by Lindamarie Peabody

PRIVATIZATION! Coming soon to a Post Office near you! This is the talk that is going around in almost every news source concerning the USPS. The Postmaster General is slowly, but surely, trying to dismantle the postal network by making deals with the fat cat companies and giving our work away every chance he gets. The USPS has made a contract with Staples to put 80 postal units in stores throughout four states including California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania as a pilot program to see how they work out. You might think this is good for expanding postal services but the problem with this is two-fold. One, they are staffed with low wage non-union workers, who will have very little interest in protecting the sanctity of the mail, and will ultimately result in losing the public's trust in the USPS. The other problem is that Staples has 1600 retail outlets that are located within a few miles of already existing post offices. The managers involved in this sneaky business proposition are hoping that these units will do well and eventually will take revenue away from the brick and mortar post offices, so that there will be sufficient evidence needed to close them. APWU President Mark Dimondstein says he will keep filing grievances and unfair labor charges, but the only way to stop this direct assault on our jobs is to completely boycott the Staples store and get our family and friends to do the same. We can have strength in numbers and make a stand that says we do not want this unless they are staffed by postal workers. We have to show them that we are a force to be reckoned with and hit them where it hurts the most...in the pocketbook. I will NEVER shop in Staples again unless they cancel this program, and I urge all of you to do the same. If we sit back and let this happen it will be a snowball rolling down a hill that we can never stop. If they privatize our core service, all other postal operations will soon follow and you can say goodbye to your high-paying union job. We need all of you to please visit the website www.stopstaples.com immediately to sign the petition against this program. Also, there is going to be a National Day of Action on April 24th, and we all need to contribute to this. You can find out about the demonstrations in your area on the website and ways to make your voice heard. People have written letters to the CEO of Staples and to each of the stores involved. Now is the time to ACT!

In other news, yes sadly we have begun another round of function 4’s in some of our offices, and of course guess who is on the list again? If you guessed Media, you are correct! They took half of our work force and are back again for the ninth time in 8 years! It is astonishing that with carriers staying out delivering mail until 8 or 9 pm, multiple wait time in line failures, first class mail being delayed, PSE's working 40 plus hours a week and offices within our jurisdiction opening late or not at all, that the USPS can put us through this torture again. There should be a zero tolerance policy in place for the harassment we have endured with our lives being disrupted over and over again with the same result...we the union have to prove that the work exists after the people are forced from their homes and lives to leave, only to have them come back months later hating their jobs even more. When will this ever end? I can only imagine what they would do to us if we didn't have a union looking out for our best interests. My head is held in shame for these teams that come in and destroy people's lives with the stroke of a pen and false data. They will not break us and we will continue to fight for what is right!

P.S. For some lighter news and happiness, check out the pictures in the printed version of our newsletter from the Children's Holiday Party last December. A great time was had by all! Thanks to all of Santa’s elves (you know who you are)! I miss TP and Fly...

In union solidarity,

Lindamarie Peabody
Director of Industrial Relations/Editor