June 4, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The ‘Don’t Buy Washington Staples’ campaign got a significant boost on May 30, when the AFL-CIO notified the APWU it would support the boycott of the office-supply chain. “Our brothers and sisters in the labor movement are key allies in this struggle and we greatly appreciate their support,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
“The ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign is an essential component of the movement to stop the dirty deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples,” he added.
The AFL-CIO is the latest labor organization to formally endorse the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign. The National Postal Mail Handlers Union’s National Executive Board officially endorsed the boycott on May 27. The California Federation of Teachers was the first to sign on to the campaign on April 27, followed by the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan on May 17 and the AFT-New Hampshire on May 23.
According to a May 21, article in the Boston Globe, a Staples executive admitted the company would be sensitive to a well-organized boycott. There is general concern at Staples that more unions will back the postal workers.
“Working men and women will readily understand the threat to living-wage jobs posed by the Postal Service’s no-bid, sweetheart deal with Staples once they are made aware of the situation,” Dimondstein said.
The deal established postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores, staffed with Staples employees rather than highly-trained, uniformed U.S. Postal Service employees. The Postal Service and Staples hope to expand the program to all of Staples’ 1,500 U.S. stores.
“APWU members and our allies must spread the word about the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign to every labor organization in the country – at the national, state and local level – so that the rank-and-file union members get the message,” Dimondstein said. “We are confident they won’t shop at Staples if they are made aware of the ‘Don’t Buy’ campaign.”