Godfather of New Unionism Heads for Jail
by Rich Gibson
Pat Tornillo, a top leader of the American Federation of Teachers and the president for nearly life of their Dade County (Miami) local, the man Education Week once proudly called the "Father of New Unionism," is headed to a federal pen.
Union activists in Florida and around the US knew Tornillo was looting the union for years, but were only able to bring him to prosecution recently. He was protected by the American Federation of Teachers top leadership, many of them having followed his same path.
New Unionism, now adopted by the national leadership of both big education unions, the NEA and the AFT, is the idea that union members, their employers, and elites (like bankers, politicians, etc) have an over-arching common interest, the domination of US interests throughout the world.
Al Shanker, AFT's boss for decades, began the practical application of New Unionism in the 1970's, when his New York city branch of the AFT offered massive wage concessions, as well as a financial bailout, to the city bosses rather than stage a fight of resistance. Shanker and Tornillo both helped engineer the AFT's close relationship with the National Endowment for Democracy, a CIA front active all over the world, now especially active in Iraq and Venezuela. New Unionism was the theoretical ground for the AFT's ongoing relationship with US intelligence agencies. New Unionism is an ideological pillar of the Corporate State, fascism.
Tornillo was also a significant player in the effort to merge the NEA and AFT nationally, a maneuver that failed. Then he went through the back door, working with former NEA president John Ryor to merge the Florida NEA and AFT. Many activists believe Tornillo was dedicated to the merger in an attempt to hide his theft of what was probably well over one million dollars of union dues---from school workers who often have to live in trailers.
U.S. union corruption of this sort is common. One of Tornillo's counterparts in the NEA stole around $300,000 dollars from the Florida teachers on the mid-1980s, and never served time in jail.
With the AFT, Tornillo helped engineer the wreckage of urban schools in the United States. The sole players who had an interest in resisting, organized teachers, were inveigled to using their energies to assist in the organization of decay. Now, many urban schools are pre-prison programs.
Tornillo may join his pal, the former boss of the Fort Lauderdale local, in the same jail. Tony Gentile is in jail for attempting to seduce minors. The Washington DC local of the AFT is under investigation for the same kind of massive theft by union leaders that finally convicted Tornillo.
All of the nation's top union leaders sharply rejected the idea guiding groups like the Rouge Forum---that working people and elites have only contradiction in common.
Tornillo and the leadership of the NEA all joined together in writing regimented curriculum standards for schools, fashioning high-stakes exams, and they allied with the US Chamber of Commerce in taking full page ads in the New York Times demanding the standards and exams be implemented.
Given their self-proclaimed commonality, it is not surprising to see US union bosses trailing accounting executives, bank presidents, and corporate bosses through the criminal justice system, which rarely is harsh on any of them.
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