COCAL Updates

By Joe Berry

From the Chicago Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor

1. An amazing story from Missouri (Missouri Southern State U) of undergrads hired to grade speeches which make up large portion of final course grades.

From our secret Missouri Correspondent:

A bizarre situation has emerged at MSSU. It is apparently happening around the state and probably elsewhere. The attached article from the campus student paper provides an initial documentary trail, but I am sure the news will eventually spread. Students, recruited at $7.25 per hour, will now grade four speeches per semester in Communications 100 survey classes. These grades will account for 50 percent of each student’s semester grade. Boosters of the program claim that the student graders will not exercise judgement, but will simply evaluate whether or not speeches meet four requirements in a grading rubric. This is, of course, nonsense, in that the elements of the rubric are not and cannot be as objective as the right-or-wrong answer to a math question. There was an hour of heated discussion in this week’s Faculty Senate meeting (I was there), and more will follow.

2. Good profile of one of the best labor journalists working today, David Bacon. (Also, he was one of the organizers of the lecturers union, CFT/AFT) at the University of CA)

3. St Xavier U. (Chicago) responds to continued attempts to get a union for PT faculty

4. More on increasing union support for Occupy Wall Street. According to an Associated Press report, the following was on one of the signs at the Wall Street rally:
“Give My Professor Health Insurance, Please!” And an article with a quote from one of our adjunct colleagues at Fordham U.

5. Coverage from Occupy Chicago.

6. Some hypotheticals to ponder from a blog.

7. Contingent faculty forum in DC area (Washington, MD, VA etc.) sponsored by SEIU Local 500, Nov. 19. See this and other events.

8. Tacoma teachers strike (illegally) and WIN seniority protection back with great student support.

9. Very good new edition of the New Unionism Network (based in Britain, but international, at least in English). See especially articles on Occupy Wall street movement worldwide and on the new unionism in  Israel/Palestine where the new union has organized post -secondary teachers at for-profit art schools and also see piece on the international “precariat” of which we are certainly a part. Also see blog by our colleague Richard Moser.

10. Resolution from UUP New Paltz Chapter
Supporting the “Occupy Wall Street”
Movement for Economic Justice

Whereas the greed embodied by many of the men and women of Wall Street, working only for the financial gain of themselves, was in large measure responsible for triggering the recent collapse of the United States economy, and

Whereas the ordinary working men and women of Main Street are now saddled with the responsibility of making the sacrifices needed to put right the wrongs done by that elite, and

Whereas the Delegate Assembly of United University Professions, representing its 35,000 members across New York State, has gone on record February 5, 2011, in support of extending the NYS so-called millionaire’s tax, and

Whereas some officials at all levels of government have frequently sought to demonize workers, in general, and unionized workers, in particular, and

Whereas the economic fortunes on Wall Street have rebounded significantly while those on the Main Streets of this nation remain in decline, and

Whereas numerous state and national labor organizations have already gone on record in support of the growing nationwide effort, now coalescing under the “Occupy Wall Street” movement for economic justice’s umbrella to call attention to the role Wall Street played in destabilizing the American economy, thus adversely affecting the lives and economic fortunes of millions of ordinary citizens, and

Whereas representatives from at least fifteen of this country’s largest labor unions recently joined the “Occupy Wall Street” protestors in a mass rally and march in New York City, therefore be it

Resolved, that the SUNY New Paltz Chapter of United University Professions supports the growing spirit of economic justice now manifesting itself in the streets of cities large and small all across America in the form of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

UUP New Paltz Chapter Executive Committee
October 6, 2011

Your comments are welcome. They must be relevant to the topic at hand and must not contain advertisements, degrade others, or violate laws or considerations of privacy. We encourage the use of your real name, but do not prohibit pseudonyms as long as you don’t impersonate a real person.