Boxer & Gerson recently lost a dear friend, about whom we would like to say a few words. Lou Marchetti was a longtime member of Teamsters Local 70, as was his father before him. He was a union man, through and through.
Lou passed away on May 27. His loss has reverberated throughout the Bay Area’s union movement, and also among those who knew him simply as Lou, a trusted and loyal friend, neighbor, and family member.
Lou joined the Teamsters at age 18 and went on from his early working days to become the business agent and political coordinator for Local 70, a post he more recently shared with Rich Fierro. Everyone who came into his orbit knew him as a tireless advocate for his members, a master organizer, and a relentless contract negotiator. He was long responsible for the members at Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Seven-Up, Young’s Market, Iron Mountain, Xpedx Paper and other employers. Local 70 President Marty Frates would often pull Lou in to assist in negotiations on other contracts as well.
No one wanted to face Lou across a table. Not only was he highly intelligent, politically savvy and engaged, but he was also acutely aware of the continuing assault on working people and the labor movement. If you needed someone in your corner to push back and then some, it was Lou Marchetti—and everyone knew it.
Back in January, 2012, the Local 70 newspaper ran a story with the headline, “Local 70 Occupies Oakland.” When a reporter asked him what the Teamsters were doing at the Occupy march, Lou’s response was that of a classic union man, working for the same ideals that had guided his entire professional life: “Local 70 has been around for more than a hundred years, and our goal has always been to help workers and their families attain economic justice. We fight corporate greed through organizing, collective bargaining, and the political power our members bring to the table.”
In his last “Political Action Report” for the Teamsters paper, when discussing the anti-labor stance of the Trump administration, Lou sounded the hopeful note of an organizer always looking to the future while making no bones about the struggle that has always faced the union movement. “Working people are still the backbone of our country, and we will survive,” he wrote. “We have beaten back attacks in the past and are still here fighting.”
Amen Lou, amen.