The latest COCAL Updates

by E Wayne Ross on July 17, 2012

pdates in brief

1. Job announcement: FT Internal organizer wanted for AFT local 3544 at U of OR, Graduate Teaching Fellows, see below

2. Labor action for Medicare for All, see below

3. Two organizer jobs with National Union of Healthcare Workers (Independent)
see below

4. CHE covers contingent faculty victory at NEA Assembly on unemployment issue

and in IHE

5. New President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Larry Hanley, says need to organize riders, not just drivers (a lesson here for us??)

6. Federal firefighters are also contingent workers
see below

7. Western Assoc. of Schools and Colleges (WASC) the regional accreditor for the western states) gets tough with for-profit Ashford U, owned by Bridgepoint. Note this is not the Community College section of WASC, headed by Barbara Beno, which has been attacking City College of SF for being too good to its mostly pt faculty and having “too few” administrators)

and in a related story on for-profits and accredition

8. Articles on mass protest against the electoral fraud in Mexico

9. NLRB impounds ballots in Duquesne U union representation election due to administration challenges


10. Precarious workers in Paris, France, organize and protest, from Sophie Banasiak
see below

11. A provocative idea for labor law reform – just cause dismissal rights for everyone (like now in Montana) which would also help protect organizers and activists. Also very good comments list.

12. A very interesting website. Worth a look periodically. I occasionally send out stuff from them on COCAL Updates

13. An interesting update on the student strike in Quebec

14. News from other contingent workers: Indianapolis hotels try to go to an all temp, contracted out workforce to stop union drive

15. Guardian ( UK) discussion of casualization of academic work in Britain and the US

Updates in full

1. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, AFT Local 3544, is seeking a full time internal organizer.

The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) represents 1400 teaching and research assistants at the University of Oregon. We are seeking a permanent, full-time
organizer to begin by September 2012. The GTFF is a member-run union with a paid
professional staff that works under the direction of elected, volunteer
officers. The goal of staff is always to get more members participating in
our activist union culture. We are especially looking for people who can
work with graduate students/employees and are enthusiastic about the labor
movement in higher education. Review of applications will begin on Friday,
July 23, 2012.

*Job Duties:*
● build and activate membership through GTF orientations, office visits, departmental events, and membership drives
● recruit and train members into leadership positions
● help the GTFF leadership plan and implement union activities such as social
events, general membership meetings, rallies, volunteer nights, and
● represent the GTFF to the UO administration, to other unions, and to
other campus and community groups
● help with contract negotiation and enforcement, including finding and
filing grievances, assisting the bargaining team, and research
● help maintain accurate records of union activities, members, and
membership dues by keeping our database of information updated
● help with communications, including writing/editing press releases,
designing flyers and brochures, and developing
other materials
● bookkeeping

*Minimum Qualifications:*
● at least one year of organizing experience (either volunteer or paid)
● ability to manage multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment
● excellent oral and written communication skills
● ability to use word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and social media
● strong one-on-one organizing skills
● flexible schedule; ability to work evenings and/or weekends as needed
● U.S. citizenship or other authorization to work in the U.S.

*Preferred Qualifications:*
● a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and experience as a graduate
student/employee– graduate employee experience preferred
● experience with QuickBooks, Filemaker Pro, Adobe CS, and MS Access (some
of this may be learned on the job)
● experience working as an organizer for a labor union or a volunteer-run
● experience organizing membership drives and/or work-actions

The GTFF is an AA/EEO employer. Women and people of color are strongly
encouraged to apply.

Salary and benefits: minimum $45,000 (negotiable); health, dental, and vision
insurance; 401k

Attach in an email your cover letter, resume, and contact information
(name, address, phone number, email) for 3 people who can serve as

Submit applications to:
cgeu-list mailing list



Cliff Liehe

— On Mon, 7/9/12, U&I wrote:

From: U&I
Subject: [ELN] Demand Quality Health Care For All! 8th in a Series of Key Issues in 2012
Date: Monday, July 9, 2012, 7:40 AM

Jobs * Social Security * Labor Rights
Medicare and Medicaid * Peace and Justice

[Please excuse duplicate postings and please forward as widely as possible.]

The Question to be Decided: Shall Health Care Be Regarded as a Basic Human Right or as a For-Profit Multi-Billion Dollar Business?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), having been upheld by the Supreme Court, contains a number of very positive features. But there are yawning gaps in its coverage of enormous proportions. When fully implemented, it will still leave 27 million uninsured, and that number could be much larger with the Court’s having made expanded Medicaid coverage optional for the states. This is undoubtedly the worst aspect of its decision. It puts at risk the main tool to expand insurance coverage to the very poor, mostly people of color. Moreover, untold numbers of the uninsured will inevitably decline to purchase insurance, despite the mandate.

Looking to the future, health care costs will continue to rise, more people will be underinsured, and those who cannot afford private insurance — or who simply refuse to buy it — will not only be deprived of health care coverage, they will have to pay a stiff fine.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that the insurance companies will remain at the core of the health care system. As long as this is the case and these companies are able to plunder hundreds of billions in profits from the system, the ACA will be severely crippled in carrying out its stated goal of providing health care coverage for all.

Health care in the United States makes up 17.9% of the economy, incorporating some of the most profitable enterprises, as well as vital facilities and services which barely cling to life. While working people suffer and die waiting for care or through mishaps in the system, the most preposterous charges and claims reverberate in a torrent of election-year nonsense.

Underneath all the extreme rhetoric and exaggerated claims lies a free-for-all fight by competing corporate interests. Benefits to ordinary people are coincidental. The Supreme Court’s decision of June 28, 2012 on the ACA cemented health care profiteering, left union workers in an even more precarious position, and further undermined prospects of the very poor’s obtaining basic health care. Within hours of the verdict, the stock market reflected the true story.

Stocks of for-profit hospital chains shot up. With the confirmation of the individual mandate projected to guarantee a steady stream of paying customers, the value of Hospital Corporation of America stocks rose 15%, while Tenet gained 10%. The commercial health insurance corporations, buoyed by the retention of the individual mandate, can now focus on whittling away the concessions they made in 2009. Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers held their own, already planning for the added expenses they would be incurring to help close the donut hole of Medicare Part D and insurance coverage expansion.
Drawing a Balance Sheet on the ACA
It was hoped that the ACA would dramatically expand Medicaid for most low-income folks, but the Supreme Court’s decision undermined that. The ACA pledged increased funding for community health centers — culturally competent care close to home — but this has been weakened by threats to Medicaid expansion and a variety of attacks on immigrants, with or without papers.

On the plus side, children can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26. Some of the most outrageous insurance company practices are finally outlawed, like denying care for pre-existing conditions and annual and lifetime caps on benefits. Gender inequality is proscribed. The donut hole will be closed.

On the down side, there will be no real limits on what insurance companies, hospitals and drug companies charge. Those who do not have health insurance coverage one way or another will be forced to buy the insurance industry’s shoddy products or pay an additional penalty and remain without coverage. As in Massachusetts, where the ACA’s prototype was enacted in 2006, the new norm is unaffordable underinsurance.

Health care costs will continue to rise swiftly, strengthening employers’ resolve to shift costs onto workers through pushing high-deductible, low coverage plans, or by dropping health insurance altogether. Strikes and lockouts over health benefits could become more frequent and of longer duration. Workers in unions with joint union-management Taft-Hartley health and welfare plans will be confronted with more employers demanding renegotiation of terms by the end of 2013. And in 2018, the excise tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans will kick in, adding further burdens to those with stagnating wages.
Which Way for the Labor Movement?
Resolution 34 of the September 2009 AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh proclaimed the goal of a national social health insurance: a single payer program. This resolution was the result of seventy pro-single-payer resolutions submitted in the pre-convention period, more resolutions on one issue than ever before in the history of the AFL-CIO. The steady growth of labor’s commitment to fundamental health care change grew from the work of the All-Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care — HR 676.

By the time the national debate over health care took off early in 2009, nearly six hundred labor organizations in forty-nine states had already endorsed HR.676. Thirty-nine state labor federations, one hundred thirty-five central labor councils and twenty-two national and international unions stood up to be counted.

To deepen and mobilize this sentiment, the Labor Campaign for Single Payer was organized in St. Louis in January of 2009. This coalition set as its first priority the adoption of Medicare for All as a strategic goal for organized labor. That goal having largely been met with the passage of Resolution 34, the struggle now is to move from resolutions to action and to link the fight for a just health care system with labor’s overarching goal of driving back the threat of austerity and winning security for the working class and the entire population. This will require building labor/community coalitions across the country capable of mobilizing gigantic numbers in the streets demanding no cuts to the safety net and Medicare for All!

Following the 2010 enactment of the ACA, and in the wake of the 2010 elections, the pendulum has swung to the states. The Vermont Workers Center, an affiliate of Jobs with Justice, and many unions in Vermont provide the solid backbone of the movement for health care as a human right in the Green Mountain State. Built on several years of solid grassroots work, the single-payer movement in Vermont took advantage of federal funds allotted to the states under the ACA to fashion health insurance exchanges to entrench their goal of emerging in 2017 with a true single-payer system. Powerful forces are now pouring resources into the state to block this advance for health care justice or to subvert this movement into something palatable to the corporations and politics as usual.

Some unions representing those who work in health care, especially National Nurses United, are deeply involved in refashioning their industry, rejecting corporate partnerships and fighting for the highest possible standards of care. This militancy is reflected in strikes and other actions to block the erosion of access to care and threats to advances already won.
How Did Things Get This Way in the U.S.?

U.S. health care remains dominated by profiteers, and they exercise extraordinary influence in both the Republican and Democratic parties. This explains why U.S. taxpayers spend more on health care per capita than taxpayers in any other developed country, yet we still have fifty million uninsured people, only half of whom are promised eventual coverage by the ACA. The bottom line is this: Profit rules, with the working class, one way or another, paying through the nose as a result of enactment of the ACA.

The Bush-appointed chief justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote to maintain the overall structure of the ACA. But a challenge to that structure came from 26 state governments, many of whose governors threaten to reject the expansion of Medicaid — which would make it available to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty line — even though the federal government would pay 100% of the cost for the first three years and at least 90% for the succeeding years. Their main rationale: “We need the money for education.” But instead of pitting educational needs against health care needs, the states need to demand additional funding for both, which can easily be paid for by slashing the astronomical Pentagon budget.

How many of the 26 states that brought the suit against ACA to the Supreme Court will end up refusing to implement Medicaid expansion? In Massachusetts, politicians call Medicaid the “budget buster.” We need to step up the fight for all states to sign on to the expansion, even as we intensify the struggle for a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system. Everybody in, nobody out!
The individual mandate, thought up by the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1980s, is the most regressive way to attempt to get to universal health insurance coverage. Whether constitutional or not, it is an integral part of the “shared responsibility – shared sacrifice” mantra of the neoliberals. It was used to block single-payer in Massachusetts and on the national scene. It’s argued that the individual mandate is necessary to rope in all those who don’t buy health insurance on their own and so place a burden on everyone else. In reality, most people who don’t have health insurance are that way because they can’t afford it.

As bad as the situation for health care in the U.S. is today — and will be even under the ACA — it will be predictably far worse if Democrats and Republicans join in a “grand bargain” to impose substantial cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital safety net programs. It is widely expected that an attempt will be made to ram through such a “bargain” along the lines of Bowles/Simpson during the Congressional lame duck session in December. What’s needed is for the labor movement and our community allies to join together to do everything in our power to prevent this from happening.

This entire experience underscores the need for reforming the health care system in a most fundamental way. Let’s not forget that the Tories and Liberals did not usher in the universal health care system in Canada or Great Britain. It was the labor movement that led the fight to win these historic breakthroughs. Independent political action by labor in the U.S. organized in trade unions and in the community must lead the fight for a just health care system if it is to become a reality in our country. Mass action on the ground and labor campaigns wherever possible can spearhead this drive. Labor will also need to build its own party with its own demands, including Medicare for All!
Our goals and slogans going forward should include:
* Resist attacks on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and all other social benefits!

* Demand that Medicaid expansion be agreed to in all the states!

* Organize all health care workers into fighting unions!

* Mobilize for single-payer locally and nationally!

* Support Vermont’s grassroots efforts for single payer!

* Affiliate unions with Labor Campaign for Single Payer!

* Challenge all candidates on real health care reform!

* Run independent labor candidates!

* Prepare for a rebirth of the Labor Party!

Issued by the Emergency Labor Network (ELN)

For more information write or P.O. Box 21004, Cleveland, OH 44121 or call 216-736-4715 or visit our website at Donations gratefully accepted. Please make checks payable to ELN and mail to above P.O. Box.
3. Hello everyone!

We are looking for Union Rep/Organizer in San Francisco; and we are also still hiring Organizers throughout California. Please let lots of people know. Thanks.


Phyllis Willett
National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)
Director of Operations
5801 Christie Ave, Suite 525
Emeryville, CA 94608
Ofc: 510-834-2009
Cell: 510-219-4910
Fax: 510-834-2018

6. More than half of federal fire fighters also struggle with contingency:

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, which coordinates firefighting efforts nationwide, says 15,000 wildland firefighters are on the federal payroll this year. Of that number, some 8,000 are classified as temporary seasonal employees, who work on a season-to-season basis with no guarantee of a job the following year and no access to federal benefits.

Some seasonal firefighters say they put in a year’s worth of hours in six months. . .

The fire crews are heroes to those in the path of the flames. Politicians praise their bravery. Grateful residents buy them pizzas and send thank-you cards.

“That’s what makes the job great,” Lauer said. “But sometimes I wonder to myself. I wonder if people know we’re uninsured.”

Associated Press – July 9th

adj-l mailing list

10. Hello,
> The coordination of workers and precarious in struggle in Paris plans to organise, with other organisations, a demonstration against precarity, unemployment, lay off, and sufferance at work that we plan in december 1. We want to make this mobilisation international and we are looking for people in other countries to take part in this project. Thanks in advance for your help.
> About the coordination of workers and precarious people in struggle:
> We some indignés took the initiative to create a coordination with people from other networks, like association of workers in struggle against lay off, unionists, (associations of) unemployed people, etc. We did it with the help of an activist of the 15M Barcelona, inspired by the coordination of workers’ struggle in Barcelona. There were two meetings of this coordination in April and June, where we had concrete discussions about local and specific struggles to exchange and spread informations, petitions, invitations to gathering… We organised an assembly after the demonstration of May 1st, we now organise a gathering with pans at the social conference with the government and unions (July 9th) and we have this project of demonstration in december.
> About the project of demonstration:
> We work on a demonstration that would make converge three corteges of 1/ unemployed-precarious, 2/ wagers in struggle against lay off, and 3/ civil servants (against state reforms, precarity of some civil servants who have private work contracts). There will be an assembly at the end of the demonstrations on the place where they will converge.
> The organisations against unemployment who organise every year (in december) a demonstration against unemployment agree to be part of the project (they widen their usual demonstration), and they propose december 1. We are expecting answers of associations of workers in struggle for the cortege against lay off and we are discussion with unions for the cortege of civil servants.
> We would like to internationalise this mobilisation in december against precarity, unemployment, lay off, and state reforms, so would anyone be interested to take part in this project in your different countries and cities ? It would be interesting if there is a convergence at the international level as precarity, unemployment and sufferance at work (in private and public sectors) are connected also with european and international treaties that put people in competition. Please let me know if you are interested.
> To give you a more precise idea of our work i send you the translations of the meeting of our first meeting in April (French, English, Spanish, Italian, German). I will send you the translation of our second meeting (here in french : as soon as i get them.
> Please do not hesistate if you have any questions.
> Thanks in advance !
> Cheers
> Sophie
Please use
510-527-5889 phone/fax
21 San Mateo Road,
Berkeley, CA 94707