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APWU to Harvard President: Stop Staples Deal or Quit Board

The APWU has placed a full-page ad in The Harvard Crimson calling on Harvard University President Drew Faust “to do the right thing or resign.” The right course of action, the ad says, is for Dr. Faust to use her influence to end the no-bid deal Faust serves on the board of Staples, where she earns $300,000 per year.

Staples is notorious for paying its employees poverty-level wages, the ad points out. A 2012 study by the National Employment Law Project listed Staples among the 50 largest low-wage employers in the country. Since 2007, Staples has paid roughly $80 million to settle more than a dozen class-action lawsuits alleging ‘wage theft.’

Staples foray into the postal business will have serious repercussions: It will facilitate the transfer of stable, living-wage jobs to high-turnover, poverty-wage jobs; downgrade the quality of postal services, and hasten the privatization of the United States Postal Service, the ad says.

“If Dr. Faust can’t use her influence to end this dirty deal, she should resign from the Staples board,” it concludes.

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USPS employees urged to report suspected contract fraud

From USPS News Link:

USPS manages approximately $29 billion in postal contracts, including agreements with vendors that provide the Postal Service with information technology services, cleaning supplies and more.

Given the sheer volume and value of these deals, fraud can happen. Common schemes include false claims and statements, such as failing to provide goods and services according to the contract terms, or inflating costs above what’s specified in the contract.

Improprieties are investigated by the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent agency that audits Postal Service programs and operations.

If you suspect contract fraud, visit the OIG site to file a complaint online or call the agency’s hotline at 888-877-7644. You can submit anonymous tips.

Read more: USPS News Link Story – On alert.

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Video: Fumes from package at Humble TX Post Office send 7 workers to hospital

HUMBLE, Texas –

Seven employees at the Humble Post Office were transported to the hospital Tuesday after strong odors or fumes from a package caused them to experience various medical issues.

The Humble Police Department was contacted about 11:35 a.m. requesting an ambulance. Humble EMS responded to the scene and found employees complaining of scratchy throats, watery and burning eyes, nausea and headaches.

The workers were taken to Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital for treatment. All have since been discharged.

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The post office was evacuated and a HazMat team was brought in to sweep the building. They located a package that contained cinnamaldahyde, an organic compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and odor. The non-hazardous substance has various uses, including being used in electric and vapor-type cigarettes.

Read more: Fumes from package at Humble Post Office send 7 workers to hospital | News – Home.

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Portsmouth post workers stage unofficial walk-out

Post deliveries in Portsmouth have been disrupted by a wildcat strike by staff.

Workers taking part in the unofficial action said about 120 had walked out at 07:00 BST over the dismissal of an employee, before returning to work at 12:30.

The Slindon Street delivery office in the city centre deals with deliveries for the PO1 to PO5 postcodes.

The Royal Mail said it was "disappointed" by the action.

Following the walk out, Ruth Harrison, of the Communication Workers’ Union, said employees were "charged with emotion" over the issue.

She added: "We want minimum disruption to our customers – it’s really unfortunate they feel they’ve been put in a position to do this today."

Read more: BBC News – Portsmouth post workers stage unofficial walk-out.

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Target Offers Free Holiday Shipping

Target Corp. has a present for its online holiday shoppers: Free shipping.

The retailer is dropping shipping fees for all online orders from Oct. 22 through Dec. 20, raising the stakes in the battle with Amazon.com , Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers for shoppers who avoid brick-and-mortar stores.

The promotion is one step Target is taking as it tries to bounce back from last year’s disastrous holiday season when a huge data breach hit the retailer in the weeks before Christmas, leading to its worst customer-traffic levels since it began reporting the number in 2008.

It also kicks off what retailers have warned will be a highly promotional holiday season and raises pressure on Target’s rivals to match the offer, increasingly a requirement for shoppers to make purchases online. A study by advisory firm Deloitte found that up to 60% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts due to unexpected costs, including shipping.

Wal-Mart’s website currently offers free shipping on all orders over $50 with delivery in six to nine business days, but for faster delivery or smaller purchases, rates vary, starting at $4.97. Amazon.com, meanwhile, provides two-day shipping free on 20 million items to members of its Prime program, which costs $99 a year.

About two-thirds of all Target.com orders already ship for free, either because shoppers meet a $50 free-shipping threshold or pay using their Target-branded debit or credit cards. Otherwise, Target’s shipping costs vary by item.

Read more: Target Offers Free Holiday Shipping – WSJ – WSJ.

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Surveillance video released in murder of Maryland letter carrier

CHEVERLY, Md. (WJLA) – The U.S. Postal Service and Prince George’s County Police are hoping a newly released video clip will jog someone’s memory and lead to the person who murdered a postal worker in a case that has gone cold.

Tyson Barnette was shot and killed on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, while delivering mail on his route in Cheverly.

In the surveillance video, an SUV—believed to be a Jeep Grand Cherokee—races through the area in which 26-year-old Barnette was shot to death. He was delivering mail on a new route in the 1600 block of Jutewood Avenue.

A $125,000 reward is being offered in the case. If you recognize the SUV in the surveillance clip above, you are urged to contact USPS or Prince George’s County Police; all information will be kept confidential.

Read more: Surveillance video released in Cheverly murder of postal worker Tyson Barnette | WJLA.com.

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Another reason not to shop at Staples- your credit card info may be compromised

Lots of postal workers (and school teachers) have been avoiding Staples recently, thanks to their deals with the US Postal Service to outsource postal workers’ jobs. Now there’s another reason to buy your stamps at the post office:

Staples-that-was-easy.-LogoIn the latest cyberattack on American retailers and restaurants, Staples said Tuesday that its computer systems were compromised in an intrusion involving customers’ credit and debit card information.

Staples, the office supplier based in Framingham, Mass., said it was working with law enforcement agencies to determine the extent of the problem. The company did not say when the attack occurred or in which stores, or how many payment cards might have been affected.

Read more: Staples Is Latest Retailer Hit by Hackers – NYTimes.com.

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Raw video: Porch camera captures package theft

INDIANAPOLIS – The holidays are approaching, but the Grinch has arrived early in Indianapolis.

Metro police and the postal service are investigating the theft of a package from the porch of a north side homeowner.

Surveillance video from a house in the 4400 block of Winthrop Avenue shows the theft occurring around 4 p.m. Sunday.

With two suspects acting as lookouts, the thief approaches the porch, carefully scanning the neighborhood for potential witnesses.

When the other two men get in a van parked out front, the suspect grabs the package and runs. The thief didn’t even seem to notice the camera.

Read more: Raw video: Porch camera captures package theft – TheIndyChannel.com.

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West Virginia PMR sentenced to probation, fine for theft of postal funds

US-Department-Of-Justi_fmtBrenda Carmody, 49, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia, was sentenced to three years of probation and a $500.00 fine after she stole more than $2,000.00 while employed at the Rippon, WV Post Office. Carmody pled guilty to one count of “Misappropriation of Postal Funds” in July 2014 after a United States Postal Inspection Service investigation revealed that she stole $1,551.91 from the stamp drawer and $480 from post office box rentals from the Rippon, West Virginia, post office while she was working as Postmaster Relief.

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Canadian firms stamped out of Canada Post community mailbox contract

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

OTTAWA — First, Canada Post announced it was cutting door-to-door service, prompting fierce criticism in defence of the rights of the elderly, infirm and others. Now, it has turned to an American company to supply the new community mailboxes to replace door-to-door mail delivery over the next five years.

The Free Press has learned the Crown corporation chose the same cluster boxes used by the United States Postal Service for at least the first wave of cluster-box installations in 11 cities this fall.

A Kansas company has won the contract for Canada Post’s community mailboxes.

The boxes are only licensed to be manufactured by three American companies. Canadian companies were not even invited to bid on the contract.

Canada Post awarded the contract to Florence Manufacturing in Manhattan, Kan. Canada Post will not say how much it is spending, how many boxes it is ordering from Florence or how long the contract is set to last.

Read more: Canadian firms stamped out – Winnipeg Free Press.