Staples Profits on the Backs of Postal Workers, Communities

By Bonnie Wilson

This is a bad deal for consumers, for workers and for the country. It makes no sense to transfer critical public services to a private, for-profit company that has closed 159 stores in the past year and recently announced it will close 225 more stores by the end of next year.

Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution? If we’re going to have mini-Post Offices in Staples stores, they should be operated by uniformed postal employees, who have taken an oath and are accountable to the American people.”               APWU President Mark Dimondstein

If you drive up Front Street you’ll see a big sign on the Staples store: “USPS now at Staples! Open 7 days a week!” Seeing the USPS logo on the sign you might think there’s a little post office right in Staples. If you happen to be going to Staples anyway, you might think “how convenient – I can get those stamps I need.”

So what’s the problem? Why is the AFL-CIO* boycotting Staples?

The problem is that at a real post office the USPS employees have passed a background check, taken an oath to protect the security and safety of the mail, and are bound by a Code of Ethical Conduct. Conversely, Staples employees handling your mail received about four hours of classroom training. USPS retail clerks get thirty-two hours of classroom training and forty hours of on-the-job training.**

The problem is that at Staples, your mail is not “mail” until it is picked up by -the postal service!   That means that it does not have the protections accorded to US mail.**

The problem is that Staples is getting a discount** on the USPS products and services provided by low-wage, high-turnover employees. So Staples profits off of the public faith in a publicly owned service, while we lose the decent middle-class jobs that support our communities.

Did you used to have a local post office in your neighborhood? Has it been closed? Do you miss it? Very likely, the answer is yes. Does a counter at a Staples somewhere make up for that loss? What is happening to our postal service? What does it mean for postal workers and letter carriers, for our neighborhoods and community, and for the service and safety standards of our mail service?

Our public postal service is really a national treasure. It is accountable to us – the American people. Staples is accountable to its shareholders. Staples can close a store. The USPS is bound to provide service to all areas and all communities and to answer to the public.

If you care about quality public services, living wage jobs, and maintaining a universal and affordable mail service, oppose the selling off of our postal services to Staples.

For more information check out this web address: http://www.apwu.org/issues/stop-staples

To pledge and check out other actions see this website: http://stopstaples.com/

References:

* American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations: a federation of independent American trade unions

** http://www.apwu.org/sites/apwu/files/press-release-pdfs/StopStaples-Backgrounder.pdf

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