APWU: What’s Different About Staples?
(Excerpt from the March-April 2014 edition of The American Postal Worker.)
Many APWU members have asked, “What makes the Staples program so important? How is it different from the other programs that outsource postal retail functions – the grocery stores that sell stamps and the Village Post Offices in hardware stores and gas stations in small towns?”
“The difference is the scale,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burleson. “We’re not happy about Village Post Offices or grocery stores selling stamps, either,” he said. “But Staples is a national chain with 1,600 stores. And the Staples postal units are performing many of the functions our retail clerks perform.
The USPS Five-Year Business Plan dated April 2013 reports that 40 percent of retail operations are provided through “alternative access,” including personal computers, stamps-only sales at grocery stores and other outlets, Burelson pointed out.
“Contract Postal Units account for less than 2 percent of retail revenue,” he noted. “But if the Staples plan takes hold, it would be another major step toward full-scale privatization of retail operations.”
And the Five-Year Business Plan states management’s goals for retail operations. Among them: “Increase alternate access retail revenue from 40 percent to 60 percent.”