APWU News Bulletin 07-2014, May 1, 2014 | PDF
APWU members were exuberant after staging 56 Stop Staples protests in 27 states on April 24 — and momentum is building.
Carrying signs and chanting, “The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale,” participants got the message across. The protests received extensive media coverage, including 1,196 television reports between April 22 and April 30, and widespread radio, online and print reports. [Click here to see photos from around the country.]
APWU members reported a great show of solidarity from our brothers and sisters in the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) at virtually every location.
“Solidarity is really fantastic among the four postal unions,” said NALC Vice President Timothy O’Malley. “Earlier this year we signed a Postal Union Alliance. We came together because we realized there are people who are trying to privatize the Postal Service,” he said.
“Staples is only going to be where they can make money,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Other labor organizations and community groups turned out in force as well.
APWU retirees also participated in big numbers at many locations. And, most promising, was participation by Postal Support Employees (PSEs) and other new APWU members. “They are the future of our union. It’s crucial that we get our newest members involved,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.
Addressing 200 protesters outside a Staples store in Washington, DC, Dimondstein said, “This is a fight against the Wall Street privatizers and the PMG who is carrying their water. This is a fight that we intend to win.”
“We’re for enhanced services to the people of this country,” he continued. “We’re for expanded hours. We’re for weekend hours.”
“We’ve been asking and asking that these stores be staffed with postal employees, who are trained and accountable to the people of this country. It’s now time, sisters and brothers, to take our business elsewhere!”
California Teachers: Boycott Staples
Roughly one-third of Staples’ revenue come from the sale of school supplies — which makes teachers a key ally in the campaign to stop shopping at Staples.
So APWU leaders were thrilled when the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) voted just three days after the rallies to boycott Staples.
The CFT, which represents 120,000 employees, plans to introduce a Boycott Staples resolution at the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in mid-July.
House Members Get on Board
“We believe the pilot program is a clear and unmistakable attempt at union-busting, as well as the privatization of critical public services,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal wrote on April 29 in a letter co-signed by 29 other House members. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) wrote separate letters.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) joined hundreds of postal workers at the protest in Los Angeles and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) attended the rally in Minneapolis.
Stop Shopping at Staples!
“We intend to keep the momentum going,” Dimondstein said. “We will ask our family and friends to buy school supplies and office supplies at other stores. And will ask our brothers and sisters — especially those in the Teachers Union — to pass resolutions to Stop Shopping at Staples!
“We will continue to take the message to APWU members and other postal employees. We will ask them to wear stickers to show support for the campaign and sign pledge cards to volunteer. And we will encourage everyone we meet to sign the online petition at www.StopStaples.com.