Postal workers stop Staples

From the January-February 2017 issue of News & Letters

Photo: http://www.apwu.org/

Organized labor in general, and postal workers in particular, have won a major victory. In the face of an international campaign of boycotts, leafleting and picket lines, the multinational company Staples announced in January that it would no longer be pursuing a deal with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide postal services within their office supply stores.

Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) had denounced the deal as a form of union-busting, as it would have allowed employees of Staples—which is vehemently anti-union—to do jobs normally done by postal workers. That would have given the USPS an excuse to reduce its unionized workforce.

WORKERS SAY ‘NO!’ TO PRIVATIZATION

Union members said that giving postal work to a private corporation amounted to the privatization of government business. For years, picket lines and protests urged consumers to boycott Staples. Postal workers helped block a merger of Staples with another mega-corporation in the office retail business.

Even as they announced this victory, the APWU called for federal investigations into Staples’ abuses of the privatization scheme and their attempted monopolization of private postal practices. In the end, as union president Mark Dimondstein said, “This victory helps strengthen and steel us for the battles ahead.”

—Natalia Spiegel

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