Postal Workers, Union Allies Protest USPS' Staples Privatization Scheme:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Postal Workers, Union Allies Protest USPS' Staples Privatization Scheme:(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Chanting “Whose post office? The people's post office!” and “The U.S. Mail is not for sale!” hundreds of postal workers and their union allies marched through downtown Washington on April 24, protesting the U.S. Postal Service's plan to run postal services out of Staples stores. The demonstration was one of more than 56, in every state in the U.S., on a National Day of Action APWU and other postal unions called to campaign against the Staples scheme, a key cog in the postmaster general's current campaign to cut costs by firing full-time union workers and giving postal jobs to part-time minimum-wage non-union workers at Staples stores. 
“Take the part-time workers out and bring the Postal Workers in,” retorted Dena Briscoe, president of APWU D.C.-area Local 140. “We have a rat in the house and it's spelled S-t-a-p-l-e-s,” Metropolitan Washington Council President Jos Williams told the crowd at its destination, the Staples store at 19th and L Streets NW. Members of the Letter Carriers, the Mail Handlers/Laborers, AFGE, the Office and Professional Employees, SEIU, The Newspaper Guild-CWA, IBEW and the Teachers also marched. “Our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents all relied on the post office to keep us together,” Williams declared. “This is not just about Postal Service workers. It is about America and it is about survival of the middle class,” added Williams, who helped pay for his college expenses by toiling four years as a seasonal postal worker. “This is a fight against the Wall Street privatizers and the postmaster general who works with them,” added new, activist APWU President Mark Dimondstein. The postmaster general instituted the Staples scheme as a “pilot project” cost-cutting move, along with his plan to fire 100,000 workers and let another 100,000 go by attrition. He also is silent on union-suggested moves to increase USPS revenues, such as expanding its business to include postal banking, notary public services, longer weekend hours, licensing and other services, Dimondstein said. “We are going to fight this contracting-out of vital postal services,” said AFGE President J. David Cox, who led a large group. “I want the Post Office to be processing all of the mail.”
- Mark Gruenberg, PAI; photos by Chris Garlock


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