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Teamster Solidarity?
IBT853's Aloise Boycotts IBT-GCIU4 SF Chronicle Solidarity Rally
Merging No Guarantee of Solidarity In IBT

From a GCIU4-N Supporter

THE RECENT merger of GCIU pressmen throughout the US and Canada was supposed to mean more solidarity with the pressmen and the IBT. If the recent actions of IBT Local 853 Secretary Treasurer Rome A. Aloise is any example this is not to be.
On August 11, 2006 hundreds of SF Chronicle press workers and delegates from a North American press workers meeting picketed the SF Chronicle for trying to force a concessionary agreement down their throats. The Hearst owned Chronicle is seeking to imposed conditions that reduce manning and lead to major cuts in conditions and benefits.
Instead of joining the picket and helping to build Teamster support for the picket line IBT 853 Secretary Treasurer Rome A. Aloise sent a letters to Local 853 members on August 10, 2006 telling them he was confused about what was going on at the newspaper agency and could not make his feelings known about solidarity until a strike possibly takes place.
Aloise had supported an agreement with the Frank Vega, a Hearst Inc. installed union buster from Detroit that in return for getting an agreement the union would allow outsourcing of Teamster jobs in outer regions of the circulation area and also would cross picket lines of other unions at the SF Chronicle.
The ten year contract made major concessions to management and along with the new concession contract by the Newspaper Guild required that workers cross each other's picket lines.
The membership of pressmen IBT-GCIU Local 4N however were unwilling to sign a similar contract that would lead directly to less manning and more injuries and deaths for their members.
The August 11, 2006 rally by Chronicle pressmen, machinists was also joined by the many from the SF labor movement including the leaders of the San Francisco Labor Council and the Building and Construction Trades Council.
Notably absent were any representatives from the leadership of the Northern California Teamsters although they had been invited.
Behind this conscious snub was the embarrassment of a deal with the devil. Vega had successfully brought on board the leaders of the Teamsters and the CWA-Newspaper Guild into accepting a contract that required scabbing on fellow unionists.
To now say that they would stand in solidarity with fellow pressmen and machinists would mean breaking their deal with Vega and a war at the paper.
As a result of this deal, Vega was confident that he could go ahead and ram through the same concession deals with the machinists and pressmen. So far he has been unsuccessful but the threat in implement a concession contract without agreement with the pressmen is bringing the struggle to a boiling point at the San Francisco Chronicle and also exposing the sweet heart deals that some have made with the union buster from Detroit.

Letter Of IBT Secretary-Treasurer To Chronicle IBT853 Membership

IBT Local 853
2100 Merced St. Suite R
San Leandro, CA 94577


August 10, 2006

Dear Local 853 San Francisco Chronicle Member:

We have had a number of questions concerning the status of Web Pressmen Local 4N contract and threat to strike over the Chronicle's threat to implement their last best, and final offer. Please read this letter carefully as your job may depend on it. Currently, and into the foreseeable future, the Pressmen have not received strike sanction from the International Union or Joint Council #7, so they are not authorized to strike.

If and when their request for strike sanction is granted, our agreement with the Chronicle requires certain provisions to be met, if we are to respect a picket line and certain restrictions, that are to be met in the event another union at the paper strike, and we decide to honor their line. In the event a strike becomes imminent we will convene a meeting to discuss these provisions, and to make a choice on what to do as a group. This may require a meeting without a lot of notice, so be ready to attend when, and where it is called, as the future of your job, and our contract may depend on it.

Generally speaking, it is the policy of Local 853 to support and respect picket lines everywhere at anytime. However in my mind, this does not mean blind support of every situation, which in this case, will not only certainly jeopardize the jobs and future employment of the Pressmen, but will jeopardize your jobs, and the jobs of everyone else that works for the paper.

As you are will aware, you made a number of very significant sacrifices in order to obtain the agreement we now have in place. These sacrifices were not only agreed to in order to do our part in making sure that the Chronic remained viable, but also to insure your job security, your wages, benefits, and pensions. We made hard decisions, and we have lived by those decisions.

You will ultimately make the choice on what to do if a strike situation occurs. I will make my feelings know, informing you as whether or not this situation deserves your support based on how responsible I think both the Pressmen and the Chronicle has acted during their chance, for the last two years, to get done what we did. Then you will decide.

We will keep you posted.


Rome A Aloise
IBT Local 853

Cc Phil Tarantino
     Steve Zucker

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