Staples boycott grows

Dozens of protesters carrying signs and banners marched inside a Staples store in Northeast Portland June 20, where they attempted to present a petition signed by 500 Portland residents who have pledged to boycott the office supply stores. The protesters are angry because Staples signed a no-bid, sweetheart deal with the U.S. Postal Service to staff postal counters inside its stores — at the same time the USPS is eliminating public post offices and reducing work hours.

Protesters enter StaplesA pilot program was launched in 82 stores last October (none in Oregon). USPS plans to expand the scheme to all of Staples’ 1,500  locations nationwide starting in September. Staples employees who work full time earn about $18,000 per year and receive minimal training on how to handle U.S. Mail, said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which is spearheading the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign.

The AFL-CIO bolstered the boycott campaign with its endorsement last month.  The California Federation of Teachers was the first to sign on to the campaign in April, followed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Michigan and AFT-New Hampshire. On June 23, delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council voted to join the boycott. The American Federation of Teachers is expected to consider a ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ resolution at its national convention this month.

Teachers play an especially important role in the boycott, because roughly one-third of Staples’ revenue comes from the sale of school supplies, said Jim Falvey, president of Portland-based National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 82.

Staples protestWhen management of the store on Northeast 122nd off Glisan Street in Portland refused to accept the protesters’ petition, the protesters began chanting “the U.S. Mail is not for sale” and “privatization has got to go,” while blocking the store entrance.  After the person in charge agreed to convey their message to upper management, the protesters filed out, chanting “we’ll be back.”

“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 Jamie Partridge, a retired letter carrier now with Communities and Postal Workers United, the organization that sponsored of the action.

“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,”  Partridge said.

Protesters vow to increase pressure on the office supply chain nationwide until it drops the postal contract.

2 Comments on Staples boycott grows

  1. This article is missing the part that says the USPS is losing money hand over fist, and this is what they HAVE to do because the Unions won’t budge. “Living wage” or not, nobody likes having to pay more for something they can get for much less.

  2. The postal service is only losing money because Congress requires it to prefund future retiree health benefits. 5.5 million per year. For the past couple of years the post office has not paid into this fund, so it shows as a loss. without this requirement, which no other company or government agency is required to do, the post office would have shown a profit.
    And what no one is telling the public is that anything mailed through Staples is not considered mail, until it is turned over to the Postal Service. So those poorly paid Staples employees could steal those packages and would not be held to the same level of accountability as postal employees. You get what you pay for.

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