Solano County

Postal employees protest Staples program

By From page A3 | March 30, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Postal employees from across the East Bay came together Saturday to protest Staples stores hiring their own employees to work in the stores’ mail centers.

The U. S. Postal Service has opened 82 mail centers across the United States inside Staples stores in a pilot program in an attempt to cut costs. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Georgia are also participating.

“Having these stores could be the first step to privitazation of the postal service,” Alan Menjiva, Staples initiative organizer and postal employee said.

“If the programs are successful, more retail stores will be opening mail centers inside and then the Postal Service will start closing local post offices,” he said.

He said that this Staples and other stores in the East Bay are very near to post offices, “Some of them are only minutes away.”

One of the bigger issues is the use of Staples employees to work the postal centers and not postal workers. Customers think they are working with postal service personnel when, in fact, the Staples employees have not received the on-the-job training the Postal Service provides, nor have they taken the written test for the Postal Service, Menjiva said.

Postal workers are also paid considerably more than Staples employees, who are minimum wage workers.

“If this program is successful, this could lead to the post office closing stores and leaving postal employees out of jobs,” Menjiva said.

Menjiva is a 30-year veteran of the Postal Service, and he has seen his share of changes.

“The Postal Service is denying that they are selling buildings and cutting jobs, but they are closing buildings. This is just one more step,” Menjiva said.

“Staples has been closing stores over the past few years, and if the postal centers are inside these stores that close, and the postal service has closed the post offices, then where are people going to go for their mail? What happens to the communities then?” he asked.

The pilot program comes at a time when post offices are suffering a steady decline in revenue and are attempting to save costs and lower expenses. A 2006 Congressional mandate to pre-pay $5.6 billion annually in workers’ health care costs has not helped matters.

“Congress passed funding for post offices for the next 75 years, but they are going to try and pay all of that in a 10-year period,” Menjiva said.

The Staples store had no comment and were instructed not to talk to the media about this issue.

“We want them to know that the United States Postal Service is not for sale,” Menjiva said.

Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]

Susan Hiland

Susan Hiland

Susan graduated from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon with a B.A. in Communications. She has eight years experience working for newspapers in Nebraska.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Typical County WorkerMarch 30, 2014 - 6:36 am

    There is no way to mistake Staples employees with Fairfield USPS branch employees as long as the Staples employees continue to be helpful and nice to the customers.

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  • The MisterMarch 30, 2014 - 3:55 pm

    You know, there's several things going on here. Yes we all make fun of the Post Office because they are often rude, slow, and have no sense of customer service. From that, the USPS really has no one to blame but themselves for their reputation. With that said, the postal service is as a public utility... not unlike your weekly garbage collection or the sewers under your neighborhood. These public utilities are meant to serve the good of the public and to recoup their costs by the users or, perhaps to some extent, by the taxpayers at large. Contrast this with a for-profit business model where satisfying the shareholders is paramount. So what is happening in now is that the for-profit business model is picking away at some of the profitable aspects of the public utility. This means that the public utility aspects that remain will cost more and serve less while the for-profit business will decrease competition and increase profits. Here's the thing... why would Congress allow the profitable parts of the USPS to be picked away by for-profit business? Obviously there's the campaign contributions from the business sector, but there is more. As has occurred in several countries in the past few decades, the international bankers constrict the economy by making their local banks call in loans and curtail issuing new loans. (Sound familiar?) Some countries, like in Japan for example, fought back against the private bankers by expanding the services of their national post offices to include that of a savings and loan bank. There was a couple of news stories about doing that in the US a few months ago. Nothing since. These post office-houses savings banks were able to inject cash into the local economies and, thus, keep businesses open and people working... which is the exact opposite of the goal of the private banks. So why would Congress allow the USPS to be damaged? Because the international banksters have demanded they do so. They've made the same demands in other countries with varying degrees of success. Japan told them to pound sand and kept their post office banks open. Yes, Japan owes a lot of money... but they owe it to the Japanese people and pay interest to the Japanese people. Here we own money to the international banksters and pay interest to the international banksters. And once our postal system is decimated, our options for anything else will be further reduced.

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  • Typical County WorkerMarch 30, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    To some extent I agree with you, but they need to change their practices. For example, why do they charge the Chinese businesses and customers $2-4.00 for packages up to 4 lbs and US customers 24.00 for less service also why not charge more for junk mail. Newspapers are no longer popular among the masses therefore, we get the weekly mailers. Also, Change of attitude, customer service is good business.

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  • Matthew A. FlynnOctober 05, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    This is only a natural reaction to the economic climate. More post offices will close and hiring practices will change as time goes on. The market will resolve itself and evolve as demands to for postal services.

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  • Matthew A. FlynnOctober 05, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    I forgot to mention that with more locations closing- a useful resource to check out is uspostmail.org - post office locations

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