Reprinted from CounterPunch by David Welsh on January 10, 2017.
Five years ago the Post Office began a series of moves aimed at the step-by-step privatization of the US Postal Service, the country’s largest unionized employer. One such move was a 2013 program to farm out postal window services to so-called “postal counters” at 500-plus Staples office supply stores.
The American Postal Workers Union confidently swung into action, with an ambitious campaign to beat back the Staples challenge – from nationwide boycott, internet organizing and mass demonstrations at Staples stores, to legal action, Inspector General investigations and Labor Board appeals.
Union activists organized a mailing of 100,000 postcards to the company CEO, attended stockholders’ meetings, and intervened to help scuttle Staples’ proposed $5.5 Billion merger with Office Depot. The two big teachers unions, AFT and NEA, acting in solidarity with the postal workers, saw to it that Staples’ substantial revenue from sale of school supplies suffered a drastic cut.
On January 5, the Postal Service informed the union that its scab partnership deal with Staples was finished (effective the end of February). The union, in its victory statement, announced that the Staples boycott was over, and that “the US Mail is not for sale”! …