A California House delegation led by Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) is calling on Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe to reject a recent pilot program with Staples to operate retail mail counters at 82 U.S. stores.
The pilot program, announced in November, allows for Staples employees to process basic mail services. Of the 82 pilot locations, 32 are in California.
The American Postal Workers Union vociferously opposes the partnership with Staples Inc. The union protested last week at more than 50 Staples locations in 27 states, including California.
Lowenthal echoed criticism by union officials and warned that the partnership "is a clear and unmistakable attempt at union-busting, as well as the privatization of critical public services," he wrote in a letter to Donahoe.
The letter was also signed by 29 other members of Congress from California, including Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles) and Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough).
"The USPS-Staples program is a dramatic step in the wrong direction, as it threatens the livelihoods of thousands of USPS employees and jeopardizes the promise of universal mail service to all communities -- an obligation Staples, a private corporation, does not have," he said.
A spokesman for Staples was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Richard Maher, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said Donahoe would review the letter before responding. In a statement to The Times last week, Maher defended the pilot program, which could expand to other Staples stores if it is deemed a success.
"Partnerships like this are not new and are all about growing our business," Maher said previously. "The union's privatization issue is a ruse; we have no interest in privatizing the Postal Service."
The California Federation of Teachers showed solidarity with the postal workers' union Monday night after its executive council approved a boycott of Staples stores in a unanimous vote. The group represents 120,000 educators in the state and signaled plans to propose a national boycott at the American Federation of Teachers' upcoming July convention, which takes place in Los Angeles.
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