Exactly 129 days ago we presented you with a majority petition requesting a fair process to decide whether to form a union. Since then, we’ve listened to our managers parrot that they “respect us,” and that they “hear us.” But words without actions ring hollow. 

We still do NOT feel heard, nor do we feel respected. The concerns that brought us together to form a union have not been addressed. You have yet to show your face to us or meaningfully respond to our demand that these jobs become sustainable. We have waited over four months for you to do the right thing, but we are now done waiting.

Today we take an important step in forcing you to respect us and our decision. On this day, the 130th since we went public with our union demands, we have filed with the National Labor Relations Board to conduct an election for union recognition. Since you will not voluntarily recognize our majority, we call upon the power of the federal government to step in and force you.

We do not walk into this process with our eyes closed. Other Seattle CEOs, like Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz, have invested their companies’ resources in denying their workers a true democratic choice by delaying, litigating, and openly advocating against unionization. We have seen them close stores, hold captive audience meetings, and fire shop floor leaders to deprive workers of their income and crush the hope that together they can make a positive change.

We also know that you aren’t blind either. You have seen what we have done in the last four months, how we have taken strong collective action, including strikes, to get immediate, necessary safety and fairness issues addressed. We are equally prepared to defend our right to a fair process. We will not abide intimidation of any kind. 

Our original demands are simple and have not changed: respect, safety, and sustainability. We had thought that a company which prides itself in sustainable food sourcing would extend that same desire to its employees. We are disappointed in your failure to recognize that sustainability matters in more than mere ingredients.

As your head of Human Resources said in an email after we went public, “A fair, open and transparent voting process–free of intimidation, untrue statements or voter suppression–is at the core of our nation’s democracy.”

We call on you to live up to this patriotic framing of workplace democracy. This election period is a time of reckoning. Will you let us freely make our choice so that we can finally pursue the goal of sustainability together?

Homegrown Union Committee, representing Homegrown cafes and Catapult NW wholesale distribution