Our Union Mourns the Passing of Bobby Shelven, UFCW 770 Executive Board Member
Robert “Bobby” Shelven was a loving man. He loved his family and his Union. He worked at Ralphs for 20 years and became a Local 770 member in 1978. He was a Union member for 43 years and he served as Vice President of 770’s Executive Board from July 2013 until his passing on Sept.28, 2021.
Bobby was from Toledo, Ohio. He always stood out from the crowd. He was a pretty energetic man and had a contagious smile. His big heart touched anybody who had the fortune to work or interact with him. One of the things Bobby was proud of was being a union member and serving his community as a frontline worker during the pandemic. He was a meat manager at a Ralphs store in Woodland Hills when he passed away.
Shelven started as a courtesy clerk at Safeway.Then he went onto Alpha Beta supermarkets, where he followed his meat apprenticeship. Then he went to Vons, and to Ralphs afterwards.
Bobby was very certain about the role of the workers as Union members. “It’s not what the Union can do for us, it’s what we can do to make our Union stronger.” He was at every action that the union called for.
Bobby used to say, “All comes from the heart. It is what you believe in and how willing you are to achieve it. The members are the union so we have to fight for what we believe in; the company is not going to give you anything. You are going to have to fight to get what we want.”
To his fellow union members, Bobby was a brother. And they were his family.
Particularly, Bobby admired Cheryl Butler because as a Union Rep. she fought for everyone, not just for Black workers.
And Bobby himself preached by example. He always encouraged his coworkers to do better.
As a working person, Bobby Shelven knew that he needed to fight for his rights. As a Black man, he also knew he needed to fight even harder. When he became a meat manager at his store, he faced push back from people who questioned whether he was capable of running that position.
Despite the adversities, Bobby had an attitude of resilience. He used to advise his son Ryan to not let anybody put him down. Bobby never doubted his own potential and he tried to think positive all the time.
“I always try to project my positivity to other people, especially when someone is less fortunate than myself. I’m not saying I’m way up there over the top, but I always want to treat everyone on the same level as an equal.”
As a frontline worker, Bobby shared that he was very proud of serving his community during Covid. Bobby’s wishes were that everyone could get back to a normal life after Covid.
Bobby Shelven was 60 years old and is survived by his wife Marta, his son Ryan and his 770 fellow union members.
Bobby will be greatly missed. Bobby Shelven Presente!