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Several Employees Resigned Over Alleged ‘Toxic’ Environment at Popular Coffee Shop

Several employees at Slate Coffee Roasters quit at the same time this past weekend

Slate Coffee Roasters/Official

There’s some unrest in Seattle’s coffee world. Over the weekend, several employees at Slate Coffee Roasters in Ballard, a popular independent chain with five locations in the Seattle area (including one at Facebook’s South Lake Union headquarters), resigned over what they alleged was a “toxic work environment” at the company. The employees — including three baristas and one manager from Ballard, along with two baristas at locations downtown — explained their grievances on a sign outside the Ballard shop, as well as in several individual Instagram posts.

“We have decided to withdraw our labor (effective immediately) because we do not feel our employers treat us with the same professionalism that they ask of us,” the sign on the Ballard shop read, in part. “We have experienced a toxic work environment: this includes but is not limited to dishonesty; discrimination of many kinds; bullying and intimidation; late and unreceived pay; disingenuous promises and so much more. Our expressed concerns have been met with silence at best, and more often condescension.”

The former Slate employees have formed a new group called Coffee at Large, which, as member Samantha Capell (former retail training manager and manager at Slate Ballard) explains to Eater Seattle, is an organization “looking to improve working conditions for coffee workers in Seattle and elsewhere.”

Slate is a small, family-owned chain that lists 11 to 50 employees on its official LinkedIn site, so it seems that a significant percent of its workforce left. Eater Seattle reached out to Slate management for comment on this story, but has not heard back as of publication.

Founded in 2011, Slate established a niche in Seattle’s expansive coffee scene, specializing in lighter roasts, and has made an appearance on Eater Seattle’s essential coffee shops for its excellent espressos and intimate atmosphere. On its official website, Slate emphasizes that it is “as transparent as possible” in the coffee-making process. For its part, the company responded to the action by its workers on Instagram, writing, in part, “We intend to work through and understand the details and concerns made by our former employees and do not take the matter lightly.”

Slate Coffee Bar (Ballard)

5413 6th Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107 (206) 922.2441 Visit Website

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