Standing up to post office privatizers
America’s postal employees –from mail clerks to letter carriers – take great pride in moving millions of pieces of mail to us every day, whether we live in inner cities or way down at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where mail is delivered by mule-riding letter carriers to a Native American tribe living there. But USPS bossman, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe, definitely does not make postal workers proud, for he’s been deliberately monkeywrenching our mail system by slowing delivery, reducing staff and hours of service, closing neighborhood and historic post offices, shutting processing centers, trying to end Saturday delivery, badmouthing his own agency’s performance, steadily corporatizing public functions, and transforming decent, union-scale jobs into the low-wage retail economy.
One portentous example of Donahoe’s determination to bust the wages and undermine the performance of USPS is the sweetheart privatization scam he’s set up with Staples. He’s letting this big box retailer place official postal kiosks in its 1,500 stores – only they’re not being staffed by highly trained, publically-accountable postal workers, but by Staple’s own poverty-wage, high-turnover floor staff. In at least one case, Donahoe even cut the hours of service at post offices around a Staples store, then put up a sign directing postal customers to the Staples outlet.
Mark Dimondstein – the feisty president of the American Postal Workers Union – calls Donahoe “Wall Street’s Trojan Horse, the privatizer from within.” But, says Dimondstein, “We intend to stop him.” His union has launched a Dump Donahoe campaign as well as a national boycott of Staples stores. For information and support, go to www.apwu.org.