Local Activists Join National Day of Action
Many Details of the Deal Between USPS and Staples Remain a Secret
Concord, NH — Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Manchester Area Local , will protest on Thursday, April 24, against a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples that is privatizing USPS retail services and replacing good, living-wage postal jobs with low-wage, high-turnover jobs at Staples. The deal will compromise service to customers and jeopardize the security of the mail. Details of the agreement are being kept secret and have not yet been made available to the public.
Who: Members of the Manchester Area Local APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, The National Postal Mailhandlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association will be joined by the NH AFL-CIO, members of numerous local unions, other working men & women throughout the state, and friends and allies who believe in maintaining a public Postal Service.
What: Protest at Concord Staples, against privatization of U.S. Postal Service retail services.
When: Thursday, April 24,4-6 pm
Where: Staples, Fort Eddy Plaza
The protest in Concord is part of a National Day of Action, where participants will protest the USPS-Staples deal, which in October/November 2013 established postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores in four geographic areas. The Postal Service plans to expand the program to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide. All of this is occurring despite problems that make the future of some Staples stores very uncertain.
“Staples employees receive minimal training, and the company’s low pay results in high employee turnover,” said Dana Coletti, president of Manchester Area Local APWU. “With so many concerns about privacy and identity theft, the U.S. mail should be handled by highly-trained, experienced postal employees, who swear an oath to protect your letters and packages and who are accountable to the American people. This program is compromising service to our customers.
“While many of the details of this pilot program are being hidden from the public, many things remain quite clear. The Postal Service, which is the largest civilian employer of veterans, requires postal employees to pass a test and a background check, to complete intensive training and to take an oath to protect the security and safety of the mail. It should be a matter of concern to the public that packages and letters at Staples stores are not even considered mail until they are picked up by the Postal Service. This program threatens both mail security and good, stable jobs” said Janice Kelble, Legislative & Political Director for Manchester Area Local APWU. “It’s bad for postal workers, bad for our communities, and bad for our country.”
“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” said national APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.” Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.
Note: In NH a Hooksett Staples store suddenly disappeared only months ago. Will the same thing happen with postal services vanishing, based on Staples bottom line, with no regard to the needs of a community?
“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said. “As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?”
Thursday’s National Day of Action follows dozens of protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities.
For more information about the campaign to stand up for quality service and good-paying jobs, visit Stop Staples.com. See also “Postal Union Fights Staples Partnership,” in the Huffington Post, and “The Postal Service Outsources Itself to a Company Doing Almost as Badly as the Postal Service,” in The New Republic.
A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted – is available on the APWU website.
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The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.