30 California members, led by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, call for protection of thousands of postal workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Alan Lowenthal and 29 other members of the California Delegation sent a letter today urging U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to reject the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) recent pilot program with Staples office supply chain. On November 10, 2013, the USPS and office supply retailer, Staples, announced a pilot program that would put postal retail units in more than 80 Staples stores across the country, including 30 Staples stores in California.
“The USPS-Staples program is a dramatic step in the wrong direction, as it threatens the livelihoods of thousands of USPS employees and jeopardizes the promise of universal mail service to all communities – an obligation Staples, a private corporation, does not have,” the letter said.
Under the pilot program, the USPS-Staples units allow low wage, non-postal employees to provide mail retail services traditionally performed by Postal Service employees at regular post offices. In addition, as the letter states, the USPS is one of the only constitutionally-mandated government agencies, and it is required by law to provide universal service to all corners of the United States – an obligation not held by Staples.
“This is undoubtedly an exercise in union-busting and an attempt at eventual privatization. These are Staples employees doing the jobs traditionally held by highly-trained USPS employees,” Congressman Lowenthal said.
“It is unfortunate that California is bearing the lion’s share of this pilot program. While I commend the Postal Service for thinking out-of-the-box to increase their revenues, they must do so in a way that protects the integrity of the Postal Service, as well as the decades of expertise offered by union postal workers. I fear this is a huge step in the wrong direction.”
The other cosigners of the letter included Representatives Janice Hahn, Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, Mike Thompson, Doris Matsui, Brad Sherman, Loretta Sanchez, Henry Waxman, Barbara Lee, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Judy Chu, Zoe Lofgren, Xavier Becerra, Sam Farr, George Miller, Mark Takano, Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Juan Vargas, Raul Ruiz, Susan Davis, Tony Cardenas, Eric Swalwell, John Garamendi, Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Mike Honda, Karen Bass, and Maxine Waters.
During his time in Congress, Congressman Lowenthal has fought for the preservation of six-day delivery of U.S. mail. He has also cosponsored H.R.630, the Postal Service Protection Act, which would eliminate the requirement that the United States Postal Service pre-fund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, place restrictions on the closure of postal facilities, create incentives for innovation for the United States Postal Service, and maintain current levels of postal service.
Congressman Alan Lowenthal represents the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove, Buena Park, Anaheim, Midway City and Stanton in California’s 47th Congressional District. He can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, or his website.