Friday, June 1, 2012

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates, May29

... featuring news & links on #ContingentFaculty & #organizing #AcademicLabor in #highered. To subscribe to regular Updates, email  More about Joe Berry.  Updates are also archived at Follow COCAL International on Facebook 

Updates in brief and links

Around the Adjunctiverse...

Adjunct fired at Texas A&M (Daily Mail, UK), a public university, as indirect result of objecting to cross displayed on top of university building (e.g. files complaint with ACLU that leads to removal of crosses and subsequent email threats that administration does not act on but reacts by taking away her fall courses for speaking out), as recently reported in Crosses, Threats and an Adjunct by Scott Jaschik (Inside HigherEd). See also Seth Kahn's impressive letter to San Antonio Texas A&M administration (Adjunct Project). Breaking update: she is now in communication with The Fire, which took an immediate interest in the case.

Raritan Valley CC (NJ) adjunct union to protest at trustees meeting lack of progress in negotiations for contract.

Duquesne, Pittsburgh, adjunct union (USW) to have NLRB representational election in June-July, by mail; post by USW organizer on organizing adjuncts, at the Adjunct Project. FYI, organizer also interviewed for 'Junct Rebellion film.

Kalamazoo CC (MI) adjuncts vote overwhelmingly for union rep by AFT local

From the annals of sociology and economics...

Cognitive Dissonance: a provocative analysis of a famous social science experiment with great relevance to us by WA colleague, long time adjunct activist and NFM board member, Jack Longmate, originally posted to Contingent Academics Mailing List

The "New Economy Movement" by Gar Alperovitz, with some relevance to us (another post light on context)

Going global....
Greek brain drain as all university adjuncts are laid off and progressive [read realistic] graduate economics program is cancelled.
Repressive "Truncheon law" against Quebec student strikers causes backlash as both strike and popular support spread and a video, courtesy of Maria Peluso, president of the Concordia U part-time union in Montreal,  of the now-daily demonstrations of what has become a social strike, not just limited to the privatization of higher education, and this from Marie Blais of the largest contingent faculty union in Quebec

More protests in Quebec and Chile and I hear rumors of Mexico too?? [is neoliberalism, as least in education, being put on the ropes?]
Higher ed professors and students in Brazil strike and ask for support

More from the Bizarro World of Higher Ed...

"The Good News and the Bad News in Higher Education," guest post by former adjunct, freelance writer Laura Keene, on public higher ed at Megan McArdle's column in The Atlantic.

"Revenge of the Underpaid Professors" on taking for profit companies into course selling and a More or Less Bunk post comments and replies. More links and context on "messy moocs" in yesterday's ramblings post

Some useful info on preparing student for the real world of work [like how to form a union and otherwise protect yourself on the job]  
From William Barry on preparing college students for the "real world" as more than giving working-class students technical skills with no sense of how to survive in the workplace. Here is a project that was just released, directed at young non-union workers. Obviously a couple of the presentations, like workers comp, are state laws but the rest are of general use.
Academic and other Labor...

Would we be better off with no labor law than with the one we have? [Is there a more to this story for the organizing of the over 80% of contingent faculty in the US currently with no union representation?]

NLRB invites briefs on re-examination of Yeshiva case in current case of Park Point College and the faculty attempt there of organize with CWA: some background (Chronicle) on that case, more analytical background (IHE)
Very good report on the Amazon shareholder meeting in Seattle and the protests and shareholder resolutions ther, by Paul Haeder, "adjunct wage slave" activist.  Amazon has twice fired whole groups of people for trying to unionize in the past. When you purchases books at Powells, Portland OR, through the union there, the union gets a % of each sale.  

Republican NLRB member resigns over leak to person connected to Romney

TN to allow any professor, contingent or regular, to have automatic credential to teach in high schools

CFHE Call for Volunteers: Help with Recall Scott Walker effort
We have had a request to help out with the Recall Scott Walker effort in Wisconsin. The idea is to have small phone banking groups or even individuals call fellow labor people in Wisconsin with a message of support and a reminder to get out and vote. Anyone interested in helping out with calls should contact Andy Lyons from Wisconsin NEA (cell phone 608-225-1027 or email   
Andy will help you and any of your group get up to speed on the “virtual phone bank” program.  The program sounds very user friendly:  you just log onto a website to receive an online list with names and numbers to call. All that's needed is a laptop or desktop to access the list and a cell phone to make the calls. The optimum time period for us to call is May 30 - June 1). Please consider getting a group together to call—or just volunteer yourself! 
Occupy Labor Law! by Ursula Levelt in the May 2012 Newsletter of the Labor & Employment Committee, The National Lawyers Guild
"From the time of adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, courts and Congress have acknowledged that in order to have a truly free market in labor, it was necessary for workers to act together. And acting together includes withdrawing one’s labor together to protest conditions at work or in society at large, wherefore the right to strike."
PS See also Portside Labor Archives

Visit Chicago Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, for news, contacts and links related to non-tenure track, "precarious" faculty, and for back issues of the periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates. Email to be added to the list. Check COCALInternational for information on the  Tenth (X) Conference on Contingent Academic Labor in Mexico City, August 10-12, 2012 at Universidad Nacional Aut
ónimo de México (UNAM), Mexico City. Join International COCAL listserv online or, send "Subscribe" to Problems? Send an e-mail to 

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