Shoppers can still pick up pens, paper and envelopes of all sizes for their letter-writing needs from Staples, but they will no longer be able to mail anything from any of its locations. The U.S. Postal Service announced in a letter on Jan. 5 to the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO that the deal between the USPS and Staples has ended.
Staples will be removing all signage and will discontinue postal services at the retailer’s approximately 500 U.S. locations that currently handle postal services by the first week of March 2017. In response, APWU said it is calling off its boycott of Staples, effective immediately, and will notify its many supporters and allies of the shift in its position. While it is common for retailers like grocery and drug stores to sell stamps, the union objected because Staples was offering services including priority mail and parcel shipping.
"This is a big win for the public as well as the 200,000 members of APWU and the union’s allies who waged a national campaign, ‘Stop Staples,’ against the office-supply chain and a battle against the USPS over the Postal Service’s partnership with the national office supply retailer," said a press release. "The union contended that 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.”
Three years ago, the union challenged the USPS’idea of privatizing postal retail operations and shifting postal services from neighborhood post offices to Staples locations. The Postal Service then referred to Staples as a "preferred shipper", a change the union said was a ruse. The union also opposed Staples' planned (though ultimately unsuccessful) merger with Office Depot as its way of fighting the post offices in Staples concept.
“This is a win for those who care about the neighborhood post office,” said Mark Dimondstein, President of APWU in a statement.