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U.S. Could Lose Its Postal Service As We Know It

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

By John Dick for People’s World
NALC Member from Michigan

Today was nothing but slog. A complete burden not just on the body, but a spewing of my entire soul. A steady crunch-crunch-crunch with every footstep. It’s that crunching that’s driving me mad: I can’t move my feet without that racket bouncing through my simple brain. The day started with a driving snow; two inches before the clock hands struck noon. The snow turned into needles of hail, then sleet. The icy crust of precipitation on top of the layer of thick snow created my hell for the day. With each insertion of my foot into this sludge it took an equal amount of labor to release my foot into the frosty air. The ground seemed to have demons reaching up with death-grip talons hell-bent on stopping me from completing my appointed rounds. The steady crunch ringing through my skull with each footstep was my squashing of another succubus hindering me from getting to the next mailbox. Damn you evil creatures, and damn this evil weather!

We get through these days; we letter carriers. The body keeps moving, but only because the mind stays focused. “Keep on playing those mind games.” I imagine myself always on the next street, one step ahead of the game. I imagine riding the Great White Steed through the Florida Keys, maybe on the Seven Mile Bridge. I imagine having that first beer when I take off my layers of winter wear

(Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

Dangerous Winter Stairs (Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

after coming home. I evoke the distant memory of only last night, when my best friend and retired letter carrier wife said, “Welcome home, baby!” I can have that again. But I got to keep moving through this slog.

I take this job seriously. I have a mission every day for my community. My coworkers feel the same way. Until my route is completed, I feel my job is not done. Tonight, I did not finish delivering the last mailbox till 6:50 pm. That does not make me happy, but the assignment was finished and everyone got their mail for the day. Our start time was moved from 7:30 to 8:00 am, which just makes my job harder. I want to deliver your mail as early in the day as possible. Some offices in our district have start times as late as 9:00 am. I guess that explains why the new postal caps have built-in headlights.

Another thing happened on Jan. 5 of this year with nary a peep from United States Postal Service (USPS) headquarters. Service standards for first class mail were “relaxed.” That sounds soothing, doesn’t it? Kinda like a massage. In the “old days” if you mailed a letter, let’s say within a fifty-mile radius, it would get there overnight. A good example would be from a Detroit address to a suburban Detroit address. Now it takes two days. A letter that normally took two days, for example, from Cincinnati to Detroit, now takes three days.

The thought behind this from the Postal Service management is to “relax,” i.e., delay the US mail so that the closure of 82 mail processing facilities can happen within the next year. The effect of these closures would be the loss of 15,000 jobs. But the loss of good paying “middle class” jobs is only the tip of this massive iceberg.

Ruth Goldway, Postal Regulatory Commissioner since 1998, criticized the latest service cut, which “threatens the very integrity and concept of Universal Service – the Postal Service’s primary obligation…. Under the law, the Postal Service is required to give the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail.” This is the reason letter carriers all across this land labor in all types of weather conditions to complete their appointed rounds six days a week. We want the American public to get their mail and parcels in a timely, efficient manner. No delays, no excuses.

Postal management is making a business decision to cut service on first class mail. They believe it will “save money.” That is the elephant in the room. The United States Postal Service is moving more and more to a business model than a service to the American public. My supervisors and postmaster have been using the words “company” and “business” lately in my conversations with them in regards to the USPS. The word “service” is never emphasized by them, but We the People have a mechanism to shift the dialogue.

The American public needs to demand that the Postal Service remains a service that continues to serve the American people. Instead of a slash and burn approach to cutting services, the USPS could and should be expanding services to our communities. The greatest example would be establishing “public banks” in all post offices to help those who are excluded from participating in “for profit” banks. Many of these folks rely on predatory lenders who rob you not with a gun, but with a fountain pen. Our network expands into every street, in every city. We could do great things, if given the chance. And still deliver your mail!

The four postal unions formed an alliance last year to “Help Save America’s Postal Service.” We quickly realized that more was needed. In recent years we valiantly tried to frame our message to the American public, with limited success. We have staved off attempts to kill Saturday mail delivery and more recently door-to-door delivery. We tried to stop the “relaxing” of first class mail standards and the closure of mail processing facilities, but these policies seem to be moving forward. We have a Congress that is reluctant to address our issues and a president who at best seems indifferent to the plight of the public Postal Service. We are reaching out to each and every one of you now.

A grand alliance to save our public postal service

On the national level, close to 70 organizations have signed on to help in our mission: To preserve the United States Postal Service as a public trust, a national treasure that serves all citizens of our country equally. This public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit. The organizations now affiliated are not just labor unions, but community groups as well as faith-based, social justice, and environmental groups. We want to see small business associations, senior citizens’ advocates, and Chambers of Commerce. We all have a stake in this battle!

When the unions fight this battle alone, it is seen as a war to save our jobs. This has never resonated with the majority of the American people, most of whom do not hold union jobs. That is why America has to see this struggle in a different light. That is why America has to know what can be lost here if we do nothing. If we don’t fight back, if we don’t lock arms and stand in solidarity, young and old, union and non-union, rich and poor, we will lose an American institution. Older than the Constitution itself, the Postal Service will become just another company.

And I will lose any motivation for climbing to your mailbox on a miserable winter day.

Sign the pledge today here.

 

Post first published by People’s World, here.

State Senator Jeff Woodburn To Tour US Post Offices Celebrating The Anniversary Of Federal Mail Service

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Written by
Janice Kelble, Legislative Director
NH Postal Workers Union

While Tuesday & Wednesday were days spent at the NH Statehouse defending against so called “Right to Work” and other attacks on working folks, we had a bit of good news from the northern part of the State. The APWU and the NALC were pleased to get a call from NH State Senate Minority Leader, Jeff Woodburn. Senator Woodburn called to inform us of his plan to pro-actively recognize the importance of a public Post Office.

Senator Woodburn will be touring U.S. Post Offices throughout Coos and Grafton Counties to celebrate the anniversary of federal mail service being signed into law by President George Washington on February 20, 1792.

The Senator is inviting residents to join him in celebrating this vital public service that American’s depend on. “US Postal Services has proud history and remains a vital link to connect rural New Hampshire to the rest of the state and nation,” Woodburn said. ”

His tentative schedule includes stops at the following post offices:

08:30 – 09:00 am Lincoln Post Office
09:30 – 10:00 am Franconia Post Office
10:15 – 10:45 am Sugar Hill Post Office
11:00 – 11:30 am Littleton Post Office
01:30 – 2:00 pm Berlin Post Office
02:30 – 2:45 pm Milan Post Office
03:15 – 3:30 pm Groveton Post Office
04:30 – 5:00 pm Colebrook Post Office

In 2006 the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA) was signed into law, putting a noose around the neck of the Postal Service. Slowly the Service has eroded as the USPS cuts back service, by reducing Post Office hours, closing and consolidating processing facilities, attempting to cut back delivery days and drastically reducing delivery service standards. It is not too late to turn things around. While letter mail volume has declined, package mail is booming and the mail network must be maintained to preserve a thriving robust public Postal Service!

We need more elected officials like Senator Woodburn who go out of their way to recognize important public services and to honor the workers. With all of the threats of privatization of the USPS we hope more legislators will speak out in favor of retaining this trusted public institution. A big “thank you” to Senator Woodburn from the NH Postal Workers Union and from The NH Association of Letter Carriers.

For more information or to get an updated schedule, contact Sen. Woodburn at 603.271.3207 or Jeff.Woodburn@Leg.state.nh.us.

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service

GrandAlliance_LogoAn exciting new voice has joined the conversation to save the Postal Service. More than 60 national organizations have formed “A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.”  This alliance is made up of national  religious coalitions, retiree groups, progressive groups, and a wide array of unions. These organizations are united in the demand that the public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit.  All Americans have much at stake as the future of America’s Postal Service is at a crossroads.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein stressed the importance of building a Grand Alliance from the moment he was elected in 2013. “Writing Congress is important,” he said, “but it’s not enough. Lobbying for legislation is important, but it’s not enough.” To succeed, he said, postal workers must build a movement. “Building the grand alliance is the only way we will ensure that a vibrant, public Postal Service exists for many years to come.”

“This new alliance is a good complement to the one the NALC and the other postal unions have been working closely with over the past 18 months,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “a group made up of postal union and mailing industry stakeholders with a mission to advance in Congress a multi-point postal strategy that includes a comprehensive solution to pre-funding, freedom to offer new products, fair treatment on pension valuations, strengthened service standards and a moratorium on plant closings.”

Though the Postal Service is in the midst of an economic turnaround many in Congress envision the Postal Service as a sort of pinata to be broken apart  so the corporate sector can further enrich themselves. They disregard three straight years of an operational profit and ignore the stunning economic report issued last week. Greed has no boundaries.

The Postal Service can build upon this turnaround and expand service. One example of this is the the successful recent introduction of package delivery on Sundays and Holidays. It has made the lives of working people more convenient as customers can elect to get their parcels delivered at a time that fits their busy schedules.

Another area of possible growth is expanding into Postal Banking. Senator Elizabeth Warren is a strong proponent of this popular idea.  The Postal Service can help rebuild the wounded infrastructure that many economically disadvantaged people in our country navigate on a daily basis. Postal Banking would be an instrument that can take some of the financial pressure off the more than 25% of households that do not have bank accounts.   Rather than have a predatory banking service profit off of outrageous fees for basic banking services . The Postal Service can offer these services as a public service.

This Grand Alliance offers much hope that they can further advance a bright future for the Postal Service. Please watch the attached video by acclaimed actor-activist  Danny Glover and sign the pledge to support the fight to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now—and for many generations to come. With a new Congress about to take action on the Postal Reform, the time is now to take action.

Danny Glover: Our Postal Service from A Grand Alliance on Vimeo.

Letter To The Editor: The USPS Belongs To The People Of The Community It Serves

letters to the editor(This letter is in response to the post “Through Rain, Sleet, and Snow The Mail Must Go Through, So Why Is Congress Trying To Destroy The USPS?” by Bill Brickley on Feb 10th, 2015)

In conclusion myTo The Editor,

view is the problem not only Congressional meddling, rather it’s a failure on the part of Congress to ensure the Post Office belongs to the American people. We must insure that the Post Office is managed in a way that benefits people, communities, and businesses in positive ways. Instead of enabling Postal Executives (Postmaster General) it sells off public treasures like the Bronx GPO, destroys hundreds of thousands of good jobs, undermine service standards and raises rates.

Congress has an affirmative responsibility to oversee the Postal System and the Postal Network to ensure that it continues to provide solid service at fair rates while providing meaningful employment and supporting intangible values like binding the nation together.

This anti-government stance is a result of Grover Norquist’s comment “making the Federal Government small enough to ‘drown’ it in a bathtub” over two decades ago. This philosophy has fueled the Republican obstructionists. He was influential and convincing enough to have Republican Senators, Congressmen and Republicans in state houses to sign his petition.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Bender
George Hafner

Labor Unions And Financial Reform Groups Push For “Postal Banking” With New Coalition

postal image USPS

Expanding Low-Cost Financial Services through the United States Postal Service is a Way to Put More Money into the Pockets of Low-Wage Workers and to Provide Banking to Americans in Rural and Urban Areas with Few Banking Options

United for a Fair Economy, One of the Coalition’s Founding Members, Releases New Report On Martin Luther King’s Birthday, that Shows that Nearly 100 Million Poor and Working Class Americans Pay $89 Billion Each Year to Payday Lenders, Pawn Shops and Check Cashers 

WASHINGTON – Financial reform groups, joined by postal unions and others from organized labor, announced today the creation of a national campaign to expand banking services. “The Campaign for Postal Banking” proposes to expand access to affordable financial services through the United States Postal Service’s 31,000 retail branches.

Today, 28 percent of U.S. households, representing 93 million people, do not have access to affordable financial products such as the ability to cash a check, transfer money or pay a bill at a reasonable fee. Americans who lack these services, what some call the “unbanked” or the “underbanked,” find that traditional banks are out of reach due to geography or because of high fees and other obstacles. Limited access drives millions to rely on costly, predatory services such as check cashing stores and payday lenders, trapping many in a cycle of debt. Some payday lenders charge as much as 400 percent in annual interest. The average low-wage worker using these “legal loan sharks” pays an incredible $2,400 per year in fees for these services.

“Much of the national debate has focused on how wages have lagged for working Americans in recent years,” said American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein. APWU is one of the coalition’s members. “As a society we need to find ways to boost wages and create and keep living wage jobs,” said Dimondstein.  “We also need to find ways to cut costs for low-wage Americans. Postal banking is a way to cut costs and put money back into the pockets of people barely getting by.”

The APWU and other partner organizations that have formed the Campaign for Postal Banking find that the United States Postal Service (USPS) is in a unique position to provide basic, affordable, consumer-driven financial services to these underserved communities and individuals who live in what are often called “bank deserts.”  The USPS has more storefronts than any other retailer. A third of the nation’s zip codes have access to a post office but lack a traditional bank.

A report released today by another one of the coalition partners, United for a Fair Economy, entitled Underbanked and Overcharged, makes the case for how postal banking will benefit the poor and low-wage workers.

A report released last year by USPS’ Inspector General called Providing Non-Banked Financial Services for the Underserved explains how an expansion of financial services would fill a great social need and strengthen the finances of the Postal Service.

USPS is not a latecomer to banking services. From 1911 to 1967, the U.S. Post Office offered savings deposit accounts and currently sells more money orders than any other institution. Anyone who goes to a postal window and pays with a debit card anywhere in the United States also is offered the option of getting cash back.

Postal systems around the world – including France, Italy, Japan, China, Brazil, India, and New Zealand offer financial services and play important roles in advancing financial inclusion and literacy.

Campaign for Postal Banking is a coalition of consumer, worker, financial reform, economic justice, community, civic, and faith-based organizations building a movement to inform and mobilize the public to call on the United States Postal Service to take the necessary steps to restore and expand postal banking at its branches across the country.  Founding members include:

Alliance for Retired Americans

Americans for Financial Reform

American Postal Workers Union

Center for Study of Responsive Law

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Commonnomics

Essential Information

Interfaith Worker Justice

National Association of Letter Carriers

National People’s Action

National Postal Mail Handlers Union

National Rural Letter Carriers Association

Public Citizen

United for a Fair Economy

USAction

Workers Rally To Ask Congress To Stop Delaying America’s Mail

A boisterous crowd gathered in downtown Manchester on a blustery Friday evening to urge lawmakers not to decimate the U.S. Postal Service. This rally was part of a National Day of Action to stop the closing of 82 mail processing plants starting in January. The deconstructing of the Postal Service network continues despite the fact that on this same day the U.S. Postal Service reported a $1.4 Billion operational profit for the year.

The incredible list of Speakers included NH AFL CIO President Mark McKenzie, SEA/SEIU #1984 President Rich Gulla, IBEW #2320 Business Manager Glen Brackett, AFT NH President Laura Hainey, Gene Porter – husband of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, Norm Welsh Manchester Newspaper Guild President, Liz Skidmore , Carpenters #118 Business Manager and NALC State President Wayne Alterisio. NPMU Rep Ed Barnes was the informative MC and this amazing event was made possible by the incredible work of APWU leaders Janice Kelble and Kim Hayes. (I apologize for those I failed to mention)

The lawmakers that are endorsing these plant closures and eliminating Saturday mail delivery are not trying to save or reform the postal service they want to destroy it. A highly efficient and popular government agency does not fit their mindless anti government ideology that they sell to the American Public to get elected.

Add to the fact that the postal service is highly unionized and the anti worker politicians come out in mass. The battles to shrink worker pay and take back benefits are all around us. Friday’s speakers detailed those battles locally with the bitter strike at Fairpoint being the most ominous. The newspaper guild is still searching for fairness for its employees. The continuous war on reducing public employees is what Teachers and State Employees fight everyday. The workers at the U.S. Postal Service are the next target in our nations ongoing war on workers.

The war against postal workers not only affects the hundreds of thousands of postal workers but the millions of people in our country who rely on timely mail delivery. The elderly waiting for their medicine or child waiting for delivery of their birthday present or a small business waiting for essential documents should not be considered insignificant collateral damage in the attack on postal workers.

Congress should focus on eliminating the onerous $5.4 billion annual retirement healthcare prefunding requirement that has caused financial hardship for the USPS. That unprecedented requirement has to be modified and instead of shrinking the network it should be looking to expand it.

Good USPS financial news abounds with the strong $1.4 billion operational profit just reported.  Add to that Sunday parcel delivery for Amazon Packages is becoming a reality for many parts of the country next month. Letter revenue is up as our economy grows. The USPS can further enhance its skyrocketing 9.1% package revenue growth in the past year. It’s time to build on these success moving forward. Killing the Postal Service for ideological reasons seems more absurd now than ever before

Saving the Postal Service is what united this impressive crowd today. As I listened to the speakers and crowd response another theme became clear to us all. This spirited event highlighted a unified work force in NH that will be a formidable obstacle to those politicians and businessmen who want to erode workers pay and benefits. Our solidarity is a force that must be reckoned with.

Below is a short video of Janice Kelble, Legislative Director for the NH Postal Workers Union talking about the rally and the issues facing the USPS.

You can view all of the videos from the rally in this playlist. 

 

UPDATE:
Other local coverage from WBIN NH1 :http://www.nh1.com/news/postal-service-workers-protest-in-manchester-over-pending-cuts/

New England Cable News (NECN) http://www.necn.com/news/business/Postal-Workers-Say-Cuts-Will-Kill-Service-282766071.html
National USPS Rally Coverage:
Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/12/postal-workers-to-protest-plant-closings-and-service-reductions/

US Postal Service to Make Extreme Cuts in Service — Workers to Protest at 149 Locations Nationwide

US Postal Service Poised to Make Devastating Cuts in Service:

Postal Workers to Deliver Message – ‘Stop Delaying America’s Mail’ – At 149 Protests in 48 States

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors, the board that oversees the U.S. Postal Service, are poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they would forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.

·    All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, newsletters of religious organizations, bill payments, letters and invitations) throughout the country would be delayed.

·    Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

On Nov. 14 postal workers will protest at 149 locations as part of a National Day of Action to send a message to Postmaster General and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail! 

The cuts would cause hardships for the public and small businesses, eliminate jobs, and destroy the world’s most efficient and affordable delivery network by driving away mail and revenue. They are part of the same flawed strategy that’s behind efforts to end Saturday and door-to-door deliveries, cut back post office hours, and make other reductions in mail service.

The travesty is that the cuts are absolutely unnecessary – because postal operations are profitable. The Postal Service, which isn’t funded by taxpayers, has earned an operating profit so far this year of more than $1 billion. And, while revenue from First Class Mail has been declining, package delivery, largely due to the growth of e-commerce, has been rapidly expanding.

There is red ink, but it stems from political interference, not from the mail. In 2006, a lame-duck Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health benefits 75 years in advance – something no other public agency or private firm is required to do. That costs the Postal Service $5.6 billion a year – and that’s the red ink.

Fifty-one senators and 160 House members have called for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service and the closure of the mail processing centers to allow Congress time to enact postal legislation that would improve, not degrade, postal service. The Postmaster General and USPS Board of Governors should honor their request.

For more information, visit www.StopMailDelays.org or https://www.facebook.com/stopdelayingamericasmail.

US Postal Unions And Community Activists To Hold “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” Rally In Manchester, NH (and Nationally)

Postal-Unions-Set-Day-of-Action-to-Protest-Service-Cuts-Mail-Delays_blog_post_fullWidthOn Nov. 14 postal workers across the country will come together for a National Day of Action to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail!  Please join us! Whether you are postal employee, a small business owner, an individual customer, or someone who simply wants the U.S. Postal Service to survive and thrive, please get involved!

“The Postal Service is set to make severe cuts in mail delivery service that, if implemented, would cause hardships for customers, drive away business, and cause incalculable harm to its reputation,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

Why Now?

The Postmaster General is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

  • On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.
  • All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, church bulletins, letters, bill payments, invitations) throughout the country will be delayed.
  • Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

These cuts will cause hardships for customers, drive away business, cause irreparable harm to the U.S. Postal Service, and lead to massive schedule changes and reassignments for employees.

Flawed Strategy

They are part of a flawed management strategy that has unnecessarily sacrificed service and failed to address the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis.

  •  More than 140 plants have closed since 2012;
  •  As a result, mail is delivered much later in the day, well into the evening;
  •  Retail work is being sent to Staples, at more than 1,500 stores throughout the country;
  •  Door delivery is being eliminated in most new housing developments;
  •  Chronic understaffing frustrates customers and slows the mail, and
  •  Six-day delivery is under constant threat.

The four postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for our livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. We have many allies in the fight against the proposed changes, including more than half the Senate and 160 U.S. Representatives.

Read the letter from the leaders of the four postal unions to Postmaster General Board of Directors.

Are the Cuts Inevitable?

The Nov. 14 date was selected because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors’ last public meeting of 2014. On that day, the board will release the USPS financial reports for the fiscal year, and undoubtedly will once again bemoan “billions of dollars in losses.”

In fact, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations this year. The “losses” are the result of a bogus pre-funding requirement and have nothing to do with the cost of collecting, sorting and delivering mail.

The four postal unions, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union(NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), are urging their members and postal customers to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors:

Stop Delaying America’s Mail!

For those in New Hampshire, we will be hosting a candlelight vigil (details below) for others click here for a listing of events in your area

New Hampshire Candlelight Vigil

grim-reaperWhen: Friday, November 14, 2014

Where: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Plaza, 904 Elm St., Manchester.

What: Those attending are encouraged to bring a candle/flashlight/ small light of some sort. Dress in Funeral attire. Even “Grim Reapers” would be appropriate.

Tee Shirts will be provided while supplies last. First come, first served.

Click here to download a sharable flyer for this event.

JUST ADDED! Informational flyers to be given out at Concord Post office and Nashua City Hall Plaza.  CLICK HERE for more details. 

Teachers And Postal Workers To Protest At STAPLES In Boston On 8-27-14

Hundreds of Postal Workers, Supporters to Protest on Steps of City Hall and at Adjacent Staples in Downtown Boston Wednesday

‘Don’t Buy Staples’ Campaign Picks Up Steam
In Home Market 
of Troubled Retailer 

Staples Sign 1 (Mike Mozart Flikr)

BOSTON – Postal Workers and supporters will protest a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Framingham-based retailer Staples at a rally in downtown Boston on Wednesday, August 27.

Who:      Postal workers and supporters

What:    Protest against outsourcing of postal services to Staples

When:    Wednesday, August 27, at 5 p.m.

Where: Steps of City Hall and Staples at One Washington Mall, Downtown Boston (Southside Steps of City Hall Plaza)

With the back-to-school season in full swing, postal workers are urging parents and teachers not to buy school supplies at Staples. School supplies account for approximately 30 percent of Staples’ revenue.

Since January, APWU members and supporters have staged hundreds of rallies in front of Staples stores around the country to protest a no-bid deal with the U.S. Postal Service that established postal counters in office-supply stores.  Last week, protesters rallied in downtown Boston and joined members of the Lynn Teachers Union for a rally at a Staples store in Saugus, Massachusetts.

An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the deal is to replace the jobs held by postal employees with low-paying jobs at Staples.

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” said John Dirzius, Northeast Region Coordinator for the APWU. “It is about protecting the public Postal Service. Many people are outraged that a cherished public asset is being used to prop up a struggling private company.” The company recently announced another quarter of declining sales, and confirmed plans to close 140 stores in 2014.

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” he said.

“A failing private company doesn’t belong in the postal business,” said Bob Dempsey, Vice President of the APWU’s Boston Metro Local. “Postal consumers want reliable service from highly-trained workers who have taken an oath to protect their letters and packages. Staples can’t offer that.”

“The Boston Teachers Union and its 11,000 members strongly support the postal workers who provide an excellent service to the American public,” said BTU President Richard Stutman. “Contracting that service out to a third party will diminish that service and weaken a great American institution. We stand behind our postal workers 100 percent and will urge our members to boycott Staples.”

In the middle of the crucial back-to-school season, Seeking Alpha, a leading investment website, reports that Staples is so “desperate” to win sales that it is offering a 110 percent price-match guarantee on school supplies. “The retailer is admitting that the only way that it can get customers in the door is to practically give some of its products away,” the website reported.

“If Staples wants to give away products, that’s their business,” said Dirzius. “But when the U.S. Postal Service tries to give away a public resource, that’s everybody’s business.”

Staples 8-27-14 FlyerStaples 8-27-14 BACKGROUNDLeft is a complementary flyer to use to invite your friends.

Right is a flyer with background information about the USPS and STAPLES.

Teachers And Postal Workers To Protest STAPLES In BOSTON On 8-20-14

‘Stop Staples’ Boycott Comes to the Hub as Troubled Retailer Releases 2nd Quarter Results. 

Postal Workers to Pass Out Rulers Stamped ‘Don’t Buy School Supplies at Staples’ in Boston at 10 a.mTeachers to Join Protest at Saugus Staples at 5:30 p.m.

stop-staples-400X400

BOSTON – The ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign, organized by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), will come to the Boston area – home of the troubled retailer – with two events on Wednesday, August 20, the same day the company will release its second quarter results.

AM Event, Boston

Who: APWU members and supporters

What: Protest against outsourcing of U.S. Postal Service work to Staples
Postal Workers and supporters to pass out ‘Don’t Buy School Supplies at Staples’ rulers

When: Wednesday, August 20 at 10 a.m.

Where: Staples at One Washington Mall, Downtown Boston
(Adjacent to City Hall Plaza, one block from Faneuil Hall)

PM Event, Saugus, MA

Who: Members of Lynn Teachers Union, APWU members and supporters

What: Protest against outsourcing of U.S. Postal Service work to Staples

When: Wednesday, August 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Staples store at 444 Broadway, Saugus, MA

In addition to the events listed above, a large rally featuring postal workers and supporters is planned for Wednesday, August 27, on the steps of City Hall plaza. The location is just one block away from the Staples Washington Mall store.

Since January, APWU members and supporters have staged hundreds of protests around the country in front of the office-supply outlets over the retailer’s no-bid deal with the U.S. Postal Service that established knock-off post offices in Staples stores.

“Outsourcing postal work to Staples is one of the most ill-conceived ideas the Postal Service has come up with – and that’s saying a lot,” said John Dirzius, Northeast Region Coordinator for the APWU. “Consumers don’t want to turn over their mail to low-paid, barely-trained workers in an unsecured setting. And postal workers don’t want to turn over our jobs to a private company that’s closing stores left and right.”

Staples, facing declining sales and revenue, has announced plans to close 225 stores by the end of 2015. “The Post Office is a public asset, and we’re here to provide a public service – not a backdoor bailout to a struggling private company,” said Bob Dempsey, Vice President of the APWU’s Boston Metro Local. “If it is allowed to continue, this program will lead to the closing of neighborhood post offices.”

USPS and Staples are clearly feeling pressure from the Stop Staples campaign. In July, they announced that they were changing the name of their partnership. However, the USPS has acknowledged that the newly-renamed program is essentially the same as the old one.

Also in July, both national teacher unions – the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – passed resolutions in support of the Stop Staples campaign, and 2,000 teachers and other AFT supporters protested at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. School supplies are a key market for Staples, accounting for up to one-third of the company’s sales, according to some estimates.

For more information about the campaign to stand up for quality service and good-paying jobs, visit Stop Staples.com.

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