Three Years Later – A Staples Victory!

The Postal Service has announced that as of March 1st it will sever its relationship with Staples. No longer will minimum wage workers with no benfits process the US Mail, taking living wage jobs away from unionized postal workers.

A Nov. 8 ruling by the labor board [NLRB] required the Postal Service to discontinue its retail relationship with Staples… The board ruled that the Postal Service had violated the union’s collective bargaining rights by implementing the Staples deal, and said it must end the partnership with Staples upon request of the union.

The fight against the Staplization of the Postal Service may have ended with a board ruling in Washington, but it began right here in Berkeley.

Berkeley Post Office Defenders and Strike Debt Bay Area organized the first known protest rally outside of a Staples on December 21st, 2013, decrying privatization, the elimination of living wage jobs and austerity.

The American Postal Workers Union took up the call soon after, organizing protests outside of Staples around the country beginning in January, 2014, calling for a nationwide boycott, and filing a complaint with the NLRB.

In June of 2014, First They Came for the Homeless began an occupation outside of the Staples on Shattuck and Durant. They put a call out to Berkeley to boycott Staples as the school year began in August, and remained there until November, 2014, when called away by the announced sale of the downtown Berkeley Post Office, they took up residence outside of that building.

In early January of 2017 the Postal Service announced its decision to end its link-up with Staples. The APWU declared victory on its website on January 13th.

Of course the war is not over. There is no telling what a Trump Administration might do with and to the Postal Service. One can easily imagine the privatizers circling like vultures ready to pounce with legislation in an all-Republican Congress as soon as they feel the time is ripe.

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