Local leaders, community members, employees gathered outside the North Davis location to express their workplace grievances and garner support
By MADELEINE YOUNG — firstname.lastname@example.org
On Jan. 28, Peet’s Coffee workers, former employees and supporters held a rally outside the North Davis Peet’s Coffee location to celebrate a successful vote to unionize and garner support from the community.
A week before the rally, the North Davis location voted 14-1 to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, making them the first Peet’s Coffee in the U.S. to unionize.
“The purpose of today’s protest is to first celebrate the victory of the first Peet’s Coffee in North America to unionize in a landslide election where they won 14 yes votes to one no vote,” rally organizer and Peet’s employee Jamaica Rettick said. “We’re also using this as a call to action for the community to support these workers to get to the bargaining table due to Peet’s creating conditions to the store that are really untenable for the workers.”
The rally featured both former and current employees who voiced their concerns regarding working conditions such as cut hours, a lack of significant raises, exhausting labor and more. Additionally, local leaders, including City Councilmember Gloria Partida, Deputy County Supervisor Sheila Allen and District 4 Supervisor Lucas Frerichs, came out to support the newly unionized coffeehouse. Frerichs spoke about the workers’ right to organize.
“The National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935, which allows for an opportunity to organize, to collectively bargain and take collective action,” Frerichs said. “Even though that law has been in effect for almost 90 years, corporations are still trying to attack workers and stop workers from organizing. This may be the beginning, but this is not the end, not in the least.”
Alyx Land, shift lead, organizer of the rally and Peet’s employee since 2017, voiced his concern and disappointment regarding the conditions of the store.
“I love our coffee and I really believe in the values and what we bring to people,” Land said. “I’m passionate about our work and I’ve seen the quality of our products decline along with the treatment and pay of employees at our location and others. Five years later, after working through the pandemic, we’re more stressed out than ever. We’re underpaid and overworked. I don’t want to burn out every month. My rent rises every year and combined with inflation, I may be less and less able to live there. I’ve been in Davis for seven years and I don’t want to be forced to relocate or continue living paycheck to paycheck, wondering how long I can do this before I have no energy left.”
With the first steps being made in collective bargaining, County Supervisor Allen commended the employees’ push to unionize.
“I am pleased to know that this vote has gone through and that you are on the road now to one of the very important pieces of having a union, and that is collective bargaining,” Allen said. “It is hard for one person to make a difference, but collectively, you are so much stronger.”
Written by: Madeleine Young — email@example.com