Exciting plans as new term begins

Secretary-Treasurer's Report December 2007

I would like to thank the entire membership for the white ballot I received at the nominations meeting. I am truly humbled by this. Many of you know that I am a second generation union official. What you may not know is that my immigrant grandfather supported his family by shining shoes and doing whatever it took to keep food on the table. My father never forgot the abuse and humiliation his father went through and never let me forget it. Everyday, I want to make them both proud by ensuring that members of Local 853 have dignity at work and security to provide for their families.

As I said at the nominations meeting, workers cannot honor one of their brothers or sisters more than to choose them to lead them in their struggles for a decent living for themselves and their families.

This will be my 11th term of office, and I pledge to you that I will continue to work tirelessly to improve and protect what we all have as members of this great union. Thank you on behalf of all of the Board.

While democracy and divergent ideas make us strong and vibrant, consistency of leadership has served Local 853 well over the years, helping us grow and maintain economic viability. During this term, we will strive to mentor new leadership so as to assure the great legacy of Local 853.

We have numerous contracts to complete and more due to expire in 2008. Most significantly, we will either get a good agreement with Graniterock this year or we will take the necessary action to make sure that Graniterock does not undermine the rest of the ready-mix industry.

Another merger on the horizon

An exciting new merger is in the works, and I am hopeful that by our next newsletter, we will be able to announce the merger of Teamsters Local 78 into Local 853. This will bring our membership up to around 13,000, making us bigger, stronger, and better able to protect our members and improve their livelihoods.

This merger has been approved by both Locals' Executive Boards and awaits the approval of Local 78's members. Pending unforeseen circumstances, the merger will take effect on February 1, 2008.

Working for a new president

Our biggest challenge in the New Year will be the Presidential election in November of 2008.

In the past seven years, we have seen George Bush and his Republican cronies attempt to destroy the protections for working women and men that organized labor has sought for a century. Long-standing labor law precedents have been overturned on the thinnest of reasons; corporations have been given incentives to move good paying union jobs out of our country; and the work to administer unions has been made more complicated and expensive -- all in an effort to undermine our effectiveness. In short, another four years of a Republican administration could spell the end of unions and organized labor as we know it.

This is why it is vitally important for all of our members to participate in this election. We will actively and aggressively work to register 100% of our members to vote in November. We will actively and aggressively ask our members to participate in DRIVE, so that we can assist the campaigns of our chosen candidates. And, we will actively and aggressively work to get out the vote. Although we haven't selected a candidate to support during the primaries, all of the Democratic Party candidates have committed to support working people, while none of the Republican Party candidates have even given lip service to our core issues. Once the primary season is over, we will get behind one person and work diligently to get her or him elected.

Celebrating the year

In closing, we have come through another tough, exciting and productive year. Our Local continues to grow, become stronger and more successful. Our contracts continue to protect what we have, and improve the livelihood of our members and their families.

We have much to be thankful for. In the spirit of the season, please help those who are less fortunate, spend time with your loved ones, and take time to reflect on the value of our union.

Rome Aloise, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 853

Rome Aloise,

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