Photo of a gymnasium full of Local 853 members

Local 853's 2014 Membership Appreciation Celebration

By Terry Post

The 2014 Membership Appreciation Meeting marked the 18th straight year Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise and the rest of the Local’s staff have assembled the membership to offer their thanks for another year of support, hard work and loyalty. As always, it was a fantastic success.

“I love this meeting,” said one member, “it recharges me.”

For those of you who may not know about the annual gathering (or have never heard of union officials honoring their members), Local 853 holds the Membership Appreciation Meeting on the first Saturday of November at San Leandro’s John Muir Junior High School gymnasium. Like an annual migration, bleary-eyed members began showing up long before festivities began to meet with co-workers, rekindle friendships with old friends and consume gallons of coffee and copious amounts of donuts (maple, chocolate, sprinkled and glazed donuts, coffee and some slightly embellished tales are as much Teamster traditions as our blue satin jackets).

Photo of fruit table at the Membership Appreciation Meeting

This year, an alternative to this rather unhealthy diet was offered with lots of fresh fruit, compliments of The Fruit Guys. As anticipated, the popularity of apples, bananas and oranges fell a little short of the donuts being inhaled at an adjacent table.

Everybody who registered for this year’s gathering received a newly-designed long sleeve shirt which was guaranteed to get the attention of co-workers and employers when they flooded the workplace the following Monday. Commenting on the popularity of the shirts (and, possibly, the donuts), one staff member who wished to remain anonymous said, “the 2X’s were the first to go.”

Photo of Local 853 member receiving a flu shot

With the new shirt in hand, many members took advantage of a free flu shot, compliments of Local 853 and administered— professionally and painlessly—by Kaiser Hospital workers. “It’s amazing,” commented a member waiting in line for his shot, “how a little needle can humble a big, tough Teamster.”

Of course, for many of the attendees, the sugary donuts, idle chit-chat and painless flu shots were merely distractions from the highly anticipated raffle that always highlights the morning’s activities. Members who registered were eligible to win jackets, shirts, coffee makers, computer accessories, cameras and, of course, large screen TV’s. This year’s raffle was hampered slightly by new record keeping procedures that created a log jam up front as harried staff were required to record every gift and who won it. Nevertheless, the raffle was, as always, a huge success.

Photo of raffle winners

For many of the 800 attendees, the most important part of the Membership Appreciation Meeting was Local 853 Secretary-Treasurer Rome Aloise’s “State of the Union” message.

Photo of Rome Aloise

This year Rome spoke in a matter-of-fact way about the Local’s impressive growth over the past year, the need to join DRIVE (the Teamster political action committee) and the importance of voting in the November mid-term election. Rome concluded his remarks with a heartfelt comment about the membership. “You are my family,” Rome told the members as he gazed out over the packed house. The members rose to their feet in a thunderous standing ovation. They got it.

Photo of Local 853 members giving the union a standing ovation

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Connections Volume 13, Number 2

 

Local 853 Leads the Way

2014 Membership Appreciation

Debra Chaplan Honored

Sisters in Solidarity

CenterPlate Employees

Contract Talks