During contract negotiations and subsequent leafletting and then boycotting a few months ago, Armando Palomo spent his time as a steward keeping the workers in his store updated on all that was going on.
Armando has worked at the Escondido store for 12 years, but has worked for Food 4 Less for 22 and-a-half years.
He currently works the night shift and so it’s hard for him to talk to all of his co-workers, but he talks to the workers who get there before 10 a.m., he said. Right now he’s running the dairy department, on the night crew as a Warehouse clerk.
He has worked the night shift for the last five years. Before that he worked in receiving for 15 years. He wanted to change departments in the grocery store so he could go to school and get his bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Armando is waiting for his last daughter to finish high school before he changes careers or retires from Food 4 Less.
“She’s a junior so we have about a year-and-a-half.”
Armando is married to Maria and has seven daughters in his blended family. His daughters are Bethanie, Diana, Arianna, Mireya, Alyssa, Audrie, and Felicia. His family lives in San Marcos, but he was born and raised in Escondido.
As a steward, he says, people go to him with their problems and helps to work with them to help. He tries to get new people involved in the union by educating them about the union.
It is important to Armando that the workers understand why the union is important.
“They approach me and ask questions, I try to answer their questions and I encourage them and I try to help them avoid getting disciplined.”
“Why is the union important to me?” he said. “My dad was in the laborers union and that’s how I knew it was important. My kids have all had great medical care.
“I had a good life growing up because of that and now my kids do too. I’ve had a great life being a union member.”
Armando started his grocery career in March or April in 1989 when Advantage Markets opened up. There were three of them, then Lucky bought them out and then Albertson’s bought them out. “I was with them from June of 1995, then later I started with Food 4 Less.”
In his time off, Armando likes to watch a lot of sports and combines his love of travel with sports.
“I like to do a lot of traveling, London, Paris and Barcelona and our next trip in March of next year is Japan.”
In October, he stayed at an Air B&B in Barcelona. “The hostess told us not to go into town because that’s when they hold political rallies. Today I heard they agreed to be separated from Spain. We went to the Barcelona soccer club. Most of our girls played soccer except the two older ones.
“In London, we went to see the Miami Dolphin game against the Saints. It wasn’t a good game. The Dolphins lost 20 to zero.”
He mostly likes the Padres for Baseball. But with the World Series last month, he was rooting for the Houston Astros.
“I have a lot of cousins in LA so I go the opposite way – Houston.”