COCAL Updates

by Joe Berry
joeberry@iCOCAL logo

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.


Thanks to everyone (to many to answer) who sent me birthday (67th) greetings August 24. I had a great day, which included a surprise by my students in class and a surprise party, with presents, from my new colleagues here. (engineered partly by Helena I am sure). We are both well, very busy and learning as fast as we can. To follow our adventures, see Helena’s blog at <>. Thanks again. Joe Berry, Editor, COCAL UPDATES


1. Workers Rights Board hearing on higher ed in SF.

2. A wonderful summary of why part-timers (and all contingents) need to join the struggle and how we might best do that by clearly pointing out in detail what all we do and mostly for “free”. See below for full text. By our PT colleague Danny Halford in AFT 2121 at CCSF.

Dear Union Members and All Colleagues,

At the part-timer’s union meeting on Flex Day, we discussed in small groups how to get student support in our struggle for a fair contract. Then a spokesperson from each group went to the mike to report back from their groups. Several colleagues said: When the students ask how much we earn, and we say $50 an hour, they’ll say: but I’m lucky if I can get $15. You’re rich! What’s the problem? (This is a paraphrase, of course, so no quotation marks).

Nobody really answered that, and it’s been bothering me ever since. So I’m doing it now.
First, this is not the kind of conversation we want to have with our students – but it may be inevitable, because most of them get paid by the hour, so that’s how they calculate income. So it’s natural for them to ask this question. It may be unavoidable.

So how do we deal with it? We need to explain that most of our students get paid for every hour they work; we don’t. Then we can list some of the many, many things that we do as teachers that are unpaid, or at least, not directly paid. Many of these tasks are officially required; others are not required but expected. Others are technically not part of our jobs, but in the current accreditation / enrollment crisis they are de facto absolutely necessary to maintain our beloved college as we know and love it, with its mission (including lifelong learning!), programs and campuses intact.

I’ve brainstormed a list. I invite you to add to it, and let me know what I’ve forgotten. I also invite you, in the coming week, to keep a record of how many unpaid hours each day you spend working for City College. Then add those hours to your paid hours, and divide the total by the pay you earned this week. Here goes:

Prep time – direct (e.g. for the 2.5 hour, L. 4-8 ESL class I’ve been teaching without a textbook since Aug. 2013, I often spend up to 4 hours preparing. )

Prep time – indirect, e.g. organizing materials, making xerox copies, setting up the classroom or lab, writing on the board before class, choosing new materials for next semester, etc.

Writing / revising course outlines

Individual student support before or after class: face to face or per email; writing references

Professional development, e.g. in ESL this includes the ESL Colloquium in Feb. or March, and Catesol (I don’t mean Flex Day because we get paid for that.) Tech training for all the new procedures.

Assessment of all kinds – which is now more than ever because of new requirements from Sacramento or ACCJC, e.g. student progress reports in noncredit ESL and all that SLO reporting

Committee work! In addition to monthly meetings, many committees involve hours of “homework” each month

Meetings: campus meetings, dept. meetings, student council meetings, etc.

Academic Senate work!

Our union precinct reps!

Political lobbying, marching and rallying – in this present crisis, all are crucial. (Pardon my stating the obvious.)

Other examples way too numerous to mention, but just one memorable example: the Civic Center Campus teachers cleaning and dusting their campus library during winter break – for nothing!

And last but most certainly not least: ENROLLMENT OUTREACH! (Ask me how many hours I’ve spent on that this week.)

I apologize if I haven’t list a task you spend many hours on!

My (Mexican) roommate earns $15 an hour, but his only unpaid task is washing his uniform once or twice a month. I maintain that with all my tasks at City College factored in, I am not getting paid more per hour than my roommate.

Thanks for reading and thinking about this,
Danny Halford, ESL Instructor
Co-Coordinator, CCSF Volunteer Enrollment Campaign
Member, Lobbying Committee of the Fight Back to Save CCSF Coalition
Member and Former Chair, ESL Noncredit Curriculum Committee
And of course proud member of AFT2121

Check out the Save CCSF Webpage here:


1. Back to school with work to rule in Ontario, Canada.

2. Adjunct teachers need recognition (from Vancouver, BC, Straits Times)


1. Another adjunct, a philosopher, talks about why he left and what he is doing now.

2. Interview subjects wanted for documentary
FYI – Bri Bolin interested in interviewing adjunct faculty – see below

“To improve the lives and livelihoods of contingent faculty undergoing financial hardship by providing charitable assistance to them in the form of cash assistance and/or grants;
To create and distribute educational media to the public, including parents, students, and college communities, that details how colleges function in the post-recession U.S. economy;
To create and design a searchable archive for contingent faculty issues in the news;
To conduct research on contingent faculty and their role in the economy of U.S. colleges to encourage a broader public understanding of how colleges budget their financial resources as well as what effects these budgetary practices have on faculty populations, student populations, and the general value of higher education.”

If any adjuncts out there are currently on public assistance and willing to be interviewed for a documentary on poverty (producers are willing to block faces or withhold names), please contact Thank you!

3. U of MO, Columbia, grads threaten strike over health care subsidy cuts and they WIN.

4. More notices on the death of John Hess and from Hank Reichman, national officer of AAUP.

5. Request for survey respondents for PhD research on teacher and professor job satisfaction and career cycles.

6. Using sex appeal and video games to fill classes (SUNY Binghamton) [Adjuncts trying to survive. Where is the union in this?]

7. This notice about the death of Black Freedom Movement leader Julian Bond, who also was often a contingent faculty member in the DC area and elsewhere.

Since the passing of the civil rights leader Julian Bond, news has (re)surfaced of his 20-page comic book “Vietnam,” that was against the Vietnam War.
He wrote the text after he was kicked out of the Georgia state legislature for opposing the war. T.G. Lewis did the drawings.
Thanks to the Sixties Project for making it publicly accessible.

See the images here.

See article about it.

8. An important comment on race and racism for the Sanders campaign and for white progressives, by our colleague Bill Fletcher.

9. Death of my career: What happened to New Orleans veteran Black (mostly female) teachers.

10. Leslie Beggs: Modesto (CA) Junior College exploits underpaid adjunct professors.

11. SeaTac (WA) workers successfully defend $15 minimum wage.

12. Job Opening: Organizer, Teamsters for a Democratic Union

Teamsters for a Democratic Union is seeking an seeking an energetic, committed person to work full-time on organizing, education, and communication projects out of its New York or Detroit office. Women and people of color strongly encouraged to apply; Spanish fluency a plus. The job offers health insurance, generous vacation, and a salary up to $38,500 depending on experience. Send your resume and cover letter to TDU, P.O. Box 10128, Detroit, MI 48210, or

13. Like AFT, IAM (Machinists) members upset over Clinton endorsement.

14. Uber’s attempt to silence drivers backfires (all are contingent “contractors”).

15. Job opening, UC Berkeley Labor Center, research data analyst

16. VERY important new AAUP report of a Vanderbilt study: the proportion of African-Americans in NTT positions is more than twice that of whites.

17. 2% raise at TN St U to exclude adjuncts, all temporary staff and grads.

18. U of VT part-timers settle tentative agreement, with improvements (United Academics/AFT).

19. Ageism: a reality for teachers today despite shortages (Diane Ravitch blog).

20. A historian (adjunct and contingent) tried to discount the majority “adjunct” discourse and devalue our movement as such (and in so doing disrespects our colleagues in community colleges and forced to work in the for-profits). See the comments section on this too. And a reply and an addendum to the reply.

21. Catholic Church and Fight for 15.

22. Duquesne U (Pittsburgh, PA) sets $15 minimum for campus workers (but no mention of adjunct teachers).

23. Great visual joke on PA governor closing teacher lounges

Beth Emma Goldman shared Adjun’ct N’oise’s photo.
1 hr
Adjun'ct N'oise's photo.

24. See this map of most common job held by immigrants by state. In 4 states the most common job is college teacher (!) [Not sure of sources on this. Anyone with more details or information on this item, please email me.]

25. In SF Bay Area Adjunct Action is doing a panel of adjunct authors at the November Howard Zinn Book Fair, moderated by our extremely creative colleague/organizer, Jessica Lawless.

26. Sign petition to Temple U admin to let Temple adjuncts vote on unionization.

27. London Labour Film Festival solicits entries

We’re looking for short films about working people.
View this email in your browser
The third London Labour Film Festival will screen a selection of labour-related shorts throughout the film festival which takes place next month.

These short films will be screened between the feature length films.

We would like to invite you to be part of this.

We are asking people to submit short films to the festival.

The films and videos submitted can be made in the UK or anywhere in the world.

The films will be labour-related, they can be about any and every aspect of work, as well as those issues affecting unionised workers and those not represented by unions.

The selected (winners) will be chosen by a global panel of judges and shown as part of the festival.

The shorts selection competition is open to anybody. The purpose of the contest is to discover the hard work of filmmakers whose voices have yet to be heard.

The winners selected to be screened will be determined by a global panel of judges.

Deadline for entries: 8th September 2015

Click here for full details and an entry form.
Thanks — and please spread the word!
Eric Lee
Copyright © 2015 LabourStart, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Suite 504, 394 Muswell Hill Broadway
London, England N10 1DJ
United Kingdom

28. Robert Reich on the upsurge in uncertain work.

29. Good long article in Washington Monthly, Stop chiseling the adjuncts.

30. How Brother Bernie is making Labor’s Day.

31. Here is an example of how a democratic union leader engages in discussion about the election with membership [Postal Workers national president].

32. Beth Emma Goldman

August 24 at 1:11pm

here’s a new title I have never seen in academia! – “Full-Time Temporary
Associate Dean of Adjunct Faculty” –
Temporary Associate Dean Of Adjunct Faculty Job in Huntingdon 16652, Pennsylvania US
Temporary Associate Dean Of Adjunct Faculty job in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, US. Read the Temporary …

33. Blog about us on American Psych Assoc site.

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.  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.


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