In 1956 a 16 year old Robert Livingston took his first job making $1.05 an hour, working to build and prepare for the opening of a First National Store in Tarrytown, New York. The 72 year old Livingston says he didn’t foresee it becoming the first steps toward a 56 year career as a Local 1500 union member. He went to work with the same hard working attitude each day for 56 years, only working out of two stores, one of which was for only a few weeks. Aside from that short stint he’s worked out of the recently shuttered Stop & Shop in Tarrytown for nearly 56 years.
As a Part-Timer for 46 years, Livingston not only outlasted countless bosses and managers, but four store banners: First National, FINAST, Edwards and Stop & Shop. He worked every job in the grocery store except for Produce and the Meat Department, finishing his career in the Dairy Department and as a Backup Receiver. “Back when it was First National and FINAST, we didn’t have all this technolo- gy, everything was on a smaller scale,” Livingston explained, “I think it was easier, I liked it, but just like anything new, you’re scared when you first start with technology like a computer, then you get used to it and you say, how did I ever live without it?”
Livingston explained during all his years, enduring all the company and management changes working over half a century entails, he rarely had problems with management and coworkers. “I never had any issues of being suspended or fired. I never really had issues like that. I Just always had a feeling of security, I always felt secure knowing that the union was always there to back me. I was never really in a dispute with the company, but I just felt safe with the union backing me, knowing if I ever did have a problem I could always go to them. That’s a great feeling.”
In 1987 Livingston was forced to leave his job at Edwards tem- porarily for a medical issue, he explained “I was out of work for about a year, but I kept my union dues up and when I was feeling better about a year later I got my job right back in 1988 with no issues. Since then it’s been solid working. That’s another great benefit belonging to the union provided.”
Livingston retired this past March, after the Stop & Shop in Tarrytown closed in order to relocate to a larger store nearby. Stop & Shop threw Richard a retirement party in March thanking him for his 56 years of service, where former coworkers and colleagues attended, including former Regional President of Stop & Shop, and current SVP of Operational Initiatives at Ahold, Ron Onorato. Livingston has been enjoying his retirement and his free time, “I’ve been getting things done around the house, stuff that I’ve put off for a while, I took a week to visit my daughter in Ohio, it’s been great. When I do get caught up with my housework, I’m probably going to volunteer somewhere, I don’t want to become a couch potato, I probably could have kept working, but just figured it is time. I decided when they announced they were going to close the store that, I opened the store and I closed the store, I figured...this is a good time to get out, I was there when they built it and I was there when they closed it.”
Richard is a proud husband, married for over 53 years, has seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Congratulations on your retirement, Richard, and thank you for 56 proud years!
Prior Member Spotlights:
UFCW Local 1500 Member Spotlight: Barbara Balos, Pathmark
UFCW Local 1500 Member Spotlight: Peter Hoffman, Stop & Shop
UFCW Local 1500 Member Spotlight: Jimmy Wong, Pathmark
UFCW Local 1500 Member Spotlight: James 'Hutch' Hutcherson, Pick Quick