Web News Article #: 120-14
June 18, 2014 – The APWU opened another front in the campaign to Stop Staples with a protest in Pittsburgh on June 17. The city is one of four tests sites for the program that established postal counters in more than 82 of the company’s office-supply stores – staffed with Staples employees rather than U.S. Postal Service workers. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe and Staples brass intend to expand the program to Staples 1,500 U.S. stores.
More than 125 protestors paraded outside the Staples store at 4801 McKnight Road from 12-2 p.m. chanting “Privatization, We Say No, The Staples Deal Has Got to Go,” and “The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale.”
Participants include members of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Local APWU and Retiree Chapter, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Steamfitters Union and members of One Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh UNITED.
APWU Eastern Region Coordinator Mike Gallagher addressed the crowd, declaring that the people’s right to universal access to postal services would be jeopardized if they were subject to the “whims of a for-profit corporation” like Staples.
The store was just a quarter mile from the McKnight Road Post Office, a large facility that could be seen from the site of the protest.
Pittsburgh’s local Union Edge radio show reported live from the protest and the protest received coverage from the Pittsburgh affiliate of National Public Radio.
More than 500 flyers were distributed to passing drivers, many of whom stopped to ask about the protest. Numerous drivers honked in support.
Staples saw very few customers on the day of the protest, organizers report. The parking lot remained nearly empty for the duration of the protest.
Ongoing protests have been held on an almost-daily basis at Staples stores in the San Francisco Bay Area since January and in Atlanta since March. Fifty-six protests were held across the country on April 24, the National Day of Action to Stop Staples. The fourth test site is in Central Massachusetts, not far from Staples’ corporate headquarters.