U.S. postal workers took to the streets Thursday to protest in front of Staples office supply stores around the country. At issue is a decision to open Postal Service counters in Staples stores — something they say is siphoning away union jobs.
The postal workers’ grievances come as their employer faces pressures to find new avenues of business.
Both the American Postal Workers Union and the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service lay claim to be fighting for the same cause: safeguarding the long-term future of one of the largest employers in the country.
The sharp disagreement comes over how to go about it.
Speaking at a protest in Washington, D.C., postal union President Mark Dimondstein says it’s fine that the Postal Service wants to open counters in retail outlets, as it began to last year in Staples stores. The problem, he says, are the terms.
“Our demand on the question of the USPS-Staples deal was to put postal employees in those postal units,” Dimondstein says.
Instead, the counters are staffed by Staples employees. And the Postal Service has made clear it hopes to keep expanding within the Staples chain and with other similar partners.
They should be upset-it’s not going to be pretty for them when Americans find out that they can pay someone half the money to do twice the work. (I am not saying that all postal workers are deserving of complaints; the ones by my place are actually pretty good.)
Honestly, these hybrid public/private sector ventures might be what saves the USPS from itself by breathing new life into a system that has been a financial sink hole for decades.