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.

NOTE #1:

Recent entry, of particular interest to contingent faculty, from blog from Ton Duc Thang U in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.
Starting to Explore 2
by helenaworthen

Adjuncts everywhere will recognize this:

The office next to ours has a sign, Faculty Lounge, over the door. It’s a square room like ours with glass interior walls, a window looking outside, air conditioning and a dozen upholstered chairs around the walls. This is the office for adjuncts. It also serves as an ad hoc meeting room.

This afternoon the archetypical situation of adjuncts was taking place in that room: In one corner, a middle-aged woman was grading papers on one arm of her chair while nibbling her lunch which was laid out on the other arm of her chair. She had a dishtowel on her lap to protect her dress. Her book was open on a chair in front of her. On the opposite side of the room a group of students were meeting about something.

I have often seen adjuncts sleeping in this office. They go to the same corner chair, pull a scarf or a jacket over their head, and lean against the wall for a nap.

We’ve been told that many adjuncts in the Labor Relations and Trade Union Faculty are union staff.

NOTE #2:


1. From CA Fed of Teachers Comm. Dir. Fred Glass.

2. More on Labor Day from Jim Hightower.

3. Judy Collins, inspired by Rose Schneiderman and the 1912 Lawrence Strike (IWW)

4. Why unions on Labor Day.

5. The working poor are the major philanthropists of society.


1. Now, the SF Examiner says, after 3 years, we were right about the ACCJC all along.


Here’s a tweet about the article. A shortened link appears at the end.

Chronicle, Brice Harris, Ed Lee were wrong about #ACCJC and #CCSF. #CACCfaculty #BerkeleyCC

Here’s the longer link.

2. AFT 2121 membership votes at over 90% to assess themselves to establish strike hardship fund. [Could this be the first such fund in US higher ed unions]

In the highest turnout ever in our local, faculty voted overwhelmingly to create a Strike Hardship Fund. More than 600 ballots were cast and the “Yes” vote was 93%! By casting ballots to prepare a strike fund and make an extra monthly sacrifice out of each paycheck, faculty are also saying “No!” to the years of cutbacks the CCSF community has endured.

Let this be an important wake up call to the District: faculty need a contract that values the work we do for the college. We need a contract that will allow us to afford the city we serve. We need a contract that reflects our commitment to provide diverse course offerings for the students of San Francisco. And we are willing to take action to get that contract. The proposals the District brought to us yesterday do not do that.

Here are their proposals for the next 3 years:

• COLA of 1.02% and COLA for two more years for all faculty.
• 1.1% increase for full timers over 2007 salaries along which a 3.7% restoration.
• No increase and no restoration for part timers beyond COLA.
• They also proposed to link salary increases in future years to “productivity goals” which essentially means more students per class.
• They signaled that “productivity goals” would be primarily achieved by canceling lower enrolled classes when they said their compensation proposal was all predicated on imposing a 15% cut of classes over the next three semesters.
Our compensation proposal calls for an immediate 3.7% restoration for all faculty and a 16% raise over 3 years. And stay tuned for a fuller response to the District’s proposal from our AFT 2121 bargaining team.

Now that we have shown the District our determination to win a fair contract we need to continue to build momentum. You can be part of that by getting involved in our contract campaign. Please contact Alan D’Souza ( or Michael McCown (

Contact AFT 2121 at 415-585-2121 or visit us online at Follow us on Facebook.
To update your email address, please let us know at


1. General strike in India includes public and educational sector, and more on that strike at Hyderabad in particular by university teachers and students.

2. In search of solidarity for sessional instructors (Canada).


1. Adjuncts at Appalachian State U.

2. At U of TN, students, workers and their unions protest massive privatization plan by governor.

3. Adjunct Commuter Weekly, check out their whole site of this new publication and also recent article, professors in poverty. Some folks on this list might want to submit articles to this publication, especially if you work in NYC or Boston areas, and Slate on this new publication.

4. Chicago film screening about temporary worker killed on his first day on the job.

A Day’s Work Screening
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Chicago Workers Collaborative
Uniting temporary staffing workers for full employment and equality in the precarious workplaces of the 21st century

Chicago Debut of Award Winning Film “A Day’s Work”
CWC & Men and Women in Prison Ministries Host Screening

The Chicago Workers Collaborative along with Men and Women in Prison Ministries will host a screening of “A Day’s Work” on Thursday, October 15 at 6pm (more info below). This film shares the tragic story of Lawrence DaQuan “Day” Davis, a temp worker, who died on the first day of work at the Barcardi bottling factory in Jacksonville, FL. The film then examines how the temp labor industry strips away workers health and safety protections to generate more profit by shielding employers from any responsibility to their workers.

Following the screening temp worker members of CWC, who are fighting these conditions, will be on hand to discuss these issues along with the films producer, Dave DeSario.

A Day’s Work Screening
When: Thursday, October 15th, 6pm
Where: Men and Women in Prison Ministries,10 W. 35th Street, Chicago.
Who: Chicago Workers Collaborative, hosted by Men and Women in Prison Ministries
Cost: $5 – $10 Suggested Donation

5. Check out NC adjunct faculty Facebook page.

6. Joint demonstration against “everything that is wrong in higher ed today” by students, workers and unions at NYU, Cooper Union and the New School.

6. Sign petition for first contract for adjuncts in SEIU in VT at Champlain College, Burlington College, and St Michaels College.

7. Seattle teachers to strike.

Seattle teachers vote overwhelmingly to go on strike. In addition to pay, they are fighting for guaranteed time for recess and basic respect from management. This article doesn’t touch on all that, but you can follow Seattle teachers like Jess Hagopian on Twitter to learn more. And here’s a blog with much more info. and details.

and more from Vanessa

Dora Taylor just posted this to Education Bloggers Network — unanimous as of 7:45 pm last night, and this is why. I just posted to PD, Good post and a proposal that goes beyond pay and working conditions showing how — like Chicago teachers — they are listening and responding to parents

Dora’s Seattle Education page has good sections on Gates Foundation, ALEC, and other topics (primarily K 12 oriented but still about assault on public)


and this from our colleague city councilor Kshama Sawant, and also from WA, State Supreme Court, Charter schools unconstitutional.

8. Take-home pay for low income workers sees biggest drop.

9. The student as education insurgent.

10. Petition for a RICO investigation of higher ed.

11. The misuse of research in support of deregulation and privatization of teacher education.

12. Puget Sound area Labor Notes Troublemakers School, Sept. 12 (highly recommended).

13. The Happy Adjunct

Beth Emma Goldman
September 4 at 11:06am

the ultimate in denial: i know Amazon sucks big time but posting so you can look inside this delicious book called “Happy Professor: An Adjunct Instructor’s Guide to Personal, Financial, and Student Success” because I am sure you won’t be “buying it”!

14. This from our colleague Ana Fores Tamayo in TX
Joe: if you could share this in COCAL, I would most appreciate it. Thank you!

Please share this film with English subtitles — Ayotzinapa, Chronicle of a Crime of State — with all your classes, especially ones where social justice themes play a vital part, as these 43 student teachers are still nowhere to be found. On September 26, the one-year anniversary of their forced disappearance from Iguala, Mexico will be coming up. Yet the impunity of taking student teachers en masse laughs at the face of any democracy, and we should all cry out:

This film is a perfect opportunity to share with our students what is going on in the world around us, at least south of us.

See the trailer here, and if you would like to rent the film, please get in touch with me through a private message at Adjunct Justice or with En Pie de Lucha

If your group or organization (family, friends) is or will be interested in hosting or providing a space to show the film, please contact us so we can arrange an appropriate date & time (A minimum of 20 people is required). This is an independent film: it won’t be shown at movie theaters near you!

Adjunct Justice: Fores’ Forum & En Pie de Lucha Performance are proud promoters!

Besos, not borders,

Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice
Facebook Page:

15. Even conservatives (Witherspoon Institute) are now calling for a national adjunct strike.

16. Dyett HS protesters and hunger strikers in Chicago say they want to help design the new school.

17. Where are the critical intellectuals? (This article with many good points is limited by two grave omissions. One is the lack to discussion of the casualization of faculty in higher ed which has eliminated academic freedom for most people employed as professors and , secondly, the omission of mention of the substantial number of intellectuals of color, male and female, both in higher ed and outside it, who are speaking out on the issues the article lists.)

18. Unionization important in closing racial wage gap, new study says.

19. Al Jazeera America newsroom workers vote to unionize (TNG/CWA).

20. TT faculty need to fight for adjunct equity but adjuncts don’t need “us” to save “them.”

21. Million Student March, Nov. 12, Wash., DC.

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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