Daniel Varela

June 15, 1949 - October 11, 2017

Dan Varela lived life with passion. He loved his family deeply and is survived by his lifelong partner of 50 years, Penny, his five children, and nine grandchildren. He died of cancer in October.

Dan cared fiercely about his Teamster family—he worked tirelessly for 50 years with his union brothers and sisters. He started as a truck driver with Garrett Freightlines. He then served as a Business Agent for Local 70, Local 78 and Local 853. The union he loved gave his family so much—great health care, a meaningful pension, and an abiding belief in the power of collective action against the “powers that be.” Solidarity was his religion.

A life-long athlete, Dan played football at San Leandro High and Sonoma State. He was also a world-class powerlifter, holding numerous world records in amateur and professional categories. Dan cheered passionately for his beloved 49ers from an early age.

“I knew Dan for over 40 years, starting when we were drivers in Local 70, and throughout his career as a business agent,” says President Rome Aloise. “He had a reputation for being tough, straight-forward and fair. He loved people and wasn’t afraid to laugh in the face of a problem that he would ultimately correct.”

Local 853 President Dennis Hart feels the same way. “Back nearly 40 years ago, Danny drove a freight truck and I drove a UPS truck in San Francisco and we met for coffee every afternoon at Happy Donuts. He talked about how he was going to run for office and change the Teamsters. And he did.”

Hart and Varela worked together for 20 years, as Business Agents at Locals 78 and 853. Hart says that Dan always fought for the underdog and believed in collective action. “He always had faith in the union. He was a real Teamster and a true trade unionist.”

“Teamsters owe Dan’s family a debt of gratitude for the time he sacrificed for his members and we owe him thanks for his leadership, friendship, and loyalty. He will be missed,” Aloise adds

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