Desert Edge Magazine

Gerald Harris has worked 30 years in the only business he’s ever known

Local 1167 member Gerald Harris is a lifer in the grocery business, and he’s enjoying himself along the way. Harris is approaching 30 years with Food 4 Less. Prior to joining the company, his only previous job was bagging groceries at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, where his father served as an aircraft mechanic. “The grocery business has been the only thing I’ve ever known,” he said.

Gaining experience
When Harris started with Food 4 Less in Moreno Valley, the company had one other location, in San Bernardino. Since that time, he has enjoyed watching the company grow and appreciates his union’s role in giving him peace of mind as he grew his family. “There has been a lot of hard work and prayer along the way, but the union has been great,” he said. “It provides the stability I need and allows me to have essential time to spend with my family.”

Harris and his wife, Cyndy, have been married 23 years and they have three daughters: Arynn, Aleyna and Ariah, as well as a son Gerald, Jr. Ariah is interested in art, while the other children enjoy sports, from baseball to softball and basketball. The couple also recently became grandparents.
“When the kids were growing up, the health insurance was the biggest deal,” he said. “It outweighs everything else.” Harris has been a steward at his store for the past five years, helping point his coworkers in the right direction when they have concerns or questions at work.
“I wanted to give more,” he said of his decision to become a steward. “I wanted to give my fellow members knowledge about the union contract and how to work with our company.” His knowledge obtained through experience and his performance as a steward led to his recent appointment to the Local 1167 Executive Board, where he helps guide the course of the union. “I’m so proud to be on the board and I look forward to serving,” he said. “I’ve learned about how the union operates and how much more to the union there is besides our contract.”
He lists maintaining job security for members as his top priority in his new position.
“The union is here to protect jobs,” he added, “and to ensure members receive raises and that our rights are protected.”
“The union and membership have challenges ahead — to maintain our health care and get pay raises,” he said.
“It seems like companies are trying to cut back at all costs at the expense of the workers.
“I’m thankful we have the union to fight for us and negotiate what is fair.”
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