Organizer Boot Cam

Members gear up at Organizer Bootcamp

Local 853 members helped pack Local 287’s San Jose hall on Saturday, October 10 for a full-day Organizer’s Bootcamp. The event is a traveling classroom that has been crisscrossing the nation with the goal of bringing 1,000 trained volunteers into Teamster organizing campaigns by the end of the year.

Not surprisingly, the attendance at Joint Council 7’s spirited bootcamp was double that of any other held so far across the country. And if the enthusiasm and interest of the assembled rank-and-filers is any indication of the event’s success, it would appear that lots of Northern California’s non-union workers will soon become proud Teamster members.

Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer and Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise opened the session by emphasizing the necessity of developing effective paid, and volunteer, organizers if we are to win organizing campaigns. Having been a Teamster organizer for 15 years before becoming a full time officer, Rome holds a special place in his heart for the difficulty organizers face. He is committed to making sure the trained volunteers are actually used in organizing campaigns.

The IBT sent a crew of talented educators on the road with the Bootcamp; Claudia Galloway, IBT Senior Training Coordinator, Manny Valenzuela, IBT Western Region Organizing Coordinator, Kim Keller, Deputy Director of the IBT Organizing Department, Pilar Barton, Strategic Organizer for Joint Council 7 and Rudy Gonzalez, organizer for Teamsters Local 856. The energy, dedication and knowledge exhibited by this formidable line-up of organizers was inspiring.

The Bootcamp’s message was clear; if we want the IBT to survive, we need involved members. Becoming a volunteer organizer, whether in local, regional or national campaigns, is one way members can make a significant impact. Aloise understands this and so do the Local 853 members who attended the event.