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Davis, California

Monday, May 20, 2024

Historic unionization election at Peet’s Coffee locations in Downtown and North Davis scheduled for this month

What you should know about the upcoming unionization election at the two Peet’s Coffee locations in Davis on Jan. 17 and 20


By ANTHONY W. ZAMMIKIEL  — city@theaggie.org


On Nov. 29, the Peet’s Coffee locations in Downtown and North Davis announced in a joint press release that the cafes have filed a motion with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to schedule an election to decide whether the employees at each location are to unionize. 

According to the official press release, “Workers are joining a growing wave of unionization at coffee chains across the country, following the precedent set by workers at coffee companies like Colectivo Coffee, Starbucks, and Spot Coffee. Peet’s workers are filing their locations with Workers United-SEIU, the same union that represents Spot Coffee and the Starbucks Workers United campaign. Workers cited being inspired by organizing Starbucks workers as a key motivation for their organizing efforts.” 

The press release continues, “There are 208 corporate Peet’s locations in the United States, with a vast majority of the stores located in the state of California. If successful, the North Davis and Downtown Davis locations will be the first corporate Peet’s cafes to successfully unionize.”

Schroedter Kinman, Alyx Land, Trinity Salazar and Molly Green, the leading organizers of the filing by two Peet’s Coffee locations, explained that there are multiple reasons why the employees at each location are organizing for union representation; however, the primary reasons are their desires for better pay and scheduling practices.

“You’re onboarded at minimum wage, and after a month or so of training you’re promoted to barista, which is paid 50 cents above minimum wage,” Kinman explained. “The work we do as baristas — taking orders, preparing food and drinks, filling bean orders, cleaning equipment with special chemicals, keeping the store clean and up to health standards, acting as de facto IT specialists when people have trouble with our mobile app, de-escalating the few customers who are unruly, all while having proficient knowledge in the coffee roasting process and basic flavor profiles of coffee blends — it deserves more than $15.50 an hour, especially when places like McDonald’s and In-N-Out are now offering starting wages at $17.”

Kinman said that employees desire an increase of labor hours as well, sharing that ongoing national inflation rates have caused an 8% decrease in wages over the previous year and that employees need more labor hours to continue being able to afford basic necessities. 

We’re also so short-staffed, so if more than a couple of people come down with a cold, we can end up shutting down the whole store because we just do not have the people to stay open,” Kinman shared. “Some readers might remember when we had to shut down [the Downtown Davis location] last month for half of finals week. That was all because a cold was going around and not enough people were available to keep the store open. Those of us who were working those short-staffed days were worked to the bone and received no compensation for doing the work of multiple people in a shift.”

According to Kinman, managers operating at both Peet’s Coffee Davis locations have employed various tactics to discourage unionization activities, like “suddenly promising to revamp the [human resources] HR system so we can get better pay and benefits without a union, sowing fear of unions with personal anecdotes of bad experiences with them, bringing in higher-ups from corporate to watch us while we work and talk to employees one-on-one about the dangers of unionizing, promising they can change, etc.,” Kinman said. “Higher-ups have even taken employees out to eat on their dime to talk about their concerns of unionizing.” 

The unionization elections have been scheduled for Jan. 17th and Jan. 20th. The leading organizers at both Peet’s Coffee locations in the city of Davis asked that supportive community members support their efforts by fostering community engagement.

“Come in, order something cheap and easy like a drip coffee or iced tea, tell us how stoked you are to hear we’re unionizing and leave a tip if you’re able,” the organizers said. “It will show your support, keep the store profitable so we don’t get shut down and put a little extra money in our pockets to help fight inflation. Another thing folks can do to support is DM a solidarity statement to @peetsunited on Instagram. We’ve been posting anonymous support for the union, and we’d love to hear more from the community about why they love Peet’s and how much they want to see us unionize.”


This is a developing story. Election results will be published after the results are confirmed and released.


Written By: Anthony W. Zammikiel  — city@theaggie.org