The U.S. Postal Service will discontinue retail services at Staples stores by the first week in March, according to the labor organization that led the fight against the program.
The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) said it was informed by the Postal Service that Staples will remove all postal signage at about 500 stores across the country. The union cast the decision as “a big win for the public as well as the 200,000 members of APWU and the union’s allies.” The union waged a national “Stop Staples” campaign and said it is immediately ending its boycott of the company.
11/17/2016 – On Nov. 8, 2016, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas ruled to uphold all of the charges leveled at the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Staples Approved Shipperprogram. The APWU initially filed the complaint on Nov. 13, 2014. Continue reading →
06/23/2016 – In a major ruling in favor of the APWU issued on June 15, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered the Postal Service to immediately provide the APWU uncensored copies of documents about the pilot program that established postal counters inside Staples stores – information the APWU first requested in 2013.
Noting that the Postal Service has a “rich history of responding to information requests with denials and delay,” the Board said that it would “not condone the [Postal Service’s] unlawful conduct by allowing it to delay any longer in producing the information.” The APWU first requested the information in 2013.
Under the order, the Postal Service must turn over information regarding its relationship with Staples, including copies of agreements and correspondence between the USPS and the office-supply company; records of any special deals and payments between them, and training material the Postal Service provided to Staples about how to perform the work.
Perhaps most importantly, the Board ordered the Postal Service to release records of its internal deliberations regarding the decision to subcontract APWU work to Staples.
05/25/2016 – After nearly a year of procedural wrangling, 10 days of testimony and more than 140 exhibits, the National Labor Relations Board hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples ended on May 24.
Region 5 of the NLRB issued a complaint against the Postal Service on June 26, 2015, in response to an “unfair labor practice” charge filed by the APWU. The complaint asked the NLRB to order the USPS to cancel its Approved Shipper deal with Staples and return the work to postal employees.
The hearing, which began in August 2015 and continued in November and February, resumed on May 18. NLRB General Counsel called APWU President Mark Dimondstein as the final witness in its direct case.
The NLRB General Counsel was represented by Daniel Heltzer and Cristina Cora, who worked closely with the APWU to demonstrate that the Postal Service refused to bargain with the union over its decision to contract out work to Staples.
Following Dimondstein’s testimony, the Postal Service and Staples presented their cases. The Postal Service called seven witnesses who attempted to justify the Postal Service’s decision to contract out Clerk Craft work.
NLRB attorneys cross-examined the USPS witnesses and re-called APWU Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita, who testified in February, to rebut their testimony.
A ruling by Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas is not expected for several months.
Many parts of the record and most documents introduced at the hearing remain under “provisional seal,” which prohibits the APWU from sharing the information contained in them.
Dimondstein vowed to fight to make the documents available to union members and the public. “The dirty deal between Staples and the USPS has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning,” he said. “But the people have a right to know about management’s attempts to privatize their Postal Service.
“Our country deserves public postal services that are provided by well-trained USPS employees who are accountable to the people,” he said.
03/01/2016 – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing on the Postal Service’s deal with Staples continued on Feb. 25 and 26, with APWU Manager of Negotiations Support Phil Tabbita testifying about USPS documents that discuss management’s plans to transfer retail work from post offices to Staples. He also responded to questions from the Postal Service attorney during cross-examination. Tabbita was the sole witness on both days.
Tabbita’s testimony established that the USPS’s deal with Staples constituted contracting out of bargaining unit work.
During Tabbita’s testimony, the NLRB General Counsel introduced several documents that the Postal Service and Staples insisted were confidential and, for the second and third day in a row, the hearing was temporarily closed to the public while the documents were discussed.
“The APWU will continue do everything we can to ensure that these documents are opened to public view,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The Postal Service must be accountable to the people of the country. The people have a right to know the plans postal management is considering for the future of this great national public treasure.”
The documents illustrated that Staples employees received training based on USPS window clerk training; the Staples employees’ were performing a service – they weren’t just selling products, and the Postal Service relied heavily on reducing window hours at post offices to generate revenue from the Staples Approved Shipper program.
Tabbita’s testimony will continue when the hearing resumes, but a date has not yet been set.
A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing on charges that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples resumed on Feb. 24 – after months of procedural wrangling – and finally got to the substance of the dispute.
In an opening statement, the APWU offered its perspective on the case: The Postal Service’s decision to allow Staples employees to perform the work of USPS retail clerks was motivated in large part by management’s desire to save money on labor costs. The union was never offered the opportunity to negotiate over the program, and therefore the USPS violated its duty to bargain in good faith. Continue reading →
WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Exactly one year after Staples and Office Depot announced a merger plan that would create a dominant office-supply store monopoly in the United States and other markets, the American Postal Workers Union said today that it is expanding its opposition to the plan to other nations.
The APWU is reaching out to overseas union allies and urging them to contact government officials in their countries, where regulators are now reviewing the merger. “We are working to protect consumers, businesses and other organization from higher prices and fewer choices,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau “made exactly the right call” in taking legal action to block the merger of Staples and Office Depot, Dimondstein said.
“It’s clear that when the two biggest companies in an industry combine, competition, innovation and consumer choice will decrease, and prices will increase,” he said. “That’s exactly what our anti-trust laws are designed to prevent.”
Nevertheless, Dimondstein noted, Staples and Office Depot are determined to fight the regulatory authorities in court. “It’s a desperate attempt to save a deeply flawed merger plan,” he said. “But these are big companies with deep pockets. If they are going to continue to push their unlawful plan, our members will not stand idly by.”
APWU leaders have been in contact with labor union allies in the European Union, urging them to oppose the Staples/Office Depot merger. “This is a global industry, and it’s a global fight,” Dimondstein said. “We’ve researched the negative impact of this flawed merger. We’ve shared our concerns with the Federal Trade Commission and we’re prepared to reach across borders to make sure regulators in other nations understand what’s at stake.”
Staples and Office Depot announced a merger plan on Feb. 4, 2015. APWU announced its opposition the same day. The APWU released “No Sale,” a report on how the merger would affect consumers in May 2015 and “Bad for Business,” a report on the harm to business-to-business transactions in October 2015. Both reports are available at www.apwu.org.
01/29/2016 – A document unearthed in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reveals why the APWU is adamant that the Postal Service’s deal with Staples – and others like it – must be stopped.
The March 26, 2012, document exposes the secret privatization recommendation a Postal Service consultant made to USPS management: Eliminate most retail facilities throughout the country, along with the work of APWU employees.
The document is covered by a “protective order” that prohibits its disclosure, but the Administrative Law Judge presiding over the case has ruled that the contents can be summarized and brought out from behind the veil of secrecy.
As described by the judge in his order, the document reveals that the Postal Service’s consultant made a number of proposals to the USPS, including that thePostal Service invest in high-traffic Postal Service locations and that it eliminate the majority of the standard-volume Postal Service locations and migrate that work to retail partners that are not staffed by APWU members.
The judge’s order says, “The document was not prepared by the [USPS] and does not, on its face, reveal whether the [USPS] adopted any of the proposals contained in it.” As the APWU sees it, the deal with Staples is consistent with this recommendation.
“The USPS claim that the Staples deal is about providing customers with better access is a hoax. It is clearly a privatization scheme to transfer postal services – and our work – to the private sector,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said.
“This document proves we are on the right track and should double down to stop this dirty deal in its tracks. Continue the boycott of Staples andQuill.com and continue to encourage our co-workers, families and friends to do the same.”
After months of refusing to provide documents subpoenaed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the APWU, the USPS and Staples produced a mound of paperwork on Oct. 20, less than two weeks before a hearing scheduled for Nov. 2.
Rather than address the core of the complaint – that the Postal Service illegally subcontracted work to Staples – the Nov. 2 proceedings are now expected to be dominated by more wrangling over the subpoenaed evidence. The first days of hearings, Aug. 17 and 18, also were dominated by legal maneuvering. Continue reading →
NEW YORK — Shares of Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc. both tumbled on Tuesday, hurt by renewed concerns that the Federal Trade Commission will block the companies’ merger plan.
Deborah Feinstein, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, is opposing the deal, according to a story in the New York Post, which cited an unidentified source. The FTC commissioners are expected to rule by October, though Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., could ask for the deadline to be extended, the Post said.
Staples’ stock fell 5.8 percent to $12.75 Tuesday, its biggest decline in seven months. Office Depot, of Boca Raton, Fla., dropped 4.1 percent to $7.06.