May 8, 2014
By Neal Tepel
The American Postal Workers Union has been resisting a USPS deal with office supply retailer Staples to open postal counters in its stores, over 50 so far. Its national “day of action” received extensive media coverage and has thrust the issue into the national spotlight. The union has become more vocal in the face of what is says are USPS plans to install counters at 1,500 Staples locations.
APWU is accusing the Postal Service of trying to privatize part of its core business, and dump postal employees in favor of “low wage” Staple employees. USPS says it is just trying to find ways to become more efficient without cutting services. In recent years it has spoken of a desire to fold rural post offices into the “town general store.” This is that idea on a national scale and is a fight APWU has mobilized the troops for.
APWU held over 50 protests in 27 states at Staples locations where customers can now buy stamps and send Priority Mail and certified mail. APWU has not managed to stop the deal but it certainly has prompted a national conversation about it.