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Postal Workers Fear Expansion Of Staples Pilot Program

Tasnim Shamma

About two dozen Postal Service employees protested uptown today because they fear more of their work will be outsourced to Staples.

The protest was in response to a comment made by the Postmaster General, in which he said he was so pleased with a pilot program with Staples that he would like to see a post office counter in all 1,500 Staples stores.

The pilot program includes 82 post office counters at Staples stores in four states: Massachusetts, Georgia, Pennsylvania and California. They offer up to 80 percent of the services you'll find at a regular post office.

Carol Bishop is a mail clerk at a post office in West Charlotte. She's worried the Staples partnership will grow and put her job at risk.   

"Uhh! I mean, Staples is a good place to get your paper clips and your staples," Bishop says. "But it's not a place to do your mailing. It's just like a chicken place selling hamburgers."

She and other U.S. Postal Service employees wore matching blue shirts and held up signs that read "Stop Staples: The U.S. Mail is Not For Sale". She passed out flyers to drivers and pedestrians and asked cars to honk in support.

Credit Tasnim Shamma
Leroy Moyer, president of the Charlotte American Postal Worker's Union, organized the event.

Leroy Moyer, president of the local Charlotte postal workers union, organized the event. He says he doesn't trust Staples employees to take care of mail the same way Postal Service employees do. 

"Nationwide, to help with our financial troubles, we've bought into that there are issues, technology issues and things like that, we've had to respond to and we've done that together with the Postal Service," Moyer says. "Now they want to take more of our work and give it to untrained, unqualified Staples stores. And you know what, we just can't accept that."

Postal Service spokeswoman Darleen Reid says such fears are unwarranted.

"Your mail is safe! That's for sure," Reid says. "The locations receive high quality training in the classroom and on the job from postal service employees. Then after they open up, we send out postal employees and do on the job shadowing."

Postmaster General Patrick Donahue is definitely a fan of the program. He told the Associated Press that he wanted to see post office counters in every Staples store "as soon as possible".

Reid says a decision on continuing or expanding the Staples program won't be made until the pilot program ends in September.