To: Peet's Coffee & Tea CEO David Burwick

Peet's Coffee & Tea: Your employees are not disposable.

Peet's Coffee & Tea: Your employees are not disposable.

Your employees are not disposable--they deserve a living wage, regular schedules, paid sick days, and respect. Work together with all staff to create a truly sustainable work environment and replace your rigid, automated attendance policy with one that allows managers discretion to excuse absences.

Why is this important?

My name is Emma Bell Bern, and until August I worked for Peet’s Coffee & Tea at the North Avenue store in Chicago, IL. After I gave five years of my life to the company without a living wage or a stable schedule, Peet's fired me with a voicemail message.

During those 5 years, I developed close relationships with many customers. I saw people meet and form relationships, women get pregnant and give birth, and children grow up. A few months before I was fired, I was promoted to shift leader. I couldn’t understand why a rapidly expanding company would throw away a worker with such a connection to the community--a worker valuable enough to promote.

I'm not the only worker who has been treated this way. The superior quality of Peet’s product creates the perception that its employment conditions are also superior, but over the past few years, Peet's has implemented anti-worker policies that treat employees as if we're disposable.

Two years ago, workers at Peet's locations across the country reportedly began experiencing increasingly stressful and rigid work conditions. These changes, along with low wages, lack of guaranteed hours and no paid sick days, show a lack of respect for workers that continues today.

Workers face constant pressure to be fast -- even if it means injuring themselves -- or risk disciplinary action. One barista reported that a third of workers at her store had repetitive stress injuries so severe that they were forced to wear wrist braces or avoid making espresso drinks. Other employees reported similar injuries at their stores as well as shoulder injuries, falls, cuts, and burns.

Employees at Peet's have no protection against schedule changes and no guarantee of consistent hours. Relying on inconsistent hours at minimum wage has forced many of my co-workers to get second jobs simply to survive. And due to a rigid attendance policy that gives employees disciplinary points for tardiness or absences, regardless of circumstances or unexpected schedule changes, employees live in constant fear of missing an alarm or a bus and being fired.

Treating Peet's workers like they are disposable not only disrespects the workers themselves--it disrespects Peet’s loyal client base. Pulitzer prize winning Chicago Tribune columnist and longtime Peet’s regular Mary Schmich put it perfectly in an April 2013 article: “What [people] don’t understand is that a good coffeehouse is never only coffee. It’s community… As [Peet’s] name spreads around Chicago and the suburbs, I hope the distant bosses keep finding the kind of employees who know how to make something corporate feel local and communal.” It's time to stand up for that community by standing up for Peet's employees.

In the midst of a nationwide groundswell of workers organizing for fair wages and better treatment at fast-food restaurants, retail stores, and schools, now is the perfect time to demand Peet's start treating employees with respect. By signing my petition you can help show Peet's executives that continuing to treat workers as if we're disposable is a threat to their bottom line.

References:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-10/news/ct-met-schmich-0410-20130410_1_caribou-coffee-coffeehouse-caribou-community

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2012/09/14/chicago-peets-employees-are-organizing-could-the-east-bay-be-next

http://www.progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2013/04/12/workers-advocate-higher-wages-peets-coffee-tea

http://peetsworkersgroup.blogspot.com/2013/09/happy-labor-day-2013.html

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/how-peets-starbucked-itself/Content?oid=2993549

Chicago, IL

Reasons for signing

  • Because those who control capital will always exploit its workers if we as consumers allow them to.
  • Sounds to me like the entire structure is just set up to punish employees for wanting to work. Great system you got there.
  • I used to faithfully visit Peet's Coffee in Berkeley, CA. I cannot believe that they would change so terribly much from their community roots. This is NOT the Peets I knew and loved AND SUPPORTED.

Updates

2013-09-22 15:00:23 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2013-09-15 18:54:46 -0700

500 signatures reached

2013-09-13 12:59:58 -0700

100 signatures reached

2013-09-13 11:30:40 -0700

50 signatures reached

2013-09-13 10:39:27 -0700

25 signatures reached

2013-09-13 09:23:20 -0700

10 signatures reached