Javier Ybarra of Albertsons #6163, has been in the industry for 26 years. Ybarra started as a Courtesy Clerk, went straight to night crew and is now a Food Clerk in Frozen Foods.
Ybarra became a Union Steward after the 2003/2004 Strike-Lockout. He has since worked on the Fresh n’ Easy campaign and is currently working hard with the Walmart campaign.
“I volunteered a lot, and my rep (then Jeri Hander) had asked me if I would like to be a back up steward for the store. After I moved to 6163 Dan Kittredge made me the primary steward here.”
Ybarra’s hobbies include fishing and taking the Labor Studies courses offered by Local 324. He recently got an Associates Certificate in Labor Studies from LA Trade Tech.
When asked what inspired him to get more involved he said, “When i was 18-19 I had already formed my views on Labor. My dad was a union man and I saw him go through strikes and began to know what that meant. After going through our own battle, it made it so that all the things I believed I could act on now. I got more involved and started volunteering a lot.”
Q: How would your life be different if you were not a union member?
A: “The overall quality of my life would be different. I don’t think I would have been able to provide for my family the way that I have.”
Q: What in your life are you most proud of?
A: “I guess I would say some life changing moments. During the strike there were a lot of moments that made me proud. There was a certain magic that strengthened my faith in my co-workers, my union, and people in general. It was a hard time, but it helped firm up my position in Labor.”
Q: If you could make a single change in the workplace what would it be?
A: “I would want to bring back all of my laid off union brothers and sisters here at Albertsons.”
Q: What is it you like most about your job?
A: “Helping customers and the company of my co-workers.”
Q: Did you know that President Conger was talking about you during the Steward of the Year speech?
A: “I really didn’t know at first. It wasn’t until he started talking about me working with the Walmart Campaign full time that I really knew.”
Q: How does it feel winning the Matt Jefferson Steward of the Year Award?
A: “I always said, ‘That stuff isn’t important.’ but to actually be chosen is a big deal. I am humbled, and I feel privileged to be awarded and am happy to be singled out even though I know there are a lot of union brothers and sisters who are out there doing the same work. I was pretty choked up in the moment, I had no idea what to say. I was hammered for a moment.”
Want to see more, but don’t want to wait until next week? Check out our previous Member of the Week honorees in the Archive.