The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 78/No. 29      August 11, 2014

(front page)
Postal workers defeat anti-union
scheme to contract jobs to Staples
Protest April 24 in Washington, D.C., against setting up of mini post offices in Staples as part of USPS moves to slash jobs and weaken union. Staples announced July 14 it was ending program.

LOS ANGELES — Postal workers scored a victory when Staples Inc. announced July 14 that it was ending a pilot program to set up mini post offices in the company’s retail outlets. Staples began the program last fall, offering U.S. Postal Service-branded counters in 82 stores in four states.

The Staples program is widely viewed by postal workers and their supporters as part of an anti-union privatization and cost-cutting campaign, targeting jobs and working conditions.

In recent months, postal workers organized protests against the program in cities across the country.

“APWU [American Postal Workers Union] rallies forced postal management to modify their agreement with Staples,” Maileen Au, a floor clerk from Huntington Park, told the Militant.

Staples’ decision came two days after the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers decided at its convention to boycott the stores in solidarity with postal workers. At a rally of several hundred teachers and postal employees across the street from the Staples Center July 12, during the AFT convention here, members of the teachers’ union tore up Staples Rewards cards.

Staples, which is struggling financially and has closed a number of stores this year, announced it was replacing the program with an “approved shipper” program, which would include the Postal Service and other shippers.

“Management is combining and de-skilling jobs all the time to make them ripe for lower wages if private industry takes them over,” said Lourdes Montana, a postal window clerk in Mission Viejo.

The Staples program is part of a much broader attack on postal workers and their unions, as well as on working people dependent on postal services. According to the Letter Carriers Union, the Postal Service has eliminated more than 193,000 jobs since 2006, 630 post offices have been closed and post office bosses say they plan to close 229 facilities by the end of the year. Eliminating Saturday mail delivery is also being considered.
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On the Picket Line
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