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Postal Workers’ Union Asks Public to Oppose Staples/Office Depot Merger

Online Petition to FTC Goes Viral, More Than 5,000 Signers in 36 Hours, Union Begins to Leaflet Shoppers at Staples Stores in Call to Block Merger

For Immediate Release

08/27/2015 - WASHINGTON – An online petition calling on the Federal Trade Commission to enforce America’s anti-trust laws has gone viral, gathering more than 5,000 signatures in less than 36 hours and exceeding the union’s stated goal.

“We expected it would take a week or two to get more than 5,000 supporters, but we reached our goal in a little more than a day,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “Thousands of consumers share our concern about Staples using its monopoly power to raise prices.”

APWU members are campaigning against the proposed merger, which could harm consumers and businesses. Union activists will visit Staples locations in the coming weeks to inform consumers about higher prices that could result from a merger, and to collect additional signatures at www.APWU.org/no-sale.  Leafleting began last week at a Staples store on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.

“This merger would give Staples a monopoly in a key sector of the economy,” states the APWU petition. “This is no game; it means higher prices and fewer choices for consumers. Let's tell the FTC that consumers across the country want real enforcement of our nation's anti-trust laws.”

The proposed merger, announced in February, appears to be facing an uphill climb, with growing questions from consumers, anti-trust experts, and investment analysts.

  • In July, the American Anti-Trust Institute (AAI) released a white paper calling on the FTC to take a “deep dive” and “carefully scrutinize the competitive impact” of the proposed deal. Among other issues, AAI general counsel Randy Stutz noted the impact of an office supply superstore monopoly on large business customers.

“Competition for the largest customers in the contract market is basically on life support,” said Stutz. “We don’t see any companies left in the enterprise contract market that can mount a serious challenge to Staples or Office Depot.”

  • Also in July, Daryl Boehringer of the Cleveland Research Company, an independent investment firm, issued a report stating that the “most probable outcome” is likely FTC action to block the proposed merger. The deal is likely to fail, Boehringer said, due to the high degree of market share that would be controlled by the combined company.

In May, the APWU released “No Sale,” a white paper detailing the harmful impact of the proposed merger on consumers, with particular focus on low-income citizens and communities of color. Union representatives met with the FTC to share the APWU’s findings, and the union is currently conducting additional research on business-to-business (B2B) impacts. The union will release a follow-up report to “No Sale” in September.

The FTC is currently reviewing the proposed merger, taking depositions, and asking Staples and Office Depot for additional information.

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The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service,
and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
For more information on the APWU, visit www.apwu.org