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Tom Mooney Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP002071
The Tom Mooney Papers document his early career as a teacher, activist and his involvement with unions. The papers hold his teaching materials, college education documents, and work with various political and social arenas. This includes correspondence, publications, reports, biographies, articles, report cards, curriculum guides and other types of records. The union records contain flyers, reports, correspondence and the like.

Most of the materials found in this collection reflect Tom’s passion for social justice and left wing politics. It is well documented, ranging from his curriculum materials to his own papers he wrote in high school and at Antioch that he believed in a workers’ controlled system. Some of the most far left materials are in the series 2 that pertain to the OCIC, Philadelphia Workers’ Organizing Committee, and the workshop files in series 1. The OCIC and the related files to this organization deal the Marxist-Leninist school of thought that was anti-Revisionist in the 1970s. These files are a great resource for the study of the Communist party in America during the 1970s, which focuses on not only on the issues that are fundamental to the party but more importantly for the issues of race. More on Mooney’s radical education can be found in Series 7, which are mostly underground political newspapers, this collection is a rare view of the underground press during the 1970s ranging from prison newsletters to leftist economic journals.

One can mirror the organizing skills in dealing with the OCIC in Mooney’s work with strengthening the CFT, his rise to power and leading the local to better and greater things in series 4. The files in series 4 contain information about elections, negotiations and strikes, as well as his work as a building representative and area rep. Also series 4 does have materials of when Mooney started to attend the AFT national convention right up to the year he ran for the executive council in which Mooney sided with the more radical elements within the AFT, specifically with the secret ballot issue at AFT convention.

Another strength in this collection is series 3, which shows how Tom Mooney took to teaching. Some files in series 1 in the Antioch files have reviews of Mooney’s student teaching, series 3 has his course work, his curriculum guides and materials that he used to teach Cincinnati students the other history or the bottom up history. The notebooks in series 6 mostly are notes, ideas and lists for his teaching and union activities however he used the notebooks for everything so one will find his notes on the New American Movement convention or thoughts on the AFT.

Tom Mooney was considered one of the foremost leaders in education reform as well as a leader in the trade union movement. This collection reflects his developmental years as a young teacher, union leader and political activist. This collection also opens the doors for the far left political arena and views of sexism and racism in this country during the 1970s.

Series Description: Series 1: Personal, 1959-2003 Series 2: Subject, 1971-1981 Series 3: Curriculum and Teaching, 1973-1978 Series 4: Union, 1974-2004 Series 5: AV Series 6: Calendars and Notebooks, 1970-1991 Series 7: Publications

Dates

  • 1959 - 2004
  • Majority of material found within 1972 - 1982

Language of Materials

Material in English and Spanish.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

12.5 Linear Feet (19 MB, 3 SB)

Abstract

Tom Mooney was born September 12, 1954 in Albany, New York. Mooney attended Guardian Angel’s Catholic School and McNicholas High School in Cincinnati and then Antioch College from 1970-1973 focusing on political science and teaching. In high school, Mooney became involved in the United Farm Workers boycott committee in Cincinnati, becoming one of the lead volunteers. This exposed him to social justice and radical political ideas. At Antioch he set up a boycott office and surrounded himself in radical political thought, especially with Marxist-Leninist ideologies.

During the mid to late 1970s Mooney was involved in Marxist-Leninist organizations, especially with the New American Movement and the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center. After the OCIC folded in 1981, Mooney aligned himself with the Democratic Party.

Mooney was hired as a full time teacher at Bloom Junior High in late 1974 early 1975. He immediately joined the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1520 (CFT) and was elected as building representative for the school. He was then transferred to Crest Hill Middle School. Mr. Mooney then was elected as the Area 6 coordinator in 1977-1978. Mooney was elected president of the CFT in 1979 at the age of 24.

As president of the CFT, he led the local into the national spotlight by bargaining education reform programs. Under his leadership the local negotiated the 2nd Peer Assistance and Evaluation Program in the country and the 1985 contract secured more control for teachers over grading and promotion standards. With the next round of bargaining in 1988 the CFT and board of education used a “win-win” style of negotiations in which they achieved unique career ladder system called Career in Teaching Program. In 1991 Mooney helped negotiate a new student discipline code that brought more order to the classroom, protecting teachers and students. Mooney became president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers in 2000.

In 1990 he was elected to the AFT executive council and sat on the human and community relations committee. In 1998 he was asked to serve on the AFT executive committee and chair the AFT K-12 Program and Policy Council. He later resigned the position of chair over the stance that the AFT took on No Child Left Behind.

Tom Mooney died of a heart attack on December 3, 2006 at his apartment in Columbus, Ohio.

History

Tom Mooney was born September 12, 1954 in Albany, New York. His mother Marguerite and Don had three other children, Don, Tina and Lee. His Father worked in an insurance company and was transferred to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and then to Cincinnati when Tom was twelve. Tom Mooney attended Guardian Angel’s Catholic School and McNicholas High School in Cincinnati and then Antioch College from 1970-1973 focusing on political science and teaching.

He student-taught in Hughes High School in the spring of 1974 and by the summer had completed all his course work. In high school Mooney became involved in the United Farm Workers boycott committee in Cincinnati, becoming one of the lead volunteers. This exposed him to social justice and radical political ideas. At Antioch he set up a boycott office and surrounded himself in radical political thought, especially with Marxist-Leninist ideologies. During the mid to late 1970s Mooney was involved in Marxist-Leninist organizations, especially with the New American Movement and the Organizing Committee for an Ideological Center. After the OCIC folded in 1981, Mooney aligned himself with the Democratic Party and was a constant supporter for the rest of his life.

Mooney was hired as a full time teacher at Bloom Junior High in late 1974 early 1975. He immediately joined the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1520 (CFT) and was elected as building representative for the school. He was then transferred to Crest Hill Middle School. Mr. Mooney then was elected as the Area 6 coordinator in 1977-1978.

Mooney was elected president of the CFT in 1979 at the age of 24. A year later the Association of Cincinnati Scholl Office Personnel (ACPSOP) affiliated with the CFT. As president of the CFT, he led the local into the national spotlight by bargaining education reform programs. Under his leadership the local negotiated the 2nd Peer Assistance and Evaluation Program in the country and the 1985 contract secured more control for teachers over grading and promotion standards as well as a Benefit Bank to provide flexible funds for any medical related expenses. In 1986 the union began earning the national attention for the contract and other cooperative nature between the union and administration that gave teachers a new professional role and improving the schools.

With the next round of bargaining in 1988 the CFT and board of education used a “win-win” style of negotiations in which they achieved unique career ladder system called Career in Teaching Program. In 1991 Mooney helped negotiate a new student discipline code that brought more order to the classroom, protecting teachers and students. Order did return to the classroom but suspensions and expulsions rose with the new code.

From 1979 to 1995 Mooney negotiated increases in salaries for Cincinnati teachers by 180% at the top of the Masters’ scale. By the mid- 1990s the school board returned to an adversarial stand against the union and rejected the offer by the CFT to return to an interest based bargaining process. At first the union rejected a proposal by the board to amend the contract to implement School Assistance and Redesign Plan. However, the union listened to the outcry of the community and reconsidered allowing teachers to be surplused. Again the board took this as a sign of weakness and continued to ignore the union and push through their own agenda without the input from the union. Negotiations in 2000 were at a standstill and a threat of a strike was looming which took negotiations to a state fact finder. Eventually both sides vote to accept the fact finders recommendations. In January, Mooney announces that he will be seeking the candidacy for president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) when long time president Ron Marec decided to retire.

Mooney became president of the OFT in 2000. He moved the headquarters to Columbus, Ohio reorganized the OFT into more of a political force within Ohio politics, and ramped up organizing new members in the state, especially within higher education. He spearheaded a campaign to bring more accountability for charter schools in Ohio forming a coalition of community leaders from education, parent groups and civic organizations to launch a campaign that was critical of the those schools.

Mooney began attending AFT conventions siding with the more radical fringes of the AFT political arena, which was the United Action Caucus but by 1981 joined the Progressive Caucus but still fought for one issue that was against the leadership of the AFT and that was the secret ballot issue. There to he realized the wisdom of the open voting scheme in the AFT convention. In 1988, the AFT asked Tom to be apart of the a labor delegation to go to Chile to be an observer of the Plebiscite in which he reflected that it was “one of the most moving experiences of my life.” In 1990 he was elected to the AFT executive council and sat on the human and community relations committee. In 1998 he was asked to serve on the AFT executive committee and chair the AFT K-12 Program and Policy Council. He later resigned the position of chair over the stance that the AFT took on No Child Left Behind.

Tom Mooney was married to Virginia Rhodes and had a son Ruairi, they later divorced. He married Debbie Schneider in 1988 and had a daughter Leilah. Tom Mooney died of a heart attack on December 3, 2006 at his apartment in Columbus, Ohio.

Arrangement

Arranged in 7 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Boxes 2-9), Series 3 (Boxes 10-13), Series 4 (Boxes 14-20), Series 5 (Box 20), Series 6 (Box 21), Series 7 (Boxes 22-23). Folders are arranged alphabetically. Series 6 the calendars and notebooks are numbered only, there is no arrangement.

Acquisition

Materials acquired by the Reuther Library on May 9, 2009.

Related Materials

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers Local 1520 Records, Ohio Federation of Teachers Records, AFT President’s Office Records: Albert Shanker Records, Toledo Federation of Teachers Records, AFT International Department Records, AFT Oral History Project: Tom Mooney Interview.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Dan Golodner on February 26, 2014.
Title
Guide to the Tom Mooney Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Dan Golodner.
Date
2014-02-26
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA