Homegrown Sandwich workers on strike in Renton

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Photo courtesy of Our Union Is Homegrown @OurUnionIsHG Twitter
Photo courtesy of Our Union Is Homegrown @OurUnionIsHG Twitter

Workers at the Homegrown Sandwich distribution center in Renton walked out on strike August 10. Their action represents a major escalation in a months-long struggle for recognition of the workers' union.

"Today the company is installing surveillance cameras in their vans rather than investing in fair wages and benefits," the workers said on Twitter.
The Homegrown company runs 10 walk-in cafés, including one on Capitol Hill's Melrose Avenue, as well as a catering operation and several lines of premade sandwiches sold in local cafés, grocery stores, and institutional caféterias.

On June 9, workers from Homegrown sandwich cafés and Homegrown's wholesale production and distribution facilities delivered a majority petition calling on Homegrown to agree to a fair and quick process to decide whether to form a union without threats or intimidation.

On June 13, Homegrown sent a communication only to the café workers, offering them a raise but refusing to acknowledge their request for a fair process to decide whether to form a union together with the workers who produce and distribute Homegrown's wholesale products.

Homegrown's wholesale products are marketed under the brand names Molly's, Tosti, Bolt, and Shine. Workers have picketed at several Homegrown locations, as well as reaching out to customers at cafés and groceries where the wholesale sandwiches are sold, asking customers not to buy any of the Homegrown products until the company respects the workers' decision to unionize.

Homegrown workers are organizing with UNITE HERE Local 8, a union that represents hotel and food service workers in Western Washington and Oregon.

Homegrown workers have received the support of Starbucks Workers United (another grassroots unionization drive), MLK Labor, the central labor body in King County, and many local political leaders.

King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove met with Homegrown workers August 1, joined via Zoom by Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda.

Seattle City Council member Andrew Lewis also tweeted his support on July 30.

"My district has 3 homegrowns, and we are going to make sure that those locations are centers of worker power, of organizing for a fair contract," Lewis wrote. "We're going to stand together and through solidarity we're going to win!"