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Delegations to Staples Stores
To Protest Postal Retail Units

APWU News Bulletin 01-2014, Jan. 6, 2014 | PDF

The Staples store in Shrewsbury MA.

The Staples store in Shrewsbury MA.

Local, state and retiree chapter presidents across the country are preparing to send delegations to Staples stores in their communities to protest the establishment of postal retail units staffed by low-wage, non-union, non-postal employees.

The delegations will present letters of protest to store managers by Jan. 18. “I urge APWU members to participate,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “The meetings with Staples store managers are intended to put Staples on notice that we are about to embark on a serious campaign to win these jobs for postal employees,” he wrote to local and state presidents on Dec. 26.

UPS, FedEx Fiasco Shows Need
For Public Postal Service
The failure of United Parcel Service and FedEx to deliver holiday packages by Christmas demonstrates the importance of the Postal Service, said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

The USPS performed well during the holiday season, but could have done even better were it not for the mandate to pre-fund healthcare benefits for retirees 75 years in advance, the union noted.

The Postal Service is under attack by corporate privatizers who want to take over the nation’s mail service, Dimondstein said. “Companies like FedEx and United Parcel Service want to get their hands on the Postal Service’s revenue.”

A 2011 Wall Street Journal editorial (Junking the Junk Mail Office) by a former United Parcel Service director underscores the point, he said. The column called for the USPS to be turned over to his company and other private corporations.

The Postal Service is able to provide better, cheaper service because it belongs to the people and operates on a non-profit basis, Dimondstein said. “The APWU will unite with the American people to preserve and expand this people’s Postal Service,” he said. “We need a vibrant service for generations to come.”

The USPS notified the union in October that it was launching a pilot program to put retail units in more than 80 Staples stores. If Staples management and postal brass consider the pilot a success, the program could be extended to Staples’ 1,600 other stores. Agreements between the USPS and other big retailers could follow.

“This is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,” Dimondstein said when he learned of the deal. “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. Postal workers deserve better, and our customers deserve better.”

About 40 percent of all APWU members work in retail operations, Dimondstein points out, so the threat to postal jobs and to the public Postal Service is real.

“But postal employees live and work in every city and town in the country,” the union president noted. “That is our strength. We must impress upon Staples that we intend to let their customers across the country know about our fight to protect living-wage, union jobs.”

After the visits with store managers, the APWU plans to organize a day of action at Staples stores around the country, followed by sustained actions at a number of stores where postal retail units have opened.

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