- Two Peet’s Coffee locations in Davis, California, are filing for National Labor Relations Board elections with Workers United, according to a union press release emailed to Restaurant Dive on Monday.
- The Peet’s organizers cited the ongoing Starbucks campaign, and other Workers United coffee shop drives, as inspiration, according to the press release.
- In a statement emailed to Restaurant Dive, Peet’s said it was aware that some of its employees were filing petitions with the NLRB, but that it had not yet been contacted by the NLRB. The company reiterated that its stores in Davis were open, and said it valued its employees.
Peet’s Workers United asked the coffee company to sign a set of pledges it termed “Non-Interference Election Principles,” which would require Peet’s to allow the union to hold meetings in equal length to meetings called by company management to discuss the union. The non-interference principles would also require Peet’s to recognize Workers United as a union through a card-check process, whereby the union submits authorization cards demonstrating support from a majority of workers in an individual store, among other demands. Peet’s did not comment on the union’s demands.
“I no longer feel like the best option is to leave the business I work for but instead improve it,” Trinity Salazar, a worker at one of the Peet’s locations in Davis, said in a statement.
Workers United’s marquee campaign to organize Starbucks is just one of a number of coffee union organizing drives in recent years. Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees’ International Union, has been one of the most active unions in organizing coffee shops, beginning with Upstate New York’s Gimme Coffee in 2017, though that union faced a decertification campaign. Spot Coffee, a Buffalo, New York-based coffee chain, saw workers organize with Workers United beginning in 2019, an effort that influenced the early development of Starbucks Workers United’s campaign in Buffalo.
Several other unions have also targeted smaller coffee chains. UNITE HERE, a union consisting primarily of hotel, gaming and foodservice workers, has organized a number of small Boston-area coffee shops in recent years. Workers United was previously part of UNITE HERE, prior to an acrimonious split in 2009. The United Food & Commercial Workers have also supported union drives at cafes, most recently at two La Colombe locations in Washington, D.C., which filed for elections in November. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers organized Colectivo coffee workers in 2021, while the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union organized Tartine Bakery workers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Peet’s is the second-largest national coffee chain to face a union drive since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move to file for an election was a departure from SEIU’s previous attempts to influence Peet’s policies, which hinged on pressure through the Fight-for-$15 campaign, and indicates that organizing momentum is still significant in the coffee sector.
“We deserve a say in how our workplace is run and we deserve to be fairly compensated for the value we create. It’s also about having a support system and a set of procedures if we’re mistreated by our company,” Schroedter Kinman, a pro-union worker, said in a statement.
Peet’s, which has over 330 U.S. stores and 208 company-operated units, according to Workers United, is concentrated primarily in California.