Inspired by Starbucks Organizing Wins, Peet’s Coffee Workers File for Union Elections

A Peet's coffee worker prepares a takeout order

A Peet’s Coffee employee fills takeout orders for customers in Oakland, California on May 18, 2020. (Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

“We deserve a say in how our workplace is run and we deserve to be fairly compensated for the value we create,” said one Peet’s employee.

JAKE JOHNSON November 28, 2022 (CommonDreams.org)

Galvanized by the remarkable organizing successes of Starbucks employees across the United States, workers at two Peet’s Coffee locations in Davis, California filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday in an effort to win higher wages, better working conditions, and a voice in day-to-day shop operations.

“I’m organizing because we deserve a say in how our workplace is run and we deserve to be fairly compensated for the value we create,” said Schroedter Kinman, a worker at the Peet’s location in downtown Davis. “It’s also about having a support system and a set of procedures if we’re mistreated by our company.”

Workers at the downtown and north Davis locations “have grown tired of the low pay and high-stress demands placed on them by the company,” according to More Perfect Union, which first reported the Peet’s union push on Monday morning.

“Leaders at the two Peet’s stores say that they have near-unanimous buy-in from their co-workers,” the outlet added. “Pay begins at the minimum wage level for workers at Peet’s, and barely moves upward for those working in the barista position. Opportunities for career advancement are rare, multiple workers told More Perfect Union, and the scheduling process doesn’t allow for long-term planning.”

Based in California and owned by JAB Holding Company, Peet’s has more than 330 locations across the U.S.—none of which are unionized.

The two Davis locations filed for union elections with the support of Workers United, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) affiliate that is representing Starbucks workers at more than 260 organized shops nationwide as they fight for a contract.

In addition to submitting union cards, workers at the two Peet’s shops asked management to agree to the Non-Interference Election Principles, which state that “the right to organize a union is a fundamental civil right essential to democracy” and that “if workers choose to unionize, there will be no negative repercussions from management.”

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