Connections 2004: Local 853 Stewards
Learn New Techniques
Stewards bring more than 1,500 years of Teamster experience
to training seminar
for pictures of the seminar
If you’ve ever been a shop steward, you know
how much work you put into that volunteer position.
You’re on the front line representing your co-workers
to management, usually well before a union rep gets
involved. The boss thinks you’re a pain in the
neck and your co-workers often feel that you’re
not doing enough.
So if there’s no fame or fortune coming their
way, why do people volunteer to become stewards? It’s
unanimous—people become stewards because they
believe in the union and want to be in a position to
help their co-workers.
And Local 853 believes in our shop stewards. That’s
why the union sponsored an all-day seminar for our stewards.
“We always say that our stewards are the backbone
of the union, and that’s absolutely true,”
said Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise. “Our goals
for the seminar were to show some appreciation, give
updates about the elections, workers’ comp reform
and labor law, and mostly, to teach them how to be as
effective as possible representing the members and the
With those goals in mind, more than 120 stewards from
80 different companies attended the annual steward seminar
on July 10 at Local 853’s San Leandro union hall.
For attending, stewards received leather Local 853 brief
cases, along with a Local 853 polo shirt and other items
assist them in their duties. All those goals were accomplished
and more. “Our members spent a beautiful summer
Saturday working on issues,” said Aloise, “but
I’m hopeful they got a lot out of it.”
International Vice President, Chuck Mack told the stewards
that Local 853 is one of the more aggressive and progressive
Local Unions in the country. He complimented the officers
and officials on efforts to register new voters—with
more than 80% of members registered, Local 853 ranks
among the top in the nation of members who are eligible
Mack went on to discuss the urge for labor to replace
President Bush with John Kerry. He explained the importance
of Proposition 72 and of making sure Barbara Boxer is
retained as our Senator.
Stewart Boxer, one of Local 853’s workers' compensation
attorneys, explained changes in the law covering work
related illnesses and injuries to workers. The new law,
passed in March, was viewed by legislators as the best
compromise they could get. Governor Schwarzenegger was
backing a much more anti-worker bill for the November
ballot unless the new law was passed when it was.
But compromises aside, Boxer cautioned that the changes
are “a disaster” for workers and will result
in more misery in attempting to resolve claims. Many
of the stewards asked questions so that they would have
the right answers for their corkers.
Boxer’s key recommendations are:
1) No matter how minor you think your injury is, you
must report it.
2) Pre-designate a doctor. (A form was included in
the July/August issue of the Northern California
Learning about today’s
Are you a Baby Boomer, GenXer, NetGener? As the boomers
in the workforce move toward retirement, the younger
workers coming up behind them have differing expectations
about work, unions and management, and require stewards
to use different approaches.
Mary Hardiman, Director of the International’s
Education Department, traveled from Washington D.C.
to teach stewards about working with today’s "new"
workforce. She gave many statistics on how the demographics
of the workforce and Teamster membership has changed
over the years. Hardiman described different approaches
for old and new members, members who speak English as
a second language, and members from different cultures.
A full Italian lunch was created by Chef Bhupinder,
the former chef to the Italian Embassy, who is now at
La Bella Italia Restaurant in San Leandro. Everyone
raved about the meal, and most stewards returned for
After lunch, Barbara Luna, supervising field representative
for the National Labor Relations Board, spoke about
how to deal with her agency effectively. She explained
how workers and Union members could use the NLRB to
their advantage and the various in’s and out’s
of dealing with the Board. She took questions from a
number of stewards about concerns they have in their
respective work places.
“Local 853 could not operate effectively without
you,” Aloise reminded the stewards as the seminar
closed. “Your dedication
and commitment to your fellow workers is the cornerstone
of our Union.”
Everyone left more prepared for the upcoming election,
better educated, and of course, well fed!
Click here for pictures
of the seminar