It is time that our nation’s unions join together in solidarity to support teachers’ unions. Why? Without due process, workers have no rights. If teachers’ rights are stripped away, then all workers rights will be stripped away. It is only a matter of time. How are Bill and Melinda Gates involved in threatening our nation’s unions? By bankrolling the Vergara Trial — and providing a leading witness who happens to be the former director of their MET (Measuring Effective Teaching) Project, Tom Kane to provide “expert” testimony based on “junk science” in the case — their fingerprints are all over the this attempt at union busting.
But the Vergara trial is but one case where the Gates have backed the destruction of due process for teachers. According to Bill Raden and Gary Cohn of the California Expose in David Welch: The Man Behind Vergara v. California; the Gates are backing case after case to destroy due process rights for teachers.
“Vergara was filed on behalf of nine students and seeks to erase nearly a hundred years of teacher protections from the state education code that were adopted to prevent discriminatory and capricious terminations. The suit claims that five statutes addressing teacher dismissal, seniority and tenure disproportionately harm minority students in high-poverty schools by making it too difficult to fire incompetent teachers.
Attacks on teachers’ workplace protections have become familiar spectacles in California and, as recently as 2010, plaintiffs in Reed v. California used a civil rights argument to override seniority-based layoffs in three Los Angeles middle schools. The forces behind Reed and similar causes is a coalition of free-market education partisans and like-minded privatization philanthropists, including the Gates Foundation, Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad and Walmart’s Walton Family Foundation.“
It is clear the Bill and Melinda Gates are backing union busting of teachers’ unions – the largest unions in the United States. Without due process, the corporations will have us all working in sweat shops folks. If you want to take a quick look at the rights workers have in sweat shops, look here. Don’t be fooled. Sweat shops don’t just reside in China. Sweat shops often take advantage of women and children…. hmmm’… aren’t our nation’s public schools made up mostly of women and children?
The court ruling in the Vergara trial – which is a clear attempt to bust teachers’ unions by removing a due process protection called “tenure” – was based on the “expert” testimony of the Gates Foundation’s employee. Without due process, teachers can be fired “at will”. NOLO Law for all defines “firing at will” here:
” If the employer decides to let you go, that’s the end of your job–and you have very limited legal rights to fight your termination.
If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you.”
What is due process as it is applied to teacher tenure in the K-12 setting? NEA answers Time in What’s Tenure and What’s Not to define and describe the role of teacher tenure in K-12 versus teacher tenure at the college/university level here:
“The problem is, tenure does not guarantee teachers a job, does not offer any lifetime employment security, and, regardless of the implication of Time’s question, does not just happen after a “certain amount of time…
If you thought tenured teachers couldn’t lose their jobs, you’re not alone — it’s a common misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it accurate. Tenure does not guarantee teachers a job, but instead mandates that due process be followed before tenured teachers are dismissed…
Tenure is about due process — not about guaranteeing jobs for life. And it’s not about protecting “bad” teachers — it’s about protecting good teachers.”
If good teachers can be fired “at will” — the power of unions to protect the jobs of good teachers through “due process” and with it — the rights of all other good workers — will disappear.
By funding a rolling train of Vergara trial results through state after state, the Gates Foundation can attempt to bust the largest unions in the country — the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Unions. Then it will only be a matter of time before the rest our nations’ unions will fall like dominoes.
If good teachers can be fired “at will”; their unions will not be able to protect them when they advocate for students against corporate reformers like Bill and Melinda Gates.
Here’s more evidence about how Bill and Melinda are funding union busting beyond the Vergara Trial. Anthony Cody writes about Gates investments in destroying due process for teachers here in his post titled From Common Core, to Vergara, to VAM, Gates Foundation Fingerprints Everywhere:
“Challenges to due process for teachers: The Vergara trial yesterday dealt a blow to due process for teachers in California. One of the witnesses advancing the winning argument was Tom Kane, former director of the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project. In 2010, Gates stated on Oprah that if we were able to rid our nation’s schools of ineffective teachers, our schools would go right to the top of international rankings. The Gates Foundation spent $2 million on promoting “Waiting For Superman,” which carried the same message. The Gates Foundation has also sponsored “teacher voice” groups such as Teach Plus and Educators 4 Excellence. Teach Plus mobilized teachers to testify against seniority protections in Indiana, and Educators 4 Excellence requires members to sign a pledge stating their opposition to seniority, and support of the use of test scores to evaluate teachers.”
If Gates can get by with this, all unions are at risk. Simple logic describes why all unions should get involved: “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
Raging Horse blog writes in their piece titled Vergara Part Two: How the 1% Have Learned to Use the Noblest Causes for the Most Venal Ends:
“But it is a grave mistake to perceive the Vergara decision as simply another attack, however brutal, on teachers and education. Education is merely the conduit. Vergara is an attack on the rights of every worker in the USA, union or not.
The 1% may know little of history, but they know enough about the union movement to know that, in time, the force that revolutionized even non- union industries, forcing them to treat their workers with dignity, pay them fairer wages and provide them with some modicum of security, was the threat of unions. They also know the absence of unions has exactly the opposite effect. Consider the working conditions of most Americans in the land of the free and the home of the brave since the shrinkage of American unions. No due process. No job security. No pension. No nothing but a wage that for most people has not grown since 1973.”
The rights of all workers are at stake in this trial. It is time for all unions to get behind the teachers’ unions in solidarity.
It is time for all unions to join the #StopGatesCoalition. Follow us on Twitter @EducatingGatesF. Like our Facebook page. Sign our demand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from corporate education reform here. Sign up to participate in our Educating the Gates Foundation Rally here! But most importantly: Tell other unions that it is time to stop Bill and Melinda Gates from busting our unions! “An injury to one is an injury to all.”