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Wealth & Poverty Review Borracchini’s Bakery: What the Left Will Do to Business If We Let Them


Pastries.jpgBorracchini’s Bakery is a historic family-owned business in the Rainier Beach neighborhood in Seattle. As you might have guessed, it’s an Italian bakery. They offer everything from canolis and donuts to pies and wedding cakes. (I love the apple fritters.) Borracchini’s has survived the peaks and valleys of the Seattle economy since 1922.
It is now the target of a hostile leftist campaign.
Eighty two year old Remo Borracchini, the son of the bakery’s founder, has been working in his family business since he was five. Some of his employees have worked for the bakery for decades. Mr. Borracchini thinks of his employees as part of the family. Unfortunately, almost every business will have a bad employee at some point. One nine year employee named Gladys was persistently rude to customers, who complained repeatedly to her employer. Although the managers talked to this employee about her problem, she never improved and they finally had to let her go.
She could have used this as a learning experience and worked to improve her interpersonal skills. Instead, she hooked up with a socialist outfit called “Seattle Solidarity Network,” which I won’t bother describing.
On a Saturday a few weeks back, 52 people “occupied” the premises, making it impossible for customers to check out. They even made a terrible video of the incident.
They’re threatening to continue inflicting this direct action until Borracchini’s pays Gladys $8,000 in “unpaid break time.” She claims she never took breaks during her time there. One little problem: Borracchini’s produced a videotape showing Gladys taking a seventeen minute break during work hours last July.
Of course, Gladys’s lack of break time was merely the pretense for the Seattle Solidarity Network. We know this because they haven’t called off the operation. They’re planning a protest outside the bakery tomorrow, April 7th–Holy Saturday–just when Borracchini’s is busy making pies and cakes for Easter.
Americans are free to avoid or even boycott establishments we oppose. “Occupying” a private business in this way, however, is entirely different. It is an act of physical coercion and intimidation–low-level violence–not peaceful protest. Moreover, by attacking a small, family-owned bakery, Seattle Solidarity Network has exposed the myth that they’re just standing up for the little guy against those evil multinational corporations.
If leftists can succeed in intimidating a small, locally-owned family business, they will only grow bolder. If, however, you despise these tactics, as I do, the best way to protest is to do lots of business with Borracchini’s Bakery. The Richards family has just ordered two coconut cream pies for Easter and plan to pick up some donuts tomorrow. It’s nice when free exchange can double as an act of solidarity.
Listen to Seattle radio host Dori Monson’s interview with Remo Borrachini here.

Jay W. Richards

Senior Fellow at Discovery, Senior Research Fellow at Heritage Foundation
Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, and the Executive Editor of The Stream. Richards is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Infiltrated (2013) and Indivisible (2012); The Human Advantage; Money, Greed, and God, winner of a 2010 Templeton Enterprise Award; The Hobbit Party with Jonathan Witt; and Eat, Fast, Feast. His most recent book, with Douglas Axe and William Briggs, is The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic Into a Catastrophe.