Attention Higher Education Reporters
Postal Workers Question Harvard President Drew Faust’s Role on Staples Board of Directors
04/02/2015 - BOSTON – The American Postal Workers Union is running a full-page ad in today’s Harvard Crimson, arguing that university president Drew Faust “sullies” her own reputation and “smears Harvard’s good name” by serving on the board of directors of Staples, Inc.
The ad calls on Dr. Faust to “Stop the Dirty Deals” that Staples has negotiated behind closed doors with the U.S. Postal Service.
The union’s advertisement was featured in an April 1 Boston Globe story and can be viewed on the APWU website.
“Why would one of the world’s great universities want to be associated with a company that is closing stores, laying off workers and undermining the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service?” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Drew Faust should use her influence to get Staples out of the postal business – or she should get off the company’s board of directors.”
Faust earns more than $250,000 a year as a director of Staples, on top of her $1.04 million annual compensation from Harvard.
Staples, which has seen declining sales for 11 straight quarters, has announced plans to close 255 stores and lay off hundreds of workers this year. The company is attempting to secure junk bond financing for a proposed merger with Office Depot, currently under review by the Federal Trade Commission.
Desperate for new business, Staples has arranged a backroom deal that privatizes U.S mail services. Staples offers faux “post offices” inside hundreds of its stores staffed by low-wage, high-turnover employees with few benefits.
Staples corporate policy limits employees to part-time hours to make sure they don’t quality for health care benefits. A company memo, recently obtained by Buzzfeed, shows that company managers have threatened to terminate employees who clock in for more than 25 hours.
“The way Staples treats its employees is just plain wrong,” said Dimondstein. The student body and the Harvard community have a right to know what kind of company their president is keeping.”
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 APWU, visit www.apwu.org