Postal workers protest USPS-Staples deal - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Postal workers protest USPS-Staples deal

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Local postal workers are protesting a deal the postal service is making with Staples.

In November, The U.S. Postal Service began selling stamps and offering services like sending packages and priority mail in about 80 Staples stores. 

Now, the American Postal Workers Union is worried the Staples program will spread. The office supply chain has about 15,000 stores across the country.
 
And post office workers say it could make the mail less secure.

Leroy Moyer is the local president of the APWU, and he says one major reason for a protest in Charlotte on Thursday is concern about how Staples will handle mail. At the post office, he says, your mail is protected.

"All that mail is in a restricted area," he says. "The sanctity of mail is very important, so it's a huge, huge difference if you're mailing something at Staples or mailing something at the U.S. post office."

We called the corporate office at Staples to ask about its procedures.

"I can tell you that Staples continually tests new products and services to better meet the needs of our customers, the company released in a statement to WBTV. "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."

If more mail is handled, though, by low-wage retail workers instead of higher paid, longer trained post office staff, some say there could be problems.

"This is my 16th year," says post office worker Carol Bishop, who says she trained extensively for her post office job. "You're going to have inexperience people handling your mail," she says. "It's about the employees but it's about the consumer as well and giving them the best quality service."

USPS officials say the program is in "direct response to the changing expectations of customers who demand greater convenience and a one-stop shopping experience."

"Staples joins more than 65,000 retail partner locations around the country that currently offer a variety of postal products and services, in order to increase access and convenience to customers in locations where they already shop," the statement from USPS continued.
 
The Retail Partner Expansion Program is an opportunity "to grow the business" and has never been an earmark to pave a way to privatization, according to officials.
 
So far, none of the Staples stores with postal counters are in Charlotte. Moyer says it won't make that  much of a difference though if they do arrive, from a convenience standpoint.

"All three Staples stores that are inside Charlotte are within a mile and a half of post office," Moyer says. "It's not like they're providing a service to an area that doesn't have it."

Moyer doesn't expect the Staples deal alone to result in major job loss. But for Post Office workers, it is another scary step toward privatization.

"I don't think it will hit us that bad, but it is the first step," Moyer says. "And if they can start it at Staples, then they can start it at other stores."

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow