USPS Pulling Operations Out of Staples

Three years after it had begun, the U.S. Postal Service is ending its relationship with office supply chain Staples, pulling its beleaguered Staples-staffed service centers out of the stores by early March amid labor pressure and a labor board ruling upholding an earlier court order.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) had applied consistent pressure on the partnership, as the service centers have been staffed from day one by non-union Staples associates.

The USPS program is in more than 500 Staples locations, less than half of its 1,267 U.S. stores. “We don’t have details available on the number of customers” said Carrie McElwee, Staples’ public relations director in a Washington Post account, but customers “will continue to have access to shipping services through our relationship with UPS.”

MCM Musings: Given the amount of pressure applied by the APWU, including attendance at Staples investor meetings and a public information campaign targeting Staples customers, this result was a foregone conclusion. The postal union had no objection to the concept of providing value-added mailing services to businesses and consumers using Staples, but big problems with non-union associates doing the work. The timing of the partnership and its structure was especially bad given ongoing losses at the USPS mail business and their impact on headcount reduction in letter carriers.

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