USPS staffs Staples pilot offices with non-postal workers, union pushes back

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The Postal Service has launched more than 80 retail postal centers in Staples stores staffed by non-USPS employees, drawing the ire of postal unions.

The pilot program started in November 2013, will last one year and includes locations in the San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Worcester, Mass. metro areas, USPS spokeswoman Darleen Reid said.

The pilot comes as another revenue stream for the beleaguered agency, which lost $5 billion in fiscal 2013.

"The pilot partnership with Staples gives customers more choices on where and when they can purchase postal products and services and helps secure the long term future of the Postal Service," Reid said.

Reid said it's too early to know how far the program will expand after the pilot program, but a Jan. 6 American Postal Workers Union statement says the Postal Service plans to expand out to another 1,600 locations.

The APWU says it supports the expansion of postal services, but that it should be staffed by USPS employees.

But there is a precedent for non-postal workers handling USPS services. The Postal service uses non-postal workers at many retail and contract postal locations, Reid said.

Postal Service workers never staffed Contract Postal Units and Village Post Offices, which are privately owned sites that provided stamps as well as package drop off services, she said.

The Staples deal builds on "more than 65,000 USPS retail partners that currently provide alternative access to postal products and services," Reid added.

For more:
- go to the Jan. 6 AWPU statement
- go to the USPS Nov. 14 press release

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