Postal Workers Preparing To Protest Against Staples’ New In-Store Mailing Services

What’s a postal worker to do when a company that isn’t the United States Postal Service starts offering USPS products and using its own employees to sell those services? Prepare to protest, which is what the American Postal Workers Union is going to do on Thursday at 50 Staples stores.

Staples has been selling traditional mail services and products at 82 of its stores since November in a “pilot project” scheduled through September. But the union says the USPS is going to expand that project to 1,500 nationwide, reports CNNMoney.

And because those mini post offices are manned by lower-wage Staples staff instead of USPS workers, well that’s taking away work from the union, a move that could be a step toward privatization of the USPS and lead to more standalone post offices getting closed down.

“The protest is very important because the Staples deal is a direct attack on not just our members, but the American public,” said Jonathan Smith, president of the the local New York City chapter of the union.

The unions involved in the planned protests note an internal USPS memo citing the the purpose of the pilot program as evidence: “to determine if lower costs can be realized with retail partner labor” means cutting staff at traditional post office windows.

“This isn’t just about postal jobs,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.”

The USPS says the mini post offices aren’t meant to replace traditional offices, just that it’s trying to “grow the business” and that retail partners have “never been an earmark to pave a way to privatization,” a spokeswoman said.

Anything to make a buck is likely going to be on the table for the USPS, which lost $5 billion in the last fiscal year, just one of its recent money-leaking years.

Postal workers to protest at Staples [CNNMoney]