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50 Years of Union Baking at Famed San Francisco Bakery

Union member and co-owner Sergio Flores has been a baker at Dianda's for more than 30 years. BCTGM photo

"Dianda's Bakery Celebrates 50 Years of Honored Traditions" is a cross-post from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM).

Union bakers at San Francisco’s famous Dianda’s Italian American Pastry Co. have been creating some of the city’s most loved cakes and pastries since the Mission District bakery opened its doors in 1962. What is the secret to their long success? Happy workers, time-honored recipes and loyal customers.

This well-loved neighborhood bakery is renowned for its immense and beautiful St. Honore cakes, panettone, tres leche cakes, elaborate wedding cakes, almond torte, as well as more than 20 different Italian pastries and 35 different kinds of cookies. All of the bakery’s products are handmade by BCTGM Local 24 (San Francisco) members, using recipes passed down from generations of bakers.

The Italian Dianda family sold the bakery in 2003 to three longtime Local 24 Dianda’s bakers, Sergio Flores, Luis Pena and Floyd Goldburg. The three bakers kept the same employees, the same routines and the same Italian recipes. Today, you can find Flores, Pena and Goldburg at the shop baking as early as 2 a.m.

The family business began when Elio Dianda left his hometown of Lucca in Tuscany after World War II and brought his skills as a pastry chef to America, according to Pasquale “Pat” Dianda, the son of Elio. His father bought a bakery that had existed since 1906—a time when trains still ran through the Mission District. Using the recipes he carried with him from Lucca, Dianda opened the bakery doors using all union workers.

“In those days, you’d be shut down if you weren’t union. We’ve had union contracts covering our workers from the very beginning,” Pat told the BCTGM NEWS in 2004. ”We’ve always believed that you take care of the people who work for you.”

According to Pat, when the Dianda brothers were ready to sell the family bakery, they made it possible for their employees to buy the business.

“Our traditions will be kept with these guys,” said Dianda, who continued to bake at the shop for more than nine years after the sale. He has officially retired but still comes by the bakery on occasion.

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