Joe Berry's picture


Public schools are at the center of the manufactured breakdown of the fabric of everyday life. They are under attack not because they are failing, but because they are public. Henry Giroux
COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a 20-plus year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri-national - USA, CAN (including QBC), and MEX) every other year, usually in August. 2018 was in San Jose, CA. and 2022 (waiting another year!) will be in Queretaro, Mexico. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee, a website, and Facebook page <>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv and other resources.
UPDATE on COCAL XIV: August 4-7, Queretaro, Mexico (For French and Spanish versions, go to the website listed below, <>






SPECIAL NOTE FROM THE EDITOR : Please see recent additions below.

Pluto Books has released (August 2021) a new book, Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education, by Joe Berry and Helena Worthen. Order at from Powells through the ILWU local 5 portal at <> Paperbacks come with free e-books. See reviews and recordings below. PDP blog at

The book starts with an atttempt to answer the repeated question: What is the best union contract for contingents ion the US and how did they get it? Focusing on the 40 years' fight of Lecturers at the CA ST U system, we attempt to tell that story and draw the lessons available from that long and continuing struggle. We also look at the history of higher ed from the point of view of the faculty workforce, suggest some strategies and frame some of the key strategic troublesome questions that arise in nearly all efforts to organizing and fight collectively.

As editor of COCAL UPDATES, let me personally invite you to get and read the book and then send me your comments (which I will share if you permit). We also solicit reviews in other media and invitations to speak or give book talks. We are open to publishing selections in other places. Bulk orders by unions and other groups are welcome and will receive a deep discount. A study guide for use in study groups and book clubs is in process and will be available soon.

We hope that this book can be a useful addition to the continuing movement to organize contingent faculty for action in our own behalf and, ultimately, to abolish contingency in higher education and for all workers. If you can help with any of these efforts, please contact us at <>

In solidarity,
Joe Berry, editor, COCAL UPDATES 

Reviews and interviews/presentations:$

and an interview

Here is the link to the presentation by Helena Worthen about our book, Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Educaiton, hosted by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at the University of Washington on October 27, 2021.

and a recent review from Jacobin, by our PT colleague Fred Glass

and from the CA F of T Part-timer Newsletter

November 2021:
Recent related article by Worthen and Berry in New Politics

Nov. 28,  Editorial in LA Times mentioning book and quoting Berry, Worthen (and John Martin of CPFA)

Jan. 2022:

Recording of presentation to the Marxist Education Project (successor to the NYC Brecht School) on PDP and lots of Q & A time after.

On Jan 22, 2022, at 4:33 PM, Michael Lardner <> wrote:

The Vimeo is here with password:
1/14/2022 Power Despite Precarity
password = highered

February 23, 2022
Video of interview of H and J on podcast, Shelter and Solidarity (moderated partially by our comrade Suren Moodliar, who has supported COCAL with his labor and advice for nearly 20 years

Dear colleagues, friends, and comrades:

For those who missed it, here is our Shelter & Solidarity discussion with Joe Berry and Helena Harlow Worthen about their book POWER DESPITE PRECARITY: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education!

I really enjoyed hearing the authors explain some of their core ideas--including the notion of the "Inside/Outside Strategy"-- as well as past experiences, and also how they engaged a range of important questions from the live audience. There is LOT here to digest, and we've added time-stamps below the video, to allow you to dip and dive in where you are most interested.

All best,
Joe Ramsey
for Shelter & Solidarity

Feb. 2022 Blog post by Helena Worthen

February 28,2022 Reprint of chapter of PDP in Nonprofit Quarterly

FEB. 25, 2022 Video of presentation to WA (State) AFT contingent faculty conference

American Educator (National AFT magazine)  Sp 2022

and from Truthout, 3/26/2022
Jonathan Rosenblum

Article in Advocate,  magazine of Texas State Teachers Assoc./NEA, see page 14, Sp. 2022

NYT on adjuncts without pay, quote from Berry and mentions PDP book

On Apr 6, 2022, at 6:17 AM, Anemona Hartocollis <> wrote:

Thanks for your help, Joe, and good luck with the book. Your publisher sent it to me, and I plan to read it. 
Here’s the story.

New national AFT contingent faculty survey.



1. CCSF faculty and students occupy plaza in front of Chancellor’s office in protest of layoffs


2. The fight continues after layoff vote


3. SF Chronicle weighs in (and better than expected)




1. Swaziland teacher unmion leader being persecuted by militarized police


2. Education International (one international union federation for education) decries privatization of higher ed in Africa






1. Jennifer Abruzzo, new NLRB chief counsel, is writing many pro-worker memos (orders) to staff


2. New adjunct memoir


3. A very good basic primer on organizing by our colleague Rich Moser.


4. Updates from Labor Notes


5. Mineapolis school strikes won big pay gains for the lowest paid


6. Some good labor ed opportunities from ILR at Cornell U


7. 3 steps for adjunct inclusion in ed tech adoptions


8. Pasadena adjuncts protest


9. Howard U faculty strike uncovered financial missteps by management


10. Interesting discussion of firing of adjunct (who was a retired emeritus prof at the same school) for criticizing the U management


11. U of SF (CA) adjunct faculty union ratifies new contract


12. From “Who gets the bird?”

5,000 nurses with independent union CRONA will begin a strike at Stanford and Packard Hospitals in Palo Alto, CA tomorrow morning; their contract expired at the end of March and management has already moved to cut them off their healthcare. Meanwhile, over 8,000 NNU nurses across 18 Sutter Health facilities across Northern California held a one-day strike on Monday; they’ve been in contract negotiations for nearly a year, and are, like nurses across the country, fighting for safe staffing ratios.

A specter is haunting Midwestern higher education. Indiana University grad student workers remain on a recognition strike with the UE. Undergrad student workers at Kenyon College in Ohio are on strike, also with the UE. University of Illinois–Chicago grad student workers are on strike with AFT. Their faculty counterparts downstate at University of Illinois–Springfield have authorized a strike and given their ten-day notice as well. Staff at Augsburg University in Minneapolis with OPEIU Local 12 held a contract rally, after bargaining for over a year. 


New election filings at the NLRB: 450 non-tenure-track faculty at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA are organizing with SEIU Local 1021. 


13. Support Mercy College NY) adjunct strike (SEIU)

Hello everyone,
Can you show solidarity and stand with Mercy adjuncts today and tomorrow?  700 Mercy College adjuncts who are members of Local 200United are going on Strike on May 2nd.  This will be the first adjunct strike in New York State and one of only a few we have seen nationally.
Can you support the strike by doing the following right now?

• Share this video story of Mercy adjuncts talking about why they are going on strike.

• Participate in the below Social Media Campaign on Today and Tuesday.

Mercy April 25th & 26th Twitter Campaign
On May 2nd 700 Mercy College adjuncts will go on strike.  We are asking the community to engage in a social media campaign onApril 24th and 25th so the Mercy administration can hear from the public prior to bargaining on April 26th, 27th and 28th.  
Create Your Own Tweet
Tweet @TimothyLHall and @MercyCollege and use the hashtags #MercyCollege #HaveMercy and #AdjunctStrike
You can also tag some of these accounts in retweets, responses to other tweets or responses to your original tweet to help build broader support:  @insidehighered @chronicle @diverseissues @highered_CB @higheredlabor or retweet the SEIU Local 200United account @seiu200united
Sample Tweets You Can Use!
@TimothyLHall #HaveMercy on adjuncts! No more professors making poverty wages @MercyCollege. $3k/course means 700 adjunct professors can’t make ends meet.  #MercyCollege professors should not be living out of their cars, struggling to eat or pay rent. #AdjunctStrike
Students @MercyCollege pay the same tuition, get the same credit and are taught to the same standard when taught by full time faculty or adjuncts.  Why should adjuncts earn a third of what full time faculty earn? #EqualPayForEqualWork #AdjunctStrike @TimothyLHall 
Most #MercyCollege adjuncts are paid $3k / course and are only allowed to teach 3 courses / year, earning a maximum of $18k annually with no benefits. @TimothyLHall time to #HaveMercy on Mercy adjuncts!  #AdjunctStrike
With temporary semester to semester contracts @MercyCollege students don’t have long term mentorship or opportunities to choose future classes with their preferred professors.  #AdjunctStrike @TimothyLHall #HaveMercy on #MercyCollege Adjuncts!
@TimothyLHall - No job security for #MercyCollege adjuncts who teach the majority of classes means students have no guarantee about their favorite professors coming back.  #AdjunctStrike 
@TimothyLHall just so you know Right to Work is a vestige of the Jim Crow era.  It has no place in 2022 and no place at Mercy College.
Other Social Media Platforms
You can create your own message or use the sample tweets on other social media platforms as well. (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok)  Best practices are to post a photo or video of yourself with messaging supporting Mercy adjuncts.
Share the adjunct strike video via SEIU Local 200United Facebook Page

Chris Machanoff (he,him,his)
SEIU Local 200United


14. for this week


15. Worth consideration from our colleagie Jack Metzgar on education and the working class.


16. U of CA academic student workers  (UAW) launch mass protest statewide


17. To whom it may concern,

Please find below and attached a press release regarding a union rally to be held tomorrow at the University of the Arts in Center City Philadelphia.
Please be in touch with any questions.
Zoe Cohen
UAP Organizer



Zoe Cohen, UAP Organizer
Daniel Pieczkolon, UAP President

University of the Arts Faculty to Hold Union Rally for a Strong First Union Contract & to Support UArts Staff in their Union Election.

Wednesday April 27th Noon-1pm

UArts Hamilton Hall at 320 S Broad St. 

In November 2020 full-time and part-time faculty at University of the Arts voted with a historic 99% yes vote to unionize with United Academics of Philadelphia, a local of American Federation of Teachers. Faculty have been bargaining with the university and their Morgan Lewis lawyer for over a year, with only the most basic items agreed upon. 

Faculty are asking students, alumni, parents, and community members to join their rally in support of a strong first union contract and in support of their staff colleagues. Over 80% of UArts faculty are part-time with no benefits, hired one semester at a time. And all UArts faculty are paid significantly less than other comparable institutions. UArts faculty want to win pay raises that bring pay for all faculty or levels on par with comparable institutions, job security for part-time faculty, and true shared governance measures, such as faculty voting seats on the Board of Trustees, and input on hiring of Deans and other leadership positions. 

Full-time and part-time staff are also currently in the process of voting for union recognition as a separate bargaining unit of UAP. Staff from all academic and non-academic departments are forming a union to address a historic lack of pay increases, and to create a voice with the university administration amid increasing retention problems. Staff went public with their intention to unionize on March 14th 2022, and their votes will be counted by the National Labor Relations Board on May 16th. 

Faculty have been conducting open bargaining for the past year, with union members as well as UArts students, alumni, and parents attending to observe and show their support for the contract negotiations. The rally will include remarks from UArts faculty and staff union leaders. Members of the press are invited to attend and speak with faculty and staff, as well as student and other community supporters. 

Adjunct Assistant Professor Allen Radway says, “I want a strong UArts faculty union contract because I want our students to know what better-supported and better-positioned artists can accomplish in the world through their work. I want to be a proof that their ideas, craft, voices and contributions matter.”

Yasmine El Gheur, Senior Administrative Assistant says, “I’m voting Yes for a UArts Staff union with UAP because I deeply care about my colleagues and our futures. A staff union will provide us with an opportunity to stand together and use our collective strength to improve our job security, pay, and benefits.”

UArts Crafts Alumna Ellen Littlefield says, “Faculty and staff must be treated fairly and that includes paying a living wage and benefits. It’s inexcusable that UArts administration is stalling on negotiations with faculty. It’s disgraceful that such a prestigious university is so behind the times in understanding the needs of its professors.”

UArts Adjunct Associate Professor Sam Heaps says, “I believe a strong union contract will help create the necessary living conditions for part-time professors like myself to offer their students the time and attention they deserve. Respect for faculty and staff shows respect for students too.”

For more information on the UArts UAP bargaining units and campaigns:   and

18. Washington DC adjuncts struggle to get by, and are organizing


19. From Payday Report:

Erie Educators Walkout over Gun Violence 

Earlier this month, following a school shooting at Erie High School, 860 educators walked out to demand that the union implement a complex list of gun violence prevention measures. For more than two weeks, Erie teachers have been teaching online while they push for gun control measures. 

Erie Education Association Vice President Matt Beiter tells the Erie Times-News why it was important for the union to take a stand: 

With lights off, we sat in the back of my classroom illuminated by the lights of our phones as we attempted to find out what was happening. Once we knew that this was not a drill, that there truly had been shots fired, I was shocked at how unsurprised my students were. I even had a conversation with one who said, 'You know, this is not the first time this week students brought guns to school." I asked the student, "Why wouldn’t you let me know?" He stated that “he has to live in this neighborhood,” which I understand.

But it really struck me. As teachers, we are all taught Maslow’s needs hierarchy. In clean comfortable rooms, we draw pyramids and hear psychology professors talk about how “children cannot think about higher-level things like math and grammar if their base needs are not met.” The very bottom of that pyramid is safety and security. When we have some students still wearing masks from a pandemic, all locked in a room, waiting out a school shooting, our children feel neither safe nor secure.

One of the questions I was asked immediately after the shooting was who I blame. I think this is one of easy ones. I blame myself. I have been a teacher in this school for 20-plus years. I am a union representative who has been on the safety committee for more than a year. It was my job to keep our students and staff safe, and I failed.

For more, check out the Erie Times-News


20. Grad workers  (and others) fight in CA, IL and Indiana


21. CA PT Fac Assoc (for the CC’s) annual conference upcoming May 7


22. Full CA Fed of T Part-timer Newsletter  —lots of good stuff

Hi Joe,

Here's the link to last week's Part-Timer newsletter.

That said, there are some issues with its display. I finally got the newsletters redesigned to read better on mobile, which has now created web issues. So it goes...

But all of the stories are there and the links are working so it's good to share. 

I will continue to troubleshoot in the meantime.



23. United Campus workers organizing wall to wall at E KY U


24. House staff (medical residents and interns) at Stanford hospitals vote to unionize 4-1 (CIR/SEIU)


25. Grinnell College (IOWA) become the first fully unionized undergrad school in the US


26. Long Beach Community College District is currently facing a class-action lawsuit after two adjunct professors alleged that the former illegally forced them to do unpaid work outside the classroom.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit stated the plaintiffs were forced to grade, prepare for classes, and meet with students. It also claimed that the district violated California’s minimum wage laws. “If a judge allows the suit to proceed as a class action, more than 600 part-time instructors in the district could be involved,” EdSource said in a report. Advocates have also stated that the lawsuit’s outcome may have “statewide repercussions.”

According to the lawsuit, adjuncts are compensated based on their classroom hours worked, “even though the district knows that these faculty members necessarily spend substantial additional time working outside the classroom [to teach] their assigned classes.”


27. Better pay, expanded access to healthcare, greater job security and compensation for work outside the classroom were a few of the things the adjuncts are demanding, and the union representatives are working towards.

Outrage came from the protesters regarding the lack of respect they feel NYU administration has given to adjunct faculty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they were required to use virtual teaching platforms that they had no training in and were given no compensation for using.

28. Efforts to rectify the deteriorated working conditions for this now large and growing segment of Colorado’s faculty workforce have consistently run aground on the shoals of a particular fallacy fielded by university administrators: The trope that further investment in faculty salaries and working conditions will shoot student tuition through the roof, ensuring that college degrees are inaccessible to economically challenged students.

This begs the question: Does instructional investment in faculty really drive tuition hikes? Fortunately, there is a good deal of respectable research on this question. The short answer is no.

29. Adjunct faculty members and graduate assistants represent nearly a third of AU’s teaching staff.  While tenured and tenure-track professors make nearly $10,000 per course per semester, adjunct faculty members make about one third that amount with a cap on how many courses they can teach. 

This situation often forces adjunct faculty members at AU to take on teaching roles at other schools which they said further marginalizes them within the campus community. 

“It has been an isolating experience and I’ve lost respect among tenured and tenure-track faculty members because of my title,” said Donald Collins, an AU adjunct faculty member of four years who teaches gender studies and history courses.

30 .But despite our extensive contributions, Skidmore’s non-tenure track faculty are not afforded adequate job security, resources, or support. Parents and students are often shocked to learn that so many of Skidmore’s faculty are employed on iterative terminal contracts, despite filling roles that meet permanent curricular needs, and that we receive significantly lower rates of pay and support than our tenure-track colleagues. We exist in a state of perpetual job insecurity, without meaningful opportunities for advancement, all while doing labor that is essential to the success of Skidmore’s students and the campus’s reputation for excellence.

31. Union (SEIU 1021) wins contracts for adjuncts and staff at CA College of the Arts


32. UAW members at U of CA criticize national UAW for celebration at police station


33. In case you missed this when first published, about contingents in Jesuit universities


34. From U of MD, College Park

Over the past decade, some employees at the University of Maryland College Park have noticed a decline in tenured faculty and more frontline workers struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living. A recent report detailing the university’s financial decisions seems to have confirmed their suspicions.

Between 2013 and 2022, there was a 7% decrease in the number of faculty on a tenured track and a 19% increase in those in contingent faculty positions, as well as an 11% increase in graduate teaching assistants, according to a report by Howard Bunsis, a professor of accounting at Eastern Michigan University released on Monday.\

Non-tenure track faculty members make up almost 70% of the university’s faculty, according to the university’s AAUP chapter.

35. From Our adjunct colleague, Robert Ovetz, (CA Fac Assoc.)


 Hi folks,

My credible strikes piece you [Joe Berry and Helena Worthen] are quoted in is now on the D&S website: 

Happy May Day!


36. Some Background Of Privatization Of Education

$4.625 Trillion, The Global Privatization Of Education And Who Is Behind It?
Who Is Behind The Privatization Of Education:Gates, Broad, KIPP, Pearson, WestEd & The Gulen Schools

Susan Miesenhelder, CFA CSU Longbeach


Kathleen Carroll, Lawyer and Whistleblower At Commission On Teacher Credentialing

Bruce Neuberger, AFT 4681 San Mateo Adult School

Sharon Higgins, Researcher and Blogger On Charters, Parents Across America


Danny Weil, Journalist and author on charters & privatization


For further information go to:

The Privatization Assault On Community Colleges-Interview With Lawyer Kathleen Carroll
"Exporting Our Brains" The Privatization/Destruction Of UC With Gray Brechin

36. Chicago Art Institute contingent faculty organize with AFSCME, Council 31




37. CUNY union backs hiring adjuncts for FTTT jobs


38. From Labor Notes Public Higher Ed Workers (PHEW)

Hi all:

We will meet this Friday at 3 PM eastern. 
Here is the link:

Next week, May 20, I will not be available. If we decide to hold the meeting on another zoom link without me, I will let you know. If not, plan on joining us on May 27 at 3 PM.

In our meeting last week Joe Berry reported from this sit-in as faculty at the City College of San Francisco protested staffing cuts.

We then spent time reflecting on the campaign at William Patterson and thinking through how the caucus, which one the grievance seats but no others, can support their elected seats and what next steps they might take.

I hope you all have registered for the Labor Notes conference!

Barbara Madeloni
413- 695 6658



"Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education". by Joe Berry, from Monthly Review Press, 2005. Look at <> for full information, individual sales, bulk ordering discounts, or to invite me to speak at an event or email

To regularly receive this periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates, Email <>

To join international COCAL listserve email <> If this presents problems, send an e-mail to or, send "Subscribe" to <

Join the national membership organization for contingent faculty and their allies, New Faculty Majority (NFM). Support, resources,and strategies for all things related to precarious faculty. <>

To access the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) and its journal “Academic Labor: Research and Artistry” go to

To access "Workplace: a Journal of Academic Labor" go to

Also COCAL XIV in August, 2022 in Queretaro, Mexico. WWW.COCALINTERNATIONAL.ORG
Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone/fax landline
21 San Mateo Road, 
Berkeley, CA 94707
cell-510-999-0751 or
Skype: joeberry1948
co-author with Helena Worthen, of Power Despite Precarity: strategies for the contingent faculty  movement in higher education. Order at or from Powells through the ILWU local 5 portal at <>
Paperbacks come with free e-books.
PDP blog at



Categories: Announcement
Keywords: cocal updates