Not Bending, Not Folding, Definitely Not Spindling; Just Keepin’ it Lively Outside of Staples.

This is the one week anniversary of the Berkeley Staples table and outdoors occupation, staffed continually.  Dave Welsh honored that one-week anniversary by bringing his keyboard and playing from his repertoire of resistance songs, along with other musicians.

Meanwhile, a number of people, some from Berkeley Post Office Defenders, some from Save the Berkeley Post Office, passed out flyers to passersby, engaging them and convincing them not shop at Staples, while Occupy SF / First They Came for The Homeless peeps continued to staff the table.

 

Why We Are Here At Staples.

We are the Berkeley Post Office Defenders.

We are here to say

  • “No!” to union busting,
  • “No!” to McJobs,
  • “No!” to privatization of our constitutionally-guaranteed Postal Service,
  • “No!” to austerity,

Not only is Postal Service management selling off historic Post Offices like ours in Berkeley and others all over the country, they are engaged in an unheralded attempt to privatize the entire Postal Service workforce.

Starting Oct. 2013 eighty-four Staples stores began operating full-service Post Ofice counters, commencing a “pilot program” for the USPS. These counters are being staffed NOT by trained and Postal Employees making a living wage ($20-$30/hr with benefits) but with near minimum-wage Staples clerks ($9-$12/hr with few or no benefits) with no training in safe mailing handling.

This is just a first step. If Postal Service management is successful in this, their initial attempt to replace living wage, union jobs with low wage employment the program will roll out in over 1500 Staples all over the country; then management will certainly demand that something similar be extended into other kinds of postal employee work and large numbers of Post Offices will be sold off. Up to ½ million good-paying jobs are at stake!

The principle that government services should neither be privatized nor provided by employees who don’t make enough to keep themselves out of poverty is being directly challenged! We already provide food, housing and health subsidies to half of Walmart’s workforce because they can’t make ends meet on low wage jobs. Does it make sense to do the same for USPS workers?

We are here to demand

  • That Staples remove their Postal Service counters and cancel this pilot program, in Berkeley and across the country.
  • That the Postal Service stop playing the privatization game and pay all those who process the mail a living wage.
  • That the Postal Service discontinue its attempt to sell the downtown Berkeley Post Office and other Post Offices around the country, That the Postal Service provide adequate services at these beautiful, historic, centralized public buildings.

 

Lots more pictures here.

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