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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. Labour Party in UK will abolish tuition and reinstate maintenance grants if elected
2. Public universities in Argentina launch largest strike in 12 years over budget cuts and low pay
1. Latest on Northwestern U grad election
The latest count (arriving almost exactly as COCAL updates), Joe. Close one, eh?!


James Farr
Professor of Political Science
Director, Chicago Field Studies
Northwestern University

From: Office of the Provost <>
Date: Friday, May 12, 2017 at 4:41 PM
To: James Farr <>
Subject: Update on non-tenure track faculty unionization election

May 12, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to update you on the non-tenure track faculty unionization effort. As you know, a mail ballot election was held in July 2016. Approximately 72 percent of the eligible voters cast a ballot in the election, so I thank you for your participation in the process. As I reported in my messages last year, there were a number of ballots that were challenged and thus were not opened and counted. Of the ballots that were challenged, the vast majority of the challenges were made by SEIU. 

Today (May 12) the NLRB opened and counted 34 of the challenged ballots. The ballots that were counted today were ones that the NLRB ruled should be counted. The outcome of today’s count was an additional 6 votes in favor of the union and 28 votes against the union. Thus, currently there are a total of 229 votes in favor of the union and 219 votes against the union. Another 25 ballots are the subject of an appeal pending before the NLRB in Washington, D.C. Because the number of votes either in favor of or against the union is not enough to constitute a majority of all votes, including those on appeal, the NLRB in Washington, D.C. will now determine which of the remaining 25 ballots will be counted. There is not a defined schedule for that to occur, so we do not know when the results will be final.

I am grateful for our faculty’s engagement in this process and for their strong commitment to the Northwestern community. I will continue to update you as more information is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Alex Rot, Director of Faculty Information in the Office of the Provost, at

Thank you all.

Daniel Linzer
2. Letter to editor : pay for SUNY New Paltz adjuncts is ridiculous
3. Adjunct no more (a longish article well worth a look)
4. Good detailed history of May Day.
More from Mayday in San Francisco
Climate justice skit at Oakland Mayday
5. Florida adjuncts: joys of teaching dampened by poor pay and benefits (also quotes from COCAL’s ADJ-L listmeister Vinnie Tirelli)
6. Faculty strike ends at U of IL, Springfield
7. This week’s
8. U of Chicago grads file for union rep election (AFT/AAUP)
and a way you can support them

The Graduate Students United at University of Chicago has filed cards for an election, as most of you may well know.

Below is the link to the GSU Vote Yes Petition.  Please sign it and pass it far and wide.

Also, GSU is asking for statements of solidarity from locals.  If you could, please consider such a statement and either forward it to me or directly to GSU, if you have their contact info.  If you've already done a statement, please let me know that.


We're Voting YES!
Grad employees perform essential work and are the backbone of the University of Chicago. At some point every undergraduate student is taught by a grad instructor, and grad researchers advance scientific frontiers. As grad employees we deserve a seat at the table when decisions are made that affect our lives, those of our students, and the broader community. Graduate Students United represents a strong majority of graduate workers who stand together. We’re voting yes to win our union and have a real voice at University of Chicago. We the undersigned are voting union YES!

9. U of N C Center for Civil Rights under fire
10. This piece, from a Mayday speech by one of our adjunct colleagues in San Diego, is really a must read.
11. On City U of NY adjuncts and the PSC union
12. Not directly contingent faculty (though written by our former contingent, now FTTT, colleague Kim Scipes) but such a good summary of racism, slavery and perhaps the single most important aspect of US history that I have to include it. In the form of a review of three books.
13. Very good little graphic story on minimum wage, contingent work, and much more. Spread it around.
14. New academic article on grads organizing with UAW at Harvard
15. Think how precarious faculty life would be different with a guaranteed anual income
16. Student success, what works and what not, including adjuncts
17. Adjunct faculty who are dependent on income from teaching are constantly struggling to make ends meet.   

Faculty’s financial hurdles are particularly exacerbated during the summer, when we don’t have a reliable income source.  
In these stressful times, unemployment insurance can be a critical source of relief.
Register now to join a webinar about temporary unemployment relief for faculty.
Many contingent faculty have been denied unemployment benefits in the past. 
However, thanks in part to a movement led by unions and faculty advocacy organizations, the Department of Labor recently issued guidance informing states that adjuncts may in fact be eligible for unemployment insurance.
Listen to experts from Department of Labor, National Employment Law Project, and California Faculty Association this Tuesday, May 16th at 2:00PM EST/11:00AM EST by signing up here.
I hope you will join me next week to discuss eligibility, the application process, and how we can continue to unite and make our voice heard. 
Ever forward,
Jonathan Karpf
Lecturer, San Jose State University
CFA Associate Vice President of Lecturers-North
18. Why Yale grads are on hunger strike
and 23 arrested as protest continues
and Yale law faculty open letter in support of grad union
19. Victory for Houston teachers, and their union, in suit against contracted out teacher eval system 
20. An excellent piece on the real sources of support for Trumpism (not the white section of the working class)
21. More about Barnard Col (NY) contingent faculty organizing (UAW)
Dear Joe,

You may recall you were nice enough to post my late September 2016 LAWCHA piece, and here is a second piece about Barnard Contingent Faculty within the broader context of faculty organizing across the country:

I'd be really grateful if you could post it!


Georgette Fleischer
22. From our colleague Geoffrey Johnson at San Diego CCD
Thanks as always for your posts.

Besides SDFA (who had a total of three members at the rally),  significant numbers of AFT1931 Adjuncts marched in the May Day and spoke on the San Diego Mesa and City College Campuses, along with Rallies at Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College.

Here is my colleague, John Hoskins, one of several, speaking on adjunctification and corporatization at Mesa College:

I myself was one of the speakers as well as one of the organizers and promoters of the event.  I don’t want recognition for myself, but I think, John who has been particularly tireless and articulate on this subject should get his due.  Could you please put up his link.
23. From U of MO, Kansas City
24. May, 2017 of NEA Higher Education Update has article on page 2 from our colleague (and my co-author) Beverly Stewart on the new directive letter from the D of Labor on unemployment comensation for contingent faculty
25. Letter from AAUP on new guidance letter from D of L on contingent access to unemployment benefits
26. Employers steal billions from workers paychecks each year
27. Chicago Reader staff to strike (TNG/CWA)
28. The new for this week
29. Panel discussion in Fort, Collins, CO (CO St U) sponsored by the Center for the Study of Academic Labor there on the new proposal for changes for contingent faculty at that university. Panel included Joe Berry, Maria Maisto, and John Curtis from outside CSU.
Hi Steve,

Here is the CSAL panel video:

I added an opening and closing sequence (= slide), removed the first ~60 seconds of dead time, and combined the two videos into one.
I need some "tags" for the video so it will be more easily searchable on YouTube. These can be something like: "adjunct faculty," "CSAL," "Higher education," etc.

This video is published as "public" on YouTube which means it is available to everyone and it is searchable.


"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 <>  Itisarchivedat 

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