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 2022 (waiting another year!) 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.

Due to the CORONA Virus, the COCAL XIV conference to be held in Querétaro, Mexico, has been postponed until Summer 2022. However, there will be a small blended conference in 2021 in Mexico City, with zoom access around the world. Watch this space for details.

The COCAL International Advisory Committee needs a volunteer to take over the webmaster duties for our website <> Our longtime webmaster, David Rives of Oregon, needs to step back. It is not a high- maintenance job, but has a lot of potential for future development to serve the contingent faculty movement. If interested or for more information reply to this email at <

Hi Joe!

So glad we got to speak earlier today--your time and knowledge of labor organizing in US higher ed is really amazing. I thought you may be interested in this union data we've compiled on our website, <> but per our discussion, here's a rap (edit as you like!) for outreach, and here are the orgs/people you noted we should speak with.

Dear [colleague]

I would like to connect you with our colleague Trent McDonald, co-chair of the Washington University Undergraduate & Graduate Workers Union (WUGWU) <>. WUGWU and other allied unions all across the US are putting together a campaign, under the name the Coalition of Campus Unions, to ensure that no federal dollars go to union busting, non-living wage paying educational institutions. With the Democratic executive and legislative branches saying that working people deserve a seat at the table, we believe that linking labor standards to taxpayer dollars is a necessary and achievable policy that must be enacted ASAP. Here are our campaign's:

Endorsement form,
3 page extended description.

Could Trent have a 15-30 minute phone or video call about our campaign with you sometime soon? Or if folks from your organization are happy to just endorse and have little capacity, that's fine, too. We are looking to put a lot of union muscle behind this effort (including your union!); we want everyone to work together and win together here.

In solidarity,



1. SAN FRANCISCO—City College of San Francisco is facing a $33 million budget shortfall for the 2021-2022 school year. On March 3, City College issued preliminary layoff notices to 163 faculty members and 34 administers. Final layoff notices are due by May 15.

2. From the CCSf student paper


3. On March 12, roughly 200 City College faculty, union workers from SEIU Local 87, which represents custodians and janitors, and faculty from the College of San Mateo and University of San Francisco gathered in solidarity to oppose City College faculty cuts.

Responding to cuts approved by the City College Board of Trustees earlier this month, those gathered called on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to help save programs and faculty which could be lost come May 15 when cuts are finalized.
As it stands now, no layoffs have actually been carried out, as the City College faculty union, AFT2121, enters negotiations with the college administration ahead of the May 15 effective date of the layoffs. The union hopes to reduce the total number of layoffs and maintain certain programs which are under threat by drastic cuts, including Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) and English as a Second Language (ESL) departments, slated to be reduced by 40 and 20 percent, respectively.
A large portion of these cuts do not appear on the report issued by the college’s administration, which only lists pink slips issued to full-time faculty and does not include the layoffs of many of the part-time faculty from those departments, according to Malaika Finkelstein, a part-time instructor in the DSPS department and president of AFT2121. 



Dear Supporter of City College of San Francisco,

The Administration of City College is urging our Trustees to implement class cuts and layoffs that will terminate up to 65 percent of the faculty and drastically downsize many programs, if not eliminate them. CCSF should be the engine of our much-needed economic recovery and this action will do just the opposite, shrinking CCSF to a shadow of its former self and harming thousands of students for generations to come. These unprecedented cuts will undermine CCSF's essential mission: to provide an accessible and quality education to all San Franciscans, especially those most at risk.

At a forum on March 21, CCSF’s interim chancellor Vurdien said that the California Community College Chancellor sees our college as a school that can serve no more than 18,000-20,000 students and that it should not have more than about 180 full-time faculty. Not only is this a drastic departure from our purpose, it is a another example of disseminating misinformation, this time about the FON, or faculty obligation number.
The FON is a number set by the state to establish a floor--NOT a ceiling--for the number of full time faculty a school is obligated to employee. This FON is in response to legislation from decades ago that wanted schools to have a ratio of 75% full-time faculty to 25% part-time faculty. For those schools who were out of compliance, a low bar was set that required a school to increase their full-time hiring or risk losing apportionment funding from the state. CCSF, like most schools, has always been in compliance, or over this FON. To go below that number (which is, for the 21-22 academic year, 178.1), would cause us to be out of compliance and lose revenue. We WANT to be above that number, especially when our financial situation is so dire!

Making drastic cuts to the college makes no sense when there is so much emergency relief money coming in to the city, the state, and the college that could be tapped to support the us during this time of crisis.

Years of chronic underfunding and disinvestment in public education have harmed our students and community. We need long-term solutions to fully fund our CCSF. City and state leaders must take action now to protect our College in the immediate and long term— the future of our students and our City depend on it.

Below are events to attend in the next few days and weeks--and 2 actions you can take right now--to help stop this. 

Thank you for your commitment to City College and keeping it a vibrant community college!

Wynd Kaufmyn
CCSF Engineering Instructor

Actions to take now:

• Join the Rebuild City College Campaign.

• Click here to write to the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustee members.  

Events to Attend

April 9, 2021 at 10 a.m.
Virtual City Hall Hearing on City College
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Youth, Young Adults, and Families Committees is holding a hearing on Impacts of Proposed Cuts to Courses and Staff Layoffs at City College of San Francisco. Click here to join the meeting and for instructions on submitting public comment. All comments received will be part of the official record.
April 11, 2021
Student-led Webinar at 10 a.m.
Student-led March to Save City College at 1:00 p.m.

Join the virtual webinar 10:00-11:30 a.m. here.
March starts at 24th Street BART at 1:00 p.m.

April 15, 2021 10:00-11:30 a.m.
ESL-focused Press Conference
RSVP here

April 24, 2021 1:00-4:00 p.m
Faculty Empowerment Fair
Zoom link coming soon

April 29, 2021 at 4 p.m.
CCSF Board of Trustees Meeting
This is the meeting that the CCSF Trustees are likely to approve the "May 15th" letters, sending official notice of the lay-offs 

5. How to help Rebuild City College?

Please, read this paper to get some answers to that question:





1. Myanmar


2. Uganda, court declares university teacher strike illegal


3. Argentina: Students occupied the Department of Education in Argentina for the right to education after the government's refusal to hear their urgent demands. 

Thousands of young people organized in piquetero (unemployed workers) movements gathered last Wednesday at the Department of Education in Argentina to demand scholarships, technological equipment, wi-fi connectivity for all, vaccines and adequate health conditions at schools. After the government’s refusal to receive them and hear the demands which affect millions of young people all over the country, they decided to occupy the building.

Young people from working class neighborhoods have been mobilizing to the Department of Education for weeks to request adequate health conditions to attend school, to access wi-fi and technological equipment in order to avoid being marginalized from Argentina’s educational system. 

The demonstration organizers stated that the living conditions of the working class and especially young people are getting worse every day in a country where 6 out of every 10 children are poor and many more are malnourished as a recent report reveals.

Guillermo Kane


Some extra reading material on these issues:




1. From national AFT adjunct portraits


2. Striking for the common good in public education webinar


3. Alaska, oil and the impact of austerity on public schools


4. On-line troublemakers school from Labor Notes


5.  Employees and students at the City University of New York (CUNY) held a noisy, caravan-style protest on Jan. 30, in opposition to ongoing cuts and lay-offs which have affected both students and faculty alike. The group taped signs to their cars, hung out their windows, honked their horns and generally shattered the usual, peaceful tranquility known to some residents of the Northwest Bronx.
Another adjunct professor, who declined to be identified, said that before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the union had fought for, and won, three-year appointments for adjuncts that provided “job security and healthcare benefits.” He added that of the 36 educators who had been let go, most were seasoned professors who had been with the college over many years.
The adjunct professor continued, “So these 3-year adjuncts are the most experienced of our adjuncts.” He said many had a decade or more of experience. “The cost savings that they make, laying off these adjuncts, it barely puts a dent in the budget gap that they tell us they’re closing,” he said. In light of these comments, Norwood News reached out to seek clarification from CUNY. We did not receive a response.

and The union representing the City University of New York’s teachers and staff praised a recent report by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer on the university’s contributions to the city.
Using data provided by the CUNY Office of Institutional Research and Census data on Post-Secondary Employment Outcomes, the study revealed that 79% of CUNY graduates work full-time in the five boroughs after graduation, earning a combined $57 billion annually in 2019.
Nearly 850,000 CUNY graduates work full time in the state, comprising close to 10% of private-sector workers and 17% of the state’s workforce with a higher education.


6. A bid to expand bargaining rights to all employees at Maryland’s 16 community colleges advanced for the second time in the last eight years.
Senate Bill 746 would enable community college employees to unionize and hold elections if they wanted to, but it does not mandate unionization. It simply grants all community college employees the legal right to bargain collectively.


7. "Georgetown University Law Center fired an adjunct professor for expressing "angst" over the fact that her African-American students seemed to be getting lower grades than their white counterparts. Adjunct Professor Sandra Sellers was teaching a Zoom class with Adjunct Professor David Batson. When the class was over, and the students clicked off the Zoom, Sellers and Batson continued their conversation, unaware that it was being recorded and transmitted.

"During my 50 years at Harvard, I have overheard many conversations among faculty that mirror the angst that Sellers expressed. I have heard this angst expressed by professors of every racial, religious and ethnic background. It is a common subject for discussion in faculty lunchrooms and meetings all around the country. The issue that Sellers and Batson were privately discussing is a real and serious one that must be addressed by all law schools, and indeed other institutions of higher learning. It should not become a verboten topic of conversation. But Georgetown Law School has not only denied its faculty and students the right to discuss the subject; it has also denied them the right to remain silent while such a discussion is occurring."

"Georgetown University Law Center fired an adjunct professor for expressing "angst" over the fact that her African-American students seemed to be getting lower grades than their white counterparts. Adjunct Professor Sandra Sellers was teaching a Zoom class with Adjunct Professor David Batson. When the class was over, and the students clicked off the Zoom, Sellers and Batson continued their conversation, unaware that it was being recorded and transmitted.
"During my 50 years at Harvard, I have overheard many conversations among faculty that mirror the angst that Sellers expressed. I have heard this angst expressed by professors of every racial, religious and ethnic background. It is a common subject for discussion in faculty lunchrooms and meetings all around the country. The issue that Sellers and Batson were privately discussing is a real and serious one that must be addressed by all law schools, and indeed other institutions of higher learning. It should not become a verboten topic of conversation. But Georgetown Law School has not only denied its faculty and students the right to discuss the subject; it has also denied them the right to remain silent while such a discussion is occurring."

8. NY schools still unsafe for re-entry


9. I attended a webinar put together by faculty union activists in MA, one objective of which is to promote Debt Reveal Day on April 15th.  They have developed a very useful tool to analyze the impact of university and college debt held by Wall Street investors and banks, and its impact on students.

Here is a link to their web page and another to their Tool Kit.

• University Debt Reveal Day -April 15 [Tool Kit Resources]

Share with others who might benefit from this effort.



10. Debate over new bill in WA state leg

P. D. Lesko has just published  "Washington/New York Faculty Unions Pushing 'New Deal' Boondoggle That Will Cost Thousands of Part-Timers Their Jobs” at  It begins with a graphic, “It’s a Scam!”  The article is critical of legislation to fund more tenure-track faculty positions because such legislation will necessarily mean the loss of many adjunct jobs.  

Such legislation offers a false promise to adjuncts, some of whom selfishly favor the bill because they see the new full-time positions as their ticket out of poverty.  But not only will the legislation mean the loss of many adjunct jobs, it converts part-time positions, not individuals, and will leave substandard adjunct working conditions in tact.  

(A true solution, which would not impact the state budget, would be to establish job security for established adjuncts and to improve their working conditions, and limit tenured-faculty overloads to protect adjunct jobs, which, despite several decades of collective bargaining, has not been accomplished (much less attempted).)

In her first paragraph, Lesko makes clear how this bill, which has passed out of the state Senate, is being railroaded through the Washington state House:  


The Washington State House College and Workforce Development Committee will be hearing 2ESSB 5194 on Monday March 21, 2021. It would be a disaster for thousands of part-time faculty if the Bill becomes law. Dr. Keith Hoeller, a long-time adjunct faculty activist in Washington State said in an email, “Since the Chair has already scheduled it for a vote this coming Wednesday, it seems the Dems are intent on passing the bill this session. The unions have run similar bills for years, all without passing. It is part of the AFT’s Faculty and College Excellence Plan (FACE), which ultimately seeks to reverse the part-time/full-time ratio so 70 percent of the faculty will be full-timers. They aim to do this by taking courses from current part-timers. While this bill had some language about ‘equal pay for equal work,’ it did not necessarily apply to part-timers, and it was dropped as the bill ran into problems. There is nothing in the present bill about improving part-time pay at all.”


(Editorial note: The upcoming hearing is Monday, March 22, not March 21.)

Best wishes,


11. Faculty union at PA St System opposes dismantling it


12. Some good ideas for saving contingent jobs (read from bottom)


Sure thing, Joe.

Our bargainers just negotiated a more far-reaching deal - very, very, far from perfect, but more far-reaching than the last one, especially on saving PTL jobs.

Here's a summary with links to the text of the agreement and explanatory materials. 


On Sun, Mar 28, 2021 at 8:59 PM Joe Berry <> wrote:
may I forward this to COCAL UPDATES?


On Mar 22, 2021, at 6:38 AM, James Pope <> wrote:

Our local (Rutgers AAUP-AFT) has been pushing work sharing as a means of preventing layoffs not only for faculty (both FT & PT), but also for other university workers through a coalition of Rutgers unions.  So far the administration (actually 2 administrations, the first totally reactionary and the second supposedly more enlightened) have resisted and the coalition's work sharing campaign has succeeded in saving only 400 or so jobs for dining hall workers and cleaners.  (We're still in negotiations for a new plan.)  The plan relies on the federal payments, and parts of it are assisted by a New Jersey state law (but I don't think that's essential).

Here's a brief summary of the proposal:

And here's a powerpoint presentation of the original proposal that's more detailed:

On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 10:12 AM jackson potter <> wrote:
Any way to determine how stimulus money impacts their initial budget projections and lock them into right to return for anyone laid off? not sure if your contracts have a recall provision but maybe this could be a time to develop or strengthen those provisions? 
-jackson potter 

On Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 6:36 PM James H. Williams <> wrote:
About 30 years ago, there was a similar layoff at the NEA.  Our CWA local filed a grievance under the maintence of standards clause in our contract, and filed a complaint with the EEOC. Unfortunately these were unsuccessful.
Jim Williams
Tacoma DSA

On Thursday, March 18, 2021, 03:21:08 PM PDT, Joe Berry <> wrote:

Friends, colleagues and comrades,

I am on the EB (representing retirees) of my local union, AFT 2121, at City College of SF. We are facing an existential crisis of forced downsizing and massive proposed layoffs. 165 of our FT tenured and tenure track faculty have received layoff notices for next fall and this also means that probably 500 of our part-timers (all considered temporary) will be laid off too. This means over half of our existing faculty is at risk right now. In recent years we have forced the district to hire a few more BIPOC folks as regular faculty and these layoffs will lay off over half of the Black and Brown faculty. Our contract calls for departmental seniority and allows for some transfers and bumping if the person has an additional Faculty Service Area they are qualified in. We plan to fight these layoffs up to and including strike action if necessary (we did strike a few years ago so that is not impossible).

My question is what creative means have others found to avoid the very racist pattern of last hired - first fired due to historic patterns of racism in hiring and preparation for college teaching? We have made some progress in hiring, and have one of the few upgrading contract articles in any higher ed contract which provides for significant preference for part-timers (in CA CC’s all part-timers are temporary and all temporaries are part-time by law) to have preference for FT jobs with a stated exception for specifically needed affirmative action hires, which drops the insider preference bar somewhat. 

Any ideas or precedents would be appreciated. This is the first serious threat of FT layoffs in 30 years or more (though we have lost hundreds of part-timers already over the past few years) so people are panicked and very scared.

In hope for help.



13. for this week


14. Over the years, many successful lawyers have asked me how they might get an adjunct teaching job—a part-time job teaching one specialty class in a subject they know well, usually in a weekly 2-hour block. (Some examples of such classes, though not necessarily ones I've been asked about: Business Torts; Family Law Mediation; Entertainment Guilds; and of course many more.)

I used to tell them: " First, think of adjunct teaching as a very expensive hobby." A typical 2-unit class pays maybe $5000 to $10,000 or so. In exchange, the teacher likely has to spend, each week, about 2 hours teaching; let's say an average of about an hour or so in transit (remember when people would actually have to drive to and from the university?); and probably about 4 to 6 hours preparing for class (much more the first time, perhaps somewhat less later, though each year there could be new developments that would require further preparing), plus talking to students after class and outside class and the like. The teacher would also have to compose and then grade the exam, and in many classes grade student papers (in law school, professors do their own grading, rather than delegating to teaching assistants).


15. UTC adjuncts jobs insecurity and low pay


16. A University of Cincinnati professor who referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” in an email to a student will not be back at the college next semester, according to a report. 

The contract of John L. Ucker, an adjunct instructor for the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, will not be renewed following the September email he sent to a student who said he needed to miss a lab due to possible exposure to the virus, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday.
“For students testing positive for the chinese virus, I will give no grade,” the email from Ucker’s university account read. “You can read the info I sent to the class re: torsion test.”


17. Georgetown University Law Center fired an adjunct professor earlier this month for stating that some of her worst students are Black, and another adjunct resigned for not condemning the remarks. The firing has stirred controversy on both sides — with criticism from supporters of academic freedom and freedom of speech, and the law schools’ black law student association upset it took the school four days before firing the adjunct.
Sandra Sellers made the remarks to David Batson after their negotiation and mediation class, but while Zoom was still recording.
“I hate to say this,” Sellers said in the recording. “I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks. Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You get some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”


18. The opening scene of Christine Smallwood's sharp debut novel, The Life of the Mind, finds her main character, Dorothy, locked into the stall of a public bathroom. Dorothy spends a lot of time locked in bathrooms. She's having a prolonged miscarriage, and is spending long intervals every day sitting and thinking on the toilet. 
By profession, Dorothy is a thinker: she's a graduate student in literature, stuck, as she acknowledges, in "adjunct [professor] hell." She teaches up to four courses a semester at an elite university, all the while trying — and failing — to make progress on her dissertation, which, appropriately, happens to be about "female confinement and the Gothic novel."

19. More than 600 part-time faculty at the New School in New York City have signed a petition denouncing “skyrocketing healthcare costs” prompted by a change in its insurance policy this year. The shift is the latest blow to part-time staff at the school amid cost-cutting measures related to the COVID-19 crisis. While their salaries and retirement contributions have been frozen since last spring, the new transition from United Healthcare to an Aetna plan includes an increased premium and a 10% co-insurance on multiple services. 
The overwhelming majority of the petition’s signatories work at the Parsons School of Design, the largest of the New School’s five divisions, where part-time faculty make up at least 85% of the teaching staff. Many among them are also working artists and designers who have lost other supplementary income during a pandemic that has ravaged the cultural sector. 
Part-time staff are paid on a per-class basis and have been doubly impacted by course cuts in the last year, says Alex Robins, a fashion instructor at Parsons and member of ACT-UAW 7902, the New School’s part-time faculty union.

20. Members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee gathered at Gould Plaza yesterday to mark the start of their vote on a strike authorization. They were joined by supporters from labor unions and activist groups from across the city, including faculty members, administrative staff, and students from NYU, CUNY and Columbia. Speakers at the rally reiterated the issues addressed in GSOC’s proposed contract and urged GSOC members to vote in favor of the strike authorization.

NYU and GSOC have been bargaining over a renegotiated contract for nine months, since the expiration of the previous contract in August 2020. GSOC’s proposed contract aims to address issues facing NYU’s diverse body of graduate student workers, such as the need for a living wage, affordable healthcare and housing, visa and work requirements and access to affordable immigration lawyers and tax accountants.
GSOC said that they called a strike authorization vote because the university is stonewalling negotiations by rejecting proposals and making unconstructive counter-proposals. 


21.And after last week’s announcement that the liberal arts college in East Oakland would stop granting degrees, Mills’ community of students, alumni and staff are prepping to wage another momentous fight —  to save the college as they know it. 
Calls to “save Mills” arose almost immediately last Wednesday after President Elizabeth Hillman and the school’s board of trustees revealed the college would stop admitting freshmen after this fall and stop conferring degrees in 2023 because it was losing too much money.


23. Students forming unions on campus


24. Columbia grads continue strike


25. Education company charging freelancers to get paid


26. VA public workers organizing to make their new bargaining rights a reality


27. In Fresno, State Center CC F of T (AFT) starting emergency fund for adjuncts who lost classes


Lower student enrollment means fewer classes offered. This semester that means over 250 part-time teachers are without work.
“For about 60% of our part-timers, this is their primary source of income, so the bite is particularly sharp for them," said Ford. "Since this is a part-time job, there are no benefits, so not only do they not have work, they don't have any benefits to fall back on.”
The staff has started an adjunct relief fund. They're trying to raise $50,000 for their fellow teachers and colleagues. The goal of the GoFundMe account is to help adjunct instructors with their day-to-day needs.


28. Colleges using COVID as excuse to eviscerate humanities


29. News you always suspected


30. Journalist request for assistance

Our local San Diego Adjunct Faculty Association got the following request for stories about homelessness, housing insecurity, or financial hardship.  The deadline is tomorrow, March 31.  

I'm a reporter for Cal State LA’s Community News class working on a story for, an education news website. My fellow students and I are writing about adjunct faculty and part-time lecturers who may be experiencing homelessness, housing insecurity, or financial hardships.
I'm just wondering if you can put me in touch with some adjuncts who are currently experiencing what I have stated above.

Please respond to Jericho at

30. Protest petition against faculty layoffs at U of TN


31. From Seattle Times by our  colleague Jack Longmate




33. On February 19, 2021, the National Labor Relations Board (Board) modified its test for determining whether faculty at private colleges and universities should be excluded as managerial employees from the right to union representation under the National Labor Relations Act (Act).

Arguably, Elon more easily excludes full-time tenured faculty from the right to organize based on their shared interests with their respective institutions, while simultaneously making it easier for adjunct or non-tenured track faculty to claim a right to organize based on their lack of inclusion on decision-making committees. 


34. VCU (VA) adjuncts demand fair pay and healthcare

35. Schoolsemployees in  WV trying to unionize AFt


36. Duke U Press workrs unionizing


37. for this week


38. Informal workers have to tool to rebuild the cities


39. Low adjunct pay at U of Houston (TX)


40. Movement to end all at-will employment (like US!)


41. 4 unions at Rutgers U (NJ) reach historic agreement to end layoffs


and "Five Rutgers unions ratified a work-sharing program that will see some workers furloughed for between half a day and a day each week Wednesday.
"The agreement, ratified by five Rutgers unions — the AAUP-AFT, HPAE Locals 5094 and 5089, URA-AFT and CWA Local 1031 — would see most of their employees furloughed for one day a week for eight or 10 consecutive weeks, depending on the term of their employment.
Employees with AAUP-AFT, specifically the chapter covering fulltime workers, will be furloughed for half a day for 12 weeks.
“Rutgers wasn’t spared from the fiscal fallout of the pandemic. The school last year issued a memo ordering a 20% cut to the number of adjuncts it employs.”

and The Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU) announced today that they have officially reached an agreement with the University regarding their yearlong fiscal emergency negotiations, with five of the largest unions in the coalition all recently voting by large majorities to ratify the agreement, according to a press release.

Key features of the newly ratified agreement will include a no-layoff guarantee for staff unions through Jan. 1, 2022, an improved funding extension program for graduate students, the reversal of a previous restriction on the reappointment of adjunct faculty, which affected approximately one-fifth of part-time lecturers, and a timetable for payment of raises canceled due to the declaration of a fiscal emergency, according to the release.

42. Oregon’s oldest public university, Western Oregon, in the small Willamette Valley city of Monmouth, will be cutting multiple programs and the equivalent of more than a dozen full-time faculty, hoping to get ahead of falling enrollment that’s only been worsened during the pandemic. 

The equivalent of 11 non-tenured faculty are also affected, either through layoff, or a significant reduction in the classes they’re teaching.

43. Contingent faculty — which includes all junior and senior lecturers, instructors, visiting assistant professors and adjunct faculty — have been working for over a year to form a union. Unions grant workers the legal right to democratically and collectively negotiate with administration to determine the working conditions inscribed in their contracts. At present, administration has unilateral decision-making power in determining contingent faculty working conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting contingent faculty’s employment and access to crucial benefits, including health insurance, during a global health and economic crisis.

44. At a press conference on Friday, April 2, members of the full-time faculty union provided updates regarding the arbitration process between the union and the university—a process that could result in the reinstatement of 17 faculty members who received letters of non-renewal from the university. 
At the press conference, the President of the NewsPaper Guild of Pittsburgh, which represents both the full-time faculty union and the newsroom at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Lacretia Wimbley, gave the union’s official request to the university. 
“My dean and chair have already told the BFA photo students that they have part-time faculty lined up in my absence,” Schonberger said. “And I just can’t help but think that these non-renewals and this attempt by management is not only an attempt to really wreck and destroy the spirit of the full-time faculty and the CBA, before we go into another round of collective bargaining, but it was also an opportunity for management to pit senior faculty vs. junior faculty vs. non-tenured track faculty in an effort to encourage more people to retire early and take a buyout.”


45. Great Mayday labor film festival (online) with lots on higher ed and contingent faculty


46. PA union survey slams university merger plans




48. Amazon workers in Alabama vote

It was only a relatively small, scrappy union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, that felt the election in Alabama was worth the large investment. As the votes were being tallied, Stuart Appelbaum, the union’s president,  attributed the one-sided result to a “broken” election system that favors employers. 
Yet even as elections have often proven futile, labor has enjoyed some success over the years with an alternative model — what Dr. Milkman called the “air war plus ground war.”
The idea is to combine workplace actions like walkouts (the ground war) with pressure on company executives through public relations campaigns that highlight labor conditions and enlist the support of public figures (the air war). The Service Employees International Union used the strategy to organize janitors  beginning in the 1980s, and to win gains for fast-food workers in the past few years, including wage increases across the industry. 
“There are almost never any elections,” Dr. Milkman said. “It’s all about putting pressure on decision makers at the top.”
49. Labor Notes roundup


"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 <>

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. <>

To access the Center for the Study of Academic Labor (CSAL) and its journal “Academic Labor: Research and Artistry” go to

To access "Workplace: a Journal of Academic Labor" go to

Also COCAL XIV in August, 2022 in Queretaro, Mexico. WWW.COCALINTERNATIONAL.ORG
Joe Berry
510-527-5889 phone/fax landline
21 San Mateo Road, 
Berkeley, CA 94707
cell-510-999-0751 or
In Vermont-802-380-0193
Skype: joeberry1948


co-author with Helena Worthen, of Power Despite Precarity (forthcoming Pluto August 2021) see the blog at