Guadalupe “Lupita” Amador is lively and jovial for being a near-Sexagenarian. The hard-working woman has worked at the South Central store in her neighborhood on Gage Avenue for an entire decade. When she’s not at work, she can be found with her sister and nephews spending quality time, walking them to school.
After years of being a stay at home mother in Mexico, Guadalupe left with her children seeking a better life in Los Angeles. She worked once for an egg processing factory. She giggles when recounting befriending County Supervisor Gloria Molina during a former stint being a janitor at the Downtown Courthouse. Thanks to a job training center, she landed in the Bakery Department at El Super.
El Super seemed like an ideal place for Lupita due to her lack of a high school diploma and language barrier. She could use her cultural and linguistic background as an advantage in a store that served her community. Yet her workplace wasn’t safe–or sanitary.
Firstly, Lupita and all of her coworkers don’t receive paid sick time off—the company not only refuses to provide paid sick time. Secondly, El Super also frequently insists on its sick workers showing up to work and forgoing unpaid time to rest—even if it puts their customers and other workers at risk. She once was required to attend and handle breads and pastries with a severe nasal infection that swelled up her entire face. Through other recounting of workplace disease and contagion, Lupita has seen rampant cases of flu swarm her entire department when other ill colleagues arrived. This is extremely problematic with her colleagues who are cashiers and butchers as these are busy positions that interface more with the public but also tend to be the most understaffed.
As a result, Lupita got more involved in the fight to better workplace conditions for herself and her colleagues. She is one of the newly activated leaders urging for a healthier workplace in her union contract negotiations.