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Connections 2004: Remembering Aron Coates

Spring 2004


Aron Coates, a 40-year Teamster member, worked as an “over the road” driver at the San Francisco Chronicle. He was 60 years old when he died in March. Aron was one of the finest and most honorable people I have met in my 29 years as a Teamster official. I was particularly shocked and saddened to hear of Aron’s death given his recent decision to take the buyout and retire to enjoy his hard earned rest from the newspaper.

Aron was a true gentleman. As a member of our Union, he was honest, loyal, hardworking, and true to his word. He was always an advocate of his fellow workers, but in a fashion that gave him credibility when he spoke, and made what he said matter to those who listened.

During our most recent negotiations, Aron never let his own plans or interests interfere with his mission to obtain the best deal, and the most protection for his fellow Teamsters who would remain working at the paper. In fact, when asked why he continued to work through the transition period, he said, “I was an officer of the Union and a member of the negotiating committee. It’s important that I set a good example for those who remain.”

We have all lost one of the best of us. I trust that we will all honor his memory by remembering that our Union is for the good of the majority, and not for the benefit of individuals and what they can personally take from it. Aron set the example of what this means.

—Rome Aloise