DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — Employees at two locations of Peet’s Coffee in Davis filed to become the California-based chain’s first unionized corporate locations in the United States, Worker’s United said.
Workers United, the same union that spent much of the past year organizing employees at Starbucks and other retail shops, said workers at the North Davis and downtown locations filed paperwork Monday with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a unionization vote.
“For me, I’m organizing because 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, an employee at one of the filing Davis stores, said in the union press release.
The company said it was aware of the filing.
“At Peet’s, we highly value our team members and their dedication to the craft of coffee,” the company said in a statement. “Their spirit contributes to making our coffeebars an important place of connection in local communities. We are aware that earlier today employees at two Davis, Calif., coffee bars filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize… Our Davis coffeebars are open and our employees are serving up extraordinary coffee to our valued customers.”
The effort is the latest in a wave of unionization that swept retail stores in the United States this year after workers at a Starbucks store in Buffalo, New York voted to become the first of the Seattle-based retailer’s stores to unionize in more than 30 years.
Starbucks and Peet’s Coffee have a shared history that dates back decades. Starbucks was started by Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl who learned about the coffee business from Peet’s Coffee founder, Alfred Peet.
In the 80s, the Starbucks founders bought Peet’s Coffee and a few years later sold the Starbucks name, stores and roasting operation to Howard Schultz, who had worked as the company’s marketing director before leaving to start his own coffee shop.
During the period the chains shared ownership, workers at Starbucks won a unionization effort that Schultz said occurred after workers asked for better pay, benefits for part-time workers and the reinstatement of bonuses employees had once received.
“Retail employees seemed satisfied, and since they outnumbered plant workers, Jerry [Baldwin] figured they would vote to keep the union out,” Schultz wrote in a 1997 book detailing the company’s rise to prominence. “But when the day came for the official tally the union won by three votes.”
Peet’s Coffee opened its first location in Berkeley in 1966.