Connections 2004: Remembering Aron Coates
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.