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‘Just listen to the workers’: Peet’s Coffee employees unionize at 3 local stores

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CHRIS.RYCROFT | CREATIVE COMMONS

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JUNE 16, 2023

Workers at Peet’s Coffee’s Piedmont, Temescal and Telegraph and Dwight locations filed three petitions for union elections Friday, according to a Peet’s Labor Union’s press release.

As members of the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, the Peet’s Labor Union aims to achieve improved working conditions, greater worker autonomy and increased wages and benefits, according to the press release.

Mary O’Connell, the head of communications for Peet’s Coffee, said the company will respond to the demands of the union in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act.

“At every step of the way, we will be adhering to the process and will be listening directly to the concerns of our employees, as we always have,” O’Connell said in an email.

Jasper Rush, union member and shift lead at the Piedmont location, said the formation of Peet’s Labor Union was inspired by another union Peet’s United, based in North Davis Peet’s location.

He added nationwide unionization drives such as Starbucks Workers United and Amazon Labor Union also prompted their petitions.

“Without unions and working-class organizations, the workers are isolated as individuals in the face of much more powerful and wealthy employers,” Rush said in an email. “Collective fight back is the only way to win.”

Kimberly Solis, union member and longtime barista at the Telegraph and Dwight location, described having to work in “unsafe” conditions with biohazards and pests while facing physical and verbal attacks from members of the public.

Another union member and worker at the Piedmont location, Kai Dinneen, added employees are “frequently” overworked due to understaffing and a lack of proper resources.

“Peet’s has the potential to be a great workplace, if they just listen to the workers,” Dineen said in a press release.

Rush added workers felt they faced discrimination, were underpaid and exploited by management.

Rush said the union hopes their fight for improved working conditions and equity will create change in Peet’s storefronts and warehouses as well as other parts of the coffee industry. 

“The purpose of forming this union is to ensure that all employees in our workplaces are being treated with the fairness and respect we deserve,” Rush said in the email. “We do not deserve to be underpaid and put in unsafe working conditions detrimental to our own well-being.”

Max Palmer, communications officer for IWW, said community members can visit the union’s website. A rally will also be held at People’s Park this Saturday, where workers will share their experiences at Peet’s Coffee.

Alyx Land, union member from Peet’s United, added they fully support the campaign of Peet’s Labor Union, explaining that they are interested in fighting collectively against the “corporate degradation” of Peet’s Coffee.

“We do not accept how the company treats us and we are only the beginning of a movement of baristas no longer willing to be treated as expendable,” Land said in an email.

Contact Matthew Yoshimoto at 

LAST UPDATED

JUNE 16, 2023