Copyright 2017 West Genesee Teachers' Association
The History of the WGTA
West Genesee Teachers - working without a contract. Photos from 1974, 1985 and 1988.
WGTA Officers, Contracts
Why A Union?
By Lynn Davis
The salary, insurance benefits and job protections West Genesee teachers currently enjoy are the direct result of thousands of WGTA members working over the last 50 years to slowly establish, build and defend a strong teacher’s contract. Early teaching conditions in West Genesee were vastly different from what one finds today. Royce Newell, WGTA President in the early 1950's (these were pre-union days), remembers that teachers took the salary that was offered to them. If the teacher was lucky, that was the minimum amount mandated by state law. Royce recalls that some teachers were hired by West Genesee at the state minimum ($2,000 per year), but in order to keep their job had to "donate" $200 back to the district!
In a WGTA newsletter written years later, Union President Clyde Ohl stated "teachers are one of the best educated groups in the nation today. To expect this well-informed group to sit on the sidelines when the politicians are making educational and political decisions is both impractical and ridiculous." He also wrote that he was committed to his platform that included “an end to interruptions which cut down on teaching time, an effective teacher voice in policy making and an adequate and equitable salary schedule.” Clyde's words were written in 1966, almost 50 years ago!
Ironically, these words from the WGTA archives ring as true today as they did 50 years ago.
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WGTA Local 3106