Outside of the Tartine Manufactory in the heat of Super Tuesday, hopeful Tartine union organizers gathered with local candidates, encouraging voters to cast ballots for those who support unions.
“I know everyone here is going to vote, because whoever we vote in office will determine whether or not it’s easier to form a union,” District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronen said at the rally. “And we know that workers for the most part have very little to no say in their workplace without a union.”
Employees of the popular bread bakery announced their plan to unionize on Feb. 6, but Tartine management has so far refused to recognize their union. Workers say they want a living wage. Tashia Govan, a former employee , says many Tartine workers only make $30,000 a year, a salary which isn’t sustainable for living in San Francisco.
“What the hell are they doing?” District Five Supervisor Dean Preston said of Tartine management. Preston isn’t running, but showed his support for the unionizers at the rally along with fellow supervisor Ronen, who is running for a seat on the Democratic Party County Central Committee in Assembly District 17.
Joining the committee race is Chris Christensen, who also spoke at the rally in support of Tartine union organizers. Christensen has worked with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union for 17 years.
“The union treats its workers like family,” Christensen said. “We’re excited and ecstatic for the 215 of you to join our ILWU family. We will march, and rally, and break bread together as that family.”
Shahid Buttar, a congressional candidate challenging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the 12th district, kicked off his rally speech with a chant: “Say it loud, say it proud. San Francisco is a union town.”
“I’m a customer of Tartine,” Buttar said. “And I would like to see businesses I frequent respect their workers.”
The rally didn’t just coincide with Super Tuesday. Tartine Manufactory was closed down Tuesday for “mandatory anti-union meetings,” according to Emily Haddad, a barista at the Manufactory. Haddad says that even though workers would be paid their normally hourly wages for a full day of work, they would not be compensated for the tips they’d lose as a result of closing.
“Our income comes from tips,” Haddad said.
“We would much rather be there serving pastries, serving coffee, serving breakfast and lunch to our community, making tips,” Haddad said.
SF Weekly has reached out to Tartine for comment.
Grace Li covers arts, culture, and food for SF Weekly. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.