COCAL Updates

COCAL logo smallA combined update post, this time around. COCAL Updates archives here with thanks to Precarity Dispatches for setting them up.

by 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. Special (state) Trustee reinstated for another year by State Board of Governors (continuing the disempowerment of the elected local board).

2.  LA Times commentary on ACCJC accountability.

3. Accreditation reform one step closer to reality in Sacramento.

4. Pasadena CC being attacked by ACCJC too.


1. Just like in US and Canada, good stats on contingents in higher ed are hard to come by in UK.

2. Conflict and protest over imprisoned Iranian teachers at worldwide ed conference in  Ottawa [Education International, the international federation of education unions].

3. For more information on the recently concluded EI congress, see here.

[It does not appear that either higher education in general, or the worldwide contingent majority in particular received much attention, but we await the reports of our Canadian colleagues who were present.]


1. New pro labor children’s book.

2. More on Kishwaukee (IL) adjuncts now unionization (IFT/AFT)

3. College job have become pressure cookers (CHE) and not a mention of the faculty majority, us, who have the most pressure since we have the most insecurity, whew!?

4. Warning— Unpaid political announcement: Labor For Bernie

And their Facebook page

Organizing Meetings

Labor for Bernie is calling on all union members to join and or host house parties and meetings on July 29th.On July 29 events one of our top priorities.You can close your meeting to friends and co-workers only, or you can leave the inviting to the Sanders campaign and it will get the Bernie supporters in your area there.Here is a link to organize a July 29 kick off event.July 29 will be a great evening to recruit more support from union members for Bernie. Download and bring a special Labor for Bernie “sign on” sheet to gather names and email address of more union supporters.  Signed sheets may be returned by email to Labor for Bernie <insert email address>  Download the sign on sheet here.We need to reach our goal of 5,000 union members in support of Sanders before the national AFL-CIO Executive Council considers possible presidential endorsements on July 29. Please urge your co-workers and union friends to sign up online here.

In Solidarity,

Labor for Bernie 2016

PS: If you are on Facebook, be sure to “like” our page here.

Copyright © 2015 Labor for Bernie, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Labor for Bernie
1 Main St.
New York, NY 10019

5. NY state auditors going after adjunct pay/time sheets.

6. Reedley College (Fresno, central CA) needs more FT jobs.

6. More on “volunteer” professors.

7. NYC fast food $15 victory.

8. IL Gov. Rauner trying to reeve all public employes pay and cut pensions again.

9. Contingent LA port truckers still on strike.

10. For-profit sector shrinking [but still huge].

11. How the South drives the low-wage economy.

12. Why I introduced a motion against the Confederate flag at the NEA convention.

13. Trumka: I am not trying to slow Sanders surge.

14. Debate over exclusion of FTNTT from contingent bargaining unit at Barnard (NYC)

15. Support Chicago area faculty trying to unionize – sign petition (Faculty Forward/SEIU).

16. Assoc. of Governing Boards (of higher ed institutions) Pres. on contingent faculty and shared governance. Also good links to some commissioned research about contingent unions in higher ed from Board perspectives.

17. Can auto industry shed its tiers?

18. NPR’s “This American Life” does another puff piece on NUMMI auto plant, and praises their having cut up jobs, just like bosses are trying to do in higher ed. A real hack job, says Labor NotesJane Slaughter (our contingent colleague from Wayne State U).

19. Direct action by IWW makes club owner pay new Seattle minimum wage and back wages for all workers  [a lesson here for us?].

20. Adjuncts at St Louis CC on the way to a union (Adjunct Action/SEIU) with neutrality promise from admin.

21. 5 steps to privatizing everything (and arguments against it).

22. NM field and dairy workers finally get covered by workers’ comp.

23. New DOL decision could mean end to massive wage theft through misclassification as independent contractors.

24. Fight for 15 is trend that can’t be stopped (Greenhouse in Guardian)

25. Alaska news from our colleague Kate Quick:

They’re eliminating programs and departments from philosophy to dental hygiene across the University of Alaska system, and avoiding tenure-lines. The whole state is in a budget crisis.

From the article:

‘Early this year, the university [UAS in Juneau] gave notice to 24 of 35 year-to-year faculty members that their contracts might not be renewed for the coming school year. The notices were rescinded because the budget wasn’t as tight as anticipated, Ciri said.He said the school is being “mindful of not signing multiyear contracts” with most professors in anticipation of tight years to come.’

26. For SF Bay Area readers

Adjunct Action Art in Action Workshops

Our first two sessions were GREAT! We wrote about and shared experiences we have had as college faculty, found commonalities as well as support and friendship. We also developed characters and began making giant puppets to use during actions for our first contract fights and more.

Other union members from SEIU and AFSCME joined us. So did SEIU and CFA organizers. It was a true show of solidarity and it was a fantastic way to spend time together building our community.Join us for the rest of the series! We will continue working on the puppets and making digital images. It will all be included in a social media campaign to kick off the school year. All workshops are free. Materials and food provided. Please RSVP here.

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

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

See you there!

Unemployment benefits still a concern? Here is a link  from Glendale Community College that may be helpful for how to answer the questions on the initial forms and what to do if you have an interview or meeting with an EDD case manager.

Summer reading

Feeling August creeping up? You’re not alone. Read this on-target op ed by Roxane Gay from the NYT Sunday Review:“I always have grand plans for myself each summer. I teach, and throughout the academic year, my colleagues and I wax wistful about all the things we’re going to do when the spring semester ends. We will read, and it will be luxurious, because we will be reading for ourselves. We will travel, and not to attend a conference. And, of course, we will diligently prepare for our fall courses. I have, thus far, spent my summer watching an inordinate amount of “Barefoot Contessa” on the Food Network.” Read the rest of it here.

And here’s a good addition to the debates on how to evaluate professors:

“The classroom is not the factory floor; college teaching should not require nor should it tolerate efforts to manage the process from beyond the agency of the teachers themselves. The idea that we need outsiders to watch us teach is the kind of assumption that can transform a teacher into a mere knowledge worker…Teaching is ultimately an intimate affair, regardless of whether it occurs with a single student or a class of 500. Students and teachers engage in a personal dance; we do not teach classes, we teach students.”

Jessica Beard (SFAI)
Lauren Elder (CCA)
Jessica Lawless (SEIU 1021)

Stay up-to-date with the Adjunct Action movement in the Bay Area! Visit our website, like us on Facebook  and follow us on Twitter!

27. How adjunct professors are exploited [some good stats here]

28. How faculty unions help lower costs [hint: not through lower pay for faculty, but greater admin efficiency probably]

29. CA Fed of Teachers Pres Josh Pechthalt’s statement on the AFT endorsement of Hillary Clinton, which he voted against as a member of the AFT Exec and a VP.

30. Portland CC (OR) is now trying to get supposedly erroneous back pay from adjuncts back to 2009.

31. Ohio charter teachers fired for organizing will be reinstated.

32. Rebuttal to IL Valley College president’s statement that that though adjunct pay is small, rewards are big.

33. Prisons and universities two sides of the same coin.

34. Hellenic News of America, Adjunct professors exploited.

35. More on the “volunteer professors” and good quotes from NFM’s Pablo Eisenberg.

36. Who’s against Bernie Sander’s College for All?

37. New piece by Steven Yates, with some of middle section devoted to adjuncts.

38. Petition to DOL, Wage and Hour division, David Weil Director, delivered with 11,297 signatures.

39. Coming to a college or university near you: an unpleasant online education.

40. Tenure track women facing pay and other discrimination [of special interest to us due to the predominance of women in contingent positions, often due to discriminatory hiring patterns].

41. The education budget war in PA, and a Marxist challenge for curriculum.

42. The $17 million dollar university president [and he cut adjunct representation too].

43. Student loan industry parade crashed by student debtors demanding free higher ed

44. A contingent faculty woman describes her date with Donald Trump.

45. In case you missed this good You Tube video from Stacey Patton, a CHE reporter, “Many Adjuncts are Stuck.”

46. Comm Coll system of NH needs help.

47. Malicious reassignment in K-12 in Chicago. Sound familiar?

48. Teaching takes a hit: bad jobs for contingent teaching faculty.

49. Teaching and writing as activism.

50. Ghosts in the Academic Machine.

51. Celebrate Medicare’s 50th Birthday, July 30, 2015

On July 30, 2015, more than 60 cities will celebrate the 50th Birthday of Medicare, our nation’s single payer health care system for seniors, and call on Congress and the public to Protect it, Improve it, and Expand it (PIE) to cover all.

Medicare brought care and dignity to seniors, ended much suffering, extended lives, and lifted millions from poverty.  Medicare desegregated the nation’s hospitals by making payment contingent on ending discrimination.  Medicare shows what federal funding based on sound public policy can do for social justice.

This year’s celebrations call for protecting Medicare from those who would cut it or turn it into a voucher;  improving Medicare for it still omits crucial dental, inadequately covers drugs, and leaves many unable to pay for care;  and expanding Medicare so that it covers all ages with no exceptions.The celebrations call for passage of national single payer legislation, HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has urged unions to participate in the Medicare celebrations.

The city celebrations are listed here.

Physicians for a National Health Program has announced a national call-in day on July 30, 2015, to urge lawmakers to become co-sponsors of HR 676.  Current HR 676 co-sponsors are here.

You can call your representative at the Capitol Switchboard number, 202-224-3121.

PNHP physicians have appeared in newspapers in many cities advocating an end to private for-profit health insurance by moving to improved Medicare for All.  Many of those Op Eds can be seen here.

In Washington, DC

Also on July 30, 2015, Rep. John Conyers, lead sponsor of H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, will hold a congressional briefing, moderated by veteran journalist Bill Moyers, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2237.

Watch it below:

For further details contact Congressman Conyers’ Legislative Assistant, Erik Sperling at At 9:30 on the morning of July 30, National Nurses United and others will hold a “Medicare turns 50” rally in Upper Senate Park, across Constitution Avenue from the Capitol followed by congressional lobbying.  Further details are here.  Join an event near you!
Issued by:

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551


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