Donahoe: ‘Stop Staples’ campaign is taking a toll

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

American Postal Workers Union

American Postal Workers Union members protest outside an Atlanta Staples to show their solidarity to protect living-wages, union jobs and the Postal Service. Photo courtesy of the American Postal Workers Union

ATLANTA, G.A. — Outgoing Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made headlines when he blamed postal unions and big mailers for the Postal Service’s problems in a recent farewell address, but he made a few other surprising comments as well.

In a Jan. 6 speech to the National Press Club, Donahoe admitted the union’s Stop Staples campaign has “disrupted” the Postal Service’s deal with the office-supply chain. It also has made it more difficult for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to get other businesses to participate in management’s scheme to privatize postal retail operations, he said.

“Just last year, the American Postal Workers Union mounted a protest campaign and disrupted our partnership with Staples,” the Postmaster General said. “Unfortunately, it’s now tougher for us to find retail partners,” he added.

American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Mark Dimondstein said Donahoe’s statement shows the effectiveness of the Stop Staples campaign.

“When you’re out there telling your co-workers, friends and neighbors not to shop at Staples, you’re making a difference. When you pass out flyers at Staples stores and ask their customers to shop elsewhere, you’re protecting living-wage, union jobs, and you’re protecting the public Postal Service,” Dimondstein said.
Wrong Again

In the speech to reporters, Donahoe mischaracterized the union’s position, saying “the APWU approach is to try to keep all of our transactions in post offices.”

Not true. The union would have considered supporting the pilot if the Staples postal counters were staffed with USPS employees. As the APWU reported, just after President Mark Dimondstein took office in 2013, “In a meeting with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe Nov. 20, the union president insisted that if the plan proceeds, the postal units at Staples must be staffed by career postal employees.”

Dimondstein added, “The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. However, we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union, low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail.”

As secret USPS documents later revealed, that was the management’s true motive: To replace Postal Service retail associates with low-wage Staples employees.

“We’re going to continue to fight the Postal Service’s dirty deal with Staples until they get out of the postal business,” Dimondstein said
—American Postal Workers Union

Postal service cuts disrupt workers’ lives

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

American Postal Workers Union

To save nearly $16 billion, USPS says it consolidated 305 mail-processing plants, shortened window hours at 13,000 post offices, eliminated 23,000 delivery routes and cut 212,000 jobs since 2006. The latest cuts will increase average mail delivery times from 1.8 days to 2.1 days, the Postal Service said. The new standards will not affect packages and Priority Mail, such as medicine and most advertising materials. Photo courtesy of American Postal Workers Union

WASHINGTON — When postal officials lowered “service standards” Jan. 5, they didn’t just slow down America’s mail: They set in motion a process that is causing serious disruption in the lives of thousands of hard-working postal employees.

As management reconfigures mail processing, they are also causing massive reassignments and shift changes for workers.

“It’s an outrage,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal bureaucrats are virtually eliminating overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals, slowing down all mail delivery across the country, and jeopardizing the future of our great national treasure. At the same time, they’re causing major upheaval in the lives of workers.

“In implementing the changes, they ignored the pleas of 51 senators and 178 members of the House, who asked for a one-year moratorium on the reduction in service standard and the closure and consolidation of mail processing facilities,” Dimondstein said.

He went on to explain they disregarded the warnings of the USPS Office of Inspector General, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Postal Regulatory Commission, which raised serious concerns about delayed mail. Management even overlooked the concerns of some mailing industry trade associations.

“They also ignored the demands of postal unions and the hundreds of thousands of workers we represent,” Dimondstein added.

“Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is ending his reign the way he began — undermining, degrading, and weakening the public Postal Service he was supposed to lead, and spitting in the eyes of tens of thousands of proud postal employees. Responsibility for the upheaval in the lives of postal workers rests squarely on his shoulders,” the union president said.

Dimondstein also explained the APWU has fought long and hard to stop the destructive changes from taking effect, and we intend to keep up the fight.

“Our rallying cry, ‘Standing Up and Fighting Back,’ doesn’t mean we will win every battle. But if we don’t wage the struggle, we are guaranteed to lose.

“The struggle must continue on many fronts,” Dimondstein said. “The APWU — from the national officers to members on the work floor — must renew our efforts to win support for postal legislation that restores the previous service standards. We must fight for better service and better jobs when contract negotiations get underway in February, and we must act in concert with our many allies who are demanding a vibrant public postal service for generations to come.”
—American Postal Workers Union