Senate Pro Tem Atkins, California Leaders Issue Condolences on Passing of Labor, Civic Luminary Michael Hardeman

December 13, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), California leaders and elected officials, and the community are mourning the passing of Michael Hardeman, a longtime San Francisco labor and civic champion.

Mike was a pillar of the labor community and a steadfast supporter of workers and their families. A former business manager and political director for the Sign Display and Allied Crafts Local Union 510, affiliated with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), Mike served more than 30 years as an officer of the union and 60 years as a member. His commitment to labor also led him to serve for more than 30 years as a member of the San Francisco Labor Council Executive Committee and as a delegate to the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council.

He was a respected member of the labor and political community, a devoted husband to his wife Marina, and proud father to Monica, Greg, Michelle, and Nick, who serves as Chief of Staff to Pro Tem Atkins. To his four grandchildren, he was beloved as ‘Papa.’

“Mike was tirelessly dedicated to uplifting workers and their families, and spent much of his adult life fighting to make sure that working people’s labor was valued. In a world where so much can go wrong, Mike was always there to make it right,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “The Mike I had the opportunity to meet after his retirement was that of a family man and a father incredibly proud of his children and 100 percent devoted to his grandkids. I have the honor of working with his son, Nick Hardeman, and I witness every day the values he passed on to Nick through his own work in the Capitol on behalf of California. Mike’s legacy is carried on by his family, and evidenced in the high esteem people had for Mike, from leaders in California to Washington D.C. He was truly one of the best – how fortunate were we that he touched our lives.”

Most recently, Mike was a member of the California State Athletic Commission, and had served on several boards and commissions in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including the San Francisco Port Commission as an appointee of Mayor Willie L. Brown, and on the San Francisco Fire Commission as an appointee of Mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee. Mike also was appointed to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission by Mayor Dianne Feinstein and served on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under Mayor Frank Jordan.

“Jennifer and I are heartbroken by the passing of Mike Hardeman, a dedicated civic leader, champion for workers’ rights and dear friend. Born and raised in San Francisco, Mike devoted his life to serving others, including as a member of the San Francisco Fire Commission, Port Commission, Public Utilities Commission and Human Rights Commission,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Mike worked tirelessly to give a voice to working people, serving for more than three decades on the San Francisco Labor Council Executive Board and as a delegate to the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. His big-hearted leadership, empathy for others and legacy of service will never be forgotten. We hold Mike’s family and many friends in our hearts as they mourn this great loss.” 

Mike grew up in San Francisco, the son of San Francisco Police Officer Vince Hardeman and mother Olga Pavloff. He graduated from Balboa High School and, later in his career, San Francisco City College. In 1962, he became an apprentice sign painter and four years later became a journeyman, later working as a pictorial artist hand painting billboards. He held many non-full time offices for Sign Display and Allied Crafts Local Union 510 before becoming a full time business representative in 1977, and being elected as business manager in 1984, a position he was re-elected to continuously until the position was eliminated in 2002 due to new International Union rules.

Over the years, Mike served on dozens of committees and boards, including the Consumer Federation of California, San Francisco Democratic Central Committee, and was a two-term commissioner on the Respiratory Care Board of California. He received many awards from the San Francisco Labor Council, San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and more. Mike was also a lifelong sports fan and proudly coached youth sports in San Francisco.

“I am saddened to hear that Michael Hardeman has passed away. He was a champion for the working people of San Francisco and a friend to so many. My thoughts are with his family and friends,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California). “Mike loved all things San Francisco and devoted his life to serving our city and its residents. Starting as a bottler at local breweries, he went on to serve more than 30 years on the San Francisco Labor Council Executive Board and as a delegate to the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. Mike served on the Human Rights Commission during my time as mayor of San Francisco, and he also served terms on the Fire Commission, Port Commission and Public Utilities Commission. I greatly appreciate his service during that time and in the many years since. I’m so sorry he’s no longer with us. His passion and commitment to helping others will be greatly missed.”

The following are remembrances from elected leaders who knew and worked with Mike throughout his life:

U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14):

“Mike Hardeman was a labor leader like no other.  He had a ready smile and warmth that served him well when lobbying with his great passion and commitment for his union members. He always tried to get to yes even with the thorniest of issues.  Rest in peace, dear friend.”

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma:

“Mike was a true public servant. He showed up, stood up, and was a stand out in every role he served in with his union and on the many boards and commissions he was appointed to. He was an amazing husband, father, and grandfather. People like Mike only come once in a lifetime. Everyone adored Mike. He will be missed by all.”

California State Controller-elect Malia M. Cohen:

“Michael Hardeman spent his entire life fighting to improve the lives of working families, and dedicating himself to distinguished public service. Mike was a great San Franciscan, and will be truly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

            California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco):

“Mike Hardeman was one of the kindest people around – a true gentleman. He understood that you can fight hard for what you believe in without being cruel to other people. His passing is a huge loss or San Francisco and the labor movement. Rest in peace.”

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco):

“Mike Hardeman was a quintessential San Franciscan, a true labor leader who loved his community and his family. He was a consummate public servant, always answering the call to serve on a variety of commissions and organizations. San Francisco is a better place after his many years of dedicated service to our city. My deepest condolences go to his family.”

Assembly Speaker Emeritus and University of California Regent John A. Pérez:

“Every time I would meet with Mike Hardeman when I was Speaker or a Regent, he was always warm, and friendly, and respectful. The fact that Mike treated me the exact same way when he was an established labor leader and I was a 23 year-old newbie union organizer shows Mike Hardeman at his best. And with Mike Hardeman you got his best every single day. Along with mourning Mike’s passing, I also join many of my colleagues in being eternally grateful that the family Mike was devoted to includes his son, Nick Hardeman, who displays so much of Mike’s strong character working in the Legislature and serving our state.”

University of California Regent Janet Reilly:

“Mike Hardeman was one of the Bay Area’s most important labor leaders, serving for more than three decades as a business manager for the Sign and Display Union Local 510. In addition to his union duties, Mike, a lifelong San Franciscan, served his city in numerous ways, including as a member of the Human Rights, the Port and the Fire Commissions. Mike’s dedication to improving the lives of working men and women was legendary. His affable demeanor, big heart and his joie de vivre made him a much-loved figure and he will be sorely missed.”

Former Senate Pro Tem John L. Burton (via Twitter):

“Mike Hardeman was a friend, a labor leader who was there for the tough fights, and above all else – a class act. The world lost one of the good guys and I’m going to miss him.”

Former California State Senator Mark Leno:

“Mike Hardeman was an old school gentleman whose ever-present charm disarmed anyone in his way. Always a champion of working class families, Mike’s many accomplishments improved lives.”

Former California State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano:

“I have always found Mike Hardeman to be one of the most supportive, forward thinking, and inclusive people I ever met in my career.”

San Francisco City Attorney and former Assemblymember David Chiu:

“Mike Hardeman embodied the very meaning of public service with integrity and kindness. In addition to his legendary leadership of labor community, San Francisco called on him time after time to serve on our Human Rights, Public Utilities, Port, and Fire Commissions. We are truly diminished.”



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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: