Friday, April 25, 2014

CSEA Activists Stand in Solidarity With Postal Workers; Living Wage Jobs at Risk

CSEA activists join their Rochester area labor brothers and sisters at a USPS anti-privatization rally on April 24, 2014.
(photos by Bess Watts)
Irondequoit, N.Y. – Over 100 people rallied outside of the Staples retail store on E. Ridge Road in Irondequoit yesterday, waving and connecting with thousands of commuters on their way home from work yesterday. It was one of 50 locations across the country where U.S. postal workers gathered in response to a pilot program between Staples and the U.S. Postal Service. Effectively what will happen if Staples is successful in their bid to privatize public services is that living wages jobs will disappear while untrained minimum wage workers would replace seasoned postal employees.

This program will open post office counters in stores and staff them with retail employees. "Anybody that works for the postal service has background checks done on them, they're fingerprinted you know what their background is," said Susan Lewis, Executive Vice President, N.A.L.C., Branch 3 Buffalo, WNY. At Staples they hire anyone off the street, I'm not saying they're workers aren't any good, but you know what you're getting when you're getting the postal service."

Armed with signs reading "Saving the Middle Class = Priceless," and "Save America's Postal Service" protesters marched along the sidewalk outside of Staples hoping their actions would keep a U.S. Postal Service counter out of Rochester Staples.

"What's going to happen is you're going to have Staples employees taking in mail without asking security questions without asking the appropriate information to make sure the mail is safe," said Ken Montgomery, President of The National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 210.

A spokesperson with Staples wouldn't comment on the workers' concerns, only saying the store is always testing new ways to serve its customers. 

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