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, 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.
Happy MayDay. Some reports and analyses follow:


1. ITT roundup


and MayDay in Oakland



None this week. Lots of May 1 reports. Google them.




1. Recent organizing survey shows most video game developers open to union


2. Organizing gig workers


3. Labor Notes webinar on higher education, May 7  (check for recording on website.)


4. Sign petition for higher ed access for incarcerated people, bill presently in Congress


5. for this week


6. Neoliberal educational restructuring (an old good piece)


7. Lessons from the Rutgers U struggle and strike-threat (this is really a must read, by a leader there)


Rutgers adjuncts (AFT/AAUP) hold grade-in for equal pay and job security


and  Rutger grad TA files for bankruptcy


8. Luke-Sumter St Coll. (FL) adjuncts vote union (SEIU)


9. Higher ed as a public good


10. Good song for red-for-ed


11. Jacobin MayDay strike and workers struggles summary of articles. Good roundup.


12. Latest Strikewave issue


13. NC teachers May Day rally at state capitol

North Carolina teachers have organized another blockbuster march and rally at the state legislature to protest inadequate funding for public schools and low salaries for school workers, including teachers, bus drivers, dietary staff, etc.

Take a look at that sea of red in the attached photo. This could be the largest May Day rally by organized labor in North Carolina!


Sent from my Sprint Samsung Galaxy Note5.


and from a NC teacher a letter to students on why we are marching


14. Pedro Noguera’s progressive education agenda


15. WSJ on adjunct underclass (partly behind paywall. If anyone has access to a free copy, send to editor.)


16. Amazon and others automate firing workers


17. Post MayDay roundup of labor news


18. Good mayday composite column from AAUP’s Hank Reichman


19. And in SC teachers march in the thousands on MayDay






20. Adjuncts and freelance writers in the same second-tier boat, and often the same person!


21. Chicago charter school strikes keep on winning


22. Will teacher strike wave hit Mississippi?


23. Teachers’ weekly wage penalty 21.4% in 2018  (Should we contingents do a similar calculation or ask EPI to do one?)


24. Nat. Ctr for the Study of CB in HE E-Note for April


25. Interesting response from a former contingent member of the AHA committee on contingent faculty, in response to the article in CHE 

hi Joe

The essay resonates with my experience of 30 years on the job market.   They have pointed out the time spent applying for shitty jobs (I used to send out 25-40 job applications a year).  The AHA Perspectives On History has a "From the President" (John R MacNeill) that is about ending the "AHA Interview" as too costly for interviewees and can be done by electronic means.  Searches registered w. AHA have declined from 270 in 2005 (Seattle) to 20 in Chicago 2019.  Big decline (down by half) was between 2013 and 2014.  Some of the demand for 'paperwork' may be to get more extensive info from more candidates without having to have interviews -- all of which can be transmitted electronically.   In the 1990s, I stuffed envelopes and used the USPS.  Postage and paying for confidential references added up with 50 applications.

So the criticism is on the mark.  So is their point about solidarity.  I would say they confine themselves too much when they call for unions and solidarity -- if they want a true "industrial" union, they need to include clerical and blue collar workers.  Here in right to work South, few of them are unionized.  Also your point about developing regional and autonomous adjunct groups is an important contrast with their view of needing the tenured to lead.  They won't.  Although adjuncts need to be protected in some way.  This relationship has to be dialectical and reciprocal; trust building is crucial and establishing trust with non academic workers is equally important.

They don't have a sense of the need to organize adjuncts autonomously; when I served on the AHA committee on part time and contingent labor in 2000-02--the only one of a dozen committee members who was an adjunct, by the way -- they sidestepped numerous requests on my part to set up a mailing list of adjuncts so we could communicate among ourselves.  That's crucial, since the professional associations like the AHA are the only ones who have enough contacts to build a critical mass of adjuncts to advocate for themselves.  

Have you had any contact with these two authors?  I wonder what the next step might be

Daniel Bessner is an assistant professor in American foreign policy at the University of Washington. Michael Brenes is a lecturer in global affairs and a senior archivist at Yale University.


26. More on continuing fight at CUNY


27. Sacramento teachers to strike again May 22


28. MN ST faculty union (IFO. unaffiliated) pickets in support of Hamline adjuncts


29. Why the labor movement is broken and how to fix it


30. In FL adjuncts deserve more


31. In Memorium of adjunct leader Sam Russo from CA

      In Remembrance of Sam Russo
We are sad to announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and past-president for Fullerton College Adjunct Faculty United, Sam Russo.
Sam was one of the core group who helped establish Adjunct Faculty United, AFT #6106. He was President of the local for 12 years, and served on the Negotiations Team for a number of years. He retired from the local in May 2015.
He also served for ten years on the Executive Council of the CFT. While on that council, he served on the Legal Defense Fund Committee. For six years, he was Chair of the CFT Part-time Faculty Committee. He also served two years on the AFT Higher Education Program and Policy Council as well as the Academic Staffing Crisis Committee of the PPC. Sam attended AFT ULI when it was still held at UC Santa Cruz.
Prior to his work with Adjunct Faculty United, he served on the negotiating team of the El Camino College Federation of Teachers and was a vice president of the ECCFT. He also was an official delegate to 13 CFT Conventions.
Sam taught at Cypress College for 27 years, and at El Camino College for 23 years. His wife, Barbara, who was both secretary and adjunct professor at Cypress College, served on the AdFac Executive Board as Secretary.
Sam was known for his wit and sense of humor. He was extremely dedicated to and passionate about part-timers and our union. When speaking about our local, he once said:  
“Our first contract was one of the best in the state, and we have made significant progress in terms of compensation, health benefits, rehire rights, and the grievance process, but we still have a long way to go.”
Many thanks to Sam for all he did for AdFac and for CFT part-time faculty all over the state. He will be greatly missed by all of us, but especially by those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him for so many years both in the North Orange County District and on the CFT Part-time Faculty Committee. 

Services will be held 9am Saturday, May 11, at Memory Garden Memorial Park in Brea. For further information, please contact


32. Adjunct profs struggle as colleges prosper


33. Toledo, OH City Council debates equal pay ordinance



"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 <> It is archived at and at

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