Bernie Sanders Makes Surprise SF Visit To Speak At FiDi Union Rally

Though he's expected at a rally in Vallejo in just a few hours, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has made a surprise pit stop here in San Francisco. Sanders was spotted by tipster Shelley about 20 minutes ago at 6th & Mission. We've learned he's on his way to a rally at 101 California St., where he's expected to appear around 4:30pm. 

Sanders at 6th & Mission. (Photo: Shelley R./Facebook)

Sanders' campaign kept his attendance at the rally under wraps, likely to avoid drawing the massive crowds he's expected to attract in Vallejo.

The rally, which honors the right to organize, is being held by restaurant and hotel workers' union UNITE HERE! Local 2, along with the janitors’ union, SEIU Local 87, and Labor for Bernie. It's beginning at Justin Herman Plaza at 4pm, with marchers moving towards 101 California.

Marchers gathered for the rally at Justin Herman Plaza. (Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline)

After Sanders speaks at 101 California, marchers will continue on to protest at the Le Meridien hotel at 333 Battery St., where employees have been trying to unionize for several years with no success. UNITE HERE! Local 2 has called for a boycott of Le Meridien and the Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, which share a parent company, Chesapeake Lodging Trust. 

Sanders has been in and out of the Bay Area as he campaigns for the California Democratic primary, to be held June 7th. Last week, he did an interview with the Chronicle and then had coffee at Sightglass in SoMa, and he held a rally in San Jose this morning. 

We've got a reporter on the scene, and will bring you more updates from the rally.

Update, 4:31pm: Protesters, accompanied by police, have marched from Justin Herman Plaza to 101 California, chanting "Who's got the power? Union power!" and "What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Photo: Fiona Lee/Hoodline

Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline

Update, 4:39pm: As the group awaits Sanders' arrival, workers are speaking out about their campaign to unionize. "We must stand together as a janitors' union and fight for our rights," said one female janitor, discussing the struggles she underwent after being laid off. 

"We need a president in this country who will fight for the working people," said a UNITE HERE! Local 2 speaker. 

As the news of Sanders' appearance has spread, the crowd at the rally has grown:

Update, 11:49am: Here's the speech Sanders gave yesterday, as captured by Hoodline's Fiona Lee:

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