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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 and other resources.

NOTE: See review of "Civic Labors: Scholar Activism and Working-Class Studies”, new edited volume of interest. Brief review, by editor Joe Berry, at bottom of UPDATES. Other brief reviews of books of interest are solicited. Send to the editor.
1. New Chancellor to be selected.

1. Support asked for Turkish teachers on hunger strike protesting dismissal
2. Britain completes privatization of higher ed
1. May E-Note from NCSCBHEP,. Lots of good stuff
2. Tenured prof fired for defending colleagues of color in Kentucky
3. Parkland CC (IL) prof elected Trustee. College and state tries to block her taking office.
4. From Morning Shift
NEW SCHOOL PRESSES NLRB FOR DECISION: Administrators at The New School in New York City sent a letter to the NLRB to press for a decision related to an organizing effort by student employees. In April, Regional Director Karen Fernbach issued a decision that "all student employees who provide teaching, instructionally-related or research services" should be included in a union election. Administrators, though, challenged the decision on the grounds that "temporary or casual" employees (i.e. undergraduate employees) should be excluded, and called for a review.

In a March 14 letter, New School administrators expressed impatience. "The New School wishes to urge the board to issue a ruling on the pending request for review as soon as possible," attorneys for the school wrote. "It believes it is in all parties' best interests for this issue to be resolved, for the eligible votes to be counted and, should a majority of votes be in favor of union representation, that the parties be able to begin negotiations in the near term." Read the letter here.
5. From our colleague Keith Hoeller

Here is the link:

"State Must Cut Its Overdependence on Part-Time Faculty," by Jeffrey Michels, East Bay Times, May 15, 2017
6. Adjunct faculty fear for jobs as budget cuts come at Portland State (OR)
7. Important article on the possible Third Reconstruction and a new Poor Peoples’ Campaign
8. This from U WI, Eau Claire
Hello, Joe (with a cc to Liz and the CPACE committee):
Can you include the following in your weekly news roundup?  Thanks.
United Faculty and Academic Staff of UW-Eau Claire (UFAS-UWEC) is publicly protesting the decision by the University administration to exclude adjunct faculty working under so-called "no intent to renew" contracts from a $3 million salary adjustment plan.  UFAS-UWEC is Local # 6481, American Federation of Teachers.  The documents of the protest are posted at the UFAS-UWEC Facebook page:  
9. A well done article by our ally Michael Zweig on the “white working class”
10. AFT says Wall Street putting squeeze on teacher pension funds
11. From Morning Shift
HOLIER THAN THOU: An NLRB regional director ruled Wednesday that graduate student employees at Boston College can form a union, save for those in the school's theology department. It's the latest in a series of rulings in which the NLRB - following a precedent set in a 2014 case involving Pacific Lutheran University - has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act doesn't provide a blanket exemption for religious institutions (Boston College is a Jesuit school), but only for employees directly involved in religious teachings.

"I find that Boston College has demonstrated, pursuant to the test articulated in Pacific Lutheran, that the petitioned-for graduate workers who work in its Theology Department are exempt from the board's jurisdiction," NLRB regional director John Walsh wrote. "I find that Boston College has failed to demonstrate that Boston College is an exempt institution with respect to the graduate students who are employed in its other departments and schools." Read the decision here.

12. Web series charts life as dollar menu adjunct professor
13. Adjuncts at St Catherine U in St Paul, MN file cards for union (SEIU)
14. CA colleges see surge in efforts to organize adjunct faculty
15. Tufts U (MA)  grads unionize with SEIU, win election (joining adjuncts who organized recently)
16. Another post on working class politics by our colleague Rich Moser. This one is drawn mainly from a very good book (Hillbilly Nationalists) by our contingent faculty colleague (City College of SF and AFT 2121) James Tracy. Read this article and then check out the book.
17. Cleveland charter school teachers vote union (AFT)
18. Low wage sweat shops in Chicago
19. Tips on speaking out about politics on the job
20. Article says adjunct narrative is wrong [but they leave out FT contingents and is from regular right-wing enemy]
and from the same right wing source
21. More on union vote (AFT/AAUP) at NJ Institute of Tech
22. Why your college professor has at least one other side job
23. IL court clears class action over pensioners being able to continue to work as adjuncts in IL cc’s
24. Sign petition in support of grads at Yale
and another request for support for Yale grads. see below.
and their domonstration at commencement (from Morning Shift)
TODAY: YALE GRAD STUDENTS PLAN PROTEST: Yale graduate teachers will hold a "mass demonstration" today, coinciding with university commencement, to pressure the administration to engage in collective bargaining. The group started a hunger strike in April to draw attention to the dispute over forming a union, and has since gotten support from Democratic and union officials. A press release sent by the group's spokeswoman included this statement from former Labor secretary and current DNC Chairman Tom Perez: "I am deeply inspired by the resolve of Yale's graduate teachers as they fight for better wages, benefits, and protections. To those fasting in New Haven, and to any worker fighting for a fairer contract, know that you have a fierce ally in the Democratic Party.”
25. Western regional womens labor ed conference sponsored by United Assoc. for Labor Ed. These regional educational conferences are very good. 

Hello everyone,

The registration deadline for the Western UALE Summer Institute for Union Women has been extended to May 30. 

Don’t miss this opportunity for a summer school in sunny Honolulu!

Register online here: 

See more about the (southern)  SIUW here: 
26. Latest issue of
27. Adjunct professors to picket U of RI graduation
28. CUNY adjuncts to picket over pay disparities
29. Good article on funding public projects that has relevance to us in education (especially capital projects), not just infrastructure. Also could relate to fight for public banks at state level, like ND, as well as the demand to reinstate postal banking. Think of it as single payer/medicare-for-all in the construction sector.
30. How Milwaukee teachers are surviving (and more) “right to work”

I teach at Capital Community College in Connecticut, where we are excited to see our union grow and movement spread. Faculty at the University of New Haven start voting soon to join us in SEIU but there's trouble today at the OTHER school in town.
Yale University graduate workers voted to form their union in February after decades of fighting for recognition. But as you may have read in the New York Times, the administration is unlawfully refusing to recognize the graduate workers’ rights to collectively bargain. They are hoping that President Trump’s anti-union agenda will force the grad workers to give up.

The situation is so unjust and important that more than a dozen Yale graduate students are on a hunger strike. They aren’t going to give in, and neither will we.

Today, I joined thousands of union members, faculty and graduate students from across the country who are in New Haven standing with the graduate student union and demanding that Yale stop playing games and recognize their graduate workers’ rights to have a union and bargain with their employer.
Wherever you are, please take action. This is a huge fight for the union movement in Higher Education. There’s no reason -- legal, financial or ideological -- for Yale to fall in line with President Trump’s agenda to rollback our rights.
Email Yale’s President and tell him to stop stalling and start negotiations with the graduate workers union.
I’m supporting Yale's graduate student employees and call on President Salovey and Yale University trustees to honor the rights of these workers by recognizing the union and begin engaging constructively and respectfully with them. Join me.
Thank you, 
Seth Freeman
Capital Community College
P.S. After you send your email give President Salovey a call at 203-432-2550 to make sure he’s listening.

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Review of "Civic Labors: Scholar Activism and Working-Class Studies”,Dennis Deslippe, Eric Fure-Slocum, and John W. Mckerley, eds. with associate editors. U of IL Press, 2016. Part of the Working Class in American History series. Brief review, by COCAL UPDATES editor Joe Berry.
This volume tries to answer some of the pressing questions about how academics, especially acacdemics who study the working class and its organizations, can combine acadcemic work, research and teaching, with direct active participation in the working-class movement(s). Sparked by a conference at the U of Iowa in honor of noted labor historian Shel Stromquist’s retirement, the book seeks to examine the current state of scholar-activism through the lens of a group of labor academics and their personal stories and analyses of their own research, teaching and activism. Given this, the topics range from grad union campaigns to oral history projects to accounts of actual labor education. They also include faculty struggles themselves and academics relating to the some of the big struggles, past and present. It ends with David Montgomery’s epilogue on creative research and social action.
The book has a good deal more relevance for contingent faculty activists that might meet the eye, (though none of the authors is clearly a contingent, an omission that deserves critical mention and analysis). It is not only labor scholars who need to grapple with the questions of making partisan teaching of our mostly working class students fair, useful and respectable while at the same time making our own maximum possible contribution to the overall struggle and recognizing our own proper place, as skilled professional workers, in it. Get a copy, get your library to order one, and then read it leisurely. You won’t regret it.


"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