Support America's Coffee Workers

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To Our Elected Officials, 

We speak for the legion of individuals who make up the coffee industry. These individuals are the baristas and coffee workers whose livelihoods fuel the days of millions of Americans, serving you and your communities. On behalf of coffee workers throughout the nation, we are petitioning for your critical support right now, as the businesses which employ this large and diverse workforce are severely impacted by COVID-19.

Coffee shops and coffee businesses have been deemed “essential services,” and in many parts of the country they have been forced to continue operating with shoestring cash flows and with a skeleton crew workforce. This has resulted in the layoffs of thousands of coffee workers whose individual lives hang in the balance during this pandemic and its economic effects. Tip jars and health care are gone, child care and rents will soon go unpaid, and we are growing more concerned with each passing day.

The individuals in our sector are most impacted by:

  • No income or significantly reduced income 
  • Not being able to pay rent
  • Not being able to receive unemployment benefits
  • No access to health insurance or healthcare
  • No blueprint for a safety plan/contingency for baristas, cafes and the coffee industry 

We are here to advocate for these individuals, in an industry that governing bodies have deemed essential and critical. We are asking for you to immediately consider legislation and support for individuals in the following ways:

  • Expansion of qualification for unemployment relief (to include freelance restrictions, temp agency loophole, significant reduction in hours but still not terminated, etc.);
  • Small business and individual tax deferment;
  • Universal eviction protection and rent suspension;
  • Mortgage and rent deferment for both individuals and businesses that extends 30 days past the time in which a business can be open and individuals have resumed work;
  • Federal and State loan payment deferrals, with no accrual of interest;
  • Credit card payment deferrals, particularly those held by large banks;
  • Individual access to financial resources such as no-interest loans, and other financial counseling services;
  • Small business loans that allow employers to continue to keep their staff employed, paid and with benefits (including the sick leave all employees will need to reopen and continue to operate in the safest possible manner)

We ask that beyond this immediate crisis, that you support additional efforts for long-term sustainability of the food and beverage industry:

  • A sustainable and living wage for baristas and workers in the food and beverage industry;
  • Access to universal healthcare not tied to one’s employer;
  • Paid sick leave and hazard pay

We ask that you stand with us and act immediately to protect this valued and quotidian part of the food and beverage culture in the United States. Without your support, this is an industry you will see crumble—and a cohort of skilled, passionate workers you once saw each morning, preparing your beverage exactly the way you like it—will be a thing of the past.