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

postal image USPS

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

Remembering My Father Who Fought For The Union Benefits That Former Postmaster General Donahoe Wants To Take

Bob Dick

Editors Note: This is a special editorial from John Dick, a Letter Carrier in Detroit (NALC Branch 3126, Royal Oak Merged).  

Bob Dick

Bob “Moses” Dick

Yesterday was a milestone for me. Not a day of sadness as much as a day of reflection. January 12th, 2015, was the fifth anniversary of my father’s death. His demise came suddenly. A massive heart attack, then poof; he disappeared from our lives. I remember vividly getting the phone call from Big John. I was setting up my route and my phone kept ringing over and over. I was too busy to answer the damn thing but something didn’t feel right. I answered the fourth time John called. “You have to get to the hospital right away. Something’s wrong with Bob.” I dropped my mail and rushed to the emergency room. My heart sank and then shattered into a million shards when the doctor told me, “There was nothing we could do.” I felt like an orphan.

Bob “Moses” Dick was a proud union man. He had worked at the Ford Utica Trim Shop for thirty years. From 1963 to 1993 he sewed seats for the automobile giant. He was not a fan or a great example of what you might call the “work ethic.” He told me many times as I was growing up that his bosses and even the Ford family only cared about what he could do for them, and he was sure enough gonna return the favor. He said “I got a contract with those folks. I do my thirty years sewin’ those goddam car seats, and in return I have a decent paying job and a secure retirement. I don’t have to like them, and they don’t have to like me. Don’t ever fool yourself, son. You’re just a number to them. A cog in the wheel. I don’t give them any more than I have to.”

He would regale stories to me and my brother about working at the plant. He was outrageously honest, and claimed to have the worst discipline record at the Trim Shop. His temper was legendary, and if he thought a supervisor was acting prickly it was not unusual for him to threaten the health of his bosses. According to Pops, at one discipline meeting his exasperated steward exclaimed, “We have no defense for his actions. We plead insanity!” He loved the UAW, but I am not sure the feeling was completely mutual.

He was proud when I became a letter carrier on October 7th, 2000. The first question he asked me was if I had joined the union. He loved reading my Dicktations and we had him added to our mailing list so that he would receive his own personal copy. He said something to me about my writing that I will never forget. He said I was profound. It was not his style to talk in that way, and all I could say was “Thanks”. His death was premature at the age of 70, but he at least was able to retire at the age of 54 and enjoy 16 years of a Ford pension.

Much has changed in the five short years since my father died. Michigan is now a right- to-work state and America is sliding backwards from the promises it had made to previous generations. The middle class is stagnating economically and the wealth gap between the richest and the poorest is dramatic. Many companies no longer make promises to their workers. My employer, the United States Postal Service, still does. But I have to wonder “For how much longer?”

Our Postmaster General, Patrick R. Donahoe, is retiring in February after a nearly forty year postal career. He started as a mail clerk and worked his way up to the head honcho position of the Service. At a recent speech at the National Press Club honoring his retirement, I was shocked to hear these comments from him: “Most young people aren’t looking for a single employer over the course of their careers. In today’s world, does it really make sense to offer the promise of a government pension to a 22-year-old who is just entering the workforce? And how reliable is that promise?”

Postmaster Donahoe went on to say what the future of the mail would look like. He said “It will not be a person putting a piece of mail in a blue mailbox, but rather a far leaner organization, with a smaller workforce and less generous health care and pension benefits, that competes for e-commerce business, online advertising and other Internet based services.” It is hard to imagine these comments being made from a man who spent his entire career at one organization. Guess he wasn’t wearing his party hat at this retirement dinner!

Postmaster Buzz Kill made some other parting shots at the postal unions for single mindedly fighting to preserve jobs and benefits and the myopic shortsightedness of the mailers for trying to keep postal rates affordable. Rumor has it he kicked a dog and pushed an old lady before the speech was over. For those of us who have been trying to understand the decisions and direction this man has taken the Postal Service over the last several years, this one speech wrapped it all up in a tidy package and put a bow on it for us. He is a true believer in the ‘New America’, where workers have no guarantees or contracts and bounce from job to job every few years. This is the philosophy of our very own Postmaster General.

In February, Megan Brennan will become the new Postmaster General. She has shattered the glass ceiling at L’enfants Plaza and will become the first female to assume that position. I hope she has differing aspirations for what is possible for the United States Postal Service and its workers. We are the nation’s second largest employer, and we are vital to this nation’s economy. The ‘twenty somethings’ I work with deserve a promise from our employer for the hard work they do every do. This is not a job; this is a profession and a career.

A photo of my old man sits on the shot glass shelf of the bar I have in my basement. I will do tonight as I have done many nights in the past; I will raise a glass of strong libation and toast to his memory and honor. The toast will be one of his favorite and I will look at him with a salty tear in my eye; “God Bless the Union!” And for good favor;” Work Sucks!”                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sad to see you go, Donahoe          

        John “Cementhead” Dick

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

Janice

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

postal image USPS

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_fullWidth

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

Staples Store (Mike Mozart FLikr)

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-400X400

‘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.

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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.

Teachers, Postal Workers, and Public Employees Cry Out, “The Mail Is Not For Sale”

Members from AFT MN  (image by @pmueller)
Via twitter @DeniseSpecht

Via twitter @DeniseSpecht

Last night at their bi-annual convention, the American Federation of Teachers adopted a resolution to support of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) in a national boycott Staples Inc. for their attempt to steal jobs from dedicated postal employee’s and continue the race to the bottom.

It resolves “that members of the AFT, along with friends, colleagues and family members, are urged to no longer shop at Staples stores until further notice.”

Read the resolution here.

Staples and the USPS are set to begin pilot program in 82 retail stores that would have “postal counters” that would provide most of the safe services as a local post office.  These postal counters would be staffed by Staples low-wage, non-union workers, and not by the dedicated clerks of the APWU, who take care of you at you local post office.

These postal counters could mean the end of our local post offices.

Similar resolutions were passed by the California Teachers Union, AFT Michigan, AFT Massachusetts and AFT New Hampshire asking members to shop somewhere else when it came time to buy their “back to school” supplies.

“Postal workers are the most amazing public servants,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Who does Staples really want and need to come into its stores every single day? Teachers. The best way we can help is if we say to Staples: ‘You do this to the postal workers, and we aren’t buying supplies in your stores.’”

AFT President Randi Weingarten (Image by @AFTunion)

AFT President Randi Weingarten (Image by @AFTunion)

School supplies are a key market for Staples, accounting for up to one-third of the company’s sales, according to some estimates. The company, faced with declining sales and revenue, has announced plans to close 225 stores by 2015.

After adopting the resolution, AFT members joined their APWU brothers and sisters in a massive rally outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. AFT President Weingarten and thousands of AFT convention delegates joined members of the American Postal Workers Union and other community members in a rally telling the United States Postal Service and the Staples corporation that the “Mail Is Not for Sale.”

This action is a continuing part of the AFT’s effort to reclaim the promise of an America where consumers are safe, workers are valued and well trained, and middle-class jobs are protected.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein addressed the importance of America’s middle class standing together against the effort to privatize and demonize U.S. postal workers. He said, “We too are in the public sector, we too are meeting the needs of people. We’re facing some of the same problems you are—I call it divert, defund, demoralize, demonize and dismantle.”

APWU President Mark Dimondstein (image by @AFTunion)

APWU President Mark Dimondstein (image by @AFTunion)

I applaud Randi Weingarten and all of the AFT members who adopted this resolution and will show their support for postal workers by boycotting Staples!

Below are pictures taken at the AFT/APWU rally last night.  All images are from twitter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

AFT-MASSACHUETTS Votes To Join Staples Boycott, Encourages National AFT Boycott

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AFT Massachusetts Votes to Boycott Framingham-Based Staples over Deal between Retailer and USPS That Privatizes Work of Local Post Offices

Teachers Union in Support of Postal Workers Urges Educators and School Staff Not to Purchase School Supplies From Staples – Massachusetts Will Join State Teachers Unions From California, Michigan, New Hampshire and Elsewhere in Urging a National Boycott Vote at the Biennial AFT Convention in Los Angeles This Week

AFT_Logo-2BOSTON – AFT Massachusetts, which represents teachers, school workers, public librarians and college faculty across Massachusetts, announced today that it was joining a growing boycott of the office supply and bulk goods retailer Staples. The announcement by Massachusetts teachers and school workers is significant because the Bay State is one of four test markets for a pilot program that moves postal services from local Post Offices to Staples stores. Additionally, Staples corporate headquarters is located in Framingham, Massachusetts.

AFT Massachusetts leaders said the union has taken this action to support the American Postal Workers Union’s battle against a no-bid sweetheart deal struck between the United States Postal Service and the giant office supply chain.  It includes, so far, an 82-store pilot program in which postal counters providing most of the same services as local post offices would operate in Staples stores staffed by low-wage Staples employees rather than uniformed postal workers. USPS managers have stated that they would like to expand the program to 1,500 Staples locations. In recent weeks, the USPS/Staples partnership has drawn outrage across the country, and a May 21 Boston Globe story indicated that Staples may want to consider backing out of the arrangement if public and labor opposition persist.[1]

This week, the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers is expected to pass a national boycott resolution at the union’s biennial convention in Los Angeles that begins on July 10. A large protest of AFT members and postal workers has been scheduled for July 12, in front of the Staples Center, which is adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center, where thousands of AFT delegates are convening.

“Public school teachers and our other members value public service,” said AFT Massachusetts President Tom Gosnell. “We know that postal workers are highly trained and care deeply about the security and sanctity of the mail. The decision to outsource neighborhood post offices across the country to a big-box retailer means potentially fewer good jobs and poorer service for our communities.”  Gosnell added, “Our members have choices on where to buy school supplies.  As long as Staples continues with this USPS program we will encourage our members to shop elsewhere.”

AFT Massachusetts, a strong voice for collaborative education reform that is good for students and fair to educators, represents over 25,000 public school employees and higher education faculty and staff. The union is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.

NH State Employees’ Association (SEIU 1984) Opposes Privatization Takeover Of USPS, Joins Staples Boycott

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Concord, NH, June 9, 2014 – At the quarterly meeting of the SEA/SEIU 1984 Council, members unanimously resolved to support U.S. Postal workers and enter into a boycott of Staples, the office supply retailer.  Staples has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Postal Service to operate postal counters in more than 82 “test sites” throughout the country.  The Postal Service plans to expand this operation to more than 1,500 Staples store across the United States.

Staples plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail. This is nothing less than a direct assault on good middle class jobs and on public postal workers.

“It’s clear the battle lines have been drawn in Corporate America’s plan to take over not just our politicians, but core governmental services.  And that’s why it’s also clear that more union brothers and sisters must step forward on that battlefield!  I will gladly stand with our US Postal Workers in their effort to stop Staples, the office supply retailer, from taking over trusted public services to boost corporate profit margins at the expense of hard working taxpayers, and I ask you to as well,” said Diana Lacey, President SEA/SEIU Local 1984 in an announcement of the boycott to members earlier today.

“We cannot thank SEIU local #1984 enough for joining our boycott of Staples. On behalf of Manchester Area Local President, Dana Coletti, and all people who believe in keeping the U.S. Postal Service as a public service, we appreciate this show of solidarity. Together we can and will end this drive to privatize all public services,” said Janice Kelble, Legislative Director, NH Postal Workers Union.

SEA/SEIU 1984 is latest labor union to join the cause to preserve this essential service.  SEA/SEIU 1984 joins NH AFL-CIO and AFT-New Hampshire in support of the postal workers.

SEA/SEIU 1984 is the exclusive representative of most state of NH employees, as well as county and municipal workers across the state.  The labor organization also represents workers at Hampstead Hospital.

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