Closing Plenary:  Minutes and Resolutions

Minutes of Closing Plenary

Joe Berry – Introduction – Announcements

  1. Blue packet…second city – directions behind map
  2. Right side of folder,
    1. a statement of support for CEW passed by Education International, passed at behest of AFT
    2. Resolution on behalf of CEW committee
    3. Invitation to join ADJ-L listserv
    4. Research Director position open at UEW
  3. Support resolution from UNITE!
  4. TV coverage on ABC
  5. Article in Chicago Tribune – Joe reads article 8/8/04 (on website) – article describes demonstration and grievances – considers coverage a major victory
  6. Haymarket tour – all interested should show up at Congress & Wabash – 10:00-3:00, lunch stop, but not covered by fee

President of Part-time Faculty Association at Columbia – Peter Insley

  1. Welcomes on behalf of the college
  2. Union organized in 1998
  3. Staff about to turn in cards for vote in October
  4. "We’ve found our voice, we hope all of you find yours."

Moderator Joan Grosse (Madison-area Part-time Teachers Association)

Report by Chris Storer on 2003 CEW (Campus Equity Week)

CEW 2001 vs 2003

2003 from the point of the view of the coordinator was significantly smaller, 2001 250 campuses, 2003 about 50. 2001 was centrally coordinated, 2003 involved the major unions, especially AFT and AAUP; NEA was noticeably absent. We need to raise the questions from the grassroots as to whether NEA is committed to part-time faculty. The Canadian Fair Employment Week was carried through at a higher level by CAUT & FNEEQ. One of the significant issues was that the steering committee spent 30-50% of its conference call time to raise funds (albeit 20% less than 2001). Not necessarily a problem if we see CEW/FEW carried out through the national organizations; however if we want to reach non-organized areas it will require central coordination and travel time. One of the things we determined was the basic statement at bottom of green sheet: CEW/FEW should have a determined point of time…the basic argument is that in its relationship to COCAL the Fall is the best time for a regularly scheduled CEW/FEW – last week of October, possibly stretching into the November.

Reports from Strategy Groups:

Metro-Local Strategy Group – Gary Zabel (Boston COCAL)

We did come up with a number of strategic principles…not necessarily agreement…

National & International Strategies Workshop – Mary Ellen Goodwin

The session was interesting.

Ultimate Vision – Barbara Gottfried

LGBT Caucus – David Milroy

Women’s Caucus – Elena Dorabji (CFA – San José State)


Green Sheet: Campus Equity Week

Joan reads proposal on CEW: calls for support of recommendation on timing of CEW/FEW


Flo Hatcher: Add FEW to title of resolution 

Vicky Smallman: CAUT has had this discussion - make it an annual event at the end of October 

Joe Berry: Draw attention to report below resolution; not have a centrally planned CEW in the US in 2004 due to elections; but one in 2005; website will still be available as a resource 

Flo Hatcher: The operative term is "centrally coordinated" – would encourage anyone who sees this as an opportunity to recruit membership; the website is useful – aid local plans 

Maria : For us it is very important for a campaign for justice in university to participate ..we [lost track of translation] 

Maria Peluso: Want’s to reinforce CAUT’s position; we are always going to have a CEW activity. Likely at different times; 

Marie Blais – we had a strike the last time – many issues at the same time – we tried activities during CEW – well covered by the media 

Betty Resnikof (sp): recommend that we not take a stand not to have CEW this year; elections are an opportunity; call on all candidates to take a stand on what’s happening; even if its just LTEs; put contingency on the national agenda 

Joe Berry: Call question on resolution 

Linda Evans AFT 2026 – Philadelphia: We have to be risk takers; AFT conference want us to be behind Kerry – I am behind Kerry, but I want someone to be behind me. My issue is equally as important as yours; I want my issue next to yours. Everybody is "throw-Bush-out." I don’t if people have made up their mind to postpone their issue – our issue is part of the larger issue – of all the workers…I am part of the poor and the working class. It needs to be part of the discussion. These organizations that are behind – AFT & NEA should be challenged to put the issues to Kerry. When I was at the AFT conference, "I need you to make our issue top…outspoken." K-12 issues are real prominent, but we need to make our issues prominent… "We need to call them on the carpet." Thanks Betty’s position on resolution 

Steve Wilson (CFA) – CFA has been very active with CEW in the past; the idea of being able to take a year off from CEW sounded good. Took a long time to recover from CEW 2001. Time to think about what can be done different; fatigue is a major issue, need to get energy behind; Betty’s remarks suggest that we can get some energy from elections. 

Rodger Scott (AFT 2121): Supports resolution; good idea to get it into campaign dialogue. 

Flo Hatcher: Suggests an addendum: something appear on the website that will help member constituents to address some of the issues that have been brought to the discussion 

Steve Wilson: Point of Order – are we going to vote on the resolution as it is – that there is going to be no central coordination for CEW. 

Mary Ellen: resolution says that there will be no central coordination 

Vicki Smallman: resolution itself says nothing about this year. This week is a very decentralized campaign; it’s really up to locals and nationals to decide what they want to do…a flexible campaign; no need for a huge debate – only local associations will decide 

Flo Hatcher: A centrally planned campaign requires a paid coordinator; we don’t have the money to pay for one; time spent on the website is donated by Chris Storer; if we want it coordinated we should pay for it 

Elizabeth Hoffman (CFA): Could some of the CEW steering committee prepare a short statement to communicate with Kerry’s committee and suggest what an important issue this is – DISCUSSION about which committee – CEW committee or COCAL committee? 

Mary Ellen Goodwin: COCAL CA will take up issue in caucus, then bring it to advisory committee. COCAL Advisory Committee is make a recommendation to the CEW Committee 

Helena Worthen: Asks for clarification of the resolution… 

Question called: Resolution Passed 

Resolution: Next COCAL 

Jack Longmate (WA state) – Next COCAL should be located in Pacific Northwest; People from BC are supportive 

Vicki: CIEA (Vancouver) will explore having it in BC 

Request for consecutive translation 

Maria de la Luz Ariaga: (translated) We comrades from Mexico think that work you do here are important for enhancing our cause… We Mexicans are known for having our doors open for every visitor. Propose that the 8th COCAL be held in Mexico. 

Proposal: Orange Sheet – Resolution in opposition to NLRB ruling barring graduate student organizing under the NLRA at private schools 

Gabe Kirshner (AFT 3550): Graduate student and teacher, Bush NLRB ruled against graduate employees at Brown U. organizing. (reads resolution) 

Resolution passed unanimously 

Joe Berry addresses Workers’ Rights Workshop Resolution: Purple sheet. 

The resolution will help effort to hold teach-ins across the US. Resolution concludes with call for teach-ins and states support general effort to involve students in the support of workers’ rights to organize. 

Resolution seconded: question called; passed unanimously 

Joan reads another resolution from Legislative Strategies Workshop: 

Be it resolved that the Faculty leadership present at COCAL VI urges that their (inter)national unions and professional organizations, in concert with progressive legislators and non-academic (inter)national unions, restart the necessary process of fundamental reform of US national labor law that all workers in all occupations are able to exercise the fundamental right to organize and unionize. 

…concern that our representatives in congress have a "that all workers in all occupations are able to exercise the fundamental right to organize and unionize" 

…Chris clarifies…not intended to bring to house tomorrow 

Maria Peluso: clarify that resolution refers to US …change resolution to read "US national labor law" 

…Mexico would want to add… "counter-reform" 

Bob Rosenfeld (U.Mass-Boston)…ensure that labor law of all nations fulfill the ability of all workers to organize, unionize, and negotiate

… Chris Storer: last proposal re-writes resolution. 

Gary Zabel: intention of resolution is to get American unions…to expand it robs it of its political weight 

Alyssa Messer: To ‘restart the reform" is too vague 

Marcia Newfield: good resolution because it sparks more vision; could expand it …living wage…health for all; resolution would benefit from a lot of "whereas…" Look at how each state reformed its labor law; could be helpful tool to educate workers about law…help unite workers around world… 

Vicky Smallman: We may not be ready for this…not sure that this is our purpose…appreciate spirit…move onto caucuses 

Betty Resnickof (UIC): Value of COCAL resolutions – resource for all of us, for example, CEW situations or meeting with candidates for office…content for flyer…not just our personal opinions but also that of COCAL 

Chris Storer: Moves to refer resolution to advisory committee and next COCAL (VII) 


Maria de la Luz Arriaga: We would like to propose a general resolution from COCAL VI 

Resolution: COCAL VI declares itself in favor of demanding the exclusion of education from the free trade agreements because they accelerate the privatization and increase contingent labor in education 

Helena Worthen: requests the maker of resolution to explain what "exclusion from free trade agreements" means. 

Vicky Smallman: Makers of neo-liberalism want to commodify everything…including education by including it in free-trade agreements. Progressives are fighting to keep it out of the free-trade agreements. Any further definition of the GATS, etc. 

Joe Berry: There may be some people are not aware of how this is going to work. The free-trade agreements classify certain things as commodities to be trade freely and restricts governments from regulating the flow of the commodities, e.g. challenges to US regulations on fishing and dolphins. If education is reclassified as a commodity—article of commerce--…public sector education, then any private sector company could force their way into countries…e.g. University of Phoenix could file complaints in the WTO and force their way into every other country in the world and force the countries to give up internal controls and subsidies to higher education in those countries… Capital will define what will happen to higher education in those countries. 

Marie Blais; 80% of universities in Quebec receive funds from govt. Accessibility of poor people will be reduced…that’s why our unions have opposed free trade agreements covering education. 

Question called; passed unanimously 

Arturo Ramos proposes a resolution

This sixth conference of COCAL supports the struggle of the workers of the Mexican Institute of Social Security against the privatization of social security and the pension system and in defense of their collective bargaining agreement. We especially declare ourselves in favor of the right of the people of Mexico to count on a system of high quality social security as a fundamental expression of their human rights. 

Passed unanimously 

Maria de la Luz Arriaga: The teachers from Mexico would like to thank you all for the opportunity to share our ideas utopias; we would like to also thank you for the financial support, human warmth, solidarity. We would like to give Joe Berry a small gift from Mexican artists…and a bottle of Tequila [applause]. 

Joe Berry: Move to other building 624… Caucus rooms are listed in the program… Those caucuses are to run for an hour…on the 10th floor…box lunches…then regional caucuses from noon – 1:30 p.m…. Polls people on attendance of caucuses AFT, NEA, CAUT, AAUP, CUPE, Mexican caucus…Room 909 may be used by COCAL-California. 

Advisory Committee to meet at 1:30 at Congress and Wabash.

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COCAL VI Resolution on CEW Scheduling

Whereas Campus Equity Week has proven a valuable structure for the organizing of contingent academic labor, and 

Whereas the coordination of local, regional and national activities in support of improving working conditions and professionalizing contingent academic labor has proven to be an effective organizing tool, therefore, 

Be it resolved that the academic leadership represented at COCAL VI strongly supports the CEW Steering Committee's recommendation that the last week in October (overlapping into November when appropriate) be designated as Campus Equity Week/Fair Employment Week while recognizing a need for flexibility given organizational priorities.

CEW Steering Committee Statement

After considerable discussion of the options, the Campus Equity Week/Fair Employment Week (CEW/FEW) Steering Committee recommends that CEW/FEW should be designated as the last week in October (overlapping into November when appropriate), but that due to the '04 elections, there would be no central coordination of CEW in the United States this year. FEW 2004 will be coordinated in Canada by The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) as usual. It is understood that, in keeping with the fundamental CEW principle of local autonomy, local, state, or regional organizations may depart from this schedule should their issues determine such a course is desirable. Of course, local, state, or regional organizations in the U. S. are encouraged to use the CEW/FEW format, materials, and accumulated energy for their own 2004 organizing projects if they want to. The listserv ( will remain active. Some maintenance and updating of the website ( will continue so organizers are encouraged to feed announcements and information for the site to Chris Storer at

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Resolution in Opposition to U.S. National Labor Relations Board Ruling Barring Graduate Employees from Organizing Under the National Labor Relations Act

WHEREAS, 260,000 teaching and research assistants are currently identified by the U.S. Department of Education as part of the higher education instructional workforce; and 

WHEREAS, graduate employees represent a growing component of contingent academic labor in U.S. institutions of higher education and are increasingly responsible for undergraduate education in United States, particularly in private and public research universities; and 

WHEREAS, graduate employees routinely earn less compensation in the form of stipends and tuition waiver than is necessary to cover school and living expenses, and rarely have access to adequate healthcare and other benefits; and 

WHEREAS, over 40,000 graduate employees in the United States have organized unions and successfully negotiated collective bargaining contracts which have improved the working conditions of graduate employees as well as the undergraduate educational environment; and 

WHEREAS, the mission of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor is "to improve higher education through the collective achievement of job security, livable wages, academic freedom, and time and resources for academic research and professional development for contingent academic laborers"; and 

WHEREAS, in 2000 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that teaching assistants, research assistants, and proctors at New York University are employees entitled to organize for collective bargaining under the National Labor Relations Act (Act,) prompting collective bargaining campaigns in a number of private universities including the Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and Tufts University; and 

WHEREAS, on July 13, 2004, the NLRB by a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, overruled the NYU decision in the case of Brown University, ruling that graduate teaching and research assistants are not employees eligible to unionize under the Act; and 

WHEREAS, in the words of the dissenting members of the Board, this decision is "woefully out of touch with contemporary academic reality . . .seeing the academic world as somehow removed from the economic realm that labor law addresses—as if there was no room in the ivory tower for a sweatshop":

RESOLVED, that attendees at the sixth meeting of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor denounce this ruling as a partisan decision designed to deny workers their basic right to organize collectively; and 

RESOLVED that attendees encourage their national organizations to explore all possible avenues to reverse this decision and to extend the benefits of unionization to graduate employees at private universities.

Submitted by: Graduate Employees’ Organization, University of Michigan, AFT Local 3550

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Workers’ Rights Teach-ins

COCAL is proud to join the call for a nationwide movement of college and university teach-ins on the theme "Workers’ Rights are Human Rights." Teach-ins are a vital part of the AFL-CIO’s Voice@Work campaign to win the freedom of America’s workers to form unions without employer interference.

We will reach out to student activists, pro-labor faculty, campus unionists and campus workers who are struggling to organize, in order to build an ongoing, self-sustaining, year-round national movement of workers’ rights teach-ins.

The goals of this teach-ins movement are to educate and mobilize college students. We want as many college students as possible to gain the knowledge that: 

An even more important goal of these workers’ rights teach-ins is to convince students that they have a personal stake in the struggle to win workers’ freedom to form unions—and can make a difference in its outcome. At teach-ins around the country, students can be encouraged to:

The AFL-CIO has prepared a Teach-ins Toolkit which COCAL commits to distribute to all of our members. The Toolkit is a comprehensive guide to planning and organizing a successful teach-in. 

COCAL is pleased to join the call for a nationwide movement of workers’ rights teach-ins. We urge our members to organize teach-ins on their campuses, and to do their part to make every one of them a resounding success.

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Resolutions Introduced and Passed at Closing Plenary by Members of the Mexican Delegation

Maria de la Luz Arriaga proposed the following:

COCAL VI declares itself in favor of demanding the exclusion of education from the free trade agreements because they accelerate the privatization and increase contingent labor in education.

Arturo Ramos proposed this resolution:

This sixth conference of COCAL supports the struggle of the workers of the Mexican Institute of Social Security against the privatization of social security and the pension system and in defense of their collective bargaining agreement. We especially declare ourselves in favor of the right of the people of Mexico to count on a system of high quality social security as a fundamental expression of their human rights.

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Last revised on September 05, 2004 by the Webmaster.