By Dave Hawley —
My first article as Joint Council President is one I never desired to write. For more than 25 years, I have had the pleasure of supporting and working with Rome Aloise in building the strength of our union.
On December 22, 2017, Rome was suspended from holding union office for a period of two years for “bringing reproach on the Union.” Yet even the judge who imposed the suspension expressly recognized in her order that, “[T]here is no evidence that Aloise gained financially from his actions or that he entered into any quid pro quo deals with employers.”
As you may know, Rome was on the job 24/7 as Joint Council President, International Vice President, and Director of the Dairy and Food Processing Division. He was also a Trustee and a leader on the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Fund, and several other health and benefit plans.
With that said, the Joint Council must move forward during Rome’s suspension. Per our Bylaws, the Joint Council Executive Board filled the vacant Board positions as follows:
• I was appointed President, vacating my position as Secretary Treasurer.
• Mark Gleason was appointed Secretary Treasurer, vacating his position as Recording Secretary.
• Peter Finn was appointed Recording Secretary, vacating his position as Trustee.
• Dennis Hart was appointed to the open Trustee position.
I cannot thank the re-organized Board enough for their support and willingness to assist in all the responsibilities of the Joint Council. We have some huge shoes to fill, picking up all the duties that Rome personally handled. The support of our Local Unions leadership has been equally outstanding. We will not allow any employer or outside force to weaken the strength we have built with our Joint Council. We will continue to move forward with our political agenda.
Mark Gleason, Peter Finn, and Carlos Borba are handling many of the Bay Area political responsibilities. Peter Nuñes and Ashley Alvarado are assisting in the valley. Doug Bloch, our Political Director, continues to coordinate our State and Local activities. Doug has become an invaluable asset to our Joint Council.
I will continue to make myself available to all the Locals that may need the backup of the Joint Council and/or the International. General President Hoffa expressed to me his commitment to continue to assist and support our Joint Council during a recent meeting at the IBT headquarters in Washington, D.C.
We are moving forward assisting our Locals with programs for member communication. Peter Finn coordinated our first workshop in Modesto on February 15, providing education on the use of social media, broadcast emails, and other forms of member contact. There is nothing like face-to-face member contact, but we need to improve communication on all the new platforms that our younger members use.
As a reminder, our next Joint Council Seminar/ Delegates meeting is scheduled for the week of June 11 in Tahoe. The Beeson firm will again coordinate education programs for Officers and Business Agents. With the mid-term elections coming up, we expect lively discussions with political guest speakers.
Again, I thank everyone for their support and look forward to working with all the Local Unions to better the lives of our members and their families. We look forward to welcoming Rome back in December of 2019.