Web News Article #: 094-14
May 15, 2014 – Hours have been cut at 16 post offices within a five-mile radius of the San Francisco Staples store that has a postal counter, according to information obtained by the APWU.
A sign on the post office door directs customers who arrive after the new 5 p.m. closing time to other post offices – and to the Staples store.
“This is more evidence of the true purpose of the Postal Service’s dirty deal with Staples,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “USPS management is telling customers to get postal services at Staples, while making it more difficult to get services at traditional post offices.
“The message is clear: Postal bosses are trying to privatize major portions of the United States Postal Service, our great national treasure,” he said.
An app on www.usps.com shows 37 post offices within a five-mile radius of the Staples store at 1700 Van Ness Avenue. Hours were cut back at 16 of the stations beginning on May 4. Two other nearby offices are scheduled for curtailed hours beginning on June 8. Hours were also cut at several post offices near Staples stores with postal counters in and Santa Clara and Marin County, CA.
“We believe in expanded service and longer hours,” Dimondstein said. “Closing the door at 5 p.m. means customers can’t stop at the post office after work – a prime time for conducting postal business.
“Cutting post office hours while encouraging customers to visit Staples – or other retail outlets – is sabotaging the future of the Postal Service, as well as postal jobs,” he added.
In a Jan. 19 Associated Press article, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe denied that Staples stores would replace any of the 33,000 traditional post offices. And in a video message to employees, he said the Staples deal “gives customers more choices on where and when they can purchase postal products and services.”
But reducing the hours of operation at post offices inconveniences customers, limits their choices, and pushes them into Staples stores instead of post offices, Dimondstein said.
The union says the Staples deal will replace good, living-wage jobs with low-wage, high-turnover jobs at the office-supply chain, a charge the Postmaster General denies.
“The Postmaster General isn’t being truthful,” Dimondstein said. “After driving customers away, postal management will conduct a study of traffic in post offices and find that it’s gone down. Then, they’ll claim to have the evidence they need to justify closing post offices,” he said.
“Postal customers have a right to post offices that are open when they need them, staffed by workers who are accountable to the American people,” Dimondstein added. “We intend to make sure they can.”
Postal management didn’t notify the APWU of the change in hours and the resulting change in union members’ assignments, San Francisco Local President Geoffray Dumaguit wrote in a May 7 letter to the San Francisco Postmaster.