Staples management may not know it yet (the one percent do not work weekends, after all), but yesterday was a day they are not likely to remember with fondness.
While the first salvo of protest for their Post Office union-busting was being fired in Berkeley, California...
Setting up in front of Staples in downtown Berkeley, 12/21/13
a petition from an anonymous Staples worker was going viral. Early yesterday morning it had less than 30,000 signatures after a number of days up; now it has over
84,000 85,000 135,000 (as of 12/24) signatures and is accumulating more every second.
Staples: Don't Cut Part-Time Hours Because of Obamacare!
I am writing this petition as an anonymous person, as I fear my employer will persecute me if they knew my identity.
... in mid-December, ((Staples)) announced to the staff at my store: A new policy of limiting ALL part-time workers to 25 hours a week -- with NO exceptions -- for reasons of "Scheduling Flexibility".
... I came across what appears to be the answer: The Affordable Healthcare Act...
I read about how countless other companies were slashing part-time hours to use a loophole in the law: You don't have to pay for healthcare if your employees don't work more than 30 hours a week. I also learned that the Aetna medical insurance plan that Staples provided didn't count, as it didn't provide enough coverage to meet the minimums.
Yup, Staples is taking its place on the dishonor roll of companies that are trying or tried to cut worker hours to avoid giving them health care benefits (such as Darden
, owners of Olive Garden, and Papa John's
. Remember the outrage last year?)
Guess who pays? Just as now we know that the public provides subsidies for Walmart's and McDonald's millions of low-wage workers to the tune of billions of dollars, if this sticks we'll be paying for the health care of many Staples employees through Obamacare subsidies they will receive.
It is doubly ironic because not only is Staples wanting to play Scrooge with their own employees, they are aiming to destroy other living-wage jobs that provide health care benefits, creating more poverty-wage employees the rest of us will have to help support! By putting Postal Service counters into Staples stores staffed by Staples employees - not Postal workers - they and Postal Service management have begun the process of undermining the Postal Service unions which, since the 1970's, have made sure their employees receive a solid, middle class living wage. As sure as banksters foreclose illegally, a national implementation of this program will cause Postal Service employment and union membership to drop, Staples employment to rise, and the well-being of Americans overall to fall - CEO's and one-percenters being the main beneficiaries.
Check out below this photo/chant/tweet essay from from the protest yesterday (pictures and tweets provided by Alyssa (@alyssa011968) and Strike Debt Bay Area (@StrikeDebtBA)).
"Post Offices Today. Libraries Tomorrow."
"Hold the Paper, Hold Supplies. We Want Wages Super-Sized!"
"Hey Hey, Ho Ho. Staples PO Has To Go!"
Rapacious Greed, Money Lust. Stop the Staples Union Bust!
Bend, Fold, and Staple Politicians, Not Post Offices!
Feinstein, Boxer, You're No Good. Stop the Sale Like You Should!
Postal workers of the world UNITE!
You have nothing to lose but your Staples!
This Chant Don't Rhyme!
That's Not a crime!
Selling Our Commons For Greed
Some fifty people turned out to help with the picketing, literature distribution and whatnot. We distributed some 400 'Why We Are Here' flyers, along with Post Office postcards and Occucards to pedestrians crossing our path on this beautiful, warm, sunny day. We had live music and we sang protest songs.
We listened to Gray Brechin, a historical geographer, founder of California's Living New Deal Project, and one of the fathers of the 'Save the Post Office' movement, say how the movement has grown.
We heard from Susan Hammer, retired postal employee and American Postal Workers Union Steward, as she told us how the APWU is demanding that Postal Service employees staff these retail counters, and insist on securing mail handling and transport using Postal workers. She also noted that "Health coverage is one thing I've never had to worry about." unlike Staples employees.
We heard from Dave Welsh, retired letter carrier, a leader of the Save the Berkeley Post Office movement who camped out on the steps of the downtown Berkeley Post Office for over a month. He talked about the cuts the Postal Service is imposing and wants to impose in the name of austerity.
Private Mail... They Don't Care... They Don't Have To.
We'll be back.
p.s. Make 'em sweat! Sign the petition!
11:30 AM PT: Bonus picture!
Heh. I made both of those signs.