Reports and full presentations from COCAL XII, August 2016, Edmonton, Alberta, CAN:
COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a 20 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. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee, a website www.cocalinternational.org and Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/COCALInternational>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv.
SPECIAL NOTICE REGARDING CAMPUS EQUITY WEEK, 2017
Do you find yourself missing national Campus Equity Week celebrations this year?
Looking ahead to October of 2017, a grassroots group of contingent artist-activists scattered across the U.S. have been working under the auspices of New Faculty Majority for several months to design a theme that captures our need to both conceal and reveal our complex identities as members of the precarious academic workforce: mAsk4campusEquity.
We are exploring three basic customizable options for unified Campus Equity messaging and activities in 2017 that capitalize on the change-making power of art:
1. Historical re-enactment of creative social justice protests;
2. Other modes of performance art such as mock funerals, carnival processions, etc;
3. Exhibits that illustrate the diversity of our workforce and the issues of contingent employment.
Over the next few months, we hope to
· build a large network of artist-activists and supporters;
· partner with a number of organizations related to the arts;
· engage participants with expertise in various art media from music and performance to photography, sculpture, graphic arts and new media, to flesh out plans for local actions that will resonate across the country.
If you want to join our campaign on the ground floor, please contact Anne Wiegard at email@example.com.
Had the regional director deemed the offer of proof insufficient, evidence on these issues wouldn't have been presented in the case. But the regional director accepted Duke's offer, allowing Duke to present 28 points in its favor. SEIU appealed that decision, arguing that the facts in Duke's offer were "either completely irrelevant to the issue of employee status, or were addressed and outright rejected in Columbia University." But the full board disagreed, writing that there were "no substantial issues warranting review." The full decision is here, and SEIU's appeal is here.
I'm Labor Coodinator for Sierra Club and now President of John Muir Local 100 representing Sierra Club employees.
We have a sister union in Oakland called SIERRA EMPLOYEE ALLIANCE, LOCAL 2103 (SEA). They're hitting a serious blockade in negotiations due to lack of respect for the labor movement they need a real show of solidarity.
Your support would be greatly appreciated.
Please see a script and request below and let us know if anyone does it.
I have quick action support request for you. Would you be willing to make a call to my executive director today? We're in contract negotiations and it would make a big difference if our director knows people outside our walls care.
He's out of town, but please call his office line and ask to leave a message that is passed along to him. It's helpful if name your institution [SEIU, UC Berkeley, etc], but if that's beyond your comfort zone you can say, "I'm a mom / I'm a community organizer / I'm a Sierra Club members/supporter/donor"
After you call, can you please drop me quick email to say you did?
THANKS SO MUCH!
Here's his number and a script.
Phone: (415) 977-5662
Hi Mike Brune -
This is _[YOUR NAME]_ calling from _[INSTITUTION]__. I understand you have a contract deadline approaching, and I'm concerned that you and the Sierra Club are not living up to your values as progressive leaders and supporters of labor. I'll be watching to see that the Sierra Club delivers on living wages and accountability for toxic behavior.
Larry Williams Jr.
UnionBase.org , Founder
I'm proud to work for an organization with an unions and an executive team that value the rights of it's employees to be protected from toxic behavior in their work environment rooted in power and privilege.
Thanks to the great allies on this thread who contributed to SEA getting this language in our contract by providing anti-toxic behavior language or commenting on the "Grievances for Toxic Behavior" thread a few weeks back
Additional thanks to those who called our executive team to support our efforts to express your support for these organizational upgrades.
Special thanks to:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Melanie McCrea <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Thanks for your support & bargaining update
Thank you so much for calling this week to hold the Sierra Club to high standards in labor negotiations! We had more than 30 calls from partners and friends, and I'm so pleased to report that we signed a tentative agreement late last night. We could not have gotten this done without you!
For the first time in Sierra Club's history, this agreement establishes contractual protections for staff facing toxic behavior in their work environment -- meaning we now have a legal backstop that supports staff in challenging harmful behavior rooted in power and privilege. We were also able to secure improved parental leave policies, significant improvements in salary scales for our lowest-earning members, and annual raises that should keep member salaries increasing slightly ahead of inflation.
While our work was easy in comparison to the fierce campaigning being done by Fight for 15, the hotel and casino organizing drives happening in the Bay right now, and many other union struggles -- let alone the challenges many people face simply to survive in this deeply inequitable world -- it was nonetheless a hard-fought contract by Sierra Club standards. This agreement lays important groundwork for advancing our internal transformation on anti-oppression and equity. It has also been a political education process for many of our members, and has helped provide people with some stability over the coming years that will free us up to participate more in local solidarity and movement-building.
I'm confident that your support helped make the difference, and I hope you will call on us if we can be of support to you in the challenging times ahead.
All my gratitude,
Larry Williams Jr.
UnionBase.org , Founder
Here’s an update on what the SEIU Local 200 United organizing team has been working on in 2016 and what our goals are for 2017.
2016 was another year of empowering higher education faculty and workers to win justice, respect and dignity at their campuses. Through the work we did to support them, workers won higher wages, increases in job security and more dignified campus environments.
In 2016 here’s what we organized:
-We organized about 600 adjunct faculty to settle their first contracts at St. Mike’s College, Champlain College and The College of St. Rose. They won increased levels of job security and wage increases of up to 35%. Shout out to the bargaining committees and John Longtin, Sean Collins and Will Brown for their hard work on these campaigns.
-Zeke Perkins led the organizing in Central NY and helped 80 Wells College Contingent Faculty and Ithaca College Full-Time Contingent Faculty win their unions while supporting the efforts at the bargaining table.
-Ashley Drzymala led our riskiest campaign, a long and hard fought two year battle at Marist College to represent 500 adjunct faculty. At the most conservative school we have tried to organize to date, adjunct faculty came up from behind in a second election and came within 9 votes of winning.
-We created language for a New York State Adjunct Faculty Minimum Wage Bill and began meaningful coalition work with the goal of introducing the bill in 2017.
While a giant shadow has been cast over the labor movement and the rest of the left by our national political climate, the need to organize into unions with the power to fight back and hold the line is more important than ever. Working people must brace ourselves for attacks from conservative groups that won political power by both consolidating and continuing to build power.
In 2017 our goal is to double down on our organizing strategy:
-We plan to continue our path of settling robust first contracts with more 800 faculty at Siena College, Schenectady County Community College, Ithaca College and Wells College.
-We plan to continue organizing contingent faculty into the union with a goal of adding an additional 1,000 new members into the union in 2017. We are excited to have the help of organizers from our international union and wish to welcome Kristin Kelleher, Andreina Granado, Freya Hughes and Brendan Dunn to the 200United Organizing Team.
-We will continue exploring The New York Adjunct Faculty Minimum Wage Bill as well as other opportunities to build power in higher education and strengthen our voice in the industry.
Faculty Forward / SEIU Local 200United
Sorry I’ve been absent for a while—got booted from the list when my email service was interrupted and only just got back on. Some of you might remember that, back in 2012, I announced here the NEA Contingent Faculty Caucus’s first big win, a New Business Item asking the NEA to help us get the Department of Labor to instruct the states that contingent faculty are eligible to collect unemployment insurance between terms.
This effort was initiated by New Faculty Majority, and NFM has worked in the years since then to coordinate all the unions representing contingent faculty to bring it to fruition. This has been a long and heavy lift, but I am very pleased to announce that the DOL has finally issued the letter we were asking for. This lays the groundwork for contingent faculty members in all the states to collect unemployment insurance between terms (a right we already have in California).
This strategy was Maria Maisto’s idea. She found the document that is used to prevent contingent faculty from collecting, which was issued in 1987, called a UIPL (Unemployment Insurance Program Letter). That UIPL, however, doesn’t address higher education at all, even though it’s been applied to higher ed ever since. So Maria thought the DOL needs to issue a new UIPL addressing higher ed. In the end, all the lawyers (in the unions and the DOL) agreed. And now we have our letter!
A lot of people have been working hard on this for several years. This success highlights the importance and effectiveness of NFM’s work, often quietly knitting together key activists and constituencies to achieve far-reaching results.
The next step will be to start campaigns to get people to apply, and to use the DOL letter to appeal denials and start setting precedents.
There is a link to the actual DOL letter at the bottom of this page.
Please read, below, the message Maria posted to the NFM Facebook page:
The DOL's just-released Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) 05-17 provides long-overdue guidance to address the new reality of contingent academic employment in higher education. New Faculty Majority and the NFM Foundation have been at the forefront of the effort to advocate for the issuance of this guidance. As we explained when we launched our Steve Street National Unemployment Compensation Initiative, this letter is a tool that adjunct faculty can use at the state level, both individually and collectively, to ensure that state agencies are correctly understanding and applying federal law. "The Department is issuing this guidance to remind states of the requirements," the UIPL explains, as well as to clarify relevant definitions and to explain how contemporary situations might be addressed -- a necessary step since the last guidance on this issue was released in 1986.
Highlights of the letter include: acknowledgment of the inconsistent application of the law in many states, clarification that unemployment cannot be denied if the adjunct's "economic conditions" in the second term or year are "considerably less than those of the first academic year or term." State agencies must investigate, and most significant, unemployment insurance cannot be denied as long as there exist contingencies "within the employer's control." Contingencies within the employer's control can include decisions about funding in addition to standard practices such as assignments based on programming and administrative discretion.
In advocating for the issuance of this letter, NFM has built on the groundbreaking work of AFT union members and staff in California and Washington who helped win the landmark 1989 Cervisi legal decision and the Washington state statute; of Joe Berry, Helena Worthen, and Beverly Stewart, who wrote a 2008 guide for adjuncts applying for unemployment, and their colleague Frank Brooks; and activists like Jack Longmate and our late colleague Steve Street. Around the country adjuncts have worked to change their state laws to strengthen adjunct access to unemployment and we hope this guidance letter will be helpful to them in their state efforts.
NFM was proud to lead the effort to inform the DOL of the need for this updated letter after we uncovered the 1986 version and proposed requesting its update. We were grateful to collaborate with AFT, NEA, SEIU, AAUP, UAW, USW, and especially adjunct leaders and staff within the unions, on this project. The work we all did together was a wonderful example of what we can accomplish with mutual respect, determination, and solidarity.
We will provide more detailed discussion of the letter in the coming weeks.
Chair, NFM Foundation Board
Chair, NEA Contingent Faculty Caucus
"Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education". by Joe Berry, from Monthly Review Press, 2005. Look at <http://www.reclaimingtheivorytower.org> for full information, individual sales, bulk ordering discounts, or to invite me to speak at an event.
To receive the periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates, Email <email@example.com> It is archivedathttp://precaritydispatches.tumblr.com/COCAL-Updates-Archive
To join international COCAL listserve email <http://adj-l.org/mailman/listinfo/adj-l_adj-l.org> If this presents problems, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or, send "Subscribe" to <email@example.com>
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. <www.Newfacultymajority.info>
Plan to attend COCAL XIII in Queretaro, Mexico, at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, August 2018.
See www.cocalinternational.org for reports of COCAL XII Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and plans for COCAL XIII.
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Berkeley, CA 94707