February 6, 2023
(DAVIS, Calif.) — Community leaders and supporters joined baristas at a Davis, California Peet’s Coffee on Jan. 28 to rally and celebrate their recent win as the popular coffee chain’s first shop to unionize in the country.
Employees formed Peet’s United to organize their fight for union representation. On Jan. 20, they voted 14-1 to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021. Their efforts began last fall, when employees filed to unionize. In their change.org petition, workers say they are “fighting for fair wages, decent schedules, and corporate transparency.”
“I love my job. There are a few things that definitely can be improved, and that’s why we chose to organize,” said Molly Smith, a barista at the North Davis Peet’s Coffee who has been working there for nine months. “We’re underpaid, we’re overworked. Things like that can definitely be guaranteed in a contract.”
Public leaders and allied organizations rallied in solidarity with Peet’s workers at the 1411 West Covell Boulevard location. Employees cheered and chanted: “Get up, get down. Davis is a union town. No justice, no Peet’s!” They also called upon supporters to place drink orders with the name “Peet’s Union Strong” to bring more awareness to their cause.
Peet’s United has narrated its ongoing conflict with management over its organizing efforts on its official Twitter account.
Peet’s United joins a recent movement of food and beverage workers voting to unionize over the past few years. In 2021, baristas at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York formed Starbucks Workers United and became the country’s first Starbucks location to unionize. According to Reuters, nearly 200 Starbucks stores have formed unions in the United States.
The hard work continues for Peet’s United and SEIU Local 1021, as they gear up for contract negotiations. Zac Goldstein, a communications specialist for SEIU 1021, said, “It’s going to be an ongoing campaign so we’re going to continue to put up the pressure until we get a fair and just contract. We’ll have more rallies. We’ll have more actions.”
“I’m super hopeful. Today was kind of the point to get everybody celebrating. We’re hopeful,” said Smith, who is also a college student at the University of California, Davis. “The next steps are bargaining and pulling everybody to see what specific demands they want to see on the contract and then actually going to the table. We hope that Peet’s will meet us there.”