COCAL Updates

by E Wayne Ross on June 5, 2012

1. Longmate and Hoeller on us in Seattle Times

2. Mexican students on the move

3. A new [to me] website on economic inequality with much that applies to us and also on the need for more progressive taxation, as a start

4.The adjunct faculty at American University recently organized a union with SEIU Local 500. Student support was key to the success of our campaign, I believe. The students circulated a petition calling on the administration of the University not to use their tuition dollars for union-busting, they did flash mob and banner drop actions, wrote Op Eds in the student newspaper, and produced a really moving video. You can watch the video here:

The student support mitigated against fear and hesitation among the adjunct faculty, and helped minimize the employer’s anti-union tactics. I also believe the students’ activism was an important element in the decision of AU to come to the bargaining table immediately following the vote and to bargain in good faith (which we are engaged in right now).

Anne McLeer, SEIU Local 500

5. Not specifically contingent faculty but too important and hopeful to leave out. The Greek Syriza Left Coalition is polling at 30 right now and might well win the election if held today. Here is their program. Read it and dream or a better world, for us and them. (see below)

6. Texas A&M fired adjunct (for criticizing cross on university building) gets help from AAUP and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

and sign petition in support of her

Hello, all:

Please take a moment to sign the online petition in support of adjunct professor Sissy Bradford who was fired by the University of Texas San Antonio for criticizing the university’s handling of the threats against her life and safety that she received after she openly objected to the installation of religious symbols on the newly constructed structures at the entrance to the campus.

It’s very important that we support those adjuncts who are retaliated against. AAUP and FIRE have already weighed-in. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

Best regards,

Matt Williams (NFM)

and a NYT update on the issue

7. Sign petition to get other contingent workers (in this case home care workers) covered by labor and employment laws. Who knows better than us?!

8. AAUP job

The AAUP is now accepting applications for a Regional Coordinator position in the Pacific Northwest. Please see the link below and forward to anyone who might be interested:

In Solidarity,

Kira Schuman

9. Contribute to the Adjunct Project’s Top 100 list

10. A famous labor historian calls for us to again define ourselves (the majority and especially the unionists) as “working class”

11. News of mass Mexican march on their federal government against privatization. see below

12. A full update on the SME (the Mexico City electrical workers) whose union was a big support of our efforts to have COCAL in Mexico in the past, but are now under great attack. Our colleagues in Mexico (Marian Teresa and Arturo)have done labor education with this union for years.

13. U of WI TAA [the union that sparked the whole Madison uprising] refuses to endorse Gov. Walkers Demo Opponent and a comment and book suggestions from our Madison ATC PTUunion President colleague Nancy McCahon
See and to see than the TAA has spent many hours (days) working for Barrett, the opponent to WI Governor Scott Walker.

The TAA gets huge credit for being those who hurried to the Capitol in Feb. 2011 and camped in protest of “the bomb” that Walkerdropped to end collective bargaining that had been part of the state fabric for decades. If those students had not been there so quickly, it is doubtful that the rest of the protests would have developed as they did. Now that the TAA is not a “certified” union, everyone is watching to see how the UW treats them.

One of several good books about the WI uprising is Cut From Plain Cloth by Scott Weidemann It is available at & Barnes & Noble, but don’t give them the business. Use his own site and ask Scott for the same discount as Amazon gives –

14. Ward Churchill gets another day in court over his firing at Colorado

15. Condition of Australian contingent faculty (not good)

16. Some very useful information on health insurance, since most of us do not get it paid by our employer, and if we do, it is not year round and/or secure
In 2011 74% of adults aged 19-64 had health insurance all year, but 26% lacked health insurance for part of the year.
Of those without insurance, 70% without coverage for more than a year, 12% for less than 3 months, 8% for 3-6 months, 10% for 6-12 months, 12% 1 year-2 years, 57% 2 years or longer.
Percentage of uninsured by percentage above federal poverty:
Less than 133% 133-249% 250-399% 400% or more
57% 36% 22% 12%

(Commonwealth Fund, quoted in Chicago Tribune 4/20/12)

Comment: for those who say we can’t afford universal medical insurance, let’s cancel it for everyone for one year and then discuss the matter again.