Joe Berry's picture

Public schools are at the center of the manufactured breakdown of the fabric of everyday life. They are under attack not because they are failing, but because they are public. Henry Giroux
COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a 20-plus 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. 2018 was in San Jose, CA. and 2020 will be in Queretaro, Mexico It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee, and Facebook page <>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv and other resources.
For any on this list interested in the history of the left, the student movement of the 1960s-70’s, in the USA, I have a chapter in a book just out, “You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Alliance”, 1741 Press, 2019 publication on the Amazon platform and available there and soon on bookstores.


NOTE #2: a report from the coordinator on the final content and numbers from COCAL XIII conference in San Jose, August 2018


On Dec 16, 2018, at 2:29 PM, Jonathan Karpf <> wrote:
Deer Cesar,

First, my apologies for how long this took. Not only am I a statewide officer of the CFA which multiple roles that is the equivalent in terms of hours of a full-time job, but I taught a class this semester that I haven’t taught since 2007 plus another class that was a new preparation for me. Lastly, while I was the Organizing Chair for COCAL XIII, David Milroy was the Registration Chair. But below are the data you requested:

1) 120 contingent academics attended

2) California had 35
-Connecticut had 12
- New York had 8
- Oregon had 7
- Illinois & Indiana both had 2 attendees each
- the following states had 1 attendee each: Nevada, New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, in no apparent order. So 77 came from the U.S.

3) Canada had 28 attendees from at least 5 provinces.

4) México had 15 attendees from at least 3 states

5) The keynote (Plenary Speakers) were as follows:

A. Opening Plenary: Current Challenges facing Precarious Faculty.
1) Ernesto Ortiz: Exec. Committee of STUNAM on the Méxican landscape 
2) Chandra Pasma: CUPE on the BC/Alberta landscape 
3) Adriana Kezar: USC, on the U.S. landscape 
4) Richard Bousquet: FNEEQ, on the Quebec landscape 

B. 2nd Plenary: A Focus On Local Responses to Challenging Circumstances.
1) Eric Chevrier: CUPFA, Quebec 
2) Fernando Guzmán: SUPAUAQ, Querétaro 
3) Dougal MacDonald: CUPE, Alberta
4) Caprice Lawless, AAUP, Colorado 

C. 3rd Plenary: Solutions to Precarity.
1) Kimberly Ellis: OCUFA, Eastern Canada and Sarika Bose: CAUT, Western Canada 
2) Malini Cadambi Daniel: SEIU Faculty Forward, U.S.
3) Marie-Josée Bourget: FNEEQ, Quebec
4) Bertha Rodríguez: AAPAUNAM, Mèxico

D. 4th Plenary: Summation & Prospects for the Future of Academic Precarity.
1) Meghan O’Donnell: CFA, California/U.S.
2) Patrice Blais: CUPFA, Quebec 
3) María-Teresa Lechuga & Arturo Ramos: COCAL México
4) Natalie Sharpe: CUPE, Alberta

There were also the following:
1. Opening Welcome with Vincent Medina: Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Councilman, and Walt Jacobs, Dean of the College of Social Sciences at SJSU
2. Lunch presentation on the history of COCAL: Joe Berry (Berkeley), Maria-Teresa Lechuga (México City), Glynnis Lieb (Alberta), and Marcia Newfield (NYC)
3. A social networking happy hour
4. Two 1.5 hour Breakout Sessions focusing on skill development:

a. How to Effectively use Social Media to run a Contract/Pressure Campaign: Niesha Fritz, CFA Communications Specialist

b. Communicating with Reporters and the 10-second Sound Bite: Alice Sunshine, CFA Communication Director

c. Masks, Signs, & Puppet Making: Levana Saxon, the Ruckus Society

d. Non-Violent Direct Action: Nupur Modi-Parekh, the Ruckus Society

e. Effectively using Political Pressure to Improve Working Conditions: Djibril Diop, CFA Director of Government Relations and Mario Guerrero, CFA Legislative Director

5. A film session by Gerry Potter, an Alberta contingent faculty member

6. A dinner presentation on contingent faculty organizing in California by Joe Berry and Helena Worthen, AFT, Berkeley 

Jonathan Karpf 
CFA AVP Lecturers-North
COCAL 2018 Organizing Chair 
C: 408-398-9449



1. Free CC


2. Chancellor makes cuts to downsize CCSF


3. CCSF governing board violates transparency policy




1. Canadian arbitration decision restricts use of student evals in faculty tenure and promotion and retention decisions


2. Excellent summary of the prospects for all workers (including our academic colleagues) under the new administration of AMLO and MORENA in  Mexico


3. 150 million strike in India




1. a good year-end compilation of charts on the economy from a working class viewpoint from EPI


2. Looming LA teacher strike is important for all of CA and the nation.
















LA now hiring scabs


Federal court throws out LAUSD’s request for injunction agains t special ed teachers striking






3. U of N Iowa United Faculty (joint unit) demands pay increases


4. Reasons labor should demand a green new deal


5. CUNY faculty demonstrate for $7K per class for adjuncts


and CUNY faculty say $7K or strike


6. LEO (Lecturers Employee Organization, AFT) get new contract at U of MI


7. Who’s next in unionization? Florida adjuncts




8. “Seasonal associate” in the Amazon era


9. Grinnell College President tries to justify his opposition the undergrad employee union (one of my alma maters)


10. Marriott strikes in 7 cities set new industry standards and move toward common conditions and contract under slogan we, of all folks, can identify with, “One job should be enough!”


11. Nice article from a DSA leader about working class action by teachers and the role of socialists in it, and how we are all mayflies in the class struggle.


12. Four Roses bourbon strikers win strike against two-tier for future workers


13. Most important labor stories in 2018 from In These Times


14. Why are these unions opposing Medicare for all? (Note AFT and affiliates)


15. Working at Amazon at Christmas (Wonder how many of these people are our contingent faculty colleagues? Some I bet. Not to mention our students.)


16.College loan debt and the life of an adjunct professor (one of the better recent articles)


17. An  interesting strategy piece from the UFT/AFT opposition caucus (NYC k-12 teachers in the largest school district in the USA). It has some potential lessons for us in the contingent faculty movment, and not only in the AFT


18. We are not robots. Amazon workers push for union


19. The invisible faculty


20. New book, “Temp and the end of job stability”


21. Four common lies about college


22. Challenges to organizing grads, and how to meet them (an AHA forum)


23. Wright State (OH) faculty union (AAUP) files strike notice


24. Can faculty unions stop the decline of tenure?


25. Full-time contingent faculty


26. 5 good articles on labor history available free until Jan 31. The third one relates particularly to contingent and low income workers like us.

Dear Reader,
We would like to share Labor's five most-read articles published in 2018 (Volume 15), made freely available until January 31.
Please share these freely available articles with your colleagues and students.

    • Labor Journalism Today: Three Interviews
by Max Fraser, Steven Greenhouse, Jane Slaughter, and Sarah Jaffe

    • The Work: Dealing and Violence in the War on Drugs Era
by Will Cooley

    • The Making of Nickel and Dimed: Barbara Ehrenreich and the Exposé of Class in America 
by Gabriel Winant

    • Heywood Broun, Benjamin Stolberg, and the Politics of American Labor Journalism in the 1920s and 1930s
by Christopher Phelps


    • Class, Professional Work, and the History of Capitalism in Broken Hill, c. 1880–1910
by Hannah Forsyth

Register for a new account at and sign up for Latest Issue Alerts to stay up-to-date with the most recent scholarship from Labor. If you have any questions, please contact us at


27. N C teachers again on the move


28. How UNITE-HERE Local 2 in SF won the Marriott strike. Lots of lessons for us here.


29. Adjuncts who say “I’m not an academic”.


30. Great ideas on progressive taxes from AOC (with tremendous relevance for US!)


31. Wayne St (MI) faculty set to strike


32. From precarious academic to factory worker


33. Inequity and injustice describe by a Wright St (OH) contingent


34. Life beyond dues checkoff


35. Public sector unions have dodged the Janus blow so far


36. The forgotten wildcat strikes during WWI, by our contingent colleague Robert Ovetz


37. My professor couldn’t pay rent so she moved in with me


38. Preparing for a possible faculty-staff strike at Comm Coll. of Phila. (AFT 2026)



"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. <>

Also COCAL XIV in August, 2020 in Queretaro, Mexico. WWW.COCALINTERNATIONAL.ORG
Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone landline
21 San Mateo Road, 
Berkeley, CA 94707
In VT-802-380-019
In Viet Nam- +84 0785 204 173
Skype: joeberry1948