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