COCAL Updates

COCAL logo smallby Joe Berry

COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a nearly 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri national – USA, CAN, MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee and a website and Facebook page


1. A Teaching moment: will Sacramento school college accreditors (ACCJC)?


1. Precarious work dominates higher education in Ireland.

2. Precarious faculty in Australia need more security.

3. UK faculty open letter about deterioration of conditions for teachers and students in higher ed there.


1. Job opening, Data Center, Oakland, CA, Director of community driven research.

2. Happy 80th Birthday, NLRA.

3. Lessons of a megalomaniac college president (Gordon Gee of Ohio State.)

4. From comp lit to adjuncts’ champion, the odyssey of Maria Maisto (this is the one of the articles originally commissioned for AAUP mag, Academe, and which was then rejected at the last minute after being fully edited by Academe.

5. Instructors scarce at KY St.

6. Community organizing jobs in NYC and here; and here; and here; and here; and here; and here; and the NY Hotel Trades council also seeks organizers.

7. Park Point U (Pittsburgh, PA) lays off 32 workers, with no word to new adjunct union. Could this be retaliation for having the temerity to organize?

8. NLRB rules that USPS violated law when signing privatization deal with Staples without negotiations with American Postal Workers Union.

9. For SF Bay Area readers: Fighting the Just in Time Professor: a Report from  the Bay Area Metro Organizing Strategy. Part of the month-long celebration of LaborFest.   Sat. July 18, Oakland, CA.  2:00 – 3:30 PM (Free), Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library – 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland

The dirty secret about higher education is that about two thirds of the faculty are part-time or full-time temporary adjunct professors hired by the class or semester. In the past few years, adjuncts have been organizing, striking and unionizing in record numbers. Many of them are using a new strategy known as the Metro Organizing Strategy, which organizes across a geographic region rather than campus by campus, where non faculty is included. Join a critical discussion about these organizing campaigns.

Robert Ovetz, Ph.D. is a migrant mindworker of academia who teaches at three Bay Area colleges and universities. He writes about the changing division of academic labor and strategies for resistance.

Jessica Beard is a lecturer in English and Critical Theory at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Art Institute. She teaches in the METRO program at SFSU–a joint effort by CCSF and SFSU for first generation college students of color in the Bay Area.

Jessica Lawless was an adjunct professor in the arts and humanities for 9 years. Organizer with SEIU local 1021’s Adjunct Action campaign.

Gifford Hartman has worked in adult education for over two decades, mostly in literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL). He also participates in Labor History events, writing and talking about the history of class struggle. In 2008, he was part of a 4-day strike at a non-profit ESL school in San Francisco.

For more info:

10. Union (TNG-CWA) victory at SF Bay Area for-profit ESL school, the multi-national St Giles:

Hey guys,

Good news for you all. Today our vote was held, and with a vote of 76% we now have a UNION!!! Thank you both so much for all your support. You guys really got the wheels turning for us, and we wouldn’t be here without your support.Thanks again!


11. “The Teaching Class,” an essay well worth your time, about us. Too bad it has nothing to say about how to change stuff, like organizing.

12. Adjunct Commuter Weekly, new publication about to launch. Donate to help and subscribe.

13. New report on the Georgetown U unionization effort.

14. Scott Walker’s budget undermines all public education, from Bob Peterson, former Milwaukee teachers union president.

15. The Arne Duncan era has not been good for students: Diane Ravitch.

16. Contingent faculty are not working in the minors.

17. New book of interest: Academic Repression: Reflections from the -industrial complex.

NOTE: As noted previously, your COCAL UPDATES editor (Joe Berry) and his spouse/partner/colleague Helena Worthen, are going to teach labor studies in Viet Nam for the fall 2015 Semester. We would like to take some gifts related to the union/workers movement in the US to give to folks there. We are leaving from CA August 14. If any of you would like to have us take union or other movement hats, T-shirts or similar union gifts to VN from your organization as a gesture of solidarity for their labor movement and as a gesture of support for us, please send them to us at 21 San Mateo Road, Berkeley, CA 94707 so that we receive it by August 13, 2015. Unions in Viet Nam are grappling with how to deal with the influx of foreign (capitalist) direct investment there and the need to build local unions that can effectively fight for workers in this new context. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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