COCAL Updates

by E Wayne Ross on September 27, 2012

Note: Picture galleries from COCAL X Conference now online:
Almost 300 photographs of the COCAL X Conference that took place in Mexico City in August have recently been posted to the COCAL website. You can link to the three galleries from this webpage:

COCAL Updates in brief and links

1. Contingent (through temp labor agencies) warehouse workers in Chicago on strike!! Need our support. See below for info and petition.

2. “State of Working America” new edition out. Well worth a look. We are not alone.

3. Greek academics strike over proposed pay cuts

and see below

4. And likewise, with student support, in Kenya

5. Survey of higher ed student tuition and fees in OECD nations (US is among the highest)

6. Media 101 Webinar Monday, Sept. 24 for contingent faculty activists and allies, sponsored by NFM, with Scot Jaschik of IHE (See below for details.)

7. R.E.S.P.E.C.T.: What teachers everywhere have gained from Chicago teacher’s strike

8. Results of Chicago teachers strike




and a great video of a rap song

9. Online education as the Nestle infant formula scandal of higher ed,0,5678315.story

10. Chicago chooses sides

11. Occupy not over, it has hardly begun

12. We would be better off with more strikes

13. CUNY makes war on rebel English Dept., fires all adjuncts

14. Henry Giroux on the Chicago teachers’ strike as an emerging revolutionary ideal

15. A wonderful story that will make you smile (the IWW at Domino’s Pizza)

16. More on the Green River CC (WA state) controversy regarding former local union president Phil Jack’s embezzlement of union funds and accused retaliation against activist pters there in the NEA/AFt union local

17. Request for support for a Columbian colleague, from Fred Lonidier, the president of the union local at UC San Diego. See below

18. Adjunct faculty win official as NLRB counts votes at Duquesne U election. 85% victory




19. A not-for-profit inside a for-profit corporation emerges as a new humanities college in UK (saying they want to follow the American funding model)

20. Teachers Unions alliance with Democrats frays,0,6567521.story

21. Very good piece on the “Villiany” (and villification) of teachers by Bruce Neuberger and circulated on Oakland’s Occupy Education list
See below.

22. It’s official. Quebec tuition hikes are history!


23. (Famous) Harper College (Chicago area) adjuncts settle contract with raises

24. AFT highlights “People’s World” article on Center for Future of Higher Ed and CAW reports

Updates in full
Hi Joe & Jim,
I think you will be interested, since one of the big difficulties in organizing in the warehouses is that ALL the workers are “contingent” “part-time” (no-benefit, no seniority and mostly latino) supplied by labor agencies to the various shell corporations that stand between Walmart and its workforce.
WWJ is supported by the UE, but is an independent organizing initiative. Tough hill to climb! I know that the warehouse workers struck Walmart in Califas also.

Subject: FW: Walmart Warehouse Workers on STRIKE — Upcoming Actions

From: Warehouse Workers for Justice []
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2012 3:54 PM
To: John Weber
Subject: ADV: Walmart Warehouse Workers on STRIKE — Upcoming Actions

About | Donate | Facebook | Follow @WarehouseWorker

Dear John,

We’re on Day 3 of our strike for an end to retaliation of those who have spoken out for safer jobs with respect at the Walmart warehouse in Elwood, IL.

Please stand with us TODAY!

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, join us tomorrow and Wednesday

• Tuesday (tomorrow) at 1pm with CTU for March and Action at Chatham Walmart (meet at Simeon Career Academy, 8147 S. Vincennes Ave, Chicago and then march to Walmart at 8331 S Stewart Ave, Chicago)
• Wednesday at 10am at the Downtown Chicago Walmart(570 W. Monroe)
We need to build our strike fundquickly so that those on strike are able to support their families during this difficult time. Please donate whatever you can.

Our biggest mobilization is scheduled for Oct 1 in Elwood, IL. RSVP today and let us know if you need help with transportation to Elwood.

Our strike comes shortly after our brothers and sisters just outside of Los Angeles at Walmart warehouses also went on strike. We stand in solidarity with them.

Thank you for standing with us!

Together in struggle,
Warehouse Workers for Justice

Sign Our Petition to Walmart

Join Us Tomorrow at 1pm at the Chatham Walmart with the Chicago Teachers Union

Play Video

You are receiving this email because you gave your email address to the UE, the UE Research and Education Fund, or one of our projects, theInternational Worker Justice Campaign, Warehouse Workers for Justice, or the UE International Program. If you no longer wish to receive emails from the UE Research and Education Fund, please click here to unsubscribe

3. Strikes in Greek Universities

During the past weeks there has been a wave of faculty strikes in Greek Universities. These are the reasons for these protests:
– The Greek government, as part of the latest austerity package dictated by the ‘Troika’ (European Union – International Monetary Fund – European Central Bank) has announced new extreme wage cuts. For faculty members these reductions will reach 35%, on top of reductions that have already been implemented in the past years. This will mean university lecturers getting less than 950 euros per month and professors less than 1900 (after 35 years of service)
– As part of the same austerity package there’s going to be new extra cuts on university budgets (excluding faculty and administrative pay, that comes directly from the ministry, budgets are already reduced by 60-70%) and a complete elimination of funding for adjunct faculty (it is already down by 65%) in universities and drastic cuts in Technical Higher Education Institutions, leading to the mass lay-offs of hundreds of adjunct lecturers and instructors. At the same time more than 700 elected faculty members wait for their appointment, with the government insisting that their appointment will take 7-8 years because of a Troika imposed freeze on new public sector hiring.
– The Greek government insists on implementing a neoliberal reform of Higher Education management (Laws 4009/11 and 4076/12) that will introduce oligarchic ‘University boards’ with representatives of the ‘business world’, reducing significantly the role of Senates and Department assemblies, turn rectors into university managements, eliminate student participation, impose tuition fees on graduate programs, eliminate the gratis provision of textbooks, undermine the autonomy of departments as the main academic units and – above all – be a decisive step in the attempt to impose “Bologna process” course and degree structures. This legislation was first introduced in August 2011 but a wave of protests, occupations and collective disobedience led to the postponement of most ‘university board’ elections.
– The Greek government has announced a plan for a ‘spatial restructuring’ of Higher Education meaning the closure of many university departments and schools and the shrinkage of Higher Education and reversing a historical trend towards the expansion of Higher Education.

All these have caused anger and despair among academics and students. Greece is already experiencing a ‘brain-drain’ through mass migration of young researchers. Even the openly pro-government POSDEP, the federation of university professors and lecturers, has called for strike action, albeit only against wage cuts, since it openly supports neoliberal reforms. However, the decisions for strike action in most University union assemblies oppose not only wage cuts but also budget cuts and the new neoliberal legislation and call for a common front of struggle with students and administrative / technical staff. The General Strike on September 26 offers an opportunity for the University Movement to meet in struggle with the rest of the labour movement.

Panagiotis Sotiris
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of the Aegean,
vice president of the Union of professors and lecturers of the University of the Aegean

edufactory mailing list

6. Media 101 for Contingent Faculty Activists and Allies on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 12 noon EASTERN time (11 am Central/10 am Mountain/9 am Pacific).

Activists and other advocates for contingent faculty often express concern that the press do not report about contingent faculty issues widely or well. Yet better coverage will only take place when we learn how to work more effectively with the media. This webinar will provide basic information about how “the press” operates, describe common mistakes that we make when trying to pitch stories, provide information, or give interviews, and offer some suggestions for working productively with reporters and editors.
Featuring Scott Jaschik, Editor, Inside Higher Ed
adj-l mailing list
17. Lorena,

Attached is a letter from a member of UC/AFT Local 2034 and officer of the San Diego Faculty Assn./AAUP. My Local requests this be passed as a resolution at our next Delegate Meeting next Wednesday. It seems very important to support this as both academic freedom and union organizing in our global world.



Dear Board members:

I hope you all had a restful and productive summer. I’m writing to see if you will be willing to support professor Renán Vega Cantor. Vega Cantor is a famous professor at the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional in Colombia and a winner of the Premio Libertador of Pensamiento Critico in Venezuela, among other distinctions. Renán has been fighting neoliberalism and the privatization of the university in the past several years. More recently, he was involved in the creation of a union, the Asociación Sindical de Profesores Universitarios (ASPU). Due to all of these activities, the administration of the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional has first questioned his academic credentials, and more recently he has received “death threats” (he has been “señalado” by paramilitary groups). Everything is explained in the letter that I am attaching, but basically he has been forced into exile to do what we try to do at the SDFA. We are coordinating an international campaign to support his return and we wanted to ask for your signature and to see if the SDFA, as a group, will be interested in endorsing the letter. Although there is a campaign in Europa, Latin America, and the Arab World, they believe that support from the US (for all the wrong reasons) would put a lot of pressure in the administration of the university to protect him and guarantee his return.

Those who want to sign individually as well can email me before Tuesday september 25 at
I’m also including this interview with Renán in Spanish for those who want further information about the case.

In unity,


P.S. Fred could you please forward to other labor groups for endorsement

21. The Villainy of Teachers

We were having a conversation in the teachers’ room and discussing the Chicago teacher’s strike and remarking on how the politicians and media tried to bully the Chicago teachers with all this talk about how they were harming the interest of their students by having the nerve to walk out on strike and leave the kids without school. One of the teachers in the teacher room remarked, “I’m really tired of us teachers being made the villains, of being blamed, being villified. I’m really, really tired of being villainized.”

I sympathize. I recognize the truth there, but, I’m not sure I feel so bad about it. Maybe it’s because, like misery, villainy loves company. I mean think about it. We’re actually in fairly good company. Immigrants are being villainized. That’s a fairly sizeable group of people. And a lot of us would have a hard time finding anything to eat without them. Black people for centuries have been villainized. Young people, especially African American and Latino are really being villainized, disrespected, arrested and imprisoned in huge numbers. In WWII Japanese Americans were villainized and incarcerated. Native Americans have been villainized for centuries, too. Then there’s the public workers and unions. Even people who take retirement pay. In the 1950s, teachers and writers, film makers and union activists, anyone with progressive views or sympathetic to socialist countries were villains. Back the 1960’s those who protested the war or who became activists were villainized. Feminists have been villainized for years. So have gays and lesbians.

Looking outside this country the Filipinos were villainized at the end of the 19th century when they refused to accept U.S. “liberation”. I can remember when the Koreans were villainized, and then the Vietnamese. The Chinese were villainized when they were socialist, and now again, as they are capitalist and threaten U.S. hegemony in Asia, it seems like once again they will become the villains. The Soviets were villainized and the Russians could again earn that status. During the 1960s and 1970s people around the world who stood up against colonialism and fought in liberation struggles were villainized, guerrillas were villainized, Cuba, villainized for decades. I can remember in the 1980s when countries in Central America were villainized. Then came Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Muslims, Arabs and South Asians — all villainized. And what about Palestinians? Permanent villains. Romney’s trying to villainize 47% of the population that are, let’s face it, slackers. And I wonder if teachers are on that list, too? Would that make us villains x 2?

At one time or another, the label of villain has been pinned on a major part of humanity. About the only people who are not villainized are the bankers, the CEOs, the weapons makers, the drone makers, the spies, the Pentagon brass, the big politicians and, of course, the media, which they own. They are never villains because they define who has those qualities of villainy.

Given the attitude I find among a lot of teachers, the villainy is bound to grow. There’s no telling how villainous we might become.

And given the determination of the elite to knock teachers out of the way so corporate vultures can feed on the carcass of public education, it’s unlikely that we teachers are going to see any change in status for some time to come. So we might as well get used to it.