COCAL Updates

Howard Smead's picture

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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.




1. New chancellor for CCSF









1. Provincial court rules that Ontario education workers are owed over $100 million for the government’s legislative violation of their collective bargaining rights, setlement reached






1. More from the People’s Summit










2. 6 years after their election, Manhattan College adjuncts finally get their votes counted and the union (AFT) won


3. LA port contingent truck drivers set to strike.


and front page story (very good) on them in USA Today


4. Duke U (NC) adjuncts close to a first contract 

Duke Adjuncts Close to Reaching Historic Consensus

Payday reported earlier this year


d-ballots/>  that Duke graduate employees lost a tough election. Their

adjunct faculty colleagues, however, are on the verge of a big win."

In March of 2016, adjuncts at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina

became the first adjuncts to successfully unionize at a private university

in the South. Now adjuncts at Duke say that they are close to a union

contract with the only differences existing on issues about pay and

professional development.

The main area of focus is on setting a minimum salary for instructors that

ensures no full-time instructor is paid less than $35,000 - the current

minimum salary for Durham public school teachers. Duke's current proposal

would offer some full-time instructors as little as $27,000 per year.

The union says that the difference between the costs of their proposal is

approximately $150,000. So far, however, Duke Das refused to budge.

"Our requests are both modest and realistic," the union said in an open

letter to Duke University Administration


k-out-for-fair-wages-in-open-letter/>  on June 13. "The idea that we as

faculty are somehow trying to break Duke's bank is frankly absurd - it's the

kind of thing people used to thinking in terms of game theory might believe,

but it in no way reflects the approach we've taken in bargaining.”


5. NCSCBHEP E-Note for June. Lots of good stuff, including some not reported before.


6. Interesting article on the electoral politics that the national mainstream press ignores


7. United Assoc. For Labor Education (UALE) women’s summer schools upcoming. Strongly recommended.


8. More on merger of Chicago charter schools local union with CTU


9. Taxi drivers suffering in Chicago (contingents all)


10. A day in the life of a day laborer


11. AAUP considers paying adjuncts elected to leadership posts (NFM Pres. Maria Maisto quoted)


12. Interesting model for organizing contingent fast food workers, some lessons for us perhaps


13. At national meeting, AAUP, for the first time in its history, censures a college for firing a contingent faculty member


14. Open letter from an adjunct at St Kate’s to her union busting president


15. Send an email in support of adjuncts at Siena College  trying to get  a first contract two yers after winning election


16. This week’s


17. Duke U (NC) adjuncts demand higher pay


18. Interesting history of for-profit higher ed.


19. Regional conference on academic CB set by NCSCBHEP for Long Beach, CA in Dec. 1-2, co-sponsoships sought.


20. Healthcare Rocks -  single payer video for the bill in CA leg presently


21. Adjunct at Essex College (NJ) suspended after appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox.




22. U Mass-Lowell adjuncts demonstrate for better pay and benefits (UAW)


23. SEIU local 509 introduces fair pay bill in MA legislature . See below for details.


24. FTNTT faculty at Washington U (ST Louis, MO) vote down union, but challenged ballots are more than the difference (SEIU)


25. Contingent freelance writers (NWU, UAW 1981) take to twitter to get Ebony to pay them


26. Article speaks to conditions faced by UPS part-timers (many are our students)





23. Hi y'all,


Fyi--interesting (if imperfect) legislation being proposed by SEIU in MA.





---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 18:48:10 -0400

From: Dennis MacDonald <>


Subject: Adjunct Faculty Parity House Bill Hearing 6/29/17 will affect you


Hello Betsy,




My name is Dennis MacDonald, I’m reaching out to you from Local 509 of the

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) about a bill that could have a

dramatic impact on adjunct faculty in Massachusetts*.* SEIU 509 is

Massachusetts’ Union for Human Service Workers and Educators. Currently we

represent over 4,000 adjunct, part-time, and full-time contingent faculty

at Boston-area colleges and universities including: Brandeis, Tufts,

Northeastern, Lesley, Bentley, and Boston University.




As the State’s largest union of contingent faculty working at private

universities, we are working with our members, their students,

tenure-stream supporters, and community organizations to increase faculty

voice on campus and support teaching, learning, and research. Of particular

concern to the faculty we represent (and their students) is the increasing

corporatization of higher education and the disparate treatment of adjunct





Our work to address this concern includes working with state lawmakers to

pass legislation that addresses the industry-wide treatment of adjuncts. We

have worked with lawmakers to introduce House Bill 2236

<>, which seeks to enact fair

compensation and scheduling standards for adjuncts. If enacted, this bill

would dramatically improve the working conditions of thousands of

Massachusetts adjuncts, as well as the quality of their students’

education! In order to get this bill passed, we will need to show strong

faculty support. We are reaching out to faculty around the state to get

them involved and let them know of ways to show their support for the bill.

There will be a public hearing in room A-1 of the State House on Thursday,

June 29, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. We will meet in room 437 prior to the hearing and

give out Higher Ed T-shirts so we can show strength in numbers at the





This bill has the opportunity to dramatically impact the pay and job

security for adjunct faculty, but without the support of constituents like

you, it could die in committee. I would love to talk further with you about

the bill and upcoming opportunities to get involved!




Best Wishes,



Dennis MacDonald, Faculty Forward Organizer

(781) 883-7519




"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 <>  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







Joe Berry


510-527-5889 phone/fax

21 San Mateo Road, 

Berkeley, CA 94707







Joe Berry


510-527-5889 phone/fax

21 San Mateo Road, 

Berkeley, CA 94707








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