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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, Assistant Research Professor, Executive Editor
Jay Richards, Ph.D., O.P., is an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, Executive Editor of The Stream and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute where he works with the Center on Wealth, Poverty and Morality. In addition to writing many academic articles, books, and popular essays on a wide variety of subjects, he edited the award winning anthology God & Evolution and co-authored The Privileged Planet.  His most recent book is The Human Advantage. Richards has a Ph.D., with honors, in philosophy and theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, an M.Div., a Th.M., and a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Religion. He lives with his family in the Washington DC Metro area.