The U.S. Postal Service will cease providing post office services at Staples stores by March. The move represents a victory for the American Postal Workers Union, which has opposed the program for years. About 500 Staples stores did postal work that post office employees used to provide.
The Postal Service collaboration with Staples began in 2013 as a pilot program using Staples’ private-sector, non-union employees to provide postal services. Accusing the Postal Service of attempting to privatize postal work, the APWU organized protests and boycotts. In 2014, the American Federation of Teachers passed a resolution urging its members and the public not to do their back-to-school shopping at Staples.
“Had we not drawn the line in the sand and launched these protests,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein, all Staples stores “would have had full-blown post offices, not staffed by postal employees but rather Staples employees, and the post office also would have used that model to spread to other major retailers.”
The Postal Service received several reprimands from the National Labor Relations Board over its arrangement with Staples. The labor board ruled in 2016 that the Postal Service had violated federal labor law when it refused to provide APWU with information the union requested about the Staples postal services. Later that year, an administrative law judge from the labor board ruled that the Postal Service had failed to meet its obligation to bargain with the union over the Staples project. The judge ordered the Postal Service to end the partnership with Staples upon request from the APWU. Rather than appeal the ruling, the Postal Service dropped the arrangement.