12.14.14 Dozens of protesters picketed a local Staples office supply store today, marching through the store chanting “the U.S. mail is not for sale” and “postal Staples has got to go” to demonstrate their grievances. The store manager refused to accept a petition signed by 1,500 Portland residents concerned about privatization of their postal services. Protesters left the store as security personnel arrived.
“Staples is setting up fake post offices inside their stores that jeopardize our nation’s public post offices, the sanctity of the mail and thousands of good jobs at living wages,” said organizer Jamie Partridge of Communities and Postal Workers United.
Staples has contracted with the US Postal Service to staff post offices installed within their stores. In pilot openings last fall, 82 post offices were launched inside Staples stores with low-paid, non-union, non-postal workers (the average Staples worker makes $18,000 per year). On October 7, the USPS announced plans to open post offices inside every one of the 1,500 Staples stores nationwide.
As community post offices are being closed and hours reduced, understaffed with lines out the door, the USPS is opening up private post offices, staffed by poorly trained, unaccountable Staples employees. “The public should not be fooled by claims of better service. Staples workers are not sworn to safeguard the mail. The risk of theft from the mail deposited in a Staples post office is very real,” stated Partridge.
Urging individuals and institutions to boycott Staples, the protesters vowed to increase pressure on the office supply chain until they drop the postal contract.
Local Sponsors: Communities and Postal Workers United, Jobs with Justice.