The American Federation of Teachers has a history of corruption at its local union levels which has threatened both teachers’ representation and students’ educations.
The following major incidents of corruption have been committed within AFT local unions. This is not an exhaustive list of alleged and proven acts of corruption.
AFT Local 6
Barbara A. Bullock, former president of the Washington (D.C.) Teachers Union (AFT Local 6) was sentenced to nine years (later reduced to seven in exchange for testimony) in prison for embezzling $4.6 million in union funds. The Washington Post reported that WTU “did not perform audits every two years as required, and the American Federation of Teachers did not demand them.” WTU’s former treasurer and a staff aide to Bullock were convicted of corruption-related offenses.
AFT Local 1974
Pat Tornillo, former president of the United Teachers of Dade (AFT Local 1974), pled guilty and was sentenced to 27 months in prison for crimes related to the alleged embezzlement of $650,000 in union funds. An AFT audit found that Tornillo may have stolen up to $2.5 million.
AFT Local 1975
A former president of the Broward Teachers Union (AFT Local 1975) was charged with submitting forged documents to obtain $122,000 in unauthorized compensation.
Auburn Teachers Association
The president of the Auburn Teachers Association, Sally Jo Widmer, was posthumously alleged to have misappropriated $800,000 in union funds over a six-year period after auditors found improprieties.
AFT Local 3845
The former treasurer of AFT Local 3845 in Philadelphia pled guilty to crimes relating to the embezzlement of $43,600 in union funds.
AFT Local 5073
The former president of the Downeast Federation of Healthcare Professionals, AFT Local 5073, pled guilty to crimes relating to the embezzlement of almost $30,000 in union funds.