Rome Aloise sworn in as Western Region Vice President

On May 1, 2009—International Workers Day—1,200 union officials, business agents and organizers attending the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ (IBT) annual Unity Conference in Las Vegas, rose to their feet in a thunderous ovation to welcome the newest member of the IBT’s General Executive Board (GEB), Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise.

Aloise was officially sworn in as Western Region Vice President by IBT General President James P. Hoffa in a bold move that will have an immediate and lasting impact on the policies and practices of the IBT. One-and-a-half million members of the most powerful union in the country are about to find out what those of us in Local 853 have known for a long time: Rome Aloise gets things done.

According to the IBT Constitution, “The General Executive Board shall have governing authority over the International Union and its subordinate bodies to the end of upholding the laws and policies of the Brotherhood as expressed in this Constitution.” An awesome responsibility, to say the least.

Rome is replacing popular Teamster leader Chuck Mack, who is stepping down as Vice President to become the Union Chair of the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust. Brother Mack’s long and distinguished career as Secretary- Treasurer of Local 70, President of Joint Council 7 and International Vice President will be a hard act to follow, but there is little doubt that Rome can do it.

Responsibilities shift

As Western Region VP, Rome‘s area of responsibility includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Hawaii, Nevada and California and will be shared with Western Region VP’s Jim Santangelo (Local 848 in Covina, CA) and J. Allen Hobart (Joint Council 28 in Washington). Ironically, Rome has been flying all over the country in his role as Personal Assistant to Hoffa. Being “restricted” to the western portion of the country might be a welcomed relief for Rome—and for a few employers who won’t have to deal with him anymore!

Rome will also assume Mack’s position as President of Joint Council 7. As such, he’ll be charged with overseeing Teamster contracts, initiating and supporting organizing campaigns, representing Bay Area Teamsters politically, promoting the IBT through community relations and, when necessary, resolving jurisdictional and internal disputes for 70,000 Teamsters in 12 Northern California Locals.

Rome will continue to chair the National Costco Committee and the statewide liquor negotiations. He’ll also maintain his positions on the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, the Teamsters Benefit Trust (TBT) and the SIP-401(k) fund as he assumes additional Trustee positions on other IBT plans. Most importantly for those of us in Local 853, Rome will continue as our Secretary-Treasurer.

Needless to say, Rome’s plate is full. But if history tells us anything, Rome will just find a larger plate. For Local 853 members concerned that the affairs of the Local might suffer under Rome’s expanded workload, you can rest assured that we have not been forgotten. Local 853 officials, business agents and staff are well-qualified to carry on the affairs of the local in Rome’s absence. More significantly, Local 853 will benefit enormously from having Rome at the very top of the Teamsters hierarchy.

Well-deserved appointment

For the vast majority of us, Rome’s appointment to the GEB was long overdue. Throughout his 33-plus years as a Teamster leader, Rome has consistently provided Teamster members with the best contracts, the best health coverage, the best pensions and the best representation. As a result of Rome’s ability to produce, Local 853 has grown dramatically—through organizing and mergers—to become one of the premier locals in the country.

One element of Rome’s development as a Teamster leader that rarely appears on his resume is the influence of his father, Vince Aloise. Vince, who passed away in 2007, was a highly respected Teamster who built Local 315 and Joint Council 7 into Bay Area forces. No doubt Vince is looking down on all this with great pride.

One has to admit that “International Vice President Rome Aloise “ has a nice ring to it. Congratulations and good luck.