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Postal Workers Union: Harvard President Should Stop Deal that Outsources Postal Services to Staples or Resign from Staples Board

Full-page ad in Harvard Crimson says the university’s involvementwith Staples sullies Harvard’s reputation

For Immediate Release

10/22/2014 - CAMBRIDGE, MASS.  – The Harvard Crimson today features a full-page advertisement calling on Harvard President Drew Faust “to do the right thing or resign.” The right course of action, the American Postal Workers Union says, is to use her influence to end a no-bid deal between the office-supply chain and the United States Postal Service. The deal outsources postal services to Staples.  In addition to her role as Harvard’s top administrator, Faust serves on the board of Staples, where she earns $300,000 per year.

“We’re not talking about just selling stamps,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Staples is pretending to be a post office, using low-wage, poorly-trained workers in an environment with weak security. Mail handled by Staples isn’t even considered U.S. Mail until it is handed-off to a uniformed postal worker.”  Staples also has a problem with cyber security. This week the company reported that it was the victim of a cyber attack that led to the theft of customer data from a number of its Northeast stores.

The troubled retailer announced in March that it was closing 225 stores. Beyond weak sales and security issues, Staples has a history of being a poor employer. A 2012 study by the National Employment Law Project lists Staples as one of the 50 largest low-wage employers in the United States. 

“Dr. Faust sends a bad message by serving on the Staples board. This deal weakens the quality of postal services; is bad news for consumers, and a black eye for Harvard,” said Dimondstein. “If she’s going to serve there, she should do more than just collect a fat check. She should stop this dirty deal between USPS and Staples.”

The final line of the APWU advertisement states, “Show Us That a Harvard University President Can’t be Bought.”