April 29, 2014
By Neal Tepel
On Thursday April 24th the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) led a National Day of Action to protest the Postal Service's arrangement with Staples. The goal of the USPS program is to replace union jobs with low-wage workers in the private sector.
The demonstrations around the country were in reaction to the United States Postal Service piloting a program at Staples in several cities that will open postal counters inside their office-supply retail stores. The Postal Service is consolidating processing centers and wants to scale back mail delivery.
"Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits — and who have received minimal training — operate these unsecured postal counters," said APWU president Mark Dimondstein. “The American people have a right to know that their mail is handled by highly-trained uniformed postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail and who are accountable to the people of the country — whether it’s at the Post Office or an
Advocate groups have concerns that USPS was turning over mail delivery services to a struggling private company, since Staples recently announced it would close 225 stores by 2015. A recent study conducted by the USPS Office of Inspector General found that rural participants had security concerns with trusting their mail to non postal employees in non postal retail locations, such as grocery stores.
"Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country," said Dimondstein. "Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits – and who have received minimal training" – will operate unsecured postal counters in busy retail stores. Clearly mail will be unprotected and vulnerable.