July 25, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Washington DC – Last fall, the United States Postal Service announced a no-bid sweetheart deal for a “pilot project” to open postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores. In response to the USPS union busting strategy, the American Postal Workers Union along with members of many other labor and community organizations have protested at Staples stores and postal facilities at dozens of locations across the country since January.
“About a week ago, the USPS and Staples attempted to derail the boycott,” American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said. “They announced the pilot was over, but admitted that Staples clerks would continue to do the work of uniformed postal workers under a program with a different name.
“We’ve got news for them: Our campaign to stand up for living-wage jobs and quality service for our customers isn’t over until we say it’s over.”
Staples’ announcement followed a July 12 vote by delegates to the American Federation of Teachers national convention to join the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign, which has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, AFSCME, the International Association of Firefighters and many other labor and community organizations.
“We’re not falling for that ruse, and neither are the labor and community allies who have joined with us in this fight,” said President Dimondstein. “This campaign will continue so long as the USPS tries to replace experienced, uniformed postal workers who are accountable to the American people with low-wage, high-turnover employees who have little training and who are not qualified to handle the U.S. Mail.”
The campaign to Stop Staples has attracted support from high-profile activists across the country. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka pledged that he and the 13.5 million members of the AFL-CIO will continue to boycott Staples. In fact, the support is, “getting stronger every day,” he said.
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President J. David Cox said in support for postal workers and the boycott of Staples, “We will never shop at Staples until they stop what they’re doing to the post office.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson at a recent demonstration in front of a Chicago Staples store, urged onlookers to fight the privatization of public services. “Don’t sell the post office. Don’t sell the police department. Don’t sell the fire department,” he said before leading the protesters in a chant of “The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale!”