Staples is feeling the heat from a national boycott, called by the American Postal Workers Union and recently endorsed by major non-postal-worker unions across the country.
Some of the seeds for this effort were sown in Berkeley, California beginning in December, 2013. Here's one thread of how this national movement came to be.
A smattering of Occupiers, Berkeley activists and labor agitators rallied outside of the downtown Berkeley Staples store in December of 2013. It was the first known Staples protest.
That would be me in the white, and Dave Welsh on the keyboard.
We had recently learned of the nefarious "pilot program" between Staples and the United States Postal Service to install full-service Post Offices inside Staples stores - and staff them with Staples' minimum-wage employees instead of living wage, unionized Post Office workers. We were inspired by a call by the President of the American Postal Workers Union, Mark Dimondstein...
We must build a grand alliance between the people of this country and postal workers. We must mobilize our allies and their organizations, including seniors, retirees, civil rights organizations, veterans groups, the labor movement, community and faith-based organizations, the Occupy movement, and business groups in defense of America's right to vibrant public postal services.Word of our protest spread, and the APWU, which had begun organizing its members for protests, began rallies in front of Staples stores in early 2014. Through the dedication of APWU officers and their membership, the story of the heist the Post Office was trying to pull began to be spread from town to town and into the national news.
Berkeley Post Office Defenders et al did our own Light Brigade in January on the steps of the Berkeley Post Office, opposing its sale, the Post Office's Staples plan, and the privatization of our commons generally.
In March, we came up with our postcard idea - and now hundreds, perhaps close to a thousand, of these postcards have found their way to the manager of the Berkeley Staples.
The APWU came up with their own electronic post card a few weeks ago to send to Staples' President, which you should fill out. (Do it now!) Ours is far cooler, because you get to send it yourself through the US Mail and it has an alien spaceship. (Actually, the APWU postcard is available in hard copy - I have a few that were given to me for distribution. And you can send them by mail with no fear of alien abduction).
But the biggest story by far is the recent spread of the boycott.
Mr. Dimonstein made a video, informing his union members and others what was at stake.
National unions began endorsing the APWU's call for a boycott, with resolutions affirming the boycott passing multiple membership meetings.
First, the three other Postal Unions joined in. The California Federation of Teachers gave their support. Then the flood began.
NEA does not support - and never will - the outsourcing of essential public services to untrained workers in private companies with lower standards. If allowed to continue, these efforts would significantly undermine the security and integrity of the country’s entire mail collection and delivery process.AFSCME. Unite Here. Today, the American Federation of Teachers will vote on the boycott.
In an expected show of solidarity with postal employee unions, the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers will vote Saturday on a proposal to boycott Staples...Coming full circle, some San Francisco Occupiers, having camped out in protest in front of a Staples in San Francisco at the beginning of June for ten days, decided to seek the warmer confines of Berkeley and set up shop in front of the Berkeley Staples some three weeks ago. Despite a bit of police harassment and vandalism, with support and solidarity from Berkeley Post Office Defender and Save the Berkeley Post Office peeps, they are still there!
With the AFT possibly entering the fray, the boycott stands a reasonable chance of hurting Staples' bottom line, especially just ahead of back-to-school season. Nearly all U.S. teachers shell out some of their own money to buy school supplies. According to one survey, the typical teacher spends hundreds of dollars per year to help stock the classroom.
Outside of Staples in Berkeley recently.
We've been told local Staples management is not happy. Heh.
You, too, can participate. Don't Shop At Staples! And let them know why.
Tell your friends too. Hell, tell your enemies.
If you see some APWU peeps in 'STOP STAPLES' t-shirts rallying in front of a Staples, stop by for a minute and give them your support. If you find yourself in Berkeley, come by the Staples at Shattuck & durant and say hello. But don't buy anything.