August 19, 2014
By Neal Tepel
As the back-to-school season moves into high gear, the American Postal Workers Union is ramping up its ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign, with online ads directed at educators and parents. The ads ask them to buy school supplies elsewhere. The APWU has also developed a flyer for distribution to teachers that asks them to honor the boycott.
“The focus on teachers and parents is crucial because school supplies account for roughly one-third of Staples’ revenue,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. Public school teachers spent more than $1.3 billion out of their own pockets on school supplies and educational products in the 2009-2010 school year, according to research released in 2010 by the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA).
“I encourage all APWU members to ask the teachers they know and the parents of school-age children they know to buy school supplies from other stores. Locals should distribute the flyers and ask for support from our friends and allies throughout the labor movement and in our communities,” Dimondstein said.
The National Education Association took action in support of the Stop Staples! Campaign in May and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) voted to join the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ movement in mid-July. Since then Staples has launched a major marketing effort directed at teachers.
Just two days after the AFT vote, Staples and the USPS resorted to trickery to try to derail the boycott, announcing they are terminating the no-bid deal and replacing it with an “approved shipper” program. But the Postal Service has publicly acknowledged that the “new” program is the same as the old Staples program.
“Staples and the USPS have made it clear,” APWU’s Dimondstein said. “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. We intend to keep up the pressure until Staples gets out of the mail business.”