“It represents a shift of good, living-wage jobs to low-wage jobs,” Dimondstein said.
Staples spokesman Mark Cautela would not address the workers’ concerns, only saying the store is always testing new ways to serve its customers.
The dispute comes as the financially struggling Postal Service looks to cut costs and boost revenues.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said the Staples program has nothing to do with privatization. Rather, it’s a “direct response to the changing expectations of customers who demand greater convenience and a one-stop shopping experience.” It’s also an opportunity “to grow the business,” the Postal Service said in a statement Thursday.
Janice Kelble, a 40-year postal service employee and legislative director for the Manchester local of the American Postal Workers union, said the workers are all for convenience as long as the counters are staffed with trained workers.
Aside from Staples, the Postal Service has roughly 65,000 other retail partner locations around the country, such as CVS pharmacies and Wal-Mart stores that sell postal products. The Staples program, however, allows customers to buy stamps, send packages and use Priority and certified mail.
The service lost $5 billion in the 2013 fiscal year and has been trying to get Congress to pass legislation to help with its financial woes, including an end to Saturday mail delivery and reduced payments on retiree health benefits. It lost $15.9 billion in the 2012 budget year.
U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., joined postal workers at a rally in Los Angeles.
“What you want to do is have as efficient an operation as possible but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice efficiency and universal service just because somebody says you have to tighten your belt,” Becerra said.
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