appears someone took a large box of nitrile gloves from the commons. Please return them.

CQ: Can we please switch to disposable serving items and utensils, though?

meetings/2020-04-05.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/18 20:20 by paulwuersig