The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) didn’t go far enough when the agency canceled its pilot program which effectively replaced postal workers with non-union, less-trained and lower-paid Staples employees, says American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Mark Dimondstein.
“Staples and the USPS have made it clear: They intend to continue to privatize postal retail operations, replace living-wage Postal Service jobs with low-wage Staples jobs, and compromise the safety and security of the mail,” said Dimondstein.
In November 2013, Staples and the USPS announced they would offer nearly full-service postal counters at 82 Staples locations around the country through a pilot program they called Retail Expansion. The deal allowed non-union Staples employees making an average of $8.55 an hour to sell packaging and accept mail, which is later picked up from stores by postal workers.
The APWU exposed it as a move toward the Postal Service’s privatization – in fact, 21 of the 39 U.S. Post Office stations in San Francisco, where there were eight postal Staples counters, reduced customer service hours.
“They’ve got a sign on the door that says ‘We’re closed, go to Staples,’” said Dimondstein. “It couldn’t get much more obvious than that.”
After pressure from APWU’s “Stop Staples” campaign mounted, the no-bid deal was terminated in July, but only to be replaced by an “approved shipper” program at Staples. The Postal Service has publicly admitted that the “new” program is essentially the same as before – Staples will continue to use its own low-wage workforce to provide identical USPS services. Dimondstein called it a “ruse.”
“The USPS is changing the name of the program, without addressing the fundamental concerns of postal workers and postal customers,” said Dimondstein. “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.”
The APWU is continuing its fight against the Postal Service’s shady deal with Staples, which jeopardizes mail service and local post offices. Join the campaign by clicking here.