John T. Coli, who has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters since 1971 and served as President of Teamsters Joint Council 25 for more than 15 years, has announced plans to retire from the union on July 31.
Coli will retire this month after 46 years in the Teamsters. He has been an elected officer of Teamsters Local 727 since 1981, and has served as the Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer for more than 25 years. He has been a coordinator and officer of the Joint Council for more than 20 years and was elected to two terms as a Teamsters International Vice President.
“It is with tremendous reflection and a big heart that I announce my retirement from the Teamsters-the greatest union in the world of which I have been so proud to be a member every day of my life,” Coli said. “After more than 46 years of membership and service to my fellow Teamsters, it’s time to begin the next chapter. Above all, that includes spending time with my family, my loving wife of 35 years and my two beautiful grandkids. While I’m so looking forward to quiet nights at home and big family dinners, I will spend my days honored and forever grateful to this union, for its bedrock principles of equality and justice, and for the chance I had for nearly five decades to fight as hard as I could for Teamsters everywhere.”
Strzechowski Named New President
Following Coli’s announcement, the Joint Council 25 Executive Board selected Trustee Becky Strzechowski as the next President of the organization during its meeting on July 10.
Strzechowski will become the first woman in its 106-year history to serve as President of the regional body representing more than 100,000 Teamsters across 26 local unions in Illinois and northwest Indiana. She will become the Joint Council’s tenth President on August 1.
“It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be selected President of Joint Council 25 and to humbly and gratefully accept this duty to represent so many Teamsters,” Strzechowski said. “I have dedicated my life to this organization and to doing everything in my power to defend, protect and enrich the lives of our members. As President for almost two decades, John T. Coli transformed the Joint Council into a full-service support system and organizing machine for Teamster members and workers region-wide. I know I have enormous shoes to fill. I pledge to carry John’s torch and to keep the Joint Council unified, implement the strategic plan for the future he and the staff developed this year, and continue to advance the rights of our members in Illinois and Indiana.”
In 2014, Strzechowski became the first woman to ever serve on the Joint Council 25 Executive Board when she was named Trustee. She has been the President of Teamsters Local 700, representing more than 10,000 public employees in Illinois, since 2012. She previously served as Local 700 Secretary-Treasurer and was elected to a new five-year term as President in 2014.
Strzechowski has served the Teamsters Union for more than 30 years as a member, trustee, business manager, attorney and elected officer. She graduated at the top of her class from DePaul University, where she also earned her law degree after four years of night school while working for the union. Currently, she is the Director of the Teamsters Women’s Conference and Director of the Teamsters Human Rights and Diversity Commission. She served as a Teamsters Central Region International Vice President from 2012-2017.
“Becky Strzechowski will be an incomparable President for the members and local unions of Joint Council 25,” Coli said. “I have no doubt that with her leadership, the future of this historic and vital organization will burn brighter than it ever has. She cares deeply for our union and its membership, and I am confident she will work hard every day to make the Teamsters Union even stronger for the next generation.”