The Great Postal Giveaway
Home News & Events The Great Postal Giveaway USPS Sends Jobs, Work to Staples

USPS Sends Jobs, Work to Staples
APWU Vows to Stop the Great Postal Giveaway

When Staples agreed to put USPS retail units in its stores, the office-supply chain may have gotten more than it bargained for.

(This article appears in the January-February 2014 edition of The American Postal Worker.)

The postal unit at the Staples

The postal unit at the Staples
store in Westborough MA.

In a deal that has been in the works at least since March 2012, the USPS announced in November that it was launching a pilot program to place postal retail units in more than 80 Staples stores in four states: California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

(A list of Staples locations with postal units appears below.)

Some of the sites opened quietly in October and others opened in November, including some where ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held. If postal management and Staples consider the pilot successful, the program may be expanded to the chain’s 1,600 other locations. Agreements between the USPS and other big retailers may follow.

“This is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein declared when he heard the news.

“The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,” he said. “Postal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.”

The Staples campaign will emulate the APWU’s successful battle against Sears 25 years ago!

The Staples campaign will emulate the APWU’s successful battle against Sears 25 years ago!

In his first meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, eight days after taking office as APWU president, Dimondstein insisted that if the plan proceeds, the postal units at Staples must be staffed by career postal employees.

The APWU followed up with a request for information about the specifics of the deal, and instructed the union’s attorneys to explore legal avenues to challenge the program.

Dimondstein also requested a meeting with Ron Sargent, the Chairman and CEO of Staples, to discuss the union’s concerns.

But the APWU doesn’t intend to let the matter rest there.

The union is embarking on a campaign to stop the great giveaway of postal jobs and work to Staples. “While these efforts proceed, we will begin preparations for protests at Staple stores across the country,” the union president said.

The campaign will emulate the APWU’s successful battle to stop Sears from establishing a similar in-store postal retail program — 25 years ago!

In October 1988, when management informed the union of a test program placing postal retail units in 10 Sears stores in Chicago and one in Madison WI, the union objected immediately. And when management refused to reconsider the plan, APWU President Moe Biller asked union members to protest the program.

APWU members heeded the call in unprecedented numbers. Union members mailed thousands of letters of protest to Sears Chairman Ed Brennan. Many cut up their Sears credit cards and included the shredded plastic with their letters. The union organized informational picket lines at the Sears Tower in Chicago — the company’s corporate headquarters — and at Sears stores. At the time, Sears was the nation’s largest retailer.

Tell Him, Pete!
Peter Furgiuele didn’t wait for the national union to take action. As soon as the president of the Long Island NY Area Local heard about the Staples deal, he dashed off a letter to the company’s CEO, Ronald Sargent.

“I am writing this letter to voice our displeasure with your company entering into an agreement with the United States Postal Service establishing 82 Contract Postal Units (CPUs),” he said.

“We realize that Staples is not solely to blame.” he continued. The Postmaster General has been dismantling the Postal Service throughout his tenure, he continued. “This is just another step in that process.”

Furgiuele informed the CEO that APWU members have the ability to tell many, many people about the negative effects of the Staples deal. “Nationally we have 200,000 members,” he wrote. “You can do the math as to the amount of people we can reach.”

The APWU also sought and won support from other labor organizations. The New York City Central Labor Council — the nation’s largest, representing 1.5 million workers — also sent letters objecting to the program to the Sears CEO and to Postmaster General Anthony Frank.

Finally, on June 30, 1989, the Postal Service announced that the Sears postal units would be shut down by Oct. 1. Mary Jean House, a spokeswoman for Sears, said, “We prefer to remove ourselves from an issue that should be resolved by the postal workers and the Postal Service.”

After a year of struggle, the APWU had stopped the program, which could have eliminated thousands of USPS retail jobs.

President Biller said, “As the thousands of APWU letters poured into the office of Sears Chairman Ed Brennan every day, it obviously became clear to Sears that postal workers know how to fight when they are under attack. The possibility of a nationwide consumer action against Sears, led by the APWU, was too much of a price for Sears to pay for participating in postal management’s privatization scheme.”

Today’s APWU president couldn’t help noticing the similarities between the battle over Sears and today’s fight over Staples. “Two-and-a-half decades ago, the APWU warned of the dangers of privatization,” he said. “Today the danger is much, much greater.

“Postal management will undoubtedly try to convince our members that this arrangement is beneficial because it creates revenue for the USPS,” Dimondstein said. “But revenue without good union jobs is not in the interest of our members. Postal services that are performed by anyone other than well-trained postal workers will not serve the American people well,” he said.

“The Staples pilot is a huge step toward privatizing retail services,” Dimondstein said. “If we don’t draw a line in the sand, mail processing and other operations will soon follow.”

The Staples units will offer most postal products and services: They will sell stamps; accept first-class letters, Priority, Priority Express, standard mail, first-class packages, and certified mail. The units will be operational during Staples’ business hours — as late as 9 p.m. on weekdays, on Sundays and many holidays. And, in a unique arrangement, the office supply giant will offer 5% Staples Rewards for the postage on packages paid for and shipped at its locations.

“We can only stop these privatization plans if we work and fight together,” Dimondstein said. “We will keep APWU members informed of any progress at the national level. In the meantime, prepare for action!”

Pilot Program Locations for Placing Postal Retail Units in Staples Stores
Note: The USPS has not responded to the APWU's request for a list of pilot locations for placing postal retail units in Staples stores. However, the Postal Service provided the Going Postal blog with the list below of more than 80 pilot locations and their opening dates in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The list [PDF | XLS] was posted Nov. 17, 2013.

City  State  Opening   Address  ZIP Code   Store No. 
Antioch CA 28-Oct-13 4863 Lone Tree Way 94531-8553 1321
Berkeley CA 5-Nov-13 2352 Shattuck Ave. 94704-5207 1458
Campbell CA 8-Nov-13 500 East Hamilton Ave. 95008-0210 375
Concord CA 31-Oct-13 4498 Treat Blvd. 94521-2704 1365
Cupertino CA 7-Nov-13 20830 Stevens Creek Blvd. 95014-2121 1478
El Cerrito CA 6-Nov-13 11545 San Pablo Ave. 94530-1951 474
Escondido CA 7-Nov-13 1358 West Valley Parkway 92029-3129 276
Fairfield CA 12-Nov-13 1250 Oliver Road 94534-3467 1452
Foster City CA 12-Nov-13 2230 Bridgepoint Parkway 94404-1569 875
Fremont CA 5-Nov-13 43484 Boscell Rd. 94538-5131 655
Fremont CA 6-Nov-13 39116 Fremont Hub 94538-1328 1299
Gilroy CA 29-Oct-13 8840 San Ysidro Ave. 95020-3682 771
Hollister CA 28-Oct-13 1725 Airline Highway 95023-5612 1033
Menlo Park CA 11-Nov-13 700 El Camino Real Ste. 120 94025-4884 1379
Milpitas CA 4-Nov-13 627 East Calaveras Blvd. 95035-7705 358
Morgan Hill CA 30-Oct-13 1023 Cochrane Rd 95037-9305 1428
Napa CA 13-Nov-13 3325 Jefferson Street 94558-3437 422
Novato CA 11-Nov-13 55 Rowland Way 94945-5001 944
Pinole CA 7-Nov-13 1230 Fitzgerald Drive 94564-2252 652
Pittsburg CA 1-Nov-13 2000 North Park Blvd. 94565-4122 420
Pleasant Hill CA 30-Oct-13 2120 Contra Costa Blvd. 94523-3742 443
S. San Francisco CA 13-Nov-13 470 Noor Ave. 94080-5957 488
San Francisco CA 14-Nov-13 1700 Van Ness Ave. 94109-3621 818
San Jose CA 31-Oct-13 760 Newhall Drive 95110- 1106 719
San Jose CA 1-Nov-13 121 Bernal Road 95119-1396 1327
San Leandro CA 4-Nov-13 15555 East 14th St Ste. 200 94578-1975 1394
San Rafael CA 8-Nov-13 655 Irwin Street 94901-3943 492
San Ramon CA 29-Oct-13 2710 Crow Canyon Road 94583-1606 593
Sonoma CA 14-Nov-13 977 West Napa Street 95476-6422 1488
Temecula CA 5-Nov-13 32120 Hwy 79 South 92592-6801 1346
Ukiah CA 15-Nov-13 1225 Airport Park Blvd. 95482-7400 800
Vista CA 6-Nov-13 235 Vista Village Drive 92083-4998 1334
Acworth GA 25-Oct-13 3344 Cobb Parkway 30101-8344 1270
Alpharetta GA 31-Oct-13 945 North Point Drive 30022-8266 560
Atlanta GA 8-Nov-13 5560 Roswell Rd 30342-1861 1839
Atlanta GA 12-Nov-13 3535 Peachtree Road NE Ste. 103 30326-1276 1003
Atlanta GA 15-Nov-13 650 Ponce De Leon Ave. 30308-1804 1005
Bethlehem GA 22-Oct-13 916 Loganville Highway 30620-2144 1894
Buford GA 6-Nov-13 3205 Woodward Crossing Blvd. Ste. F 30519-4944 562
Canton GA 1-Nov-13 108 Riverstone Parkway 30114-2448 796
Carrollton GA 6-Nov-13 1325 South Park Street 30117-4433 539
Cartersville GA 24-Oct-13 155 Cherokee Place 30121-2966 513
Conyers GA 30-Oct-13 1550 Dogwood Drive 30013-5041 1022
Cumming GA 5-Nov-13 2355 Market Place Blvd 30041-7933 1808
Duluth GA 14-Nov-13 2255 Pleasant Hill Road 30096-2325 568
East Point GA 13-Nov-13 3675 Marketplace Blvd. 30344-5730 1113
Fayetteville GA 8-Nov-13 105 Banks Station 30214-7503 1649
Hiram GA 7-Nov-13 4471 Jimmy Lee Smith Pkwy. Ste. I 30141-2727 1786
LaGrange GA 5-Nov-13 240 New Franklin Road 30240-2344 1016
Lithonia GA 29-Oct-13 8170 Mall Parkway 30038-2545 1267
McDonough GA 31-Oct-13 1772 Jonesboro Road 30253-5900 1284
Milton GA 30-Oct-13 13071 Highway 9 North 30004-5137 1838
Morrow GA 1-Nov-13 1865 Mount Zion Road 30260-4179 1110
Peachtree City GA 7-Nov-13 225 Market Place Connector 30269-3542 1035
Rome GA 22-Oct-13 212 Shorter Ave. 30165-4288 1123
Roswell GA 28-Oct-13 1125 Woodstock Road 30075-8220 1028
Snellville GA 25-Oct-13 2059 Scenic Highway 30078-6142 557
Suwanee GA 23-Oct-13 3630 Peachtree Parkway 30024-6049 1162
Tucker GA 28-Oct-13 4351 Hugh Howell Road 30084-4706 1910
W. Marietta GA 4-Nov-13 2535B Dallas Highway 30064-2662 575
Auburn MA 12-Nov-13 436 Southbridge Street 01501-2442 294
Gardner MA 13-Nov-13 60 Pearson Blvd. 01440-3910 1277
Shrewsbury MA 17-Oct-13 571 Boston Turnpike 01545-5977 59
Sturbridge MA 11-Nov-13 120 Charlton Road 01566-1564 1193
Westborough MA 14-Nov-13 18 Lyman Street 01581-1459 1216
Worcester MA 15-Nov-13 541B Lincoln Street 01605-1905 1218
Belle Vernon PA 24-Oct-13 796 Tri County Plaza 15012-1992 533
Butler PA 11-Nov-13 110 Moraine Pointe Plaza 16001-2411 680
Cranberry PA 15-Nov-13 6910 US 322 16319-3108 1198
Cranberry Township PA 8-Nov-13 1675 Route 228 16066-5307 1021
Greensburg PA 25-Oct-13 6207 Route 30 Ste. 1027 15601-6444 389
Indiana PA 28-Oct-13 3100 Oakland Ave. 15701-3240 428
Monaca PA 7-Nov-13 3938 Brodhead Road 15061-3028 790
New Castle PA 13-Nov-13 2551 W State Street 16101-1036 693
New Kensington PA 29-Oct-13 100 Tarentum Bridge Road 15068-4670 614
Pittsburgh PA 30-Oct-13 4801 McKnight Road 15237-3423 570
Pittsburgh PA 31-Oct-13 2515 Banksville Road 15216-2809 1007
Pittsburgh PA 1-Nov-13 6375 Penn Ave. Ste. B 15206-4051 1799
Pittsburgh PA 5-Nov-13 6521 Steubenville Pike 15205-1005 711
Pittsburgh PA 6-Nov-13 999 Freeport Road 15238-3123 1597
Uniontown PA 23-Oct-13 3 Work Parkway 15401-8993 705
Washington PA 21-Oct-13 301 Oak Spring Road 15301-2966 929


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