The U.S. Postal Service has abandoned its plans to set up miniature post offices in Staples office supply stores.
But the USPS’s announcement may be just a ruse, says Mark Diamondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which led boycotts of Staples in several cities across the country.
Staples’ move probably came about when the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers voted to join in the boycott, according to Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/15/us-staples-deals-idUSKBN0FK03820140715.
Score one for organized labor? Maybe.
The big question is did the USPS really think it could get away with such an obvious slap in the face to the postal labor unions? Like it or not, organizations like the American Postal Workers Union and the American Federation of Teachers still hold a good deal of political sway in Congress.
It’s well-known that the USPS has been gradually reducing its workforce for many years and seems to be getting away with the post office and distribution facility closures it began in 2011 with the stated goal if saving $20 million a year.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the USPS reported a net loss of $354 million http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_006.htm.
But to so brazenly try to undercut their own employees and customers and replace them with untrained low-wage store clerks shows that USPS management can sometimes act very stupidly and narrow mindedly. After all, this scheme would essentially bypass post offices and all the specialized services their knowledgeable and experience staffs offer.
USPS stupidity is nothing new.
Just look at some of the ideas the postal service has put forward and later abandoned.
Back in 2011, for example, the USPS proposed selling beer and wine in post offices, as in a deli. This was followed last year with a plan to use the postal service to deliver liquor, apparently heedless of resistance it might run into from existing players in this field.
Did the USPS even do any market research before coming up with these patently absurd ideas?
Staples aside, if the USPS keep shuttering post offices and distribution facilities –in face of public resistance–maybe the postal service thinks it will be forced to contract out its basic functions to private entities that don’t care about and are under no legal obligation to serve postal customers.
Maybe that’s what the postal service and/or some right wing members of Congress really ache for and have for years.