Here's a quick timeline of events for the Tartine Union. On Thursday, February 6, the employees of Tartine presented their managers with a letter of intent to unionize. It was signed by roughly 141 people or about 2/3 of all of their Bay Area-based employees. Essentially, they were asking for a seat at the table—a chance to negotiate their wages, have a say in decision making, and know more about where money was going. Tartine has grown A TON in the last few years, and with so much aggressive growth, it can be hard to understand why your wages haven't gone up, or how shops across the globe keep opening, but your wages stay the same.
In response, that following Monday, so that's February 10th, Tartine declined to recognize the union. They call the way the union presented their letter as a "threat," they question the motives of the union, and they cite that there has been "bullying on the internet," tarnishing the reputation of Tartine.
We talked to two members of the Tartine Union the day after Tartine released their statement. Now the issue of unionizing goes to a vote—everyone who works at Tartine will vote via secret ballot, and as that happens, Tartine management can do things like hire "union experts," and the workers of Tartine can continue to rally—which has been happening and local politicians have joined their organizing efforts.
The reason I lay this all out is because there's a lot happening—and we're in the middle of it. There's a lot of push and pull in terms of who controls the narrative and what's actually happening. And as you listen to the folks I interview—Emily and Mason—I want you to think about the goals of a union, and why the leaders of Tartine might not want a union—and how that dictates their responses and the way they paint the narrative.