Archive of COCAL Updates: June 2012
Links to stories of interest
- Longmate and Hoeller on us in Seattle Times
- Mexican students on the move
- 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
- 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
- Texas A&M fired adjunct (for criticizing cross on university building) gets help from AAUP and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
- Sign petition to get other contingent workers (in this case home care workers) covered by labor and employment laws. Who knows better than us?!
- 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
- Contribute to the Adjunct Project's Top 100 list
- A famous labor historian calls for us to again define ourselves (the majority and especially the unionists) as "working class"
- 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.
- 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 PT Union President colleague Nancy McCahon
http://taa-madison.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/taa.madison to
see that 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 Walker dropped 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 Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble, but don't give them the business. Use his own site and ask Scott for the same discount as Amazon gives
- Ward Churchill gets another day in court over his firing at Colorado
- Condition of Australian contingent faculty (not good)
Some very useful information on health insurance
Of course, 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% are 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%
||400% or more
(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.
The Exit from the Crisis is Left: Main Points of Greece's Syriza Leftist Coalition
by Jadaliyya Reports
May 31, 2012
[The following is the platform put forth by the Greek political coalition Syriza (an abbreviation for Coalition of the Radical Left) on 9 May 2012.
The leftist coalition is currently polling at approximately thirty percent and is expected by some analysts to win in the next elections in Greece.]
The Exit from the Crisis is on the Left
- Creation of a shield to protect society against the crisis
Not a single citizen without a guaranteed minimum income
or unemployment benefit, medical care, social protection,
housing, and access to all services of public utilities.
Protection of and relief measures for indebted households.
Price controls and price reductions, VAT reduction, and
abolition of VAT on basic-need goods.
- Disposal of the debt burden
The national debt is first and foremost a product of class relations, and is inhumane in its very essence. It is produced by the tax evasion of the wealthy, the looting of public funds, and the exorbitant procurement of military weapons and equipment.
We are asking immediately for:
- A moratorium on debt servicing.
- Negotiations for debt cancellation, with provisions for
the protection of social insurance funds and small savers.
This will be pursued by exploiting any available means,
such as audit control and suspension of payments.
- Regulation of the remaining debt to include provisions
for economic development and employment.
- European regulations on the debt of European states.
- Radical changes to the European Central Bank's role.
- Prohibition of speculative banking products.
- A pan-European tax on wealth, financial transactions, and
- Income redistribution, taxation of wealth, and elimination of unnecessary expenses
- Reorganization and consolidation of tax collection
- Taxation of fortunes over 1 million euros and large-scale
- Gradual increase, up to 45%, of the tax on the
distributed profits of corporations (SA).
- Taxation of financial transactions.
- Special taxation on consumption of luxury goods.
- Removal of tax exemptions for ship owners and the Greek
- Lifting of confidentiality for banking and merchant
transactions, and pursuit of those who evade taxes and
social insurance contributions.
- Banning of transactions carried out through offshore
- Pursuit of new financial resources through efficient
absorption of European funds, through claims on the payment
of German World War II reparations and occupation loan, and
finally via steep reductions in military expenses.
- Productive social and environmental reconstruction
- Nationalization/socialization of banks, and their
integration into a public banking system under social and
workers' control, in order to serve developmental purposes.
The scandalous recapitalization of the banks must stop
- Nationalization of all public enterprises of strategic
importance that have been privatized so far. Administration
of public enterprises based on transparency, social
control, and democratic planning. Support for the provision
of Public Goods.
- Protection and consolidation of co-operatives and SMEs in
the social sector.
- Ecological transformation in development of energy
production, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture. These
reforms will prioritize nutritional abundance and
fulfillment of social needs.
- Development of scientific research and productive
- Stable employment with decent wages and social insurance
The constant degradation of labour rights, coupled with embarrassing wage levels, does not attract investment, development, or employment.
Instead, we are calling for:
- Well-paid, well-regulated, and insured employment.
- Immediate reconstitution of the minimum wage, and reconstitution of real wages within three years.
- Immediate reconstitution of collective labour agreements.
- Instigation of powerful control mechanisms that will protect employment.
- Systematic opposition of lay-offs and the deregulation of labour relations.
- Deepening Democracy: democratic political and social rights for all
There is a democratic deficit in the country. Greece is gradually being transformed into an authoritarian police state.
We are calling for:
- The restoration of popular sovereignty and an upgrade of
parliamentary power within the political system:
- Creation of a proportional electoral system
- Separation of powers
- Revocation of ministerial immunity
- Abolishment of economic privileges for MPs
- Real decentralization to create local government with
sound resources and expanded jurisdiction.
- The introduction of direct democracy and institutions of
self-management under workers' and social control at all
- Measures against political and economic corruption.
- The solidification of democratic, political, and trade
- The enhancement of women's and youths' rights in the
family, in employment, and in public administration.
- Immigration reforms:
- Speeding up the asylum process
- Abolition of Dublin II regulations and granting of travel
papers to immigrants
- Social inclusion of immigrants and equal rights
- Democratic reforms to public administration with the
active participation of civil servants.
- The demilitarization and democratization of the Police
and the Coast Guard. Disbandment of special forces.
- Restoration of a strong welfare state
Anti-insurance laws, the shutdown of social services, and the steep fall in social expenditures under the Memorandum have turned Greece into a country where social injustice reigns.
We are in need of:
- An immediate rescue of the pension system, to include
tripartite financing and the gradual consolidation of
separate pension fund portfolios into one public, universal
system of social insurance.
- A raise in unemployment benefits until the substitution
rate reaches 80% of the wage. No unemployed person is to be
left without unemployment benefits.
- The introduction of a guaranteed minimum income.
- A unified system of comprehensive social protection
covering the vulnerable social strata.
- Health is a Public Good and a social right
Health care is to be provided for free and will be financed through a Public Health System. Immediate measures include:
- Support and upgrades for hospitals. Upgrade of health
infrastructures of the Social Insurance Institute (IKA).
- Development of an integrated system of first-level medical care.
- Covering the needs of medical treatment in both personnel
and equipment, in part by stopping lay-offs.
- Open and cost-free access to medical treatment for all
residents in the country.
- Free pharmaceutical treatment and medical examinations
for low-income pensioners, the unemployed, students, and
those suffering from chronic diseases.
- Protection of public education, research, culture, and sports from the Memorandum's policies
With regards to education, we are calling for:
- Consolidation of universal, public, and free education,
including coverage of its urgent needs in infrastructure
and personnel at all three levels.
- Compulsory 14-year unified education.
- Revocation of the Diamantopoulou Law.
- Assurance of self-government for Universities.
- Preservation of the academic and public character of
- An independent foreign policy committed to the promotion of peace
The capitulation of our foreign policy to the desires of the U.S. and the powerful states of the European Union endangers the country's
independence, peace, and security.
- A multidimensional and peace-seeking foreign policy.
- Disengagement from NATO and closure of foreign military
bases on Greek soil.
- Termination of military cooperation with Israel.
- Aiding the Cypriot people in the reunification of the
- Furthermore, on the basis of international law and the
principle of peaceful conflict resolution, we will pursue
improvements in Greek-Turkish relations, a solution to the
problem of FYROM's official name, and the specification of
Greece's Exclusive Economic Zone.
The incumbent economic and social system has failed and we must overthrow it!
The economic crisis that is rocking global capitalism has shattered the illusions. More and more, people understand that capitalist speculation is an inhuman organizational principle for modern society. It is also widely acknowledged that private banks function only for the benefit of the bankers, harming the rest of the people. Big business and bankers absorb billions of euros from health care, education, and pensions.
An exit from the crisis requires bold measures that will prevent those who created the crisis from continuing their destructive work. We are endorsing a new model for the production and distribution of wealth, one that will include society in its totality. In this respect, the large capitalist property is to be made public and managed democratically along social and ecological criteria. Our strategic aim is socialism with democracy, a system in which all will be entitled to participate in the decision-making process.
We are changing the future; we are pushing them into the past!
We can prevail by forging unity and creating a new coalition for power with the Left as a cornerstone. Our strength in this endeavour is the alliance of the People: the inspiration, the creative effort, and the struggle of the working people. With these, we will shape the lives and the future of a self- governed people.
Now the vote is in the hands of the People! Now the People have the power!
In this new election, the Greek people can and must vote against the regime of the Memoranda and the Troika, thus turning over a new page of hope and optimism for the future.
For Greece and for Europe, the solution is with the Left!
Mexican teachers march
On May 31, in Mexico City 15,000 teachers marched to the government offices of Gobernacion, which functions as the ministry of internal affairs in Mexico.
While a delegation went inside in an attempt to negotiate, the teachers
outside were attacked by the Federal Police with tear gas and rubber bullets. 6 teachers were wounded.
Among the demands of the teachers is for trade union democracy, (the National Teachers Union is effectively controlled by government supporters) and a
demand to repeal A.C.E. (The Alliance for the Quality of Education law).
A.C.E. was developed by the World Bank and the Organization for Development and Economic Development. It is modeled on President Bush's "No Child Left Behind." All
children are required to take standardized multiple choice tests. Teachers are rewarded are face termination based on results of tests. Teachers are also tested. The
government announced in 2008 that 67% of students in teachers colleges had failed its exam.
The teachers in Seccion 22 Oaxaca see A.C.E. as a pretext to fire teachers and privatize education. Many students who are poor or from indian families will fail
the A.C.E. exams given their lack of middle class language skills.
COCAL (Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor) is an international coalition of higher education contingent faculty in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Every two years for over a decade, delegates and participants from these three nations have been coming together at conferences in order to share information
and analysis, promote activism, and advocate on behalf of contingent faculty in North America and beyond.
This is a call for papers by individuals and organizations that represent contingent faculty in higher education in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Presentations should not exceed 5 pages (time: 10 minutes) and should address one of the three over-arching
themes of this conference. Workshop presentations should have a experiential and practical focus, that can be applied by contingent faculty in diverse situations.
Abstract proposals are to be submitted to the COCAL X Organizing Committee, by May 15, 2012 at the email address indicated at the end of the PDF document linked below.
For more detailed information, download the complete PDF of the Call for Papers:
Links to stories of interest
Links to stories of interest