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U.S. postal workers protest step toward ‘privatization’

Postal workers across the United States on Thursday protested a partnership between the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and office supply chain Staples – a program that would allow nonunion retail employees to help handle mail and packages at Staples stores.

The public-sector American Postal Workers Union (APWU) says the plan is another step toward the privatization of America’s postal system, turning over the covenant of mail sender and mail carrier to underpaid, untrained employees of an office supply chain struggling to keep its doors open.

The program started in October and covers 82 Staples stores during its current pilot period and could expand to 1,500 locations by September. It lets Staples employees handle mail at service counters and keep it until a USPS carrier picks it up daily. The program operates in Staples stores in Massachusetts and in Pittsburgh, Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco, according to the USPS.

Protesters held demonstrations outside Staples stores Thursday, with actions planned in 56 cities in 27 states and organizers hoping to bring thousands of APWU employees and their sympathizers – some of them teachers who shop for school supplies at Staples — out into the streets and parking lots.

More Follow External Link to Wilson Dizard, Al Jazeera America