Staples Can Run – But They Can’t Hide Online
Postal Workers Launch Online Boycott Targeting Staples’ Back-to-School Sales
Internet Ads: ‘It’s Easy’ to Buy Elsewhere
08/15/2014 - The American Postal Workers Union has opened a new front in its campaign against a secretive, no-bid deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples that established knock-off post offices in 82 of the office- and school-supply stores. These “postal” counters are staffed by low-paid, poorly-trained Staples employees rather than uniformed, highly-trained USPS employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity and security of the U.S. Mail.
The APWU has purchased web-based advertisements directed at parents, teachers and other online shoppers seeking school supplies. The advertisements encourage shoppers to take their business to retailers other than Staples. One-third of Staples’ revenue is derived from the sale of school supplies and half of its sales now originate online.
“Postal workers and our supporters have staged hundreds of protests in front of Staples stores since January,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “With the back-to-school season upon us, we’re expanding our efforts with online ads.”
An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the USPS/Staples arrangement is to replace the jobs held by USPS employees with low-paying jobs at Staples.
“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” Dimondstein said. “It is about protecting the public Postal Service. Many people are outraged that a cherished public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.” Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.
“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein pointed out. “As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?”
While APWU has added Internet advertising to its arsenal, protests outside Staples stores are also continuing to expand. For example, two major rallies are scheduled in the next two weeks in Boston. On August 20, the same day Staples reports quarterly earnings, APWU will be holding a rally in conjunction with local teachers in front of a Staples store in the Boston suburb of Saugus, Massachusetts. A week later, on August 27, a massive rally is being planned for the steps of Boston’s city hall. And across the country, postal workers will be handing out rulers in front of Staples stores through Labor Day that say, “Don’t buy back-to-school supplies at Staples.”
Staples and the USPS are clearly feeling pressure. In July, they announced they were changing the name of their partnership. However, the USPS acknowledged that the renamed program is essentially the same as the old program. Low-paid, poorly-trained Staples clerks will continue to handle letters and packages dropped off at Staples stores.
Earlier in July, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers passed resolutions in support of the Stop Staples! campaign. The AFL-CIO and many other major labor organizations have also endorsed the boycott.
For more information about the campaign to protect quality service and good-paying jobs, visit Stop Staples.com.