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David Fernandez (Vice-President)
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(407) 494-1572
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    Archive for February, 2014
    Postal workers warn public about outsourcing deal with Staples

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Postal workers and their allies braved the cold and rain to hold a rally here outside of an east Orlando Staples store on Feb. 8. Their goal was to educate the public about the impact on the postal workers’ jobs of a deal between the giant office supply chain and the United States Postal Service that has resulted in the opening of counters offering postal services at more than 80 Staples in four states.

    “Outsourcing an essential public service to a for-profit corporation staffed with clerks making less than a livable wage and no accountability to the American public is completely irrational,” said Steve Morris, president of American Postal Workers Union Local 1462, which represents 1,100 Postal Service employees in Central Florida.

    “Not only does it jeopardize the safety and security of the U.S. mail system, but consumers are getting a bad deal, too,” said Morris. The union points out that the Staples employees staffing the mail counters won’t have the training and expertise required of career postal workers who must qualify for their assignments, pass a civil service exam to be hired, and take an oath to protect the U.S. mail.

    “I’m here to lend support to the postal workers union,” said Steve Wisniewski, president of Communications Workers of America Local 3108, which represents AT&T and Verizon workers in Central Florida. Offering postal services “in a non-union environment where workers don’t have pensions, don’t have quality health care, and they pay them a lot less is going to put a downward force on the postal workers’ ability to stay” in the middle class, Wisniewski said.

    Postal workers earned an average of $25.00 an hourin 2013, and have negotiated benefits such as health care. Non-managerial employees at Staples earn around $8-$9 an hour and often lack benefits. (Staples CEO Ronald L. Sargent was paid $6.5 million in 2012.)

    Staples’ policies limit part-time workers to less than 25 work hours per week so they don’t qualify for the company-funded health plan, according to Fight for Florida. The AFL-CIO-backed group organizes Floridians against what it calls an “assault” on the middle class by Florida’s right-wing Gov. Rick Scott and Republican-controlled Legislature.

    While the 25 participants held signs that said “Stop Staples-the U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale“and chanted, a small delegation entered the store to deliver a letter to the company. After waiting 20 minutes for a manager to come out of his office, Morris left the letter on the customer service counter and the delegation left, disgusted by the company’s apparent lack of interest in APWU’s concerns.

    Staples CEO Sargent also has refused to meet with APWUnational president Mark Dimondstein.

    In the letter, the union calls the arrangement between the company and the USPS “an attack on the character and integrity of what the U.S. mail stands for in our country. Post offices are pillars of our community.”

    “Hundreds of Post Offices, from the small offices to large Mail Processing Plants are at risk. This risk equates to thousands of good well-earned jobs,” says the union. “By staffing your stores with non-trained employees, the security and sanctity of the U.S. mail is being exposed and [this] jeopardizes the ‘most trusted agency’ status of the USPS! Postal employees are sworn to protect the mail, whether the USPS employees are in your store delivering the full-service that our country has come to expect and deserve, or at your neighborhood Post Offices.”

    This deal is bad for consumers, says APWU, since they “will be paying the same prices for far less service if USPS employees are not in your store.”

    APWU says it “never has opposed expanding services to the American public, but we do oppose privatization that simply profits corporations! This deal is an attempt to profit Staples. Shuttering Post Offices and deducting Postal Retail office hours does not put the customer’s interests first.”

    Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe claimsthat the deal between Staples and the USPS is not a privatization ploy and that USPS is seeking “to grow our business to provide customer convenience to postal products.”

    Postal Service employees worry, however, that the arrangement with Staples will divert customers from post offices in the vicinity of the company’s stores. This will, they say, lead to the eventual closure of those facilities and cost postal workers their jobs.

    “My concern is that the Postal Service is giving our jobs [to employees] of Staples stores, and that’s not right,” said Juan Rincon, an Orlando-area USPS maintenance employee. “The [mail counters] should be run by actual employees who care about the mail and service.”

    Donahoe says that he would like to see postal service counters open in all of Staples’ 1,600 U.S. stores “as soon as possible.” Donahoe also has been dismissive of the postal workers’ contention that the mail counters should be staffed by USPS employees, saying that who works at them “is Staples’ business. They make their own business decision and it has nothing to do with us.”

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    U.S. MAIL IS NOT FOR SALE!

    Staples attacks good jobs and public post offices.

    Staples and the U.S. Postal Service have cut a deal that jeopardizes your mail service and your local post office. In fact, post offices across the country are at risk – along with thousands of good jobs.

    The Staples deal will replace full-service U.S. Post Offices with knock-off post offices in Staples stores that are not staffed with U.S. Postal Service employees.

    A bad deal for workers and consumers.

    You have a right to post offices staffed by workers who are accountable to you and the American people. You have a right to postal services provided by highly trained, uniformed Postal Service employees, who are sworn to safeguard your mail – whether it’s at the Post Office or Staples.

    The Staples deal is bad for consumers like you who will pay the same for less service. And if Staples and the USPS move forward with this deal, it could lead to the end of the Postal Service as we know it.

    Undermining good jobs.

    In the meantime, the Staples deal is replacing good-paying jobs that our community depends on with low-wage jobs that hurt our economy.

    TELL STAPLES:
    THE U.S. MAIL IS NOT FOR SALE!

    Don’t let Staples destroy your Post Office. Share this petition before it’s too late.

     

     
    Does Staples deal jeopardize security of US mail?

    http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/2/8/us_mail_security.html

    ORLANDO – 

    Leaders from the U.S. Postal Service union are rallying today against the office supply store Staples because they don’t feel Staples employees should be able to handle your mail.

    Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe signed off on the deal in November 2013 to create postal counters in 80 Staples stores nationwide.

    The Retail Partner Expansion Program provides limited USPS servicesat the same rates as the post office. However the pilot program is being staffed by Staples employees, and not unionized postal workers.

    Several members of the American Postal Workers Union in Central Florida are protesting what they see as stripping jobs from postal workers and heading down a road to the privatization of the post office.

    We reached out to Staples for comment. We were told the company won’t provide details of this program or their agreement with the Postal Service.

    “I can tell you that Staples continually tests new products and services to better meet the needs of our customers,” said Carrie McElwee, a spokesperson for Staples, Inc. “We are currently operating a pilot program in select stores that is testing specific services and offering added convenience for our customers. As a matter of policy, we don’t provide details on our pilot programs or on our agreements with vendors.”

    The deal comes at a time when jobs at the postal service have been cut by 44 percent.

    U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Enola Rice issued the following statement:

    To meet the demands of today’s on-the-go consumer, the Postal Service launched a pilot program with Staples to provide postal products and services within their retail stores in test markets across the country.

    The concept of this new retail partnership is a direct response to the changing expectations of customers who demand greater convenience. That is why service providers, such as banks, dry cleaning, doctors and major retail chains are partnering together to provide that one-stop shopping experience that many customers demand.

    By expanding access to more of its products and services such as the revamped Priority Mail service, the Postal Service can provide greater convenience for its current and potential customers.

    The Postal Service has already established partnerships with more than 65,000 retail partners to provide alternative access to postal products and services. The Staples pilot program is the next step in the USPS retail partnership expansion to provide postal products and services where our customers live, work and shop.

    Today’s marketplace is constantly evolving and the Postal Service must continue to adapt to the demands of our customers to retain and grow our revenue base.

    The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. This retail partnership program could be an innovative step towards generating revenue to ensure the long-term viability of the Postal Service.

    Steve Morris, the president of American Postal Workers Union in Central Florida, will be among the protestors today at the Staples store in Waterford Lakes. Members of the APWU and Central Florida Federation of Labor plan to deliver a letter to management as part of the National Day of Action.

    “Outsourcing an essential public service to a for-profit corporation staffed with clerks making less than a livable wage and no accountability to the American public is completely irrational,” explained Morris. “Not only does it jeopardizes the safety and security of the U.S. mail system, but consumers are getting a bad deal too.  Postal workers support expansion of mail services but not at the expense of the public we serve or the security of the mail we protect.”

    Fun facts about U.S. Postal Service

    • USPS.com receives 1 million visitors each day
    • The post office is provided for in the U.S. Constitution
    • The USA is 237 years old. The Postal Service is 239 years old ans was provided for by the Second Continental Congress in 1775.
    • The post office was included in the Articles of Confederation 1781
    • Millions of Americans still rely on the Postal Service for their correspondence and mailing needs.
    • 300,000 residential patrons and 310,000 businesses surveyed gave USPS a 85 percent satisfactory rate
    • The USPS has 127,404,699 delivery points.
    • 3.2 million customers are handled each day at post offices.
    • Despite the understaffing of window operations the average waiting period at Post Offices was 2.34 minutes in 2013.

    Leaders from the United States Postal Service union are rallying today against the office supply store Staples because they don't feel Staples employees should be able to handle your mail. (PHOTO/File)