On 15 July 2006, The Union of Undercover Artists sent a letter to Mark Smith and Steven Renshaw of Prime informing them that their employees had unionized. This letter stated our objectives, which included improving communication. Our shop steward, Tina Gurley Flynn would now be the conduit for correspondence. This section of the website gives an overview of the correspondence sent between Prime and the UUA following its formation. A complete archive of these emails and letters can be read by clicking on the links to the left or in the text below. They show evidence of the fluctuating position Prime took in relation to the Union and how this inconsistency eventually lead to the deterioration of our working relationship
On 19 July, Tina received and email from Steven stating that: “We are delighted to hear that the artists working for Prime are members of the Union of Undercover Artists.” Tina began to send Prime updates on the artists’ work as it progressed, as well as theoretical and practical issues that arose during the project. On 21 July, Tina enquired as to the status of the consultations with David Beech, as publicized in an magazine.
On 23 July, Steven emailed Tina with some thoughts about work and employment, engaging in a dialogue. On 25 July, Tina received an email from Steven stating that “I would like to make it clear that at no time will Prime communicate information concerning consultation taking place within the organisation. The artists that you claim to represent are working for our organisation, not the other way around.” And that “I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you that Prime has been advised to seek information as to whether the Union of Undercover Artists is reputable and whether we should recognise the organisation as representative of our employees.” Steven then contacted each artist individually, asking her about her membership in the UUA.
Tina continued to report to Steven and ask questions, again some logistical and others about the nature of the work the artists were undertaking. Steven continued to email the three artists individually. On 7 August, Steven emailed the artists: “In relation to the union, I have decided not to recognise its status and will therefore not engage in any further contact with them. My main concern at this time with the union is that it does not represent equally the three artists involved and is the voice of just one. Is this its intention?” Steven then emailed Tina informing him that Prime does not voluntarily recognize the UUA. The UUA sent Prime a letter that it had made contact with the Central Arbritration Committee.
On 14 August, Elizabeth Kearney met with Steven Renshaw in hopes of explaining the Union and establishing better communication. On 23 August, the three artists and Steven held a conference call in order to discuss the project. After a long conversation, an impasse was reached as Prime refused to recognize the UUA. From this point on, communication dropped dramatically.
After the three artists who worked on ‘Part-Time’ received copies of its publication, they wrote Steven an email informing him of their disappointment in it, and that the UUA is preparing a response.