Web News Article #: 095-14
After months of stonewalling by USPS management and Staples executives, the APWU National Executive Board voted to increase the pressure on the office-supply chain by officially calling for a “Don’t Buy” campaign for all products sold by Staples.
And the “Don’t Buy” message is catching on.
The American Federation of Teachers Michigan (AFT Michigan) voted at its convention on May 17 to endorse the boycott. Citing “a common battle against privatization” of public services, delegates voted unanimously to take their business elsewhere.
“Members of our union want safe, secure, high-quality service when we go to the post office – not a low-wage, high turnover operation where employees have little or no training and no qualifications to handle sensitive letters and packages,” said David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan. “And nobody understands better than teachers, staff, and faculty how much we all have to lose when essential public services – like schools and post offices – are put in the hands of private companies with lower standards.”
Saturday’s vote by AFT Michigan delegates follows a similar resolution passed on April 27 by the Executive Council of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). Meeting this past weekend in Los Angeles, more than 60 CFT local presidents discussed plans to educate tens of thousands of California teachers and school employees about the boycott, including information about alternative sources of school supplies.
The AFT Michigan and the CFT have pledged to support a “Boycott Staples” resolution at the upcoming national convention of the American Federation of Teachers, which will take place in Los Angeles July 11-14.
“We greatly appreciate the expressions of solidarity from our sisters and brothers in the American Federation of Teachers,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. Educators are a key ally in the Stop Staples campaign, he noted: It is estimated that roughly one third of Staples’ revenue comes from the sale of school supplies.
The chain aggressively markets to teachers and school employees with Teacher Rewards, Reward-a-Classroom and other incentive programs, so the votes to stop shopping at Staples could have a big impact on the office supply giant.
The APWU has asked the AFL-CIO to endorse the boycott as well and to add Staples to its national list of endorsed boycotts.
“I encourage APWU locals and state organizations to ask Central Labor Councils and State Labor Federations to endorse the ‘Don’t Buy Staples’ campaign,” the union president said.