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. State CC Chancellor’s task force report says replace ACCJC as accreditor.

2. CA CC system may seek new accreditor.

3. This from the AAUP Blog on the same topic.

4. And more from IHE.

5. And from CHE.


1. Computer faculty in India fight for regularization in education ministry.

2. 26 Japanese universities to abolish humanities and social sciences departments.

3. Call for presenters, deadline extended, Challenging Academic Precarity symposium , Oct. 2-4, Trent U, Peterborough, ONT, Canada, CUPE Local #3908.


1. Blast from the past – a review of Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education by Joe Berry, in AFT’s Reclaiming Higher Education blog.

2. An illustrative story about the UAW that can teach us a lot in the contingent faculty movement and maybe how to avoid some of the worst of it. Gregg Shotwell was a leader of the War Zone strikes/lockouts in Decatur, IL in the early 1990s (Caterpillar, Firestone and AE Staley). Also, some of our folks are also UAW members (I am one, JB) through membership in the National Writers Union, Local 1981, UAW.

3. Statewide rolling one-day strikes force WA Supreme Court to fine state legislature $10,000 per day for underfunding schools (Is this a reproducible idea? Came from the locals, not the state union (NEA) leadership)

4. Union protest overshadow Koch Brothers conference in Columbus, OH.

5. Where shared governance goes to die (Minerva).

6. In another less publicized recent NLRB decision, a serious warning to union they we can lose the right to bargain over an issue if we let it go in the past, case from AFT local at Berklee College of Music over class size minimums.

7. More on joint employer NLRB decision, and here.

8. Teacher shortage no accident, rather the result of corporate ed reform policies.

9. Homecare workers (mostly contingent women of color) could see major pay raises as court says they are covered by FLSA (federal wage and hours law).

10. U of NH lecturers get first contract ratified.

11. 10 years after Katrina New Orleans all charter school system is a failure and more; and more on New Orleans, How the Ruling class remade NO.

12. MA CCC (MTA/NEA) election of adjuncts to 2 seats upheld by arbitrator.

Hi y’all,

I’m forwarding below a message that Diana Yohe, chapter prez and member of the MCCC Board of Directors, sent to her colleagues at Bristol Community College. There were two appeals filed, but the prez of the union stubbornly refused to allow the one filed by a group of contingent faculty (including me, since at the time, although I retired after fall semester, I was a dues-paying member for the entire year and got to vote in both elections) to be considered by the Board or to move to mediation and arbitration. Since the two appeals overlapped in many items, that was basically okay with us.

Having been in the center of the action for the past five months, I can’t tell whether you might have questions that aren’t covered in Diana’s e-mail. If you do, I’d be happy to answer them.

In sol,

———- Forwarded message ———-
Dear Colleagues,

It has been a long road (April 3 – August 27, 2015) in the search for justice for our adjunct faculty at Bristol Community College and for all adjuncts within the Massachusetts Community College system (15 community colleges).

You may recall that MCCC elections were held in March 2015.

Full-time faculty and professional staff voted for MTA Annual Meeting delegates and NEA Representative Assembly delegates. Those votes were “certified†and announced (March 30, 2015) to the members.

Part-time and adjunct members voted for delegates to MTA and to NEA and those votes were “certified†and announced to members.

Part-time and adjunct members also voted for two at-large part-time/adjunct seats on the MCCC Board of Directors. Only part-time/adjunct members could vote in this election. Those votes were not certified*.

*Instead of certifying the votes, the MCCC leadership, led by Joe LeBlanc, and the MCCC Board of Directors voted on March 27, 2015, (the closing date of the election) to throw out (decertify) the adjunct-only election and re-run the election due to an alleged election violation. Bristol’s Chapter President (Yohe) was cited as having violated MCCC election policy by using Association (union) resources to endorse one of three candidates for the two seats. There was no investigation into the allegation and the allegation was false.

Your local BrCCC Executive Committee immediately filed an appeal with the MCCC and a hearing was held before the MCCC Board on April 17; it, unfortunately, failed. The Board voted to uphold its decision to decertify the adjunct vote.

The BrCCC then appealed to MTA and a mediation was held on June 10; no resolution.

The BrCCC then entered arbitration and two hearings were held on July 23 and August 10. The arbitrator rendered her decision on August 27.

I apologize that the Bristol Chapter members are just now getting this message. Your local BrCCC Executive Committee wanted to jointly draft a message to be sent to all of you. We were scheduled to meet on September 2. However, given that the word is out on other campuses, I felt it imperative for you to receive this announcement directly from me today.

Attached is the press release—authored by an adjunct from Mass Bay Community College who was also a member of the Bristol arbitration team—that entered circulation on August 28. You can also access it at the following link:

Arbitrator orders community college union to certify adjunct election;. Calls MCCC decertification decision arbitrary and capricious – PR12488836; View on<> ; Preview by Yahoo

I have not attached the full 35-page arbitration award. If you would like a copy, just let me know. The basic award by the arbitrator was:

The Appeal filed by the BrCCC is sustained.

As remedy, the results of the May 2015 election for At-Large/Part-Time Adjunct Director are vacated. The MCCC Board shall announce the vote totals of the March 2015 election for At-Large/Part-Time Adjunct Director and the results of that election will be certified.

/s/ Tammy Brynie

Tammy Brynie

August 27, 2015

The votes of the March 2015 election (closing at 4 p.m. on March 27) were released just this afternoon (August 29, 2015) as follows:

1 Carol Gray – 114 votes – 73% *
2 Linda Grochowalski – 84 votes – 54% *
3 Randi Zanca – 68 votes – 43%

The full vote announcement is attached and hopefully it will be posted on the MCCC website:<> .

Carol Gray and Linda Grochowalski have retained their at-large part-time/adjunct seats on the MCCC Board (they also won the May 2015 “new†election). Both are excellent advocates for adjuncts.

This is a great day and a great decision for union democracy and transparency; the voice of the members have been heard!

In solidarity,

BrCCC President

The BrCCC Executive Committee members that signed the original appeal:
The MCCC Bristol Chapter (BrCCC) Executive Committee

–Diana Yohe, Chapter President and Director to MCCC BOD (full-time faculty)

–David Henry, Treasurer (full-time faculty)

–Colleen Avedikian, Secretary (full-time faculty)

–Paulette Howarth, Day and DCE Grievance Coordinator (adjunct faculty)

–Kimberly Griffith, elected DCE Representative for the Bristol Chapter (former adjunct and now full-time faculty)

–Ron Weisberger, Strategic Action Coordinator (full-time professional staff)

–Patricia Condon, Membership Chair (full-time professional staff)

–Ely Dorsey, DCE MACER (adjunct faculty)

–Chris Hoeth, DCE MACER (adjunct faculty)

–Ravitha Amarasingham, DCE MACER (full-time faculty and adjunct instructor)
The Bristol Team at MTA Mediation and Arbitration:

–Diana Yohe, Bristol Community College
–Paulette Howarth, Bristol Community College
–Carol Gray, Greenfield Community College adjunct and at-large part-time/adjunct candidate
–Jeff Seideman, Mass Bay Community College adjunct
Professor Diana Yohe
Program Coordinator of Legal Studies
President, Bristol Community College Council (BrCCC)
Bristol Community College
Office: K-215
777 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA 02720
508.678.2811 Ext. 2404

13. US college meltdown, with a great satirical ad by our colleague Dahn Shaulis.

14. Fight for $15 is one answer to our “profits without prosperity” tailspin, by our colleague in Maine.

15. Labor Fightback Network and conference.


Weeks ago, when Donald Trump announced that he was visiting the Mexican-U.S. border at the invitation of the border workers union, the AFL-CIO intervened and Trump was uninvited.

To date we have been unable to find further actions or statements by the AFL-CIO in response to Trump’s many ultra-reactionary pronouncements, which the media has consistently been highlighting. These include his advocating the rapid deportation of 12 million “illegals”; his characterization of them as criminals, rapists and drug peddlers; his targeting of “gangs in Ferguson” and other cities he says should be among the first to be rounded up and expelled; and his reference to women in the most obscene, insulting, degrading and demeaning manner.

If Trump were some kind of isolated voice in the wilderness, he could simply be dismissed as a crackpot. But he currently leads the polls nationally and in a number of states when measured against his Republican rivals contending for their party’s nomination for president. And he is drawing the largest crowds by far when compared to them.

So why are AFL-CIO’s leaders remaining silent in the face of Trump’s vicious attacks against our members and workers as a whole? After all, we are talking here about our sisters and brothers, who are immigrants, women, members of oppressed nationalities and communities of color. Why suffer these attacks against them without responding to and exposing Trump for what he is — a spokesperson for the most reactionary wing of the corporate class?

Take, for example, his proposal to deport 12 million undocumented workers. How would this be carried out? By employing many more border guards, the National Guard, cops, militia, the army and every other repressive force in our society. Those members of the corporate class who oppose Trump’s proposal decry its costs as unsustainable. That may be, but the overriding objection is that it could convert our nation into a police state — obliterating civil liberties and civil rights and imposing an iron heel on dissent.

Past Reactionary and Repressive Movements

The U.S. has a long history of reactionary and repressive movements, policies, laws, institutions and practices. These include the Alien and Sedition Acts; slavery; the end of Reconstruction and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan; the internment of 120,000 Japanese plus thousands of Germans and Italians during World War II; deeply rooted xenophobia; the Gerald L.K. Smith movement; McCarthyism; the Un-American Activities Committee; the boycott of Hollywood actors and writers; jailings under the Smith Act, making it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the government by force and violence; gay and lesbian bashing; the massive incarceration of Blacks and other victims of racism; renditions and torture; lengthy and often indefinite detention of political prisoners; and the escalation of police violence and murder of so many unarmed Blacks.

At the same time, there have also been centuries of heroic actions and movements to preserve, protect and expand basic democratic rights, and these are being added to on a daily basis.

But with it all, the Trump phenomenon is unique in this respect: It has a mass base among nativists and others susceptible to Trump’s mouthings, and it is actively organizing all across the country, with sufficient funding to push forward its program — whatever that program is — while making it unnecessary to raise money from other sources.

Where is the Trump Movement Going?

Some people are dismissive about Trump’s prospects. They view his movement as ephemeral, not enduring. “Give him more rope and he’ll hang himself,” they confidently predict.

Others are far more concerned. They point out that Trump’s heated rhetoric spawns hatred and potential violence. This in an already too-violent and heavily armed nation.

One thing is clear: Trump has shown a talent for pouncing on developments and citing them as verification for positions he has taken. If, for example, an undocumented worker is charged with a murder in San Francisco, Trump says, “I told you so.” As China devalues its currency, which could cost jobs for U.S. workers, Trump’s reaction is the same: “I told you so.” He gives red meat on a daily basis to his followers, most of whom swallow what he says lock, stock and barrel.

Of course, the fertile ground that has allowed Trump to get a hearing would not be there were it not for the war at home and abroad carried out by Democrats and Republicans against working people. Money desperately needed to create jobs and improve living and working conditions here at home for the working class majority have gone to promote wars for oil in the Middle East and beyond, while Wall Street — not Main Street — has been bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

It is this worsening economic situation affecting tens of millions of people that provides the political space for demagogues like Trump to be able to scapegoat immigrants and others — when it’s the banksters and their political representatives in both major political parties who are responsible for the misery that is being inflicted, not people fleeing repression and U.S.-promoted “free trade” agreements that are devastating their home countries.

Why Labor Must Take Trump Head-On

While there might not be agreement within the labor movement over the magnitude of the threat that Trump poses, there should at least be consensus on recognizing that he is an enemy of the working class. He has, in fact, already targeted labor as an obstacle to progress, making clear that he opposes the labor-backed increase in the minimum wage, while contending that wages are currently too high and are causing companies to move to lower-paying countries, resulting in the loss of jobs at home.

Depending on Democratic and Republican politicians to stop Trump in his tracks — in the absence of massive and vocal opposition from below — is an exercise in futility. What is needed instead is building an independent movement led by labor, in partnership with our community partners, which takes a clear-cut stand exposing Trump as a spokesperson for the most reactionary wing of the ruling class.

As conditions worsen, people like Trump and his followers will exploit the situation and argue that there is no alternative to the simplistic solutions that Trump puts forward. It is essential that the labor movement provides that alternative with a program that reflects the interests of the working class majority and mobilizes to win support for its provisions. That is how to most effectively deal with the Trump phenomenon.

As spelled out in a statement by the Black Labor Collaborative titled, “A Future for Workers: A Contribution from Black Labor”: “If the labor movement does not raise its own flag and rally the vast majority of those who are seeing their dreams squeezed out of existence by global capitalism, it is quite possible that the developing anger will be channeled in dangerous directions, e.g., towards right-wing populism. Right-wing populism is an illness of anger, intolerance and irrationality that frequently emerges within capitalism during times of pressure and crisis, times such as those in which we live. As such, the forces of progress have little time to waste and, indeed, we must continue to recognize that failure is not an option.”

Money for jobs, housing, education, and public services – not for war!

End the U.S. wars in the Middle East! Out Now!

Stop the TPP in its tracks!


Issued by the Labor Fightback Network. For more information, please call
973-975-9704 or email or write Labor Fightback Network, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836 or visit our website at Facebook link :

Donations to help fund the Labor Fightback Network based on its program of solidarity and labor-community unity are necessary for our work to continue and will be much appreciated. Please make checks payable to Labor Fightback Network and mail to the above P.O. Box or you can make a contribution online. Thanks!

16. The double bind of the disabled adjunct.

17. The issue of subcontracting adjunct hiring returns.

Beth Emma Goldman
4 mins · Edited
The subject of EduStaff, LLC has come up previously in adjunct groups on facebook. Just last year, attempts were made to explore this new and deplorable method of hiring ancillary and part time faculty at colleges and it began in the State of Michigan. At this time, I believe there are still some K-12th grade teachers working thru this private/temp agency in MI. In England, Warwick Univ. was to start a similar privatized system for hiring part time faculty thru TeachHigher/UniTemps this Fall, but resistance and objections by unions, students and faculty resulted in it being disbanded. You can read the story here:  For a closer look at the history of EduStaff in America, please go to this article.

18. Academic Workers for a Democratic Union at New York U sends this
Via: NYU Academic Workers for a Democratic Union

NYU Be a Good Neighbor! Rally Against the Corporate University
Tuesday, September 1 at 4:00pm in EDT
Washington Square Park in New York, New York
280 people are going

19. PhD Comics, salaries at universities [Interesting, but I think they over state the
untenured professors”. Perhaps they only counted those on tenure track but not yet tenured and left out the majority not on TT?

20. Some good pics of contingent faculty in action.

21. Robert Craig Baum on Phil Magness.

22. More on Hocking College (Athens, OH) and their attempt through examining individual credentials, to convert positions from FTTT to adjunct.

23. A Dilbert cartoon with a joke for us.

24. After protest, U of AZ writing instructors get raise despite campus layoffs.

25. Student debt and adjuncts.

26. More on adjuncts and cuts at CCNHS (NH).

27. Pedagogy Unbound: You are the university.

28. Respect PT Lecturers poster from Rutgers AAUP-AFT PTL chapter.

29. Why didn’t higher education protect Black and Hispanic wealth? (from Federal Reserve).

30. Sept issue of Too Much, the wonderful IPS newsletter on inequality.

31. From Temple U (PA) how to be a tenured ally.

32. Recent entry (On U of MO grad struggle and being supported by FTTT faculty) on AFT Reclaiming Higher Education page, which is largely devoted to contingent faculty issues and well worth following regularly; also on this AFT page is a quite good summary in Q and A format, of the situation of contingent faculty. Sign up to follow.

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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