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Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1560 Records

Identifier: LR001596

Scope and Content

The materials in this collection reflect the growth and power that CFT achieved over a period of two decades. It also reflects the shift of the union from industrial style unionism to a new unionism full of reforms in the way a union handles negotiations as well as initiating unique education reforms. The papers reveal the rise of Tom Mooney, president of the CFT, from classroom teacher to international spokesman of human rights, teacher unions and education reforms. He was a founding member of the Teacher Union Reform Network as well as the Institute for Teacher Union Leadership.

Papers consist of grievances, contract negotiations with the agreements, flyers, correspondence, surveys, reports, meeting minutes and agendas, newspaper clippings and other documents associated with union business. There are also materials of the same type that are more focused on the issues that Mooney worked on and with which he was affiliated.

Important subjects: Central America Cincinnati – Ohio Collective Bargaining – Education – Ohio Desegregation Education Reform Parent-teacher relationships - Ohio School Violence Student Discipline Teacher Career Ladders Teacher peer-review Teacher placement Teacher-principal relationships Teachers and Community Teacher-student relationships - Ohio Win-Win Collective Bargaining

Important Names: Robert Braddock John Cole John Pepper Diane Porter Robert Porter Lee Etta Powell Roger Stephens Albert Shanker Adam Urbanski
Series Description: Series I: Grievances, 1971-1995 The original order was a mix of names and subjects, but to hide personal names from the finding aid subject names were used. They files consist of the grievant file forms, back up materials, witness reports and occasionally arbitration materials. There are minutes from the grievance committees as well. Researchers cannot use proper names of those individuals who filed the grievances.

Series II: Bargaining Records, 1966-1990 Contracts, proposals, notes, addendums, agendas, correspondence to bargaining committee, school board, and to members. Conflict Management Inc file is the beginning of new ideas of bargaining that CFT and the school board took on to ease relations. The file contains the correspondence and workshop materials to achieve win-win bargaining.

Series III: Tom Mooney’s Files, 1979-1994 This series reflects the work of Tom Mooney during his presidency of CFT as well as a leader within the AFT. There are notes, letters, articles, memos, reports, newspaper clippings, and agendas. The leadership Reform project was started within the AFT but then when it stopped in 1992 became TURN. Discipline files are rich with the issues about violence in schools. It contains useful information from John Cole, and the plans that were implemented in Texas. Educational Initiatives Panel folders consist of the committees work with various committees set up to implement contract language and various other education reform initiatives.

Series IV: Subject, 1963-1993 Meeting minutes, agendas, correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, white papers, financial documents, and other similar documents. Appraisals are Peer assistance and appraisal program modeled after the Toledo Plan. CYC files contain information about this unique drop out prevention program that focused on job training and scholarships. Over-the-Rhine files consist of issues dealing with low income housing and redevelopment.

Series V: Financial, 1975-1986 Budgets, audits and correspondence related to the financial state of the CFT.

Series VI: Miscellaneous, 1979-1992 Lesson plan ledgers, newsletters and flyers


  • 1963 - 1995
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 1989


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research. Restrictions: no proper names can be used in the grievance series.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


The CFT was originally chartered as local 479 on the 18 December 1936. By the early 1950s the CFT dwindled to a few members and disbanded. It was not till April 1964 that a new charter application was submitted and granted under the name Cincinnati Teachers Union. The local changed its name to the CFT in 1971 and soon started petitioning for a bargaining election to represent the teachers in Cincinnati. By 1976 with missteps by the Cincinnati Teachers Association (CTA) the CFT won bargaining rights. A strike was called in 1977 over bad faith bargaining by the school board and after nineteen days the board proved a 6% increase in pay, fringe benefits, binding arbitration and other bread and butter issues for the growing local. In 1979 Tom Mooney was elected president of the CFT and helped orchestrate the formation of the United Bargaining Council, which represented all board employees. That same year the UBC held the largest labor demonstration in Cincinnati with over 3000 board employees marching in downtown Cincinnati. In 1980 the Association of Cincinnati Public School Office Personnel became a chapter of the CFT.

By 1982 the CTA ran its last representative election against the CFT. From that point on the CFT continued to fight for better pay, fringe benefits and teacher rights but now was able to concentrate on more education reform related issues through community outreach and collective bargaining. The CFT in 1984 urged more standards, more remedial programs, an end to social promotion, and greater teacher authority with parent involvement in problem decisions. The following year CFT’s new contract with the school board had provisions governing class size, peer appraisal and evaluation programs, student grading and promotion, and lesson plans. Later a four-tiered career ladder for teachers was developed. Over the period of the 1980s and into the 1990s the CFT, under the leadership of Tom Mooney, became known as the union that was leading the way for unique education reform and teacher professionalism.


19 Linear Feet (19 SB)


The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Collection contains information about this unique local of the American Federation of Teachers. The local reformed in 1964 as the Cincinnati Teachers Union and changed its name to the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) in 1971 and immediately began petitioning for a collective bargaining election. By 1976 the CFT won the election and remained the bargaining union for teachers of Cincinnati. In 1979 Tom Mooney became president and took the union on a new course of bargaining reform for all public employees in the city as well as taking the local into new areas of education reform and teacher professionalism.


Arranged in 6 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 3-5), Series 3 (Boxes 5-9), Series 4 (Boxes 9-19), Series 5 (Box 19), and Series 6 (Box 19), with a sub-series in series 3. Series 1, 3-4 are arranged alphabetically. Sub-series A in Series 3 is arranged chronologically. Series 2, 5, and 6 are arranged chronologically.


The collection of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1560 (CFT) was placed in the Walter P. Reuther Library in February 1999 after an onsite visit by the AFT archivist in 1998.

Related Materials

AFT President’s office: Albert Shanker, AFT President’s office 1960-1974 parts I and II. Tom Mooney oral history.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Dan Golodner on September 18, 2008.
Guide to the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1560 Records
Processed by Dan Golodner.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA