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.


1. About the struggle at CCSF indirectly, by one of our colleagues
A very good interview about urban schools, racism and PTSD with an Oakland, CA teacher interviewed by one of our colleagues at City College of SF.


1. Puerto Rican parents, students and teacher fighting to defend closed schools.

2. The big picture: adjunct and contingent faculty (Canada) You-tube video, 5 minutes, from a Canadian expert.

3. Philippine students strike over higher ed budget cuts.

4. Chilean student protesters demand more radical reforms.


1. An informed reply to item on last Updates from the Washington Monthly on adjuncts. A useful caution as to sources. Reminds me of the Cold War days when the CIA sponsored liberal journals, writers, artists etc. and planted articles overseas. Maybe this is really the same thing, only “privatized.” If more discussion on this, send to my email below or take it onto ADJ-L discussion listserv.

The money shot from the article is the hawking of western governors university (Utah) , an online diploma mill.
and I don’t expect that you have forgotten that WM is Lumina funded, to the tune of about 3 million the past five years. This is “bought” journalism that uses the “adjunct” issue as a weak cover.

The Washington Monthly is funded by Lumina, to the tune of about 3 million in the past few years.

The money shot in this article, unwisely circulated by Joe in his updates, in my view, was the pitch for colleges “like” Western Governors University,a non-for profit–but almost totally online diploma mill.

Again Washington Monthly journalism, though previously a “progressive” publication, is now almost totally owned by Lumina and the Lumina agenda is driving the journalism.

The poor adjunct framing is, in my view, cover for the real message: HE can be done on the cheap if institutions moved from “poorly paid adjuncts” to online delivery.

2. Lee Kottner’s maybe-final answer to Magnuss, Jason Brennan, et al.

3. Grad union (GAU/AAUP) to rally at U of RI.

4. Chicago area conference for composition adjuncts at College of DuPage. Writing on the Edge. 9/19/2015.

5. Adjuncts have fewer options than grad students (from U of MO, Columbia).

6. U of Akron video protesting financial policies.

7. Universities and ethics (or not).

8. State U faculty in MN get raises in new contract and adjuncts get an extra percent.

9. A fairy tale of the sage, the scholar and the administrator.

10. A very good interview about urban schools, racism and PTSD with an Oakland, CA teacher interviewed by one of our colleagues at City College of SF.

11. A very well-though-out proposal to reform higher ed, by a U of Chicago grad student. Treat the badmin like bankers.

12. Toward a pedagogy of equality, put on by For a University Worth Fighting For at CUNY, a conference, series of workshops, lifestream, etc.

13. Grads rally at U of MO (Columbia) sparks faculty support.

14. Another order by NLRB to finally count the vote in the Manhattan College (private Catholic) adjunct election from 2011!!?? [May the religious exemption” from NLRA finally be disposed of once and for all.]

15. SF Bay Area Troublemakers school (Labor Notes sponsored). October 17, Sat, Berkeley City College [very much recommended!]

16. First quickie election under new NLRB rules results in union for PA nurses.

17. Adjuncts and Professional Devopment (Quotes Maria Maisto of NFM and Gary Rhoades).

18. Longer hours, more stress, no extra pay, it’s not just Amazon it’s the modern workplace.

19. The real reason behind the US teacher shortage.

20. This letter from the White House, in the name of a small business person in New Orleans, is an outrage. Painting what has happened to the schools and to many of the mostly poor Black working class residents (many of which never got back) and their children as a success for kids is lying of the worst sort. See reports ranging from the New Orleans Teachers Union (UTNO/AFT) to the TV series “Treme” and elsewhere for evidence. I hope progressive forces in NO and the national AFT responds to this.

In 2005, my husband Norm and I owned a sign-printing shop in New Orleans, right next to the Superdome. We were getting ready to celebrate our 15th year in business.

And then Katrina came.

As was the fate for much of New Orleans, the hurricane flooded our shop and forced us to move to Lake Charles, Louisiana. (Until Hurricane Rita hit a few weeks later, forcing us to move yet again.) Once the waters receded, Norm and I had to decide whether to abandon our business, or to go back and rebuild it.

We decided to rebuild. Just like our city did.

This afternoon, I’ll be introducing President Obama as he visits New Orleans to meet with residents like me who have rebuilt their lives since Katrina, and to talk about what’s changed in the city and what still needs work. Tune in here.

Over the past decade, we’ve learned our lessons from Hurricane Katrina, and we’ve made some pretty big improvements. For one, Louisiana has worked hard to be better prepared for future storms and extreme weather events — upgrading our levees and pump stations, as well as elevating homes and retrofitting our buildings.

But our efforts aren’t limited to making sure we’re ready when the next storm comes.

We’ve also worked to improve our schools, for our kids. New Orleans’ high school graduation rate before Katrina was only 54 percent; now, it’s 73 percent. College enrollment has almost doubled over that time period, giving our children a better chance at a future.

And residents like me who stuck with our home through the hardest possible time are expanding job opportunities for our neighbors — by creating jobs to rebuild New Orleans’ transportation systems, and expanding job-training programs in industries like high-tech manufacturing.

There’s still a lot of work left to be done, but we’re getting there. Our growth so far is a great example of what can happen when everyday Americans, community leaders, government agencies, and business leaders work together to make a difference.

I’m proud of my city. I’m proud to have rebuilt and to be celebrating 25 years of business this year. I’m proud of how far we’ve come in the last 10 years, and I can’t wait to see how much more we’ll grow.

Make sure to watch the President’s remarks this afternoon at 4:55 p.m. Eastern. And if you have your own story of how your community stuck together, or you know someone who does, share it here.



Michelle Gobert
New Orleans, Louisiana

21. Berkshire CC (MA) adjuncts get office space (negotiated through the union??)

22. Controversy at Rutgers over head football coach remaining an adjunct over a student’s status in class. [Article fails to mention a key aspects, namely that not only is their respective pay radically different , but even more important, that their security of employment is also radically different.

23. Major decision from NLRB on responsibility of main employer for actions of contractors could make subcontracting and outsourcing (and privatization) much less attractive for employers. A real win for ease of unionization too.

24. Great satirical video from U of Iowa [my alma mater and former employer as well], which includes instant tenure for all contingent academics!

25. More on Manhattan College (NYC) NLRB decision to count votes.

26. Debt is death at WalSmart University (Robert Craig Baum).

27. Worth a look, video Capitalism is just a story.

28. The awful revolution: is neoliberalism a public health risk?

NOTE: As noted previously, your COCAL UPDATES editor (Joe Berry) and his spouse/partner/colleague Helena Worthen, are teaching 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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