Golden days ahead Tracey Gibson caps off a 43-year grocery career with Vons
Tracey Gibson’s 43-year career with Vons began unofficially with some Easter egg painting.
She used to volunteer painting names on chocolate eggs at her local Vons store. When her sister, who worked at the store, got married and moved out of the country, Gibson inquired about the open position.
“Back in 1977, you had to know someone in order to get a job in the grocery industry,” Gibson said. “So, I essentially replaced my sister at the store.”
Her job with Vons proved indispensable over the years. Her hours were consistent and her health and welfare benefits enabled her husband to remain self-employed while enjoying her health benefits.
Gibson has worked in every department in her store, Vons 2818 in Corona, but she’s mainly a food clerk and cashier. And, six years ago, she became a shop steward after her union rep nominated her.
Help with college
Gibson’s daughter, Erica, also became a Local 1167 member and worked at a Starbucks inside Vons while she was in college.
“Erica loved the hours because they were flexible and she could take care of her school duties,” Gibson said. “Then, when the strike and lockouts of 2003 and 2004 happened, she concentrated on school and took a break from work.”
Although Erica returned to Vons for a short stint at the service deli, she would eventually graduate from college with help from the union’s scholarship program.
“Erica’s a successful speech pathologist now,” Gibson said.
“When I see younger members at the store, I tell them about the scholarship programs because they don’t know how lucky they are to get these benefits.”
Calling it a career
Gibson will call it a career in September.
“I’ve had six foot surgeries that have kept me out of my job for months at a time, so I’m looking forward to not standing so much,” she said. “I’m grateful that because of the union I hardly had any out-of-pocket expenses for those surgeries and my job was waiting for me while I healed.”
Another reason to retire is she is
financially able to do so. Her husband passed away in 2012 and she yearns for more family time with her grandson.
“I want to be a bigger part of my grandson’s life and maybe do a little bit of traveling,” Gibson said.
“I’m really looking forward to not having to set my alarm for 5 a.m. anymore!”