The 13th biannual COCAL Conference will be held at San Jose State University in San Jose, California from August 3-5, 2018. COCAL stands for Coalition of Contract Academic Labour and includes organized and unorganized academic workers from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. The COCAL 13 theme is Empowering Precarious Academic Workers: Hope Through Organizing. Plenaries will include: Where we are today and Solutions for ending precarity, plus hands-on workshops for marshalling our power to move forward to improve our job security and working conditions.
The previous and very successful COCAL 12 conference was organized by CUPE 3911 and held in Edmonton at University of Alberta, August 5-7, 2016. 134 people from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. attended the conference. Various members of CUPE 3911 have attended and presented at past COCAL conferences in other locations for a number of years.
Currently, CUPE 3911 co-chairs Glynnis Lieb and Dougal MacDonald sit on the international COCAL advisory committee which helps plan the local conferences. Committee members teleconference regularly to share ideas. Everyone assists in raising funds for the conference by soliciting donations. In line with COCAL policy, the Edmonton COCAL committee has passed on funds remaining from the Edmonton conference to the San Jose committee. Additional fund-raising will be carried out prior to the San Jose conference.
The main aims of the COCAL conferences are to provide information on the conditions facing contract academic labourers and to provide opportunities for activists in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to work together to come up with ways to improve those conditions. This important sharing of expertise and experience takes place not only at conferences but between conferences. Those interested in the upcoming San Jose Conference should check the COCAL 2018 website (http://cocalinternational.org/) for continuously updated information, including the draft program.