A Helping Hand
Before his store, Stater Bros. 97 in Hesperia, had an official steward, Edwin McCarty was dispensing knowledge about the contract and helping his co-workers with their concerns.
“The most satisfying thing about being a steward is giving people the answers they need,” said McCarty, who now serves in an official capacity.
“Members aren’t usually going online to read their contract—they’re coming to me.”
McCarty’s helpful nature is complemented by his comprehensive knowledge about the contract. He’s been his store’s go-to person for most of his 27 years there.
McCarty started his career at Stater Bros. in 1995 as a courtesy clerk. He was studying sports medicine when he realized he could make more money in a grocery career than with his college degree. His health benefits would be better, too.
“Union health benefits are huge to our family,” he said. “Our son, Ethan, had spinal meningitis back in 2000 and instead of paying a $100,000 hospital bill, we only paid $100 out of pocket.”
Union ties run deep
McCarty’s devotion to the union extends to his kids. All three of them — Ethan, Evan and Kaela — have been Local 1167 members at one point or another.
“Ethan and Evan both continue to work at Stater Bros., and my brothers are in the iron workers union,” McCarty said. “My dad used to belong to a construction union, so union ties run deep in our family.”
Despite the pandemic, McCarty boasts of his continuing 27-year streak of not missing a day of work due to illness.
“I’ve stayed healthy by washing my hands and following the basic guidelines to keep myself safe,” he said. “Doing the small things goes a long way.”
When he isn’t spending time with his grandkids or playing poker with his buddies, McCarty joins Brazilian jiu jitsu and kickboxing classes through Zoom.
“I’m lucky my dojo does these classes virtually because they keep me busy!” he said.