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Privatizing postal service

New York Teacher

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night may shut down your local post office, but a new privatization scheme by the U.S. Postal Service could.

The Postal Service, which has long sought to cut costs by closing post offices and scaling back hours at those that remain, is pushing a new cost-saving scheme that would see retail giant Staples operate postal units inside its stores and staff them with low-wage nonunion workers who are not employees of the Postal Service.

As part of a pilot program, the Postal Service has so far opened such postal counters inside 82 Staples stores in California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The plan, announced in November, has generated an outpouring of anger from postal workers and their national union, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which has launched a national campaign against it. Across the country, delegations of local postal union leaders and members have visited Staples stores to protest the plan.

“This is a direct assault on our jobs and on public postal services,” the union’s president, Mark Dimondstein, said. “The APWU supports the expansion of postal services. But we are adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with nonunion low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail.”

APWU News Bulletin, Jan. 6
Labor Notes, Jan. 27