CLAWSON, Mich. Postal workers and retirees are protesting in suburban Detroit over the offering of mail services in Staples stores.
They gathered outside a Staples in Clawson, holding signs that said, "The U.S. mail is not for sale."
Staples last year began offering postal services under a pilot program that now includes some 80 stores. The Staples program allows customers to buy stamps, send packages, and use Priority and certified mail.
Postal unions fear a loss of jobs to lower-paid workers.
"We're OK having postal services in other venues, but with postal employees to be working there," explained Mike Evans of the American Postal Workers Union. "These are good, hard living wage jobs that they're taking away from us."
Some workers also question whether the Staples deal would create security concerns.
"Postal employees get background checks, FBI background checks, before they're hired, where Staples centers do not," said postal worker James Scoggins. "With the contract that they have, the mail that's dropped off at Staples centers is not even considered mail matter until someone from the US Postal Service picks it up. Which means if it's not considered mail matter, the security of that mail could be jeopardized."
Union leader Roscoe Woods says it's a step to privatizing the mail.
Postal officials say they are just trying to reach customers where they shop.