COCAL, which stands for Coalition on Contingent Academic Labour, is a coalition of higher education activists from the North American continent. Members are united in working to improve working conditions at colleges and universities for contingent faculty, including adjunct, part-time, and non-tenure track instructors, and graduate teaching assistants. COCAL holds bi-annual conferences at various locations in Canada, Mexico and the US
COCAL XIII will take place in San José, California, August 3-5, 2018 at San José State University. The stated conference goal is Empowering Precarious Academic Workers: Hope Through Organizing. The California Faculty Association (CFA) which represents the 28,000 tenure-line, Lecturer, Librarian, Counselor, and Coaching faculty in the 23-campus California State University, will be the primary host.
COCAL has successfully hosted conferences in Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Vancouver, Quebec City, Montreal, Mexico City, New York, and Edmonton. COCAL XII, the last COCAL conference, was organized by CUPE 3911 in Edmonton at University of Alberta in August 2016. Over 135 people attended the very successful Edmonton event.
CUPE 3911 members have attended and presented at a number of past COCAL Conferences. A presentation by Natalie and Dougal at COCAL X in Mexico City was later published as a chapter in a book entitled, Equality for Contingent Faculty (Keith Hoeller, ed.), to which other COCAL participants also contributed. CUPE 3911 is sending four executive members to COCAL 13: Co-chairs Glynnis Lieb and Dougal MacDonald (who are members of the International COCAL Organizing Committee), Human Resources Officer Natalie Sharpe, and Treasurer Vanee Narayanan. All four will be speaking during the conference.
COCAL draws contingent educators from all geographic regions of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., from all levels of higher education, from all disciplines taught in higher education, and from all unions that represent us on various campuses, and from the those who have not as yet unionized. We gather because of what we have in common. The conferences are very positive and inspiring! Ironically, coming together to talk about a massive problem that oppresses us all very directly results in an atmosphere full of hope, solidarity, personal affection, and tremendous learning. People who participate always go home more committed to the struggle and better equipped to engage in it and organize others.
Visit COCAL 2018 at https://cocal.regfox.com/cocal-xiii-san-jose-ca for more details.