Post office services are now being performed by Staples employees at select Staples stores across the country, including Berkeley and San Francisco. The slow-motion privatization of the USPS is well underway and Staples is stepping in to join the feeding frenzy.
Here is an article from our friends at Save the Post Office: The Next Chapter in Postal Privatization: Post Office inside of Staples.
Here’s another from our very own JP Massar: Stop the Theft: The Coming Walmartization of Our Post Offices.
BPOD was on the scene on December 21st to draw attention to this phenomenon. We were the first group to target Staples and draw public attention to this union busting. Here is gallery of photos in a great blog post from that day: Now It’s Staples: Treating Their Workers like Dirt and Union Busting to Boot! Greedy privatizers looking to make a buck wherever they can (and with the political connections to make it happen, like Richard Blum) are hoping that downsizing services and selling off historic buildings cheaply will wither the USPS away… and create a massive void for for-profit companies like Staples to fill. Staples pays their employees much less than the USPS and recently has limited their part-time employee weekly hours to avoid health care mandates from the Affordable Care Act. This has drawn outrage and a petition with over 200,000 signatures: Staples: Don’t Cut Part-Time Hours Because of Obamacare! Other companies are foaming at the mouth at what they could do with prime downtown real estate from the Post Office sales.
The United States Post Office has offered well-paying jobs with good benefits for hundreds of years, as well as being a crucial infrastructural component across the land. The thousands of post offices provide cheap, fast, and secure written communication anywhere in the country. The USPS is an extremely sound financial institution that gets No Tax Money, funding is done solely with stamps and other fees. Though mandated by the constitution, the Post Office must be run like a business ever since 1971. Since that hasn’t worked for politicians rich business buddies, a blatant attack in the form of the now infamous Pre-funding Mandate for retirees health benefits (yet curiously unreported on until now… are you still wondering if direct action gets the goods?!) Watch Bernie Sanders lay it down real fast on MSNBC. If the privatization trend continues, only worse jobs, longer drives using more fuel for pick-ups, and expensive mailing services will follow. If the USPS goes down, we will lose one of our great barriers between a healthy democracy and a plutocratic corporatocracy.
This Saturday, February 15 at 10am, the APWU will be at the Berkeley Staples to protest Staples subversion of the USPS. Will BPOD be there? You can bet on it!