Four major postal unions have joined forces to protest office supplies chain Staples’ efforts to sell postal products at their stores, a bold attempt to begin privatizing the U.S. Postal Service http://www.apwu.org/news/webart/2014/14-049-unionalliance-140311.htm
The American Postal Workers Union which spearheaded this campaign a few weeks ago is teaming up with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association to form the Postal Union Alliance to try to head off the Staples incursions in anticipation of upcoming contract negotiations with the postal service.
At issue is Staples efforts to sell postal products at special desks in their stores with their regular workers. These moves would also further fuel the movement to close post offices most of which the country still needs very much, despite all the stale rhetoric about the outmodedness of the USPS lets in the age of the Internet, mobile devices, tablets and so forth.
To say nothing of lowering the value of unionized postal employees.
It’s no secret that other commercial organizations ranging from the corner newsstand to major hotel chains also sell postage stamps. But these entities have nowhere near the scale and reach of a Staples and as such do not pose an existential threat to the USPS.
And Staples efforts come at a time when the company is in financial trouble and is actually closing stores and beefing up its less costly online operations, as USA Today reports http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/03/06/staples-closings/6114525/.
In other words, the Framingham, MA firm wants to supplement slow retail sales with products and services everybody always needs without paying workers fair union wages so it can keep expenses low and look good to Wall Street and try to keep its stock price high. What better way to do that than through what’s essentially a government contract?
What right does Staples or any for-profit corporation have to undercut the public’s postal service?