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The AFL-CIO working with Postal Workers Union regarding Staples boycott

07.02.14

JULY 2014, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

The AFL-CIO working with Postal Workers Union regarding Staples boycott

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 21st- Under the endorsement of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, has 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 the Lehigh Valley because some of the Staples stores of the chain now provides the postal services. The action was conducted in 27 states including a store in Easton, which was protested by members of Local 268, which represents APWU members throughout the Lehigh Valley. The Easton location is the only local Staples store that the newspaper is aware of that currently provides postal service work.

According to Local 268 President Bernie Ogozalek, the pilot program with the USPS will hurt his members by providing postal services that are now done by APWU members.

Mr. Ogozalek voiced his disappointment with the USPS for agreeing to the new pilot program that surely is intended to begin the privatization of the postal service.

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, Mr. Ogozalek and his International Union find 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 APWU fears that if the new pilot agreement between the USPS and Staples is considered successful it may be expanded to the retailers other 1,600 stores and other retailers may follow, resulting in job losses for their members, therefore the reason for the boycott.

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

The AFL-CIO Campaigns Department spokesperson David Keicher stated that Staples needs to realize that it is not in their interest to help the USPS turn decent, middle class jobs into low wage work.

Mr. Ogozalek stated the union is requesting fellow union members not purchase office supplies at Staples unless the retailer negotiates with the APWU about manning the postal services department with their members.

The American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union represents the majority of the USPS workers. The two labor organizations have a combined membership of around 390,000 workers.