Staples Ends Partnership with US Postal Service

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Had Joined Boycott Against Privatization Effort

The union that represents U.S. postal workers celebrated a major victory last week after a National Labor Relations Board effectively ended the partnership between the Postal Service and retailer Staples.

The partnership was announced in 2013, and while expanding access to USPS services is generally cheered, this arrangement was seen as an attempt to privatize the postal service, and threatened to harm good-paying jobs in favor of minimum wage retail jobs.

When the American Postal Workers Union launched an effort to boycott Staples, SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s Council approved a resolution to join in. The SEA hung a banner outside its office that stayed in place, unwavering, until last week. On Thursday, the Board of Directors officially ended the boycott.

“We were proud to walk the pickets and display a sign supporting our friends in the American Postal Workers Union and we’re thrilled to see this cherry-picking arrangement come to an end,” said SEA First Vice President Ken Roos.

While solidarity with other working people was a part of the boycott, Roos said, there is an even bigger issue at play.

“We should be as fearful of privatization of the US Postal Service as we are of privatization of prisons or other public services,” Roos said, recalling New Hampshire’s fight against prison privatization just a few years ago.

“We need to stand together to protect good paying jobs with quality benefits that allow hard-working people to thrive; we need to prevent blindly outsourcing public sector jobs,” he said.

The USPS program, which after a pilot had expanded to 500 Staples stores, is expected to be completely wrapped up by March. You can read more in the Washington Post (subscription may be required).


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