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APWU Web News Articles

‘Stop Staples’ Movement Grows

California Teachers Association and Washington DC, Indiana, Sacramento Labor Councils Sign On

Web News Article #: 
121-2014

06/19/2014 - The California Teachers Association and several other labor organizations have joined the Stop Staples campaign. In a letter to Staples CEO Ronald L. Sargent and Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, the CTA urged them to abandon the program that established postal counters in the office-supply stores staffed with Staples employees.

“We interact everyday with over 6 million students and their families in California. As a labor union comprised of members ranging from pre-kindergarten to university educators, we are very concerned for the well-being of working class families throughout California and the country,” President Dean E. Vogel wrote. The CTA has 325,000 members.

“We feel that a fiscally healthy US Postal Service is important to the economy of the state and nation and strongly encourage the USPS to not outsource its core postal services to private organizations,” he said.

“The USPS is sabotaging its economic viability by choosing to turn over many of its core services to private corporations like Staples and driving its customers away from the post office. The USPS is shifting skilled middle class jobs into part-time, hourly positions with this Staples deal. We strongly feel that this agreement will lead to a further reduction of post office services and employment,” Vogel added.

“The California Teachers Association stands with postal workers, legislators and educators across California and the country and we oppose the USPS-Staples post office privatization agreement,” he concluded.

Washington DC Weighs In

The Washington, DC Metro Council AFL-CIO unanimously endorsed a boycott of Staples on June 16. “We are asking all Council affiliates, allies and supporters to immediately take their business elsewhere,” said Council president Jos Williams. Options include locally-based Guernsey or Office Depot.

The Council also urged area union locals and community groups to pass resolutions supporting postal workers and to send letter to Staples indicating their opposition to the USPS-Staples privatization deal.

“The U.S. Postal Service has struck a no-bid, sweetheart deal with Staples to operate postal counters in 82 Staples stores and to provide nearly all the services U.S. Post Offices provide,” said Dena Briscoe, president of the APWU Nation’s Capital and Southern Maryland Local.

“We believe the American people have a right to Post Offices staffed by highly-trained, uniformed postal employees – employees who have taken an oath to safeguard the privacy and security of their mail.” Williams added that “We also object, in principle, to short-sighted business arrangements that replace good, living-wage jobs with high-turnover, low-wage jobs, as the USPS-Staples deal does.”

Indiana’s In It

The Indiana AFL-CIO also joined the movement, voting on June 6 to endorse a ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ resolution.

The federation sent an email alert to all of its member unions, urging them to honor the boycott. The state organization also sent a letter to Sargent, the Staples CEO, notifying him of the group’s opposition to the program and informing him of its intent to boycott Staples.

Indiana Postal Workers Union President Doug Brown expressed appreciation for the AFL-CIO’s support, and said it demonstrated the importance of affiliating with the labor federation at the national, state and local level.

Sacramento Signs On

The Sacramento Central Labor Council AFL-CIO signed on as well.

Noting that “low-wage, non-union ‘postal’ jobs at Staples will inevitably replace the living-wage, union jobs of U.S. Postal Service employees and Staples stores will inevitably replace U.S. Post Offices,” the council voted unanimously to endorse the boycott at its meeting on June 17.