Twin Oaks Intentional Community
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Labor Exchange

The idea of Labor Exchange (LEX) is to give members of two communities the opportunity to experience the other community, without using up their vacation balances. The labor for these exchanges is not part of the yearly economic plan. No labor is set aside for it. This is because we assume we will get the labor back during the same planning period. There is enough slack in our system so this condition need not be absolute.

The labor manager will approve members' doing LEX at another community if Twin Oaks owes labor to that community or if that community does not have a large debt to Twin Oaks and seems likely to pay back the credits within a year or so. If Twin Oaks members visit and work at a community that owes Twin Oaks a large labor debt, LEX credit may generally not be claimed.

Incoming LEX -- members of other communities working with us as part of the LEX program -- is treated the same as Resident labor. Five days are assigned, and the other two days are unassigned to give the LEX person freedom to seek work of cos choice. The five days of assigned labor come out of area budgets.

Certain things are not creditable as LEX in either direction. They are the things that do not benefit the community being visited, such as sick, pension, doctor appointments, and the personal care of children traveling with the member who is away from home. The host community doesn't get anything out of these things, and for that reason we do not exchange it for labor that does benefit the host community. The visiting labor exchanger wants to claim credit for these things, they get these credits from the home community, and the rules for whether the labor can be taken are determined by the home community.

Personal Service Credits (PSCs)

Any member may "pay" another member to work for co by having the credits subtracted from cos personal labor balance and added to the balance of the person who did the work. There must be actual work to back up every credit. If three or fewer PSCs are claimed in a given week, they need not be explained. However, more than 3 credits claimed in a week should be accompanied by a brief explanation of the work. The PSC transaction is recorded by the person doing the work, NOT the person giving the credits. It is entered on the done-labor section of the labor sheet like any other job.

Pooled PSCs: If members wish to, they may donate labor credits from their labor balances to a pool of credits to be used by worthy projects, such as political action, or theatrical productions. Again, these credits may be then claimed by the people doing the work. The labor manager oversees these transactions, in order for the credits to balance properly. The claimed labor is done the same way as any other PSC transaction, except that the name of the fund is given instead of the name of the member to be charged.

Personal Service Credits are an exception to our overall labor economy. Since we have many years experience with them, at this point we do not consider them likely to have a negative effect on our system. However, it is the labor manager's responsibility to watch how large this segment of the economy becomes, and to curtail it if it should ever become a major, rather than occasional, way of allocating labor.

Small Group Cooking

Cooking for a group of 7 people or more is creditable and assignable, regardless of which kitchen is used or what the reason is for the special meal. Washing dishes and cleaning up are always creditable anywhere. Both cooking and cleaning are assignable and come from kitchen budget. Cooking for oneself is not creditable unless by special permission from a relevant manager for some unusual reason. Small group cooking policy is part of kitchen policy and subject to change by them.

Weeds and Knots Credit

Weeds and Knots Committee sometimes asks members to donate credits from their vacation balances to a fund from which the committee distributes credits to members who want to do special projects. If you apply for and get such credits, claim them as "WeedsP." Credits which come from other people's donations are not assignable but over-quota only, like personal service.

If, however, Weeds and Knots gets a budget for projects in the econ plan, the credits are treated like any other budget. Weeds and Knots does not have the authority to give away credits just to get people out of the labor hole. However, it is allowed to give matching credits for people who are working themselves out of the hole. This is at the rate of 1 credit from Weeds and Knots for every credit the member does over quota, for as long as co is in the labor hole, or less, at the committee's discretion. You cannot claim Weeds and Knots credit, either within or over quota, for more credits than the actual amount allotted by Weeds and Knots.

Kitchen Shift Policies and Practices

Almost everyone is required to take a turn at kitchen shifts. The only exceptions are (1) health-team approved exemptions for people who have health-related reasons for not doing them; (2) Zhankoye bathroom clean; (3) Llano bathroom clean; (4) Tupelo serf; (5) Llano serf. People with health exemptions have first priority on the bathroom jobs.

To be free from a K-shift in a given week requires more than merely being on a Llano serf crew or being a member of Tupelo. It means that you actually have one of these alternatives shifts assigned in the week under consideration. In the case of Tupelo, people who share serf shifts and do what is called "half serfs" are exempted from Zhankoye kitchen shifts half the time.

At times when there are few non-exempt people available for shifts, because of low population on the farm, some people may have to do more than one shift. The assigners will probably assign people who have done fewer shifts than others. (They keep track.) This means that people who take a lot of vacation or other time off the farm are quite likely to be assigned steadily when they are here, and are the most likely to be assigned an occasional extra shift when we need one.

If there is some important reason for you to be free of a kitchen shift in a given week, and if it is not a low-population time, you can ask to be excused from a K-shift for that week. But this should not be done more than once a year or so, and the request may be denied if the person is absent a lot.

If you have a health condition which makes K-shifts a hardship to you, go to the health team to ask for an exemption. If you believe you would rather do one of the K-shift exempt jobs than a regular K-shift, there may or may not be an opening. Ask around to find out who is currently in charge of these areas. Also, watch for such announcements on the 3x5 board, as with any other job.