U.S. Postal Service Partners With Staples

- FREDERICK, Md. - In some parts of America, customers of the Staples office supply chain have the option to send off U.S. mail from within the supply store. The partnership in which Staples employees can handle U.S. mail has set off union employees and has left locals reluctant.

"It doesn't make me happy that Staples and the post office will be sharing my information," said Constance Griffith, who was in Frederick, Maryland visiting her grandchildren.

The pilot program in 82 Staples stores started back in October but if the partnership proves a success, it has potential to start up in Maryland by September 2014.

U.S. Postal Service employees protested the deal calling it a step towards privatizing the independent government agency but the Post Master General says its a way to alleviate $63 billion of USPS debt.

"The postal service liability is for $63 billion dollars, exceeding our assets by approximately $43 billion. In order to close the gap, we must continue to seek new growth opportunities," said Patrick Donahue, Post Master General.

The serious debt is in part a result of the Postal Service Enhancement Act of 2006, in which the mail agency was mandated by Congress to pay $5 billion a year to prefund retirees 50 years out, but union members are not having it.

In a statement, Mark Dimondstein, president of the american postal workers union said that the APWU supports the expansion of postal services but the union is "adamantly opposed to USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workes who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail."

Staples has referred all questions to the postal service but at a store in Frederick, Md. customer Sean O'Keefe said that with caution, the partnership has potential to be a good thing.

"As long as the Staples employees are bound by the same responsibilities and obligations for privacy as the U.S. postal service employees I don't think the public should have any concerns about that," O'Keefe said.

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