True blue union man.
Steward Guil Felix shares the values of membership.
Guil Felix has learned a lot about the grocery industry over the years.
The 24-year union veteran launched into his grocery career by walking into his Ralphs and putting in an application. It wasn’t long before he started working in the service deli, and within a year he was assigned to the meat department.
Felix realized he was on the right career track while discussing his benefits package with tenured co-workers at Ralphs 27 in Palm Desert.
“I found out that the benefits I earned as a meat apprentice were amazing, and those conversations right there made up my mind that I had found my career,” he said. “My health benefits are the most important thing to me in each contract.”
Since then, Guil has become a meat cutter and seen how the grocery industry can change in an instant.
“Back in 2003, at the start of the strike and lockouts, I was a strike captain on the picket lines,” he said.
“I saw how important contract negotiations were, and when we were out there on the picket lines standing our ground for a good contract, I learned the best thing I could do was to inform members about everything that was going on and keep people organized.”
Maintaining lines of communication was critical to ending the 141-day ordeal, he said. Now, as a steward, he educates new members about their dues, holiday pay and other benefits of being in the union.
“Solidarity is key to us getting good contracts, so I make sure to let all of the members in my store know about important developments with the union,” he said.
Married with benefits
In 2001, he met Mandy, then a new hire who was putting together a barbecue grill for a grand opening of another Ralphs store nearby.
“We struck up a conversation that soon turned into a friendship, and the rest is history,” Felix said. “We’ve been together now 20 years!”
Together, they have raised their three children: Kelsie, 31; Guil, 30; and Olivia, 29. Recently, they also took in their nephew, Mark, and niece, Jezzie.
“Mark has cerebral palsy, which requires him to get around in a wheelchair,” Felix said. “Mandy and I take care of both of them.”
Since the age of 20, Mandy has lived with lupus, a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.
“Mandy isn’t able to work anymore because of her condition, so having my health insurance is really important to us,” he said.
Despite the health struggles, Guil and Mandy enjoy the time they spend together as a family. They’re also sports fans who enjoy rooting for the Rams, Dodgers and Lakers.
Recently, Kelsie followed in Guil’s footsteps by joining Local 1167. She works in the meat department at Food 4 Less.