Do you love Peet’s?

So do we. That’s why we believe it’s worth saving Peet’s from an unhealthy corporate retail business model that undermines the very dignity of work.

A 45-year-old Berkeley, CA, institution, known widely as the Grandfather of Specialty Coffee, Peet’s has been an industry leader from the very beginning. Its single roasting plant in Alameda, CA, is LEED Gold Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Peet’s commits to paying above Fair Trade prices to its coffee farmers. Peet’s has funded education and health initiatives in various coffee-growing communities throughout the world. Each of Peet’s’ roughly 200 stores features over 30 distinct high end coffees, just as many high quality teas, and a full espresso bar. PC&T proudly calls its retail employees “highly skilled baristas” and “coffee and tea experts.”

Yet these employees, who comprise 80% of the PC&T workforce, are paid just above minimum wage, afforded zero sick days, and given annual raises averaging $ .25/hr, regardless of performance. They also receive no guarantee of weekly hours, rendering already insufficient paychecks undependable.

This is the sort of employee treatment we have come to expect from retail giants like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, not from industry leaders like Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Like most U.S. employers, Peet’s is not providing pocket money for high school students. Peet’s’ employees are generally in their twenties and thirties, college students or graduates, who pay their own bills, and many have children to support. Why has Peet’s stalled in its role as industry leader? Why has it begun following the unhealthy habits of the corporate giants, rather than setting a dignified, sustainable example for the entire U.S. retail sector?

This question becomes even more perplexing when held up to Peet’s’ own statements concerning social justice in business practice. In a sentence that summarizes the company’s larger body of literature well, one Peet’s brochure states: “From the start, we’ve held the belief that true quality cannot be achieved without social, environmental, and economic sustainability.”

Unite Peet’s embraces this belief wholeheartedly, which is why we are calling on every customer and every employee to unite Peet’s to lead the industry again. For 4/5 of Peet’s workers, “economic sustainability” is simply not a day-to-day reality. We know Peet’s can do better.

Loyal customers, Peet’s fanatics…….how can you help? Don’t worry, we’re not calling for a boycott. We want you to keep going to Peet’s, and to spread the word to every other Peet’s fan you know. With your help, we can get Peet’s back on course, so it can be the industry leader in great coffee AND great jobs.