Featured Steward Featured Steward


UFCW’s Western States Council recognizes Local 1167 members

Two Local 1167 stewards were saluted as Members of the Year at an event sponsored by the UFCW’s Western States Council on May 1.

Alma Espinoza, a 31-year member employed as a cashier at Food 4 Less, and Sharon Whittle, a 29-year veteran who works as a produce manager at Stater Bros., were recognized for their hard work and devotion to others.

They were introduced by President Joe Duffle, who praised both honorees for transcending personal obstacles to become champions of their friends, family members and co-workers.

Duffle noted that Espinoza, who lost both of her legs in an automobile accident 21 years ago, “could have sat at home and collected disability for the rest of her life, but she chose not to. She returned to work, continued to be a productive member of her community, and provided a positive example for her kids and grandkids.

“Beyond that, Alma stepped up in her role her union and became a steward five years ago, helping our members at her store to the best of her ability in whatever way she can. Currently, she sits on the Advisory Committee in our negotiations with Food 4 Less.”

Duffle also praised Whittle, who overcame severe poverty and personal tragedies to become an inspiring leader at her workplace.

Her mother had a stroke and is in hospice, while her brother lost his wife to COVID. Whittle has been helping take care of her brother’s special-needs kids and has been working six days a week. Nevertheless, she was able to finish college with three AA degrees in business administration with honors, and hopes to send her children to college.

“During the Southern California supermarket strike and lockouts of 2003-04, Sharon took her children to picket lines in front of stores involved in the 141-day labor dispute,” President Duffle said.