Boycott Staples! AFSCME Supports Postal Workers

staplesnewAFSCME has endorsed the American Postal Workers Union’s boycott of Staples, which was given a no-bid contract by the U.S. Postal Service that would allow Staples to staff in-store Postal Service counters with its own low-paid employees.

In a July 2 letter to Staples Inc. CEO Ronald L. Sargeant, AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and Sec.-Treas. Laura Reyes said “we are asking our members, friends, family members and colleagues to take their business elsewhere.”

While noting that AFSCME has done substantial business with Staples, nationally and locally, President Saunders and Secretary-Treasurer Reyes wrote that Americans “have a right to Post Offices staffed by highly-trained, uniformed postal employees – employees who have taken an oath to safeguard the privacy and security of their mail. We also object, in principle, to short-sighted business arrangements that replace good, living-wage jobs with high-turnover, low-wage jobs, as the USPS-Staples deal does.”

The Postal Service announced last October that it would open postal counters with limited services at 82 Staples locations nationwide.

The pilot program could potentially expand to all of the Massachusetts-based chain’s 1,500 locations nationwide starting this September.

AFSCME’s letter to Staples’ CEO notes that, since the deal was announced, the USPS has reduced service hours in more than two dozen San Francisco-area Post Offices. All of them are located near a Staples store with a postal counter. “It is apparent that more cuts in postal services are planned, along with the eventual closing of U.S. Post Offices,” the letter states.

“Only the U.S. Postal Service can accomplish the mission it has carried out with distinction for more than two centuries: Providing universal mail service to all Americans, in every corner of the country,” wrote President Saunders and Secretary-Treasurer Reyes.

Read more here and sign a petition to “tell Staples: The U.S. mail is not for sale!

SEIU Votes to Boycott Staples

stop-staples-275June 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. Continue reading

APWU: The Video the PMG Doesn’t Want You to See

From the American Postal Workers Union:

June 23, 2014 – The Postal Service’s propaganda machine has been working overtime in recent months, with workers forced to watch videos featuring Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe spewing falsehoods about “the state of the business” and the deal with Staples.

APWU President Mark Dimondstein takes on the PMG’s claims in a new video that every postal worker should see.

But while management can require employees to view his message while they’re on the clock, the union can’t. So make sure your co-workers hear the truth! Please show the video in swing rooms, cafeterias, at union events, and wherever postal employees get together.

Read more: Exposed: The Video the PMG Doesn't Want You to See | APWU.

National Education Association, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Join ‘Stop Staples’ Movement

stop-staples-275June 11, 2014The Stop Staples movement is continuing to gain momentum, with several important organizations showing support for the cause.

The National Education Association (NEA), which represents 3 million educators, has written to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe [PDF] asking him to immediately reverse the decision to offer postal services through Staples.

“Your efforts to replace skilled U.S. Postal Service employees with untrained workers will jeopardize mail service, while putting the jobs of thousands of Postal Service employees at risk,” wrote Dennis Van Roekel, the organization’s president.

“NEA does not support – and never will – the outsourcing of essential public services to untrained workers in private companies with lower standards. If allowed to continue, these efforts would significantly undermine the security and integrity of the country’s entire mail collection and delivery process,” he wrote in a letter dated May 27.

The NEA’s support is especially important because roughly one-third of Staples’ revenue comes from the sale of school supplies.

“This is terrific news,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Teachers will play a crucial role in this struggle, and we greatly appreciate their support.”

The NEA letter follows votes by the California, Michigan and New Hampshire chapters of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to support the Staples boycott. The AFT is expected to endorse a ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ resolution at its national convention in mid-July.

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) has also taken a stand in support of the Stop Staples movement.

Delegates to the organization’s 43rd national convention voted unanimously to join the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign and to spread the word to member unions and throughout the labor movement.

The CBTU also passed two other resolutions in support of postal workers: The group voted to embark on a campaign to educate the American people on the advantages of non-profit postal banking services and to become a signatory to the Grand Alliance to save the national public Postal Service.

“The CBTU’s support means a great deal,” Dimondstein said. “CBTU has activists all across the country and in many unions. They have done great work of linking the struggles of workers with the struggles in communities.”

NY, NH Join the Fight

The New York State and New Hampshire AFL-CIO are also urging their members, families, friends and allies to boycott the office-supply company.

“The Staples pilot is part of a larger problem in our economy – a myopic focus on the bottom line, even if it means degraded services and the replacement of family-sustaining careers with low-wage jobs,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. “New Yorkers must stand-up and send a message to Staples and the Postal Service that our mail is too important to entrust to anyone but USPS employees who are accountable to the public and have taken an oath of office.”

Jim Bertolone, president of the Rochester Area Local APWU and a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO, said, “The Postmaster General has repeatedly denied that this program is part of an effort to privatize USPS retail operations, but documents management was forced to provide by the NLRB of the secret no-bid deal with Staples state, ‘The pilot will be used to determine if lower costs can be realized with retail partner labor instead of the labor traditionally associated with retail windows at Post Offices.’ This we know is outsourcing and privatization.”

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO has also joined in. “The New Hampshire AFL-CIO fully and enthusiastically supports our sisters and brothers working in real post offices across our state and nation, and we will be boycotting staples until this unfair program is ended,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie.

“I applaud the activists in our locals and state organizations who undoubtedly played a key role in winning these endorsements,” Dimondstein said.  “I urge all APWU members to help spread the word about the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign to labor organizations throughout the country – at the national, state and local level – to make sure union members get the message.”

“I’m convinced that working men and women will readily understand the threat to living-wage jobs posed by the Postal Service’s no-bid, sweetheart deal with Staples once they are made aware of the situation,” he said.

Staples exec mocks postal workers at “town hall” meeting

shiraNH Labor News reports that Staples executive Shira Goodman mocked postal workers and their “jobs for life” at a “town hall” session for Staples employees. Goodman is a Mitt Romney protege who got the Staples job after working for Romney’s Bain Capital. Goodman may not have a “job for life”, but she and her colleagues seem to be pretty secure in their positions. While the Staples Annual Report doesn’t list Goodman’s salary, it says that her boss, CEO Ronald Sargent, has received compensation valued at about $26 million over just the last three years. During that time period, while the stock market boomed, with the S&P 500 up by 50%, Staples’ stock price has lost almost half its value.

Who needs a job for life when you’ve got a deal like that?

Shira Goodman, North American Commercial President for Staples couldn’t hide her contempt for Postal Workers when she spoke to hundreds of Staples employees in her first ever Town Hall style meeting. Ms Goodman chastised Postal Workers with several disparaging remarks including: “It must be nice to have a job for life” then adding ”those days are over, this country can’t afford to do business as usual”. In her world Staples workers are nothing more than temporary workers always at risk to have their jobs abolished.

It comes as no surprise that Shira Goodman was on the “Jobs and Economy” Steering Committee during Mitt Romney’s transition to Massachusetts Governor in 1992. Judging by her attitude towards workers there is no doubt she buys into Romney’s hateful 47% comment made during his presidential run.

It’s also hardly shocking that Shira Goodman’s job before joining Staples in 1992 was being a manager for Bain and Company (1986-1992). Staples was one of her clients. Bain was the leader in outsourcing workers jobs for management profit. She must feel quite comfortable in outsourcing postal jobs to her transient workforce.

Read more: I Cannot Believe What Shira Goodman (Pres. of Staples) Said About The Dedicated USPS Employees | NH Labor News.