June 30, 2014 – The ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ movement got a big boost this month when the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) voted to endorse the boycott. The union represents building service, healthcare and government employees.
In a letter to Staples CEO Ronald L. Sargent and Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry wrote, “On behalf of the Service Employees International’s 2 million members, I am writing to express SEIU’s strong opposition to the United States Postal Service’s decision to operate postal counters in Staples stores, and to inform you that SEIU is boycotting all Staples stores.
“SEIU will no longer do business with Staples, and we will actively encourage our local unions, members, community allies and their friends, colleagues and family members to refrain from doing business with Staples retail stores, Staples.com, Staples Advantage and all Staples branded proprietary products until such time as you rethink your pilot program.
“This misguided program jeopardizes the integrity and quality of United States mail service and undercuts skilled middle class jobs by shifting them to part-time, low-wage, non-union hourly employees.
“As you know, the U.S. Postal Service is the largest single civilian employer of union middle class jobs for African Americans and Veterans (including disabled veterans) and is the largest single civilian union employer in the U.S. This country needs more of these types of jobs to strengthen our economy and the middle class. Our members will not accept your decision to outsource their neighborhood post offices to a low-wage, big-box retailer.”
AFT-Massachusetts and Others
Several other labor organizations have also joined the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ movement.
The American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts voted to boycott the store, and their delegates plan to wear Stop Staples T-shirts on the day the national union votes on the boycott at the AFT convention next month.
On June 23, the Rhode Island AFL-CIO Executive Board unanimously passed a Resolution to Support the United States Postal Workers by boycotting any and all purchases at Staples Stores nationally. In an email to Rhode Island AFL-CIO labor leaders, the board requested “that each and every union send a letter to Staples CEO Ronald L. Sargent expressing your intent to no longer patronize their stores.”
On June 19, the NoVA [Northern Virginia] Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO also passed a ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ resolution.
Local 114 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) in Portland, OR, voted unanimously on June 17 to urge the U.S. Postal Service to stop the effort to privatize postal workers’ jobs and join the boycott of Staples.
The Ohio AFL-CIO and Southeastern Area Labor Federation of Pennsylvania AFL-CIO also adopted a boycott resolution.
Read more: SEIU Votes to Boycott Staples | APWU.