USPS/Staples Mail Services May Be Illegal
Marketers who use Staples stores for their USPS needs may have to reroute to post offices after Aug. 17. That’s the day when the National Labor Relations Board will hear testimony from the USPS and one of its unions regarding the legality of the USPS outsourcing some mail processing to Staples — a practice the NLRB already says may be illegal. (Opens as a PDF)
In its June 26 “Complaint and Notice of Hearing,” the board ruled that USPS needed to notify the union — the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO — about its plans to subcontract with Staples. In an “if-this-is-true, then” opinion, the board reasoned that the union’s allegations of USPS not notifying it about the Staples plans as of November 2014, when the union filed the “unfair labor practices” charge with the board, and continuing to not do so means that the postal service is in violation of its collective bargaining agreement. The postal service has until July 13 to respond, according to the board’s complaint.
“The complaint is a major blow to the agency’s deal with the office-supply chain, which set up postal counters staffed by Staples employees in hundreds of Staples stores,” contends the union in its Monday email to Target Marketing.
Dave Partenheimer, USPS media relations manager, says this isn’t the board’s final ruling.
“The NLRB complaint sets forth the APWU’s allegations, which will be heard by an impartial administrative law judge,” he says Monday of the Aug. 17 hearing. “Since the matter is the subject of litigation, it would be inappropriate to discuss it further at this time.”
According to the board, decisions at the regional level — in this case, Baltimore — can be appealed to the national level of the NRLB, then a U.S. Court of Appeals and finally the U.S. Supreme Court. In August 2014, the board's administrative judge found USPS violated the National Labor Relations Act with its Staples pilot program.