Staples, USPS Deal: Return to Sender

I like reading the Baltimore Jewish Times on issues that pertain to the Jewish community and Israel, but I wanted to put a cancellation stamp on your editorial, “The Postal Service’s easy button” (May 2). If you had done your homework you would know that the Postal Service’s no-bid sweetheart deal with Staples is bad for consumers as well as postal workers. The USPS plans to get out of retail and eliminate the local post office and instead have stores such as Staples operate postal counters.

It’s a stupid idea. Staples isn’t accountable to the American people, they won’t even answer a reporter’s inquiries about their “partnership” with the USPS.

Staples announced last month they were closing 225 stores on top of 40 store closures at the end of 2013. This company is on a path to becoming the next Blockbuster. On top of that, Staples has incredibly high employee turnover, no background checks for its workers, offers little training to counter personnel, is known for poor customer service and has far lower security requirements than a federal post office.

The security of the U.S. mail is important. Retailers don’t have the same standard as a government-operated postal facility. Imagine if Target, instead of Staples, had been given the same deal last year and everyone who used a credit card to pay for a mail transaction in their store became a victim of identity theft?

I wouldn’t like to be dependent on a company such as Staples or Target for my mail services. I would like to see the Post Office improve its services. If the editorial writers had done just a little research, it would have been apparent that the USPS’s problems are largely manufactured by Congress, which imposed a requirement that the Postal Service pay for retiree health care 75 years into the future. In other words, the USPS is mandated to pay benefits to workers not yet born! No company or government agency has this requirement, only the USPS.

Without this $50 billion weight, the USPS would be in the black and the quality of postal service could be dramatically improved.

The American Postal Workers Union and its president, Mark Dimondstein, are standing up to the special corporate interests and others who are working to dismantle the USPS. You should have done a profile on Dimondstein, who is Jewish and newly elected to his position, rather than use your editorial page to rant. Dimondstein is trying to save the USPS, a national treasure older than the nation itself and an important national institution that should have a long future — provided we stop Staples’ sweetheart deal.

Jamie Horwitz
Washington, D.C.

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