June 20, 2014
Dozens of protesters, carrying signs and banners, stormed a local Staples this afternoon and attempted to present a petition, signed by 500 Portland residents who have pledged to boycott the office supply stores.
When management of the store on NE 122nd off Glisan refused to accept the protesters petition, they began chanting “the U.S. Mail is not for sale” and “privatization has got to go,” blocking the store entrance. After the person-in-charge finally agreed to convey their message to upper management, the activists filed out, chanting “we’ll be back.”
“Staples is setting up fake post offices inside their stores that jeopardize our nation’s public post offices, the sanctity of the mail and thousands of good jobs at living wages,” said organizer Jamie Partridge of Communities and Postal Workers United, sponsors of the action.
Staples has contracted with the US Postal Service to staff post offices installed within their stores. In pilot openings last fall, 82 post offices were launched inside Staples stores with low-paid, non-union, non-postal workers (the average Staples worker makes $18,000 per year). If the pilots are “successful”, the USPS plans to open post offices inside every one of the 1,600 Staples stores nationwide, beginning this September.
As community post offices are being closed and hours reduced, understaffed with lines out the door, the USPS is opening up private post offices, staffed by poorly trained, unaccountable Staples employees. “The public should not be fooled by claims of better service. Staples workers are not sworn to safeguard the mail. The risk of theft from the mail deposited in a Staples post office is very real,” stated Partridge.
Urging individuals and institutions to boycott Staples, the protesters vow to increase pressure on the office supply chain until they drop the postal contract.
Local Sponsors: Communities and Postal Workers United, Jobs with Justice.