Tom Mooney Papers

Accession Number: 
LP002071
Extent: 
12.5 linear feet (19 MB, 3 SB)
Date: 
1959-2004, bulk 1972-1982

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

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