Socialist Worker - A three-year battle against the outsourcing of living-wage, union postal jobs to the low-wage, nonunion Staples ended January 5 when USPS management informed the APWU that the "approved shipper" program in Staples Office Supply stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. The union-initiated boycott of Staples was called off.
The hard-fought battle engaged thousands of union activists and supporters since Staples opened "pilot" postal counters inside 82 stores in California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in early 2014.
A newly elected union leadership took a bottom-up, direct-action approach to the fight, paying postal workers on "union time" to organize community pickets, petitioning and leafleting at the "pilot" stores. Postal retirees, activists from the three other postal unions and solidarity from the entire labor movement kept the heat on for three years.
The boycott received a huge boost from the two teachers' unions--the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association--whose members stopped buying school supplies at this largest of the national office-supply chain stores.