Let no good deed go unpunished seems to be the new motto of the U.S. Postal Service, which has killed a pilot project with Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) under which the office supplies leader offered expanded mail services, after the American Postal Workers Union (APWA) waged a three-year battle against the program.
In late 2013, as part of the USPS's Retail Partner Expansion Program, Staples was given the opportunity to go beyond the usual stamp selling that many retail outlets are allowed, and install mini-post office's in its stores that would offer a variety of first-class domestic and international mail and package services, such as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Global Express Guaranteed, and Standard Post services. What the union objected to was the use of Staples employees rather than its unionized postal workers to accept the packages.
After the agreement was signed, the postal union launched a national Stop Staples! Campaign that included protests in front of stores across the country and a boycott of the office supplies retailer. It also publicly opposed Staples' merger with rival Office Depot that was ultimately killed by the Justice Department on anti-competitiveness grounds, leaving both companies worse off.
After the USPS sent a letter to the American Postal Workers Union, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, informing them that it was ending the partnership, the union called off its boycott. According to a statement by the union, "this privatization effort undermined the public's right to good quality and secure postal services and represented a shift of good living wage positions to low-wage jobs, thereby hurting the well-being of the communities where the union's members lived."
According to Glassdoor, the average wage of a Staples employee is about $9 per hour; PayScale puts the average wage of a postal worker between $15 and $21 per hour.
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