OCTOBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
United States Postal Service wants to expand into grocery delivery business
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, October 3rd- While labor organizations have called for a boycott of Staples office supply stores throughout the nation, wanting to get the retailer out of the postal business, the United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to deliver groceries for Amazon.com and other retailers.
In June the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, announced a boycott of all Staples Inc. stores throughout the nation.
The APWU is boycotting all Staples office supply stores in the United States, Staples.com and Staples Advantage.
In 2013 the United States Postal Service (USPS) entered into an agreement with Staples to establish a ‘pilot program’ that placed knock-off ‘post offices’ in 82 Staples stores nationwide. The APWU stated the office supplier chain was utilizing nonunion, low-paid Staples employees instead of unionized, and well-trained USPS employees.
The APWU, which represents mail processing employees of the USPS throughout the nation, began a campaign against Staples Inc. stores have conducted protest at the retailers stores throughout the nation and in Pennsylvania because some of the Staples stores of the chain now provides the postal services.
The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg announced on July 21st, which approximately 800,000 union members from throughout Pennsylvania are affiliated through their labor organizations, it endorsed the Staples boycott and requested their affiliated labor organizations stop purchasing office supplies at the retailer. “We are asking our members, friends, family members and colleagues to take their business elsewhere,” stated Richard Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
Meanwhile, other labor organizations have joined the boycott requesting their members and affiliated local unions to not patronize Staples.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union joined the boycott of Stamples stating that the USPS is adding more low-wage jobs to the American economy by outsourcing work to low-wage employer Staples and replacing USPS workers with their workers who average only $8.50 an hour.
The USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe suggested that the partnership between the postal service and Staples will not result in job losses at the USPS, but will grow the business, something the APWU is finding hard to believe.
Meanwhile, the USPS is seeking approval for a two-year test run of a plan where the agency could deliver prepackaged groceries in the morning.
The USPS filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting permission to expand their services and suggested the business could bring in as much as $10 million a year in revenue.
Meanwhile, Staples primary competitor, Office Depot Inc., announced it has lost more than $190 million so far this year despite the recent merger with OfficeMax, another competitor.
That announcement only strengthens the APWU question of why the USPS would enter into an agreement with a business model that clearly is in decline, and should it fail it would leave many customers without access to any nearby post offices.