Iconic Peters’ Bakery Dogged by Racism, Retaliation Allegations

Chuck Peters rolls his wheelchair through the break-of-dawn bustle of his iconic East San Jose bakery. White-aproned clerks sort fresh donuts in the display case. Flour-caked bakers sidestep each other from counter to oven. They all ignore Peters, the 73-year-old boss with the gravely voice and murky blue eyes.

Though frail and stroke-slackened, Peters’ temper is legend. For now, he cools his usual guff and parks alongside the register of Peters’ Bakery, whispering distance from the woman he’s tried twice—and failed—to fire.

But he’d rather not talk about Marcela Ramirez.

“That’s nobody’s business,” Peters says, his voice taut.

To his left, Ramirez, in a pink polo and sensible updo, swaps how-do-you-dos with her earlybird regulars. Peters pretends she’s not there. She returns the favor, dancing around his imagined force field.

Ramirez can’t quit. As a mother of two, she can’t afford to leave. And Peters certainly can’t fire her. His past attempts have mired the shop—his family’s legacy—in federal litigation amid charges of racism.

Now, as part of the public record, it’s anybody’s business.

Peters’ father founded the bakery in 1936 and built it into an East Side institution. Its burnt almond cake is considered a local specialty requested for birthdays, baptisms, graduations, wakes and quinceañeras.

In August of 2011, Peters decided he’d had enough of Ramirez, an employee since 2001. It's unclear how the conflict arose, as both parties declined to elaborate.

Records, however, say that at various times, Peters asked her to drop the accent and to lighten up about the term “wetback.” According to depositions, he also said to Ramirez, “I never trusted your kind of people.”

Peters vowed to report her mom to federal immigration officials if she posted anything negative on social media, records say. He also allegedly threatened to destroy her in court if she sued him, adding that he didn’t think she could afford to anyway because she probably sent all her money back to Mexico.

At her union’s behest, Ramirez filed a discrimination complaint the week she lost her job through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal discrimination laws. Peters shot back, accusing her of defamation for daring to report him and calling him Portuguese. Peters struggled to defend his actions.

“My family owned several acres of fruit orchards and every year we had ‘wetbacks’ work for us, you know, illegals, and there was no discrimination,” the EEOC claims he told their investigator, Martin Olsen.

A judge unsurprisingly tossed Peters’ claim, which gave Ramirez grounds to file a second EEOC charge for retaliation.

In summer 2012, a year after her firing, Ramirez’ union—the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5—won her job back through arbitration. But four and a half months passed before Peters paid her lost wages, pension contributions and benefits.

He also distributed copies of Ramirez’ complaints to the other employees, which the EEOC called an effort to intimidate her co-workers.

Weeks later, Peters tried to write her up for counting change in the employee tip jar—a routine task that all the clerks take turns doing.

The EEOC sued Peters’ Bakery on her behalf in fall 2013. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages as well as compensation for Ramirez’s medical costs from the stress of losing her job. Though her husband works, Ramirez depends on her salary to pay for two mortgages and catholic school tuition for her two young children.

“Marcela has been a very brave person,” said Tony Alexander, a UFCW Local 5 union rep. “She’s been a trooper through all this. The other people in the bakery have been strong, too. They see Peters every other day. They put up with him. Then he rolls out and they get to go back to their business.”

Peters’ father, Tony Peters, was born in 1907 to a poor Portuguese family in San Jose. Throughout grade school, Tony Peters struggled to learn English. Chuck Peters told San Jose Inside that his father’s alfalfa allergy kept him from following the other men in his family into the dairy business. So he took up work at an uncle’s San Francisco bakery instead, where he learned the trade well enough to start his own operation.

The San Jose bakery first opened on Delmas Avenue and San Carlos Street. A decade later, it moved to the East Side, where it stands today, tucked into a strip of aging shops where Alum Rock Avenue meets White Road.

Employees unionized early on, while Tony Peters’ children carried on the family business by managing the cash-only bakeshop. The younger Peters had other plans. After earning a bachelor’s in animal husbandry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, he became a cattle driver. “I wanted to be outdoors,” he says. “I wanted to work with the animals.”

A stroke waylaid his plans to retire as a cattleman. About eight years ago, his brother, David Peters, offered to divvy up ownership of the bakery, giving Chuck Peters something to do and his brother a chance to semi-retire. Managing people, however, has proven more challenging than ranging a herd of 500 cows and as many calves.

This summer, on the last day of June, he summoned Ramirez to his back-office lair to let her know she’d be out of a job by the end of the week. Ramirez asked why.

“I don’t have to give you a fucking reason,” he replied, according to the narrative laid out in court records. “I don’t like you. You’re done.”

Ramirez walked away visibly shaken. Her supervisor, Sabrena Righetti, marched with her back to the office to demand an explanation for the firing.

“My sanity, before I fucking lose it and kill someone,” they recall Peters saying—twice—which brought both women to tears. Ramirez called her union, which dispatched Alexander. “I’m firing her for my mental health reasons,” he told the union rep, who took notes. “For my sanity. I’m gonna lose my fucking sanity. I’m gonna kill someone.”

Peters insisted that Ramirez has cost him a fortune, that she’s driving him mad, that she’s why he’s on meds. Plus, he said, she lied about him being Portuguese when he’s really an American of Portuguese descent.

But without progressive discipline, Peters couldn’t just fire Ramirez (at least not legally), let alone in the middle of a lawsuit. A federal judge reinstated her job last month, at least for the duration of the suit.

The bakery’s attorney, Victoria Booke, disputes the allegations of “racial animus.”

“A third of his workforce is Hispanic,” she said. “We do totally agree that two parties do not care for each other. The best outcome, I think, is for them to part ways. Because it can’t be good for her working for someone she doesn’t like either.”

U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman said it’s not that simple, that “few people have the luxury to simply leave a job when there is conflict with the boss.”

For a working-class clerk with no formal education, leaving would cause undue hardship on her and her family. Besides, the EEOC added, at this point the case has been taken up by a federal agency as a public interest lawsuit.

“It’s bigger than Marcela now,” said Alexander, her union representative. “She’s not the one who filed this—the EEOC did.”

Because people depend on the business for their livelihood, Alexander cautioned against boycotting the business on account of one person. Like its customers, Peters’ Bakery employees have a strong sense of loyalty to the place. Some of the clerks and bakers have worked there longer than Chuck Peters.

“The people who work there, at the counter and in the kitchen, they’re the face of the bakery,” Alexander said. “Not crazy Chuck.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


        • Are you saying that people DON’T need to learn how to get along?

          What do you propose to do to people that you don’t get along with and that you don’t want to learn how to get along with?

          What politician inspires you the most?

          • If unions weren’t there people like Ramirez would be unjustly fired all the time, it would be ideal if everyone could just get along but unfortunately that’s not the case with people like chuck who are so filled with hatred.

      • Wrong! Her union is the reason why the owner/employer was not allowed to discriminate against her. Her union sent her to the EEOC where they investigate on their own. Her union filed a grievance which forced the owner/employer to binding arbitration where an arbitrator ruled the firing was not justified. This is exactly why people need unions. Workers are the union.

        • @ JD – exactly! And this is why so many people want to do away with unions, those who feel that they are better because they inherited money or own businesses. Unions are the only one’s who defend workers rights. The guy is a racist ass and deserves to be sued! I’m sure his brother regrets allowing him into the bakery, the man obviously belongs outside with the animals who cant complain about his ignorance and bad temper. If he is threatening to kill someone maybe he needs a mental evaluation. I will not spend my money there again, and through social media I am sure they will lose a lot of business. I know I will be posting and forwarding this……

          • You seem to be one of the few who totally get it. Must be hard to deal with the ignorant people who don’t.

      • We get it , you hate unions. Just ask yourself , where would this lady be , if it weren’t for her union ?

    • What could be done is the owner only comes in on days she is not working. Out of sight, hopefully out of mind. Maybe that could be a solution for both. The owner doesn’t have to be there everyday, that is why there are manager positions. Lets not start making everything a racial issue, unless he made racial comments. I am multi racial, but American by birth.

    • I’ve seen roaches. I will never go again. Sorry Peters don’t want the extra protein.

    • It’s not Peters Bakery, it’s the one family member that screwing up the family legacy. Someone from the family needs to remove him and do some damage control. I think the bakery, the employees and the community shouldn’t suffer for one man’s stupidity.

      • This is totally a racial issue. He used racial derogatory comments. You did not read the article apparently. There’s only one owner. Also in the article.

        • Agree this is a racial issue, however, Is there another part of the article that clearly states that Chuck is the sole owner? The below except seems to indicate otherwise. Divvy up = divide.

          “About eight years ago, his brother, David Peters, offered to divvy up ownership of the bakery, giving Chuck Peters something to do and his brother a chance to semi-retire.”

          Whomever retains ownership shares of the bakery needs to remove Chuck ASAP.

    • I understand that the 2 parties don’t care for each other. Seems like Chuck just needs to have someone else run the store for him and thus keep his sanity. East side San Jose is highly populated with Hispanic people. Grew up down the street and went to Peter’s every day in the morning and in the afternoon. Just like all the other Hispanics. Never any problems until Chuck came along. I see the PROBLEM is him. And he needs to be removed. Let him learn to keep His racial slurs to him self. Us Hispanic or a GREAT portion of us made them the icon they are.. And no one can dispute that . But remember that was before Chuck.

    • How petty of both sides to resurrect matters of issue that they obviously should be past by now! When will it end? One race one people one planet!

  1. Respect is lost between the two involved. No respect makes it bad for everyone working there. He needs to lay her off then she can collect unemployment until she finds another job. They are both being difficult but he does own the business. She needs to get her own respect back and leave with her head up high. There r other bakeries!

    • So how he’s treated her is okay? What if he did that to a white person? Views would be different and he would be a bad man?

    • So when an employer is racially discriminatory, we should have to give up our job??? That doesn’t make sense! Quitting is giving the employer the victory. Union members have tenure seniority, earn vacations, retirement and wages. Why should she have to give those benefits up that took years to acquirer when she has to work in the employer’s abusive environment? People should have a work place free of discrimination.

  2. This is ridiculous. The Peters have always been good neighbors, donating baked goods to James Lick and Pala Middle school especially. When my grandfather Jerome was still alive, the Peter’s used to donate to his softball team. When my Uncle Carl was a paperboy, he’d fold his papers in front of Peter’s and they’d give him a few donuts for a copy of the Merc.

    Everything in the complaint is so out of character. I’m shocked the EEOC didn’t ask for character witnesses. Shame this is happening to good people.

    • This is usually what people say when they finally realize racial BS that other people deal on a day to day basis. I mean, can you imagine how all the Hulk Hogan fans felt when they heard him say, “I only want my daughter to marry a [Nword] if he is an athlete”? Yea, same feeling.

      Only difference is that you’re trying to cover it up with cookies.. I know fresh cakes smell good, but BS is a more strong scent.

      • Good People? So because the Peters have thrown some $ at you and your favorite charities you think its ok for this one to persecute an employee? She should have to leave her job, give up her wages even though shes been there longer than him? Just because his brother GAVE him HALF of the business after he had a stroke? The “good” people are NOT Chuck Peters! I agree with SFBA, Peters Bakery now has the stink of racism attached to it and IF the family who owns it does NOT feel like Chuck then they should force him out, let him sit at home and collect his share of the profit and stop terrorizing employees.

        • See JD’s comment below. He says he knows Chuck, and I’ve met him in passing a few times. I wouldn’t put it past the EEOC to stretch the truth a bit, wouldn’t be the first time a government agency has done so.

          And ya, supporting little leagues, St John Vianneys, Lick/Pala and all the other community oriented organizations in Alum Rock might not make you a good person, but the deeds are still supporting good.

    • I have been a Peters Bakery customer since the 1970s (wouldn’t get my burnt almond cakes anyplace else!) and agree that the business has done a lot for the community, but this is not reflective of the entire business, its one person, who happens to be named Peters, who only started working there recently because he could no longer be a cattleman, and who apparently is not a very good people manager. Some of the things he allegedly said (to the investigator, so no character witness needed) are straight up workplace sexual harassment and ethnic discrimination violations. He obviously never took (and if he did, didn’t pay attention) any manager courses and that doesn’t make him a bad person, just a bad manager. Not sure if you read the entire article, but the employee did not file the lawsuit, the EEOC did based on statements he made directly to them.

      • Thank you for the well written and thoughtful response Patricia.

        So what happens from here? What would be the politically correct thing to do? Stop patronizing the place? Keep patronizing the place? I can only think if Peters suddenly experienced a mass boycott, it would only end in them closing shop. That would be a huge loss to the community.

        • Gosh, I hope no one thinks that a boycott is the answer — it would only hurt all the workers and I’d hate to see Peters Bakery close! I think all we can do is hope that the current owners will realize that they have a bad manager who needs either management training, or another role within the family business.

        • Instead of punishing the employees, or what sounds like a majority of nice people in this family by boycotting, why not target the behavior of the single offender? Letters, emails, phone calls directly to Chuck to voice your displeasure, at the same time praising the employees. Let him know that his customers believe his actions are not appropriate and need to stop and that you appreciate the employees. I’m sure the employees would welcome the input and support. Yes, he is technically the boss now, but It sounds like the business runs just fine without him there. Why does he have to be so stubborn to the detriment of the family business? If there is a need to check in periodically, he can do so when she’s not there to “save his sanity”.

      • Your right the family was really great my family has gone here for years and I can remember being little going and always getting a free cookie from the owner its unfortunate that one person can destroy what the family worked so hard to build. They should remove him not the employee.

        • Really? Move to Russia….This is his business not the governments. This woman is his employee and should be fired at will. One third of his employee’s are Hispanic where is the racism? I can tell you where, i grew up in East San Jose and went to school there, Horace Cureton, Sheppard Middle School, James Lick High School and I learned racism from the Hispanics….gangs, teachers,neighbors, supposed friends. California is a cesspool, glad I left. You can all devour yourselves with your sickness which you can’t see but these posts reveal the truth.

      • Exactly! Let it play out in court. Peters needs to get rid of that manager because he is stinking up the place with his caustic bigoted language.. seems to me that he is a bully.

        • There’s only one owner/manager Chuck! That will not work. He better start thinking settlement or he will lose the bakery and rightfully so!!!

    • Robert
      That was in the past, I went to James Lick and remember the good times with his dad but if someone said these things to your mom or sister you would be very upset. Wrong is wrong and when we stand by and do nothing that is also wrong. These ladies are standing up for themselves. SUPPORT THEM they are the face of Peters bakery who serve us and give us great customer service

    • Do you really know the Peters? Because I do and this is totally in character for Chuck and Dave. There’s some much evidence that Maricela Ramirez will be the new owner of Peter’s Bakery shortly.

  3. If I owned a business I wouldn’t want to be forced to keep an employee I didn’t want there, nor would I want an employer to harass me. These two need a mediator to sit down with them to get to the bottom of what is really wrong. It is never the barking dog.

    • Thank God we have unions to protect us from wishful employers like you. Guess what???? The bakery is the one who hired the employee. This is the biggest, “in your face”, blatant racial discrimination I have ever seen.

      • Let’s see,

        Who has ruled in Marcela’s work history: EDD (unemployment benefits), Labor Commissioner (wage issue), Small Claims Court judge, an independent arbitrator, and now the EEOC case

        Who has ruled in favor of Chuck……no one, zero, nothing.

  4. That’s real sad when your bias starts using bad language. I think he need to retire and kea e the poor woman alone. Thank god I don’t go to that bakery. Yes I know they have been around for years but it’s not the same as when the original owner was alive. He is racist and I don’t care to ever step foot in his place of business.

  5. If I was Mrs. Ramirez I’d be looking to pick up one of those 6 figure government jobs that nobody wants.
    She seems to have plenty of court time maybe the DA or PD office and she is already a union member.
    Perfect fit.
    Now tell me more about the burnt almond cake.

    • Now tell me more about the burnt almond cake.

      It’s been a family favorite as long as I can remember. I will tell you of this burnt Almond cake (pronounced: Aah mond, not All mond)

      Spongecake. Dairy based frosting. The Almonds are cut very thin. They’re baked with butter and sugar until all moisture is out of them, and they have a crunchy texture. These are usually sprinkled over the whole of the cake. Every bite has that crunchy, sweet, buttery, with a hint of almond.

      It’s amazing. Go have one,

      • Wow – last month I paid over $50 for a Burnt Almond cake for my grandson’s birthday and you can bet that wont be happening again! Peters may be an institution of East San Jose, but if the owner is a racist jerk then they will not get any more of my $ that’s for sure!

        They cant be the only bakery to sell Burnt Almond Cake, in fact here is a list of other bakeries that sell it: http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Best+Burnt+Almond+Cake&find_loc=San+Jose%2C+CA

        Consensus is Dick’s Bakery makes it better.

      • He could be related to Biden, or Robert Byrd for all we know, maybe even that Kelly Osbourne… look into it and get back to us would ya?

  6. No character letter would justify Chuck Peters’ behavior PERIOD! He has created a hostile work environment, not just for the two of them but for the entire staff. I am in support of this employee and any ANYONE who fights back unfair treatment.

    • Johnmichael
      Really? You can’t comprehend that the employer admitted to the EEOC that he uses the term “wetbacks”. Did you miss that part?

  7. Is a shame on a good business name but honestly is a Hate discrimination humiliation embarrassment stressful case very disappointed at Pete’s for pulling this

  8. Peter’s is great, the Family is great they just never shoukd have put the crazy Uncle in charge of the business.

    Please we all know people who use ‘colorful’ language in any number of situations bit why in heavens name would you use it when speaking to EEOC investigator there to investigate allegations that include the use if the same langauge?

    Peter’s is a business where those long term employees could probably buy out and take over ownership and do much better,

    • Guess everyone has missed that the uncle has had a stroke !!! and probably a brain stroke, this man is not in his right mind according to what I have read !! He never should have been put in that position in the first place Shame on the family!! He is going to do what his brain tells him!! read about brain stroke. No worker or employee should ever have to deal with what the family should have in the first place!!!!

  9. If she can afford to put her children in catholic school and have 2 mortgages then maybe she should have quit and gone elsewhere she might enjoy working at.
    I have gone to peters since i was a child and will continue but will not have her assist me….

    • Why Nancy? Because she can afford a mortgage and put her kids in Catholic schools? I am not understanding you.

    • Nancy, your ignorant how can you say, you won’t have her assist you? really? geeze the nerve of you when he’s talking about her race and threatened to Kill someone????maybe she doesn’t want to tend to you anyhow move on.

    • Nancy did you read the story? She’s probably helped you for years. Not him! Right is right and wrong is wrong.

    • Explain Nancy why are you not going to have her help you. You don’t even know her and maybe she has in the past welcomed you in with a smile. Unless you are in her shoes you have no idea what he has put her through.

      • Insults do no good. I worked at the Bike Shop next to Peter’s for years and the counter staff and bakers are and always have been top notch. Just because they brought in a rude and racist family member to manage shouldn’t make anybody not patronize the bakery. But the family needs to remove him. He’s done more harm than anyone.

      • @ Gina Gates, lololol AWESOME REPLY!!!!! I think Nancy and Chuck need a double serving of the chocolate cake from “The Help”!

      • There’s only one owner/employer. There is not a family that owns this business. One boss – One racists

    • Really!!!!!! Nancy, why because she is standing up for her rights? He is wrong and No matter how you look at it that is it. If you go there and don’t let her assist you than your just as bad as him.

  10. The bakery was founded in 1936, and the alleged “racist and crazy” uncle, who has only been working there for eight years, is defining this place in the eyes of SJ Inside? Sub par reporting, as usual, from the writers of SJ Inside. I’d be shocked if they gathered any of the quotes by making actual calls, or conducting interviews–probably all from message boards and court documents. Lazy.

  11. My parents bought all our birthday cakes here and the family was very personable I believe this family member has mental problems and should never have been allowed to be in charge of employees.

  12. moral of the story: ensure, in writing, that every employee understands and agrees that they are an at-will employee. It’s your business and you should be able to hire and fire whomever you please. Or everyone is hired on 1-year contracts at a time. Contract ends, and so does her job unless she gets offered another contract.

    • You don’t get to enact draconian policies like that when the workers wise up and unionize.

      • actually you can… many public agencies that have unions, also have at-will employees that are unionized, too. draconian as they might be, it helps small business owners keep control of their businesses.

        • Thank God we have unions to protect us from people like you. Hey dummies, that’s the core union principal, your boss can’t fire you arbitrarily or capriciously! It’s called seniority.

          • I’m not saying this guy is in the right, but why shouldn’t you be able to fire someone if you don’t get along with them? We are not entitled to employment, and that’s what some (not all) unions want you to believe. Yes, this guy is bad news, and probably an old-school racist… but it also seems like they just don’t get along well together, so why shouldn’t he be able to let her go with a severance package or something like that. He’s being forced to keep someone on his staff that he doesn’t work well with…. he’s the owner and boss, so shouldn’t he have authority to make a change? I’m sure you’d want the same.

    • Neither at-will employment nor non-union employment exempt the employer from the employment discrimination laws.

      • agreed… this guy needs to be removed based on his comments. however, the fact remains that he doesn’t get along with her for one reason or another. he’s the boss/owner and should be able to remove her. As I mentioned above, he’s now being forced to keep her, and that can’t be good for anyone.

    • Even under an at-will agreement, an employer cannot fire someone for reasons illegal under state and federal law—namely over retaliation, race, religion or gender.

      I found this explainer helpful >> http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/employment-at-will-definition-30022.html

      Your Rights as an At-Will Employee
      Even if you are an at-will employee, you still cannot be fired for reasons that are illegal under state and federal law. In these situations, the government has decided to make an exception to the general rule of at-will employment.
      For example, if your employer is subject to federal and state laws prohibiting job discrimination (as all but the smallest employers are), you cannot be fired because of certain characteristics, such as your race, religion, or gender. (For more information on discrimination, see Your Rights Against Discrimination and Harassment.) Similarly, you cannot be fired because you have complained about illegal activity, about discrimination or harassment, or about health and safety violations in the workplace (see Nolo’s article Assert Your Safety Rights Without Fear of Retaliation). And you cannot be fired for exercising a variety of legal rights, including the right to take family and medical leave, to take leave to serve in the military, or to take time off work to vote or serve on a jury.

      • Well, employers can apparently be sued or prosecuted for fostering a “hostile work environment”.

        Can employees be fired, or sued, or prosecuted for contributing to a “hostile work environment”?

        • Yes, employees get fired for being inappropriate all the time. But initiating a lawful action against the employer is not inappropriate. And if they get fired for doing that, that would be retaliatory on the part of the employer. Normally conservatives are the ones who object to an “it’s all relative” mentality. This guy Chuck apparently admitted using racist slurs in the workplace. Why are you trying to relativize that? It doesn’t get much clearer. Pick your heroes elsewhere.

  13. Stop buying from there workers are so rude place is dirty I had women help me with a cake she sneeze touch my cake no one didn’t help me walk out told her to wash her hands she said no wow crazy it nasty place

  14. Peter ‘s bakery is lucky to have employees like Marcela. She has helped me numerous times over the years at the bakery. Always greeting me with a smile and a friendly hello. It’s easy to say why doesn’t she leave, but alot of us have been there worried about will the next job be the same. We teach our children to stand up for what we believe is right and not to quit and run away why should we expect her to. I understand its his business but no one should be above the law. Let’s teach him discrimination is not accepted! I am tired of hearing his family is nice, they help the community stop the excuses!!! This is not acceptable!!! So proud of you Marcela you hang in there!!

  15. She’s been stubborn and selfish, quit and get another job. Move on and be the better person. That’s just my opinion.

    • Mia

      You’re an idiot!!! Your opinion is void of the content of the article. The better person, who has done NOTHING wrong, needs to stand and fight so that others are not discriminated or harassed.

    • Sorry, Mia I agree with JD you are an idiot. Go back and read the article. maybe this time you will get it. If you don’t it’s sad to see you will never get it.

  16. The Burnt Almond Cake is good but extremely overrated, the east side has PLENTY of Bakeries/Panaderias that are over all better in taste and variety. San Jose locals please don’t support a business with an openly racist managment, it’s not a good luck for our community.

    • did u no read the article? you can’t boycott it cuz it will only hurt the ones the cour t is trying to help

  17. I love this bakery! Just sad that these two couldn’t make it work. And she’s been working there since 2001! all i know is if that were me, i wouldn’t take his bad mouthing about my heritage and making feel like I’m nothing, yes i would report it, but i couldn’t continue working for him and stress myself out to the extent nor him for that matter. i say move on find another job where you feel great about yourself and love your job no need for all this stress!

    • Dina,

      moving on is weak!!! Why should she have to give up all that she has worked for and specifically, her retirement for a racist SOB!!! She is the victim is the situation.

  18. Chuck is probably senile and needs a retirement home not a bakery. Her leaving is not going to cure his miserableness. He’ll just push that negative energy on another innocent employee. Regardless she is also making things difficult! How much can she possibly be making anyways without an education (as stated in the article) def not enough to support two children, have two mortgages, and still send her kids to Catholic school. Her husband must be making some darn good cash! No matter what nobody should tolerate harassment and it’s unethical to endure such harassment…. no job is worth that.

  19. I would highly advise you to read the pleadings in this case and see what an idiot this man really is. In fact, show up to the next court date. Who cares about donating a burnt almond cake to your local schools? Wait until you see the proof in him calling Mexicans “wetbacks” and all of the hidious claims he has made about anyone who isn’t white.

  20. Oh and I’ve been going there for the lemon cream pie which is also signature. Would be a shame if Peters closed after 30years of going there

  21. I am so disappointed to hear of this situation it sounds like this guy is just a grumpy unhappy old man who is just letting his true colors show it is unfortunate that one bad person can ruin it for so many but all good things must come to an end I guess my family has been buying from this bakery for 30+ years took my grand children there for the first time when they visited this summer but I will not step in there again. GOOD BYE PETERS BAKERY GOOD. BYE!!

  22. My family has bought many cakes from this bakery for years. Its definitely not as good as it used to be. I myself purchased two cakes from there other than burnt almond. Terrible. I think what ever is going on behind the scenes is really effecting their ability to make good cakes. If your not happy at your job its gonna show one way or another. However, boycotting them isnt the answer, they need to get rid of that idiot who runs the place..Its a shame that people like this get away with things because they have money, plain and simple…

  23. It’s not Peters Bakery, it’s the one dumb ass family member that screwing up the family legacy. Someone from the family needs to remove him and do some damage control. I think the bakery, the employees and the community shouldn’t suffer for one man’s stupidity.

  24. Mmm.. Burnt almond cake. I will still continue to buy them. Peters is making the brand look bad but for historical sake i will continue to support that bakery. And the legit bakers that are employed there.

  25. Is the union the only ones that do not have the At Will Act. Most companies now days have this. I only have been to Peters Bakery twice and I was not that happy with the people in the front half,
    so I would say close your doors and retire. These days are not like the old time days. Whole new generation.

    • Thank God union members are not “at will” employees. You sound like an employer Anne! Sounds like if you were the owner, you just fire the at will employee. It’s the only reason you are mentioning it. Union or non-union would not have helped Chucky is this situation. The EEOC is for all workers. You probably got poor service because Chucky was on a rampage on those days. Teixeira, Portuguese, right? Would you be all happy at work if your boss was calling you derogatory Portuguese names??? I’m just saying!

  26. You guys.. dont ruin a local business because of some internal conflict… has any other employee complained about racism? Or is it just one? It sounds to me it is a conflict between employer and employee. The person who wrote this article did a very irresponsible thing because now local people who have been going to this place for years and years might stop going. Nothing good can come from this story. By writing this you very well could have destroyed a local business. This bakery is in a mostly hispanic area, and many of the employees working there are in fact hispanic as well..

    • Yes, there are multiple complaints filed and by multiple employees. Remember EEOC complaints are public record. This is not new folks! You can check eeoc.gov.

    • I cant believe how many people are suggesting that the business does not deserve to suffer the consequences of its obviously blatant racism, yes it is in a mostly Hispanic community – which is EXACTLY WHY they should not be calling anyone WETBACKS – his family made their money off the backs of Mexican migrants and that’s why he treats them like chattel – hes confusing his cows with humans, or more to the point feels that Mexicans are not as human as Portuguese. If you have to cross the Rio Grande or the Atlantic Ocean, who’s back is wetter? He is disgusting. If Jay has his way this would be swept under the rug to protect the guilty, and that’s just wrong!

  27. It’s time to take the keys from grandpa before he runs somebody over and kills them!!! That’s what he is doing with his mouth and his family’s name……the family should remove him from there

  28. Since 1936 the Peters family has offered great products for a reasonable price, created jobs and donated to local charities. They’ve done their part to serve the local community. If I were them I’d lock the door, turn off the lights, and stop baking, before I’d allow anyone to force me to employ someone.

    • AB

      he can stop baking, close his doors, put 20 workers on the street but it will not make this problem go away. Thank God we have unions!!! EEOC, DFEH, FMLA, UI, SDI, weekends, paid time off, holidays, retirement, medical benefits….all brought to you by the power of organized labor. No need to say thanks!

  29. It seems that Chuck has a chip on his shoulder, and David game him part interest in the bakery, but Chuck did not want anything to do with it, and only came in after he had a stroke and could not do what he was doing, cattle ranching.

    If that is the case, please David find something else for your brother, he has no real interest in a bakery that has been a part of East San Jose for so long.

  30. This sounds just like the story of the LA Clippers owner. Having experienced this first hand, I think dementia might be a possibility. People going through changes in the brain become very nasty at times. Look in to it.

  31. > If unions weren’t there people like Ramirez would be unjustly fired all the time, it would be ideal if everyone could just get along but unfortunately that’s not the case with people like chuck who are so filled with hatred.

    Unions can force the government to force people to occupy the same space. But they cannot force people to get along.

    Sometimes, people just need to go their separate ways.

    Even Jimmy Carter recognized the futility of fairness: “Life is unfair”.

    Unions CANNOT deliver fairness; they only amplify bitterness and rage over “unfairness”.

    Fairness is achievable only when everyone is equally miserable. And then, everyone is bitter and angry because they’re miserable.

    • You started off good but then you lost me. There is no doubt that if Marcela did not have a union, she would not have been able to fight it alone. Her case went to an arbitrator 1st, who’s binding decision ruled in her favor. Not in just a little way but in a big way. She was made “whole”. All of her wages, medical and pension benefit contributions were paid to her. There was no justification in the original termination and the harassment has continued ever since. Since 2011!!! How long does someone have to work in that kind of environment? Marcela should be applauded for her courage to stand up to a racist.

      • > She was made “whole”. All of her wages, medical and pension benefit contributions were paid to her. There was no justification in the original termination and the harassment has continued ever since.

        She succeeded in getting “the law” to punish her enemy.

        “The law” is just the opinion of politicians, backed up by muscle and guns.

        She has NOT succeeded in getting along. She did NOT succeed in achieving a harmonious relationship with her employer or her colleagues.

        There were multiple possible resolutions:

        1. The parties could reconcile and agree to get along.
        2. The parties could agree to disagree and go their separate ways.
        3. A bullying third party could intervene and forcibly punish one party and reward the other party.

        Resolution number 3 is the worst resolution, and it is the one that has prevailed.

        No one is happy. Everyone is more bitter and angry than they ever were.

        Then again, YOU may be happy. But what kind of person is made happy be the anger and bitterness of others?

  32. old man Peters is a nutcase who needs to step off the train and let someone else take over in the family..the man obviously has mental illness issues and he needs to seek medical attention..he is a racist and needs to pay Marcella every single penny that she has lost beause of his insanity.
    …god Bless You Marcela for your bravery and standing up for your rights!!!!!!

  33. I think this needs to be reviewed more on the (Safety to the Empoyees) if he’s saying I’m going crazy ! What’s stopping him from going Postal or
    Colmbine on the Employees , most Rednecks &
    Nazi’s do pack a lot of heat .his mental state needs to be questioned ASAP. If she needs to file a restraining order at work Do it.!!!!

  34. My whole family and I have bought from Peters Bakery for as long as I can remember. I am extremely upset and disappointed that the rest of the Peyers family have not removed their uncle. I would say more than 70% of their business is from Hispanics. I personally find the names he has called her reflects how he feels about all of us. Therefore until this is resolved my family an I will no longer do business there. I admire Marcela for standing up for what is right . Come on everyone seriously his comments were racist an inappropriate.

  35. I am asking that San Jose Insider no longer send me any emails regarding any of their articles. I regret the day I commented on this site. San Jose Insider likes to promote hate against Latinos and anyone associated with a union. What is the purpose of this story? What I find more sad is people buying into this racial hate that is promoted by the Metro and the politicians that they help elect and promote.

    Lately there has much hate and prejudice again Latinos in the Mercury News and many other media outlets. What I find disturbing that many of our so called Hispanic political leaders stay quiet. I urge all Latinos to read “El Narco” by Ioan Grillo. It is a book that will explain what is happening in Mexico with the help of the United States government. The Metro is El Narco with the poison it sells and promotes and the money it makes off of that poison.

  36. Having tried to work with Chuck several years ago on a different level. This seems to be his M.O. intimidation and bullying. I believe (Nancy) who made comments above is his wife who also works at the bakery.

  37. This is not a tale of unions or politics, it is the sadly classic tale of family business gone bad. Long standing well respected business then run by the (son, daughter, brother in law fill in the blank) who cannot work with people due to either some deep seated bigotry or mental Heath issue or both…but being in (theoretically) absolute power in his or her little fiefdom….makes life miserable for those around. If there was a solid remaining family member that could put this guy out to pasture, all might be ok. But without that we’ll see another well respected local business fall away. And then I won’t know where to get my mothers favorite burnt almond cake ….

  38. Wow, so sad. I grew up in East San Jose (White/Alum Rock), went to James Lick High and sadly, the neighborhood has really changed. EVERYONE in East San Jose knows and goes to Peter’s Bakery… their burnt almond cake is classic. Brownies the best (they actually put walnuts in them!!), glazed donuts, cream puffs/eclairs… wow, just so sad that this one OWNER is making a bad name for himself. Sounds like Chuck Peters has totally lost it and ALL his employees probably feel threatened working for a RACIST like him!! The man has and is threatening to “kill someone”, that alone would be reason for me to quit if I worked there. No job is worth losing your life over. And dare I say it… Peter’s will probably end up closing it’s doors. It’s been in operation since 1936… almost 80 yrs. now. I live out of state now and when I’m passing through San Jose, that is the ONE place I always stop at… but not if this loon is going be lurking about. I get a very ‘bad vibe’ from this story and it’s not going to end pretty. Mr. Peters needs to RETIRE now. Go away and be with the animals and maybe you can learn something from being around them… peace and bliss.

  39. For those retards that don’t understand what a racial slur is, get over yourselves. HISPANIC is a CULTURE not a freaken RACE. Ramirez could be whiter than him or black. So quit making this ‘wetback’ slur a grounds for racial counting. It is DISCRIMINATION and DENIGRATION, but not Racism. El Portugués

  40. Chuck really screwed things up, and has tarnished his father’s legacy. The people that work in that bakery have been there for years, and some are second or third generation employees whose parents or grandparents once worked there. Boycotting the bakery because of Chuck is detrimental to the lively hood of these people. At the end of the day the employees are the ones producing the baked goods and running the business. He shows up only to collect money and micromanage people. And in the case of Marcella, she worked there long before Chuck started managing there full time. Why should she have to walk away from her job and friends because the owner has chosen to get rid of her because of her race? She is a very brave and courageous person for standing up for herself.

  41. Too bad they didn’t try mediation with the County of Santa Clara or another agency. This could have made a big difference! I hope they work it out, I love the burnt almond cakes!

  42. I went there for the 1st time last year and those lady’s were not friendly to me. They seemed to give other customers, most likely regulars, but I felt discriminated because they did not even acknowledge me. Trust me, I wont be going back anytime soon.

  43. I don’t know of this bakery, nor do I know of this man. The facts will settle the way they do. These relationships exist all the time in business, and I have always said that the number of bad manager/supervisors far outweigh the number of good ones. In a room of a thousand managers you could throw a dart and more than not it will land on a bad manager. Why? Because it takes a lot of time, work, patience, understanding, training, and listening to be a good manager. Most people become managers because of the money and title, and the belief that they don’t have to work hard anymore.

  44. I’m just curious but is having an accent a protected class?

    This guy is obviously a racist DB, but I suspect the only reason she’s staying in the job is she’s giving this guy enough rope to ratchet her payout up even further. When that comes, the place will go out of business, and other other workers will be applying for various burger flipping jobs.

  45. Don’t know why you’d want to work somewhere that you weren’t wanted. Certainly couldn’t work somewhere where they openly let me know my presence made someone’s life a living hell. And then racist on top of that? That’s crazy in a Charlie Sheen sort of way. I guess she feels she’s Winning.

  46. What folks fail to see is that the employees ARE the bakery…The family owns the name PETERS but these workers have and always will be the producers of the fine products we have known and loved for all these many years…….we all owe THEM for all the pleasures they have given to us…..sure the family was nice but they could have never achieved the fame and fortune without these hard, dedicated employees….hopefully they can find a way to become the future owners…hate to lose all this due to one bad apple.

  47. I’ll never go back to Peters Bakery. I always bought cakes there. I would drive from the south side of San Jose just to get their cakes. Never again…

  48. In all likelihood, the owner had a personality conflict with Ramirez. As he put it, she was driving him insane. That does not appear to have much to do with race. This happens on the job all the time and often this results in either reconciliation or dismissal (irrespective of “fault”) just to maintain a less acrimonious workplace. The racial aspect seems introduced to project this into a larger narrative as well as to give the situation legal significance. If the owner is a racist, and firing Ramirez for racist reasons, why single her out when most of the staff is also Latino? More likely, Ramirez and Peter’s blood started boiling over another matter and what we are seeing is an escalation stoked by people on the sidelines.

  49. Are we to wait for this deranged person, to kill all the hispanics, that are driving him insane.
    HE has warned all of us of his intent.
    This is the TRUMP CARD, in play.
    SJI, what are you going to do to have her 2 daughters, not become motherless when this animal, kill their mother, and God For Bid all the other Hispanics that work there.

  50. One thing everyone missed is that Portguese (like the Peter’s family) is also a Hispanic culture. They are not Latino but they are Hispanic. This issue recently came up with the selection of a Hispanic Justice to the Supreme Court. The press kept saying she was the first Hispanic to be elected to the Court. They were confused between the terms Hispanic/Latino. She was the first Latino on the Supreme Court but not the first Hispanic. The first Hispanic on the Court was Cardoza who was appointed in the 1930’s. However some dismiss his Portaguese/Hispanic heritage because he was a Jew. Because he was a Jew several of the other Justices would not speak to him and stated that in public.

    For once I agree with Jimmy Carter, “Life is not fair.” Too bad about the Bakery though. The statements by ‘Chuck’ do seem odd and perhaps he has some mental issues, happens in the best of families. There will be no ‘winner’ here but the East Side patrons will lose if the Bakery is closed. I’ve been going there for over 50 years and ALWAYS enjoyed the pleasant staff..

  51. I am going to that bakery for the first time tomorrow. I want to look into this racist’s eyes, and take as many photos of this tragic episode, that we allow to exist, with in our community
    There is tragedy, in this place, waiting to happen.
    Does this sick person have registered guns?

  52. Yes, Lou, for that reason, they are concidered,
    it is better to loose the business, than have this insane, individulal, kill everyone he suspects is driving him insane.
    All of you that, are enabling this racist, for what others are cooking up, will be attending
    The funeral that will surely follow, if he is left to continue.
    This is not the first time, that we have been warned by an insane admitted, to be killer.
    Sleep with those thought!

  53. I have visited Peters’ on various occasions. It is not so great.
    In a typical visit to this unclean establishment, service offered is neither friendly nor professional.
    We have had their burnt almond cake many times over the years. It is decent.
    We are really not so interested in the behind-the-scenes soap opera.
    It would be nice if the bakery was under totally new management, and receives a full makeover.
    But those decisions are for its owners to make.
    And you are seeking excellent cakes, do try Aki’s on Meridian.

  54. Stimpson,
    This is not about your idea of a good recommendation on pastries.
    If you consider a threat to kill sone one, a soap opera, you are not of this community.
    This is the real value, of a site like SJI. You get to hear from all of the maginalized, Racists. Goof Balls. A good definition is TRUMPERS.

  55. Why has the family not stepped in to remove this (obviously) mentally ill family member from the bakery? If it could be handed to him, surely it could be taken back.
    He’s proven to be a toxic force, and potentially dangerous. Sounds as if the bakery itself needs a new energy, and a good cleaning, for starters.

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