Hundreds of Postal Workers, Supporters to Protest on Steps of City Hall and at Adjacent Staples in Downtown Boston Wednesday
‘Don’t Buy Staples’ Campaign Picks up Steam in Home Market of Troubled Retailer
08/25/2014 - Postal Workers and supporters will protest a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Framingham-based retailer Staples at a rally in downtown Boston on Wednesday, August 27.
Who: Postal workers and supporters
What: Protest against outsourcing of postal services to Staples
When: Wednesday, August 27, at 5 p.m.
Where: Steps of City Hall and Staples at One Washington Mall, Downtown Boston (Southside Steps of City Hall Plaza)
With the back-to-school season in full swing, postal workers are urging parents and teachers not to buy school supplies at Staples. School supplies account for approximately 30 percent of Staples’ revenue.
Since January, APWU members and supporters have staged hundreds of rallies in front of Staples stores around the country to protest a no-bid deal with the U.S. Postal Service that established postal counters in 82 of the office-supply stores. The USPS and Staples hope to expand the program to all of Staples’ 1,500 U.S. stores. Last week protesters rallied in downtown Boston and joined members of the Lynn Teachers Union for a rally at a Staples store in Saugus, Massachusetts.
An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the deal is to replace the jobs held by postal employees with low-paying jobs at Staples.
“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” said John Dirzius, Northeast Region Coordinator for the APWU. “It is about protecting the public Postal Service. Many people are outraged that a cherished public asset is being used to prop up a struggling private company.” The company recently announced another quarter of declining sales, and confirmed plans to close 140 stores in 2014.
“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” he said.
“A failing private company doesn’t belong in the postal business,” said Bob Dempsey, Vice President of the APWU’s Boston Metro Local. “Postal consumers want reliable service from highly-trained workers who have taken an oath to protect their letters and packages. Staples can’t offer that.”
“The Boston Teachers Union and its 11,000 members strongly support the postal workers who provide an excellent service to the American public,” said BTU President Richard Stutman. “Contracting that service out to a third party will diminish that service and weaken a great American institution. We stand behind our postal workers 100 percent and will urge our members to boycott Staples.”
In the middle of the crucial back-to-school season, Seeking Alpha, a leading investment website, reports that Staples is so “desperate” to win sales that it is offering a 110% price-match guarantee on school supplies. “The retailer is admitting that the only way that it can get customers in the door is to practically give some of its products away,” the website reported.
“If Staples wants to give away products, that’s their business,” said Dirzius. “But when the U.S. Postal Service tries to give away a public resource, that’s everybody’s business.”