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.


CAMPUS EQUITY WEEK 2015 – Hi Everyone, I just finished listening to the planning meeting on the upcoming Campus Equity Week 2015 (Oct. 26-30). I will see whether I might be able to give you a recording of this meeting soon. You can access information both on Facebook and  here: Campus Equity 2015.


1. 36 ways unions have benefited American workers [meaning over 70% of the population]

2. This from a labor law firm sent out to clients.

3. A couple pieces on the state of labor this Labor Day.

4. Pete Seeger singing “Which Side are You On?” (Florence Reece, 1931)

5. New report explores why so few women top union leaders.

6. We need a labor movement that takes sides, by Lois Weiner (who has written a lot on teacher unionism and is an AFT member at CUNY).

7. Famous picture of what may be the most famous picket line in US labor history

8. On Labor Day why we need a guaranteed annual income.

9. Silicon Valley’s labor uprising.

10. Jim Hightower, Who says America doesn’t need unions?

11. On Labor Day remember the union workers who made PA strong.

12. Why Labor Day matters, Ralph Nader.

13. Organized labor should spend the rest of 2015 teaching workers how to fight better.

14. Law prof attacks firefighters for labor day and 9/11 and reply.

15. A teacher’s Labor Day plea to the school “reformers”


1. How colleges are following in footsteps of failed K-12 policies (with analysis of role of accreditors too).

2. City College beats all the colleges that members of ACCJC are from in academic outcomes

3. More accrediting news, this on Corinthian Colleges’ accreditor.

4. CCSF prepares for strike.

5. Letter from AFT 2121 Pres to CCSF Bod,


1. In India new directive says only regular faculty, not adjuncts, can supervise MA or PhD students.


1. Doonesbury Sunday (Labor Day cartoon) , save it for future reference Also note he has all the speaking roles be white guys. Would never know that most contingents are female and have been for years. Two steps forward…
and comments on it coming in already too

2. More on Al Jazeera unionization vote.

3. The isolation of adjunct faculty and its impact on their performance.

4. Car wash workers organize and fight, but don’t unionize.

5. Newly released emails show Hillary helped for-profit colleges that later gave Bill millions.

6. Academics Anonymous’ open letter to university “leaders.”

7. Tompkins CC in NY named “goat of labor” at Labor Day workers picnic.

8. Kaplan campuses sold again and this time to ECA.

9. Obama signs sick leave order for federal contractors, but millions still left out.

10. Brandeis U (MA) NTT continue union drive with SEIU.

11. Daymar College, the KY for-profit, agrees to pay millions to ex-students.

12. Seattle teachers set to strike “for the schools Seattle’s children deserve” and more here; and here, and here, and here.

13. U of NC Faculty Forward (SEIU) event, Sept. 17.

14. Petition to federal government to alter and clarify adjunct faculty hours for purposes of eligibility for public service (student) loan forgiveness program.

15. CA State U adjunct on pay in CSU’s, even for FTTT faculty, and why a strike is possible.

16. Supporting contingent faculty for a better learning environment at Virginia Tech.

17. Added pressure and longer commutes as higher ed increasingly relies on adjunct faculty.

18. I have the best job in academia and I’m leaving (but he never mentions organizing as an alternative) and more on the whole genre of “quit lit.”

19. In the CA State U system, “skin in the game” means more student debt and corporatization.

20. Another view of being an adjunct by a colleague in City Colleges of Chicago, a CCCLOC (IEA/NEA) union member and a science teacher. Worth a read and a comment.

21. In San Francisco, a Worker Rights Board Hearing (Jobs with Justice) focused on higher ed, Sept 9, 2015.

22. A few articles of note from Li Miao Lovett, our colleague at CCSF, AFT 2121

Hi Joe,

There’s a few articles here that you might like to share on COCAL. The one about contingent (my word) lawyers is very interesting.


23. The myth of Do What You Love.

24. Beth Emma Goldman

September 9 at 10:49am

Keene State College – NH – We already know that adjunct faculty unionized with NEA back in 2013 (contract) and now the Campus Safety Officers at Keene have followed suit, unionizing with local Teamsters 633!!

25. Why we should fear the corporate university.

26. KPFA (Pacifica) show on academic labor, recommended.

27. Hunger strikes at St Louis U (MO) planned as adjuncts fight for higher wages.

28. Brave New Films, “Higher Ed, Not Debt.”

29. Rutgers union (AFT/AAUP) calls for investigation into possible bullying of vulnerable contingent faculty by football coach over grades.

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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