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. ACCJC goes after another Bay Area college district, Peralta CCD in Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda.

2. American Enterprise Inst. Dir. on accreditation and much more on higher ed.

3.Former California Federation of Teachers President, Marty Hittelman, has posted the lobby committee’s resolution calling for full accreditation for CCSF on his website. See under latest developments. He also wrote that he joins San Mateo Chancellor Ron Galatolo in supporting it.

4. If in CA, make calls now to support two bills in legislature to increase transparency and fairness of ACCJC. They have now made it out of one committee; more on one of those bills.


1. Greek teachers and student to joined general strike against austerity deal Thurs, 7/16/15.


1. Labor’s historic militant minority and the state of resistance to capital today. (good brief labor history overview).

2. More part-timers in Louisiana higher ed. and more here.

3. More on the gig economy, including us, especially online.

4. Inside the belly of the beast (namely US higher ed).

5. Volunteer (unpaid) professors. (More on this later on Majority Rule, and here at Slate, from Rebecca Schuman.)

6. Faces of America’s student debt crisis.

7. Two adjuncts who love it (adjuncting).

8. Why students should join the fight for national health care.

9. Fighting back against the defunding of public higher ed in PA.

10. New England Contingents United conference, October 17, 2016, Concord, NH.

11. American Anthropological Assoc. on the ethics of a precarious faculty.

12. Where there are no unions: Can online platforms organize workers?

13. AFT endorses Hillary.

14. Diane Ravitch on Bernie and education.

15. More published comment on AFT endorsement of Clinton and AFT official statement; and more
It looks like NEA agrees with us that AFT acted badly…. This is from the *NEA Morning Update The Opening Bell:*
American Federation Of Teachers Endorses Clinton.

The New York Times

(7/11, Subscription Publication) reports that the American Federation of Teachers has given Hillary Clinton “an early endorsement” in her presidential campaign, noting that this could boost her efforts to “fend off a stronger-than-expected challenge from the left.” The article notes that AFT president Randi Weingarten is a “longtime ally of Mrs. Clinton,” and that the union also endorsed Clinton in 2008. The piece describes the contention within the Democratic Party over education policy, noting that the National Education Association has called for Education Secretary Arne Duncan to be fired.

The Washington Post

(7/12, Layton) reports that this is the first endorsement of a major national union this cycle, and suggests that the “early timing may be designed to give Clinton a boost against her surging rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).” The article quotes Weingarten saying, “In vision, in experience and in leadership, Hillary Clinton is the champion working families need in the White House.” The article notes that both the AFT and the NEA have criticized the Obama Administration’s education policies, accusing the White House of scapegoating teachers for problems in the education system.

The Washington Examiner (7/13); Reuters (7/11, Becker); The Hill (7/11, Bolton);“Ballot Box” blog, and TIME (7/11) also cover this story; Common Dreams; and Slate‘s “Schooled” blog; and a member petition to oppose AFT’s endorsement; and finally, is Clinton exempt from AFT’s criteria for debt-free plans?

16. SF Bay area upcoming activities

Here are two great ways to get to know your colleagues across the Bay Area!

LaborFest 2015
Every year LaborFest occurs in San Francisco during the month of July. An organizing committee made up of unionists and unorganized workers, cultural workers and supporters of labor education and history curates films, workshops, historical tours, lectures and more. Click here for the full schedule.

On Saturday July 18th join us for
Fighting The Just In Time Professor: A Lesson From The SF Bay Area Metro Organizing Strategy
2:00 – 3:30 PM
Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
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. Meet your colleagues from both public and private, non-profit, and for profit colleges who are at the forefront of making these changes.

Panelists include:
Jessica Beard (Adjunct faculty at San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Art Institute)
Gifford Hartman has worked in (adult education, mostly in literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL))
Jessica (“Badass,” as she’s affectionately known in certain circles) Lawless (Former adjunct professor and current organizer with SEIU local 1021’s Adjunct Action campaign)
Robert Ovetz, Ph.D. (Adjunct faculty at 3 Bay Area colleges)

For more info:

Adjunct Action ART IN ACTION
July 21- August 4

Attend the summer workshop series for contingent faculty! We are going to tell their stories visually and on our own terms. Several of us active in forming our unions thought it would a great idea to get together for something other than a meeting! Through story-telling, writing, puppet making and digital arts we will complicate our collective experiences and highlight the creative ways we are organizing against our current labor conditions in higher education. Elements of what we create will be a part of a social media campaign to launch the new school year.

We put together this series in collaboration with the Center for Digital Storytelling because it’s time to change the narrative of the disempowered adjunct professor. Adjunct faculty are taking the reins of an intersectional 21st century labor movement and ensuring a different future for themselves and their students.

The story telling workshop will be the jumping off point for all the others. Attend this one and then choose the others you’d like to attend. Come to the first one, come to them all!

Workshops are free. Food and materials provided. All workshops will be held at SEIU 1021, 447 29th St., Oakland. Please RSVP!

Workshop 1 Tuesday July 21st 6-9pm
Storytelling facilitated by Andrea Spaget from the Center for Digital Storytelling

Workshop 2 Wednesday July 22nd, 6-9pm
Puppet Making 1 Facilitated by Lauren Elder

Workshop 3 Tuesday July 28th 6-9pm
Puppet Making 2 Facilitated by Lauren Elder

Workshop 4 Wednesday July 29th 6-9pm
Digital Media 1 Facilitated by Jessica Beard and Jessica Lawless

Workshop 5 Tuesday August 4th 6-9pm
Digital Media 2 Facilitated by Jessica Beard and Jessica Lawless

Again, please RSVP for any and all workshops you plan to attend here.

For questions, contact Jessica Beard at or Jessica Lawless at or 510.499.7467

17. Free CC tuition in OR.

18. Community College of Allegheny County (PA) adjuncts overwhelmingly vote union with AFT, another unit of whom has represented the FT faculty for 40 years (and why are they only organizing them now, one might ask? but better later than never!) and more here.

19. Reshaping the for-profits; and for-profit group and big chains part ways.

20. IHE on summer adjunct unemployment comp bargaining victory and background ( a few errors in the article, but largely correct, and quote Maria M about the national effort with D of Labor).

21. Free IHE webinar on faculty pay (including us) using AAUP data, August 20.

22. New report on organizing experience (SEIU Local 500) at Georgetown U (DC).

23. Webster U and Washington U: two different organizing stories in St Louis, MO.2

24. Very good fair pay poster. Reproduce and circulate this one.

25. Job opening for organizer, Albany, NY
We have an opening for a 1 year project organizer position.  If you know any talented organizers who are interested in joining a great organizing team please encourage them to apply.

Chris Machanoff
Adjunct Action / SEIU Local 200United

26. Treadmill to oblivion, a 25-year adjunct tells all (or mostly)

27. A United Church of Christ education activist and blogger on why teachers, and especially contingent higher ed faculty, need unions and why they should be supported in that effort.

28. Notice regarding new report from AFL-CIO regarding non-union worker centers’ affiliations and cooperation with AFL-CIO at the national, state and local labor council levels. Both COCAL and NFM have a relationship with the United Workers Congress, one of the main networks of these organizations and there are many parallels that we in the contingent faculty movement can draw from the report.

Hello UWC members,

The LIFT Fund has released its first report:  Building a Movement Together: Worker Center and Labor Union Affiliations.  Please see attached copy of the report and message below from the LIFT Fund.


Sarita Gupta
Executive Director
Jobs With Justice
Phone: 202.393.1044 x103
1616 P Street NW, Suite 150
Washington, DC 20036

From: Monique Mehta []
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2015 1:35 PM
To: Monique Mehta
Cc: Romero-Alston, Laine; Aditi Vaidya;; Jonathan R. Njus; Nik Theodore; Mary Lloyd Estrin
Subject: LIFT Fund Releases First Report!

Dear Friends, We are thrilled to announce the release of the LIFT Fund’s first report: Building a Movement Together: Worker Center and Labor Union Affiliations. I am attaching a copy here and it will be available on our website which we plan to launch in the next month or two. A big thanks to those of you who participated in the study and to the team at UCLA Labor Center for conducting the survey for us. We hope you will help us to circulate the report to your networks as well. If you have questions or feedback, please feel free to email me anytime! Warmly, Monique

Monique Mehta
The LIFT Fund

29. How university foundations avoid public scrutiny and what reporters can do about it.

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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s