Joe Berry's picture

In fact, President Franklin D. Roosevelt realized  the importance of a good minimum wage.  In 1933 he claimed "No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country."

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.
CAMPUS EQUITY WEEK 2017, Halloween Week
Fellow Activists,
With only a few weeks left before Campus Equity Week, it's time to plan and publicize your action!
Follow the mAsk4CampusEquity campaign on Twitter @2017CEW and use the hashtags #2017CEW and/or #mask4ce.
Visit the Facebook page "Campus Equity Week 2017" at
If you haven't perused its pages yet, visit the mAsk4CampusEquity campaign's website: 
The arts-based site contains a toolkit with downloadable artwork to use on posters and fliers:
as well as access to a virtual store at this link: where you can purchase union made buttons and/or stickers to publicize the mAsk4CampusEquity campaign and Campus Equity Week.
Wear a button. Put a sticker on the back of your cell phone cover so people will see it whenever you pull out your phone. Pop one on your shirt if you don't like pins. If everyone waits until mid October to place an order, we won't have time to restock and get them to you in time for your events.
Spread the word. Here's a article about the campaign recently published on the AFT website:
Anne Wiegard
UUP, AFT Local 2190
mAsk4CampusEquity Steering Committee
and this from CSAL (Center for the Study of Academic Labor)


1. And more on the pluses and minuses of the Free City program as implemented so far.

Dear Joe, 

In response to your recent COCAL posts, I am sharing the following that I think would provide people with a more accurate picture of what is going on with City College of San Francisco's  (CCSF) free tuition program.  My Counterpunch article (link below) shows that the big sponsor of this program, Supervisor Jane Kim,  in her own words, favors charter schools and corporate subsidies. After Sander's recent talk in downtown SF, I talked briefly with her.  She said that Sanders was aware of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's opposition to fully fund the free city program and problems with how CCSF's administration is instituting the program--for example, as of now, according to the college's website, students benefiting from the free city program are responsible for paying tuition if they drop out after just the first two weeks of school.  If you go to the college's homepage, there are pictures with headings such as "Free City"  "Walls Torn Down" that don't mention that the program is only available to SF residents. I do not believe this and other problems were mentioned at the CCSF Sanders event.

At present, due to class cuts, free city has resulted in faculty generally having larger classes.  Larger classes undermine the quality of the education received by students.  Addtionally, many classes had waitlists which presumably resulted in discouraging some students from enrolling.

My article on Sander's endorsement of Kim when she ran for the state senate relied on Kim's answers to an AFT 2121 questionnaire when she was seeking the union's endorsement.  Her answers posted on the union's website were taken down because they supposedly were not suppose to be accessible to anyone other than union members.  I don't understand why people who are not union members being able to read candidates' answers to union questions should have prompted the taking down of Kim's written responses.  Included here is a file that contains Kim's answers that were taken down to the union's questionnaire. 

My Counterpunch article on flaws in the free tuition program was written before Kim reached a deal with Mayor Ed Lee that resulted in the funding for the program being slashed.  As a result of this deal, those who work 50% or more in San Francisco and do not reside in the city are no longer eligible for free tuition.  Those students who were not having to pay tuition before this program was enacted--often the most disadvantaged students--were, under the program, given money to help pay for textbooks and supplies.  This funding was cut in half under the "deal" reached with Mayor Lee.
Rick Baum

and regarding Jan Kim’s answers to the AFT2121 campaign questionnaire
Question 4. What is your position on charter schools? page 7-8

 Kim:  Charter schools serve as an important space where minority students and low ­income communities may receive education that is critical for gaining skill and knowledge. Not limited to serving any specific community, charter schools are also essential for talented students that excel in any given area to receive the continued training that is essential for their growth. Offering an alternative environment for students, charter schools serve as a necessary option for education by integrating both characteristics of a public and private schools. I have supported existing charter schools reauthorizations in San Francisco that have demonstrated successful outcomes for students and I have voted against new charter authorizations, many of whom do not have a track record of success. I support successful schools with thriving classrooms that include teachers and other educators in the decision making process. I will support legislation to enhance local school boards’ ability to deny charter applications to make charters more transparent in providing data concerning suspensions and expulsions of students.

Question:  "What are your three top legislative priorities? page 4-5
At bottom of answer

Kim:  Furthermore, I authored a tax exclusion legislation to attract technology companies and small businesses in a corridor in my district with the highest commercial vacancy rate in San Francisco in 2011. The commercial vacancy rate has fallen as low as 2.4% in most parts of my district and this corridor is now home to Twitter, Uber, Square, Dolby, and Zendesk. I am committed to creating good paying/family wage jobs, so that diverse residents can continue to live in the Bay Area.
2. The author of Pathways at CUNY defends its record. Relevant to CCSF today.


1. Women students at Benares U in India demonstrate against sexual harassment on the street and the admin and cops attack them

2. Manchester U staff (including faculty) vote 93% to strike (Britain)

3. Australia: National Tertiary Ed. Union members at U of Tech, Sidney vote to strike
4. Canada: Laurentian U teachers end strike


1. A subversive group of higher ed activists (worth checking out)

2. Bridgewater St (MA) prof placed on paid leave “for own safety” after receiving threats for anti-Trump posts

3. Columbia College, Chicago adjunct union (P-FAC) files ULP over refusal by admin to allow adjuncts to teach on-line at their standard rate by contract

4. Full story of CUNY adjuncts' picket for higher pay. See below.

5. Sestina for adjuncts (poem)

6. Interesting survey from Alamo College system in Texas

7. Fordham (NY) union vote for all contingents (FT and PT) underway by mail (SEIU)

8. Link correction on labor education job announcement at U Mass Boston
For full job description and how to apply, follow link:

9. Trump vs grad workers, a card from U of Chicago

10. Rebuilding a union, even under open shop, the CUNY experience

11. Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Org, IEA/NEA signed new agreement with RU (Chicago) [Full disclosure, your editor was a leader and member of RAFO from 2000 to 2007.]

12. U of Washington post-docs file for union recognition (UAW)

13. Bloomberg says there are just too many college teachers (People should comment on this really obnoxious article.)

14. AAUP launches “One faculty, One resistance” campaign

15. Springfield Tech and CC (MA) unions vote no confidence in pres.

16. Seattle Times, letter on equal pay for part-timers

17. How to pay for free cc  (Why not progressive taxation?)
18. Student worker rally at U of WI, Madison
19. Boston U (SEIU) and U of Pittsburgh (USW) adjuncts settle contracts
20. What Burlington , VT, teachers gained with their strike, and what they will need to fight for in the future
21. Professors are the new therapists
22. As Rowan U (NJ) grows admin may hire FTTT and lay off 3/4 time adjuncts (No mention of preference for FTTT jobs.)
23. U of MN organizers (SEIU) to back off union vote and won’t appeal court decision, form worker association instead
24. Faculty unions pose test of social teachings at Catholic universities
25. Low unemployment does not increase wages like it used to
26. U of MI faculty picket in support of anti-racist students
27. Northeastern U (Boston) dining hall workers vote to strike (UNITE-HERE)
28. Forced labor as drug rehab, under the guise of Christianity. [Worse than contingent academia, basically slavery.]
29. From ABC new show affirming that Black people built America, including UVA and UNC, by name.
30. Adjunct comics
31. Trump’s Justice Dept trying to turn back clock on worker rights 100 years
32. Contingent or tenure track: we are all on the same sinking ship

4. CUNY -Great coverage of our picket in this week's Chief-Leader! The story is behind a paywall so we're pasting it below: 
Seeking Double the Current ‘Sub-Minimum Wage’ 
PSC Dissidents Pressure Union, CUNY For Significant Boost in Adjuncts’ Pay 
“Adjuncts are treated as a special-interest group when they’re the majority,” said Andrew Battle, a U.S. History adjunct at Hunter College. “I think the union needs to catch up with history.” 
Tough Financial Haul 
A coalition of teaching staff prodded the City University of New York and the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing CUNY staff, to increase adjunct pay. On Sept. 26, about four dozen adjuncts brought signs and chanted outside of CUNY’s central office in Midtown to demand $7,000 percourse, a number that is comparable to what adjuncts at other colleges such as Barnard College are making. 
About 60 percent of CUNY’s instructors are adjuncts, who typically make $3,500per class. The average adjunct at CUNY earns less than $30,000 a year, and about 2,000 of the system’s 13,000 adjuncts rely solely on CUNY for income. 
“It’s not melodramatic to say people can’t pay their rent,” said Teaching Fellow Jarrod Shanahan. 
“Adjuncts are paid a subminimum wage,” Mr. Battle said. “The school employs the working poor.” 
Teaching staff at the rally, which was not sanctioned by the PSC, criticized the union for not doing enough to improve salaries for adjuncts. 
Wilson Sherwin, a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate Center who has worked as an adjunct for the past six years, helped organize the event, which began at Governor Cuomo’s office near Grand Central Station and ended in front of CUNY’s headquarters two blocks away. 
“The union has a good rhetoric, but once they go into the negotiating room, adjunct demands are thrown out,” she said. 
PSC Cites Gains 
Barbara Bowen, the president of the PSC, emphasized “big advances” the union has won for adjuncts, including professional- development grants and three-year appointments guaranteeing those who have worked for 10 semesters in a row at least six hours of work per semester for the next three years. 
“Fair pay for adjuncts is in the interest of everyone at CUNY: full-time faculty, staff, students and of course adjuncts themselves,” she said. “CUNY’s budget is premised on the gross underpayment of the 13,000 adjuncts who teach more than half of its courses. The University’s reliance on underpaid workers for its core mission— teaching—is a direct result of decades of planned reduction in public funding.” 
Mr. Battle said that he believed the union wants the right things, but that it is “committed to a strategy that involves bargaining with state politicians and not fighting at the grassroots level. That strategy has failed.” 
In March 2016, the union engaged in civil disobedience outside of CUNY’s headquarters, which resulted in 52 
members being arrested, after contract negotiations stalled for almost six years. Two months later, 92 percent of union members voted for PSC’s Executive Council to initiate a strike, which would have violated the Taylor Law. A deal was reached shortly after, which provided 10.4percent raises retroactively for all staff, including adjuncts, matching the pattern civilian municipal unions had agreed to with the de Blasio administration. 
Ms. Bowen insisted that the union is committed to fight to raise adjunct pay to $7,000 a course. “We plan to mount an energetic, comprehensive campaign for a contract that includes gains for adjuncts and all other faculty and staff when our current contract expires this November,” she said.


Below is an email I received from an adjunct or part-timer at City
University of New York.  Adjuncts there are organizing.  The links include
a video of a picket they did and the other contains excerpts from an
article.  They are represented by an AFT local.  Many of their concerns are
similar to our own.


Subject: Re: Independent Rank-and-File Picket for $7k and Job Security is a
Huge Success!
To: "Committee of Adjuncts and Part-Timers" <committee-of-adjuncts-and->

A video of the picket put together by our comrades at Left Voice has 14k


"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. <>
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 Also COCAL XIII in August, 2018, in San Jose, CA.

Campus Equity Week 2017 (Halloween Week)

Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone/fax landline
21 San Mateo Road, 
Berkeley, CA 94707
In Vermont-802-380-019
in Viet Nam- +84 016 824 04310