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Additional labor organizations announce support for Staples office supply store boycott

09.18.14

SEPTEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Additional labor organizations announce support for Staples office supply store boycott

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 3rd- More labor organizations have joined the boycott of Staples office supply stores throughout the nation as they attempt to get the retailer out of the postal business.

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. The boycott also covers all Staples branded proprietary products.

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 has filed labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because the USPS will not provide information about the contract with Staples.

The APWU, which represents mail processing employees of the USPS throughout the nation, began a campaign against Staples Inc. stores and held a ‘national day of action’ in May by protesting 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 several weeks ago that the labor federation endorsed the boycott of Staples office supply stores and requested their affiliated labor organizations stop purchasing office supplies at the retailer.

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.

AFGE stated that America needs more middle-class jobs, not poverty-wage ones. According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, the bad economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones during the past four years. Low-wage industries like fast food and retail lost two million jobs during the recession but have added 3.8 million ones while higher-wage industries lost 3.6 million positions but have added only 2.6 million, the AFGE stated.

On July 21st, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, which approximately 800,000 union members from throughout the state are affiliated through their local labor organizations, endorsed the Staples boycott.

“We are asking our members, friends, family members and colleagues to take their business elsewhere,” stated Richard Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

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. However, the APWU is finding that hard to believe.

According the the APWU International Union office, the USPS and Staples are attempting to incorporate postal revenues into Staples Inc. stores, not expand the business.

The AFL-CIO stated the labor federation along with the APWU will work together in developing methods to convince Staples to withdraw from the partnership with the USPS.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO stated that since the deal with Staples was announced, the USPS has reduced the hours of service in more than two dozen San Francisco area post offices, all of which are near a Staples store with a postal counter.

“It is apparent that more cuts in postal services are planned, along with the eventual closing of U.S. Post Offices,” added Mr. Bloomingdale.

Teamsters Union looking to organize FedEx employees

09.18.14

SEPTEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union looking to organize FedEx employees

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in Washington DC have began to attempt to organize FedEx ground employees by conducting a national campaign to gain enough signatures of workers to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an representation election.

According to information provided by the IBT to the newspaper, there is no time-table to file a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if FedEx Ground employees want to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Also, the IBT has not yet determined if a national campaign will be conducted or individual regional local unions of the IBT that have a FedEx facility in their jurisdiction will petition the NLRB and conduct the election with the employees being represented by the local union rather than under a master agreement, such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or the National Freight Agreement which covers the unionized truckers and other workers.

FedEx is a competitor of UPS, which employees are represented by the IBT. The Union represents all drivers and warehouse workers. Also, the IBT has a separate CBA with UPS for their drivers of UPS Freight company, which was once called the Overnite Trucking Company. Overnite was once the largest nonunion trucking company in the nation.

The majority of FedEx workers are nonunion. The pilots of the company voted to be represented by the Airline Pilots Association (APA) International Union several years ago.

Meanwhile, a recent court ruling in California could make it easier for the IBT to attempt to organize the FedEx Ground workers.

On August 27th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that 2,300 individuals working for the company was misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees of FedEx. As a result of the ruling FedEx may owe the drivers hundreds of millions of dollars for illegally shirting to them the costs of such things as the FedEx branded trucks, uniforms, and scanners, as well as missed meal and rest period pay, overtime compensation, and penalties.

The court’s decision is the most recent in a series of cases that have proven the FedEx Grounds independent contractor model is built on the legal fiction that drivers of the company are in business for themselves.

IBT Local 401 member receives Hoffa Scholarship

09.18.14

SEPTEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IBT Local 401 member receives Hoffa Scholarship

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 3rd- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, announced that one of their members child was awarded the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship.

Mr. Hoffa became a IBT member in 1934 and served as General President for 14 years, and in recognition of his service to the Union and its members, was honored as General President Emeritus for life.

At the November 1999 IBT General Executive Board meeting, General Secretary/Treasurer C. Thomas Keegel presented a resolution to establish the new scholarship fund.

Before a scholarship is awarded, the student must rank in the top 15 percent of their high school class; have, or expect to have, excellent SAT or ACT scores; and demonstrate financial need.

The applicant of the scholarship must be a son, daughter or grand-child of a IBT member. IBT Local 401 member Deanna Habib and her husband Victor Habib Jr. of Harvey’s Lake, daughter Amber Habib was one of this year’s 150 scholarship recipients. Mrs. Habib works for the Luzerne County’s Children and Youth Services and has been a union steward for fifteen years.

Amber Habib was her high school class secretary and was involved in student government, Lifesmarts and the Key Club. She is attending Bucknell University, studying engineering.

Photo in the print edition, left to right: Deanna Habib, Amber Habib, and Pat Connors, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 401.