The Graduate Berkeley Hotel ended its contract with Tartine Bakery, closing the doors underneath the yellow and white-striped awning that drew community members to enjoy the bakery’s in-house pastries and bread for the past seven months.
Tartine opened its Berkeley location on Durant Avenue at the Graduate Berkeley Hotel in September 2019, adding to its locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea.
According to a Tartine Union Instagram post from Friday, the union received a letter from Tartine’s attorneys stating the location’s permanent closure, citing business decline and COVID-19. The Graduate Berkeley Hotel declined to comment on the closure.
The union has also been organizing union efforts across Tartine’s Bay Area locations for the past few months.
“We fought hard for our union because we knew what kind of impact service workers standing up could do for not just us but, for workers everywhere,” the Tartine Union Instagram post reads.
On March 12, Tartine Berkeley employees voted to join the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, or ILWU. According to a March 13 press release from the ILWU, employees voted unanimously 18-0 to unionize. Three San Francisco locations also passed votes to unionize.
According to Matthew Torres, a former Tartine barista and organizer with the union, Tartine employees are currently working on recall rights, which would allow for former employees to be rehired. Due to the permanent closure of the Berkeley location, employees would be relocated to San Francisco locations.
“When yesterday’s San Francisco vote tally indicated union supporters were leading, Tartine management suddenly ordered the Berkeley bakery to close on election day, and told employees they would not be paid,” the ILWU press release alleges.
According to Tartine’s website, the Berkeley location was initially temporarily closed due to COVID-19 during the enactment of the shelter-in-place order. As of press time, Tartine could not be reached to comment on the permanent closure.