COCAL–A Tri-National Contingent Workforce Self-Organizes to Abolish Contingency

COCAL update:


By Joe Berry and Helena Worthen

Over 200 people attended the eleventh conference of COCAL (Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor) which took place August 4-6 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City. The focus was on contingency–the damage it does to faculty, students, and the systems of higher education­–in the three participating countries: the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The goal: To abolish contingency itself.

The “Outside” Part of an “Inside-outside” Organizing Strategy

Although most of the people who come to the biannual COCAL conferences are academics and union members, these are not typical academic or union conferences. Instead, they are the “outside” part of an “inside-outside” organizing strategy. Contingent faculty activists come “outside” their own workplaces to learn from each other as contingent activists and go home to organize “inside” their own workplaces, or unions. Planned…

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