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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 and Facebook page <>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv.


1. Deal reached to fund Free City College for SF residents
1. New book on precarious academics from the UK

Dear Joe Berry 

The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, a small press to which I work as co-publisher, is releasing today a book around academia, employment and education

Labor Organizers/artists Adam Overton and Jessica Lawless suggested we write you after asking for ways to 
get this project into the proper hands. They mentioned you and your work related to  COCAL.

The book is called Training for Exploitation? by the UK-based Precarious Workers Brigade, with a foreword by Silvia Federici.

The book is a teaching tool that helps university classrooms interrogate relations between employability rhetoric, academic policy 
and classroom settings. In a way, the book is UK specific as the Tory Government is breathing heavily to corporatize every aspect
of UK academia, demanding that workplace training and internships become a part of every class and that "employability" be one
of the deciders on whether courses and departments continue to exist. 

But In that the book provides a lot of teaching tools- that it points towards unionization, formation of co-ops, etc… and that the conservative
rhetoric of the UK has echoes in many American contexts, we feel it opens these topics up pedagogically, we think the project 
expands far beyond the UK audience. 

Additionally, though the book is by no means limited by to the arts, most of the members of the Precarious Workers Come out of the arts. 
Sharing the analysis that many have, some of the Precarious Worker's critiques and understandings comes from their understanding that the precarious position 
of artist - so questions of how artists continue working after schooling are done carry throughout the project. 
In solidarity, 

Marc Herbst

co-editor Joaap

with the Precarious Workers Brigade

Precarious Workers Brigade (PWB) are a UK-based group of precarious workers in culture and education. We call out in solidarity with all those struggling to make a living in this climate of instability and enforced austerity. Our praxis springs from a shared commitment to developing research and actions that are practical, relevant and easily shared and applied. If putting an end to precarity is the social justice we seek, our political project involves developing tactics, strategies, formats, practices, dispositions, knowledges and tools for making this happen.
1. Note from AFT contingent faculty caucus
On Jan 15, 2017, at 9:08 AM, William Lipkin <> wrote:

Good morning fellow adjunct/contingent faculty colleagues,
If you are reading this it means we made it to 2017! For some of us that in itself is an accomplishment. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and we are all ready to get back to work, if you have not already started.
We hope to have some great news coming out over the next few weeks and I want to introduce everyone, once again, to our website. It is still a work in progress, but there are several items and links on there. You can find the website at
You will find our Twitter feed there- @AFT_ACC and a link to our Facebook page- @AFTAdjunctContingentCaucus. More information will be added over the next few weeks.
Also, our By-laws Revision Committee, chaired by Anne Wiegard and including David Milroy, Jodi Monday, Ben Harder, Jennie Shanker and me, has just about finished a massive revision of our By-laws. The revision will be sent to the Executive Board this week for a recommendation (or not), and then will be sent to the members for a ratification vote. The committee met numerous times and considered many changes before the final document has been completed. Anne has done an exceptional job in leading the committee in an organized and efficient manner in order to get the necessary changes on paper. You will hear more about this in the coming weeks.
On the top of our webpage is a button- ‘Join Us’. If you are receiving this you are already a member, and I am asking each of you to send the website link to some of your colleagues and ask them to join. It only takes a couple of minutes and at present there are no dues required. We need to increase our membership so we can have more recognition within AFT.
Our Communications Committee also deserves kudos for getting the website up (thanks to John Govsky and Debra Jenks), and thanks to Caucus Secretary Jennie Shanker for getting us started on Twitter and Facebook. Caucus VP Geoff Johnson is heading our Organizing Committee and Caucus Treasurer is heading the Finance Committee. If anyone is interested in serving on either of those committees, please let me know and I will get your information to the respective chairs.
Good luck in the new semester and you will hear from us again soon.
Bill Lipkin, President
AFT Adjunct/Contingent Faculty Caucus
2. AFSCME Union Scholars Program available for our students
UALE Colleagues: The AFSCME Union Scholars Program is recruiting for the our 14th annual summer internship program.  The Union Scholars Program is a 10-week summer opportunity for students of color who want to join us in working for economic and social justice.  Students will be placed in the field on AFSCME organizing campaigns. They will learn the basics of one-on-one organizing conversations, building solidarity among workers, and developing leaders. The program provides housing, transportation, and a stipend of $4,000 for the summer. Students who successfully complete the program will qualify for an academic scholarship of up to $6,300 for the 2017-2018 school year.
Applicants must be college sophomores or juniors at the time of application and interview process, have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, be students of color (African-American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American Pacific Islander, Latino/a,) have a valid driver's license, and have a demonstrated interest in working for economic and social justice. If you have questions about the program or would like recruitment materials, please contact the Program Coordinator, Deanna Richards, at 202-429-1202 The program is supported in part by the Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund and is a partnership with the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program.
Students who want to apply should visit and search for the Union Scholars Program.  All applications are due by February 28, 2017.
3. Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN) has a grant prtogram for grads and NTT faculty
From: Adam Shah
Date: Jan. 31, 2017 at 11:06 am
Subject: [LRAN] LRAN New Scholars Committee Grant Competition
Category: General / NA

Good morning LRAN,

The LRAN New Scholars Committee is pleased to announce a competition for seed grants ranging from $1500-$6,000 for graduate students and untenured faculty for research on U.S. labor-focused projects, broadly defined.  

Applicants may submit research projects of their own design and all proposals on labor in the U.S. will be enthusiastically considered. That said, we have $2,500 set aside for proposals that relate to the “gig” or “on-demand” economy, including its economic and cultural effects on communities, unionized industries, or public services; its implications for worker organizing and power; its legal and regulatory strategies; and its workers.

Completed applications should be sent to with “LRAN New Scholars Research Grant” in the subject line. Grantees will be asked to report on their research proposal at the annual LRAN Conference June 8-9, 2017, in Washington, D.C., for which travel expenses will be covered. Deadline for the application is March 15, 2017, with winners announced by April, 12. 2017.

For More information see the attached Call for Papers. 

In Solidarity,

Adam Shah
Senior Policy Analyst
Jobs With Justice
(202) 393-1044 x127 
GRIFFIN: DIVISION I SCHOLARSHIP FOOTBALL PLAYERS ARE EMPLOYEES: In a memorandum issued Tuesday on the "statutory rights of university faculty and students," NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin said that his office concluded that "scholarship football players in Division I ... private sector colleges and universities are employees under the NLRA, with the rights and protections of that act." Griffin noted that the issue "was raised but left unresolved" in the board's 2015Northwestern decision . In that decision, the NLRB declined to assert jurisdiction over Northwestern University football players who were on scholarship. But the board also said that its decision was "narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and [did] not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future."

Griffin's memo would appear to mean that the NLRB general counsel's office is inviting football players at private universities to begin union drives. (Public universities, which tend to have better football teams, are not under the NLRB's jurisdiction.) This invitation to organize would be bigger news if a Republican hadn't just been elected president. But with Trump expected to stack the board with anti-union Republicans, there's little chance his NLRB will support unions for college football players. (Griffin's term will end in November.) Read the full memo here.
5. Support Ithaca College contingents as they prepare strike vote
Hi All,

Below is a message from an Ithaca College bargaining committee member about their fight for a fair contract.  They are currently preparing for a strike vote.  Please sign the petition to help them win equal teaching conditions in their first contract and send a clear message to their administration that our communities are standing together for a more just higher education system.

In Solidarity,



Dear Colleagues, Students, Friends, and Supporters,

Workers across the U.S. are under attack. More and more are forced to work without job security, benefits, and adequate pay, while a tiny elite reaps enormous rewards from our labor. This is true in the political and corporate sector as well as academia, and our new national leadership under President Trump will only make matters worse. At Ithaca College, top administrators earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year while contingent professors are paid a pittance and treated as expendable commodities, to be hired and fired at will.

This is why contingent faculty at Ithaca College formed a union two years ago. Our aim is to have a contract which reflects the priorities that the majority of contingent faculty asked for: one that prioritizes a student-centered IC, creates more stability for contingent faculty and students, and provides a pathway to equal pay for equal work.

You can help us!  Send a letter to IC Vice President Pringle and the Board of Trustees to let them know you support us.

If the contingent faculty’s call for a fair contract continues to be ignored, we stand ready to take more drastic action. Depending on the progress of negotiations, we will be announcing a plan to hold a vote to authorize a strike.

We don’t want it to come to this.  Please follow this link to send a letter to the Ithaca College Board of Trustees asking them to settle a fair contract that respects students and faculty:

Thank you for your help.

In unity,

Tom Schneller, Ithaca College Music Theory, History, and Composition Lecturer

Chris Machanoff
Faculty Forward / SEIU Local 200United
 6. Comment on new study by NCSCBHEP on organizing among contingents, finds AFT, NEA and AAUP far behind SEIU in recent years
7. Free passes available for some contingents at Org of Amer Historians conference in New Orleans April 8. 
Hi All,

Here is the brief announcement about the OAH Conference in New Orleans:

A panel entitled “Looking Forward: The Future of Contingent Historians” will take place on Saturday April 8th from 11-12:30, organized by the Organization of American Historians’ (OAH) Committee on Part-time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment (CPACE). The panel is part of the annual meeting of the OAH (April 6-9) held at the New Orleans Marriott. Ten free day passes have been set aside for contingent faculty wishing to attend the morning session and any other panels on that day. Membership in the OAH is not required. If you are interested, please contact Elizabeth Hohl at by March 30th.

Please pass this message along to contingent historians. Many thanks. And a special thanks to Joe for COCAL UPDATES.


Elizabeth Hohl, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Fairfield University
Department of History
Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
Black Studies Program
CNS 310
203-254-4000 ext. 3235

8. Laureate U (International for-profit) goes public as a “Benefit” corporation
9. Sign letter for Ithaca College contingents
10. NLRB approves two charter school unions
11. Health care hearing in SF, CA turns into rally for single payer, with contingent faculty Li Lovett of CCSF, AFT 2121, one of those testifying
12. U of CA, San Francisco defends outsourcing IT jobs and laying off workers (from Morning Shift)
UCSF DEFENDS IT OUTSOURCING: An official at the University of California, San Francisco, defended the university's decision to use the outsourcing firm HCL America for IT services in a letter to the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.

"The decision to engage in a contract for services will save UCSF more than $30 million over the next five years, allowing the university to invest and grow its IT resources to serve its coren mission of discovery, teaching and patient care," wrote Barbara French, head of strategic communications and university relations. KQED reported in December (citing French) that the university brought in eight workers with H-1B visas as part of a transition team, but had a policy not to replace employees with the temporary workers.

Paul Almeida, president of the Department for Professional Employees, was not impressed by French's response to their letter. "By using cost savings to justify terminating 79 IT professionals and outsourcing their work, UCSF is openly admitting to misusing the H-1B visa program," he said. 
13. Good new brief interview with Bill Fletchder on the nature of right-wing populism, now and historically.
14. Paid summer internship at U of CA labor Center
Please pass on to suitable graduate and undergraduate students.
2/27 deadline

From: UC Berkeley Labor Center []
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 3:07 PM
To: 'UC Berkeley Labor Center' <>
Subject: Applications now open for Labor Summer 2017!

A paid summer internship program for college students

June 19–August 11, 2017
Learn ORGANIZING or RESEARCH AND POLICY SKILLS for Social & Economic Justice
Application deadline:
February 27, 2017, 8:00 AM (PST)
» 2017 Program Flyer<> [PDF]
Have you ever organized a meeting? Researched an issue? Volunteered in your community? Taught a class? Do you have the courage to knock on a door and listen to someone’s story? Can you imagine a better future for the working poor? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes” or if you want to learn how to do these things, then Labor Summer is for you!
The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center) offers an exciting opportunity for students to become summer interns with unions and community-based organizations. The Labor Summer Internship Program is an innovative PAID internship for graduate and undergraduate students, providing opportunities to learn from and work with unions and labor organizations on issues vital to California’s working people.
The Learn Organizing Skills Track introduces students to learning about organizing campaigns in unions and community-based organizations. Interns will learn the tools of the trade such as campaign planning, communications, coalition-building, worker education and training, and campaign evaluation.
The Applied Research and Policy Track teaches students research skills that make an impact in unions and community-based organizations. Students get the opportunity to learn from union researchers involved in some of the nation’s most exciting and important organizing and policy campaigns. As a part of the orientation, Applied Research and Policy interns participate in the Labor Center’s two-day Strategic Research Workshop where they are joined by researchers working at labor unions and community-based organizations. Together they learn the basics of strategic and policy research in a labor environment and some labor economics.
"Through my placement, I have seen the importance of educating and empowering members. The changes they create in the workplace have larger real world implications."—Labor Summer intern, 2016
“In Labor Summer I combined curiosity, open-minded investigation, collaboration, reflection and instinct. My ability to interview and question expanded and my confidence as a researcher grew exponentially. “—Labor Summer Intern 2016
Find out more and apply to the UC Berkeley Labor Summer Internship Program<>.
For questions, please contact Kineshia Cadogan, 510-642-1027,<>.
15. Five steps to maintain union unity and strength under “right to work” (open shop)
16. Contingent taxi drivers in NYC strike against Trump’s immigrant ban
and Uber tries to break strike, but spawns “Delete Uber” backlash
17. Unions must stop following the rules [made by others to keep us down]
18. When raising the minimum wage is a bad thing
19. Interviews for Resistance: Why teacher unions are the best bet to transform the labor movement
20. Resistance to Trump will separate progressvies from neo-liberals (by two leaders o the Labor for Bernie network
21. Single Payer news
22. blank
23. Pudzer withdraws, under fire and weakening Republican support, as nominees for Sec. of Labor
24. Adjunct faculty need compensation for all meetings and other activities, from AFT 1493, San Mateo CCD, CA newsletter.
25. Wading into action, the story of a new organzier and a new activist
26. Yale may appeal grad union election results
27. Lessons from the election, Jane McKelvey
28. Help adjunct faculty at U Mass, Lowell
29. Office coach: no raise for adjunct in 10 years  (Tuscon, AZ)
30. U VT profs rally for wages
31. Grads at Loyola, Chicago vote union with SEIU


Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone/fax
21 San Mateo Road,
Berkeley, CA 94707
cell: 802-380-0193

"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. 

To receive the periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates, Email <>  It is archivedat 

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. <>

Plan to attend COCAL XIII in Queretaro, Mexico,  at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, August 2018. 
See for reports of COCAL XII Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and plans for COCAL XIII. Reports and full presentations  from COCAL XII, August 2016, Edmonton, Alberta, CAN:   see
Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone/fax
21 San Mateo Road, 
Berkeley, CA 94707