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. AFT 2121 negotiations update.

2. Arne Duncan, (Sec of Ed) Accreditation, and Barking Dogs


1. Mexican Labor News and Analysis.

2. TSSU (Teaching Support Staff Union) representing Grads, Sessionals and others are on strike at Simon Fraser U, BC, Canada


1. Can adjuncts be freelancers?

2. Whole bunch of academics wandering around feeling alone.

3. At Florida SW adjunct get pay cuts but full-timers get raises, and from IHE, with quotes from NFM’s Maria Maisto.

4. The adjunct mistake (letter in response to NH college president saying adjuncts are a dime a dozen).

5. United Auto Workers Local 2865, the union representing 13,000 teaching assistants and other student workers throughout the University of California, called for AFL-CIO to end affiliations with police unions.

6. Whittier College (LA, CA) adjunct win first contract (SEIU 721)

From: Kurt Edelman [] Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 4:01 PM
To: Higher Education <>
Subject: [Higher Ed] Whittier Adjuncts Ratify 1st Contract with 35% average pay increases, improved job security, professional development and more!


Congratulations to Local 721 adjuncts at Whittier College who just ratified their first union contract!
A few highlights of the 3-year pact:

Pay rate:
Goes from $1150/credit hour prior to ratification to $1300/credit hour in fall 2015, $1450 in fall 2016, and $1550/credit hour in fall 2016
This means 3-credit course pay goes from $3450 to $4650 over the life of the agreement
4-credit course pay goes from $4600 to $6200

Course cancellation fee: $300 for courses cancelled within 21 days of 1st class plus pro-rated pay for any classes actually taught

1-year appointments for faculty starting with their 2nd year of service. (had been 1 semester appointments)

Protections on reappointment and evaluation

“Just cause” standard for discipline and dismissal during term of appointment.

Professional Development Fund

Labor Management Committee

Union participation in orientation process

Union rights

Jenita Igwealor was the lead negotiator.


7. Adjunct professors and worker rights.

8. U of Akron (OH) trustees rescind some student fees, announce hundreds of layoffs, and take no questions.  [austerity in action? sounds like Greece before the election, no?]

9. Excellent blog by our colleague Tiffany Kraft on adjunct labor, learning conditions and affordable education. [Very good piece, but I am biased since she quotes me.]

10. Remaking the university blog: academic freedom among some very serious people.

11. Colorado contingent faculty fight for equity and video here.

And a good song for equal pay for equal work.

12. What it is like to be homeless and in college.

13. Adjunct professors in middle of workers’ rights issue.

14. Why my fellow adjuncts and I decided to form a union (Comm Coll of Allegheny County, PA)

15. Unions win court ruling that Chicago pension cuts are illegal.

16. When University presidents become robber barons.

17. What if teachers were treated like pro athletes? a You-tube video

18. Cuts at U WI, Eau Claire [Sympathetic article, but not mention of local admin helping with fight against the cuts or helping to build a movement (with the local faculty union that was elected and certified just before Walker gutted public employee bargaining rights in 2011.)]

19. How big corporations are starving our schools of billions of dollars in taxes.

20. Death, drones and shakedown artists, a blog by our colleague Mick Parsons.

21. The battle over education and civil rights.

22. Games universities play.

23. From awfulizing to organizing, from our colleague, Caprice Lawless, at Front Range CC, CO, and Pres of AAUP chapter there. A great collection of organizing tips.

24. Wheaton College (IL) drops student health to avoid contraception and abortion services.

25. U of Phoenix under Federal investigation and more here.

26. Staff of the Guardian (US staff) votes to unionize, CWA.

27. This from one of our Florida colleagues, but may be relevant to others if the corporation mentioned is really national and is consulting with colleges all over about how to essentially cheat adjuncts out of our rightful pensions.

Cathy Burns

July 29 at 6:31pm

Hi fellow adjuncts. I thought I’d share something a little different. Chatting w/ IRSC Human Resources today, I found at the name of the consulting firm that advises Florida colleges and universities to divert that 7.5% of our own paychecks into retirement accounts that in no way can be considered comparable to Federal social security. The name of the firm is TSA Consulting in Walton Beach, Florida. By the way, they seem to be a national company. Their pitch to employers is that TSA “services minimize risk while enhancing employee perception…” If you are an adjunct or temporary employee having your pay diverted by your college employer to avoid paying you Federal social security, find out if TSA is advising your college…and think about how much in Federal social security earnings you may be losing because your college employers do not give you any choice…while they save themselves alot of $ because they don’t have to match the 6.2% required employee social security tax/FICA required. I’ll also post this info to the SFPTFA page…
TSA Consulting Group – Home

28. Why the Friedrichs v CTA case is about much more than teacher unions’ money, it’s about the voice of the working class.

29. (Contingent) Long Beach, CA port truckers seek classification as employees to a avoid wage theft.

30. More on Eduction International’s anti-corporate reform focus at their recent Ottawa congress.

31. Arne Duncan’s new plan for Higher Ed.

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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