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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Labor & Workers View other events for the week of 4/24/2014
|Postal Workers Staples Natl Day Of Action Against Privatization - Bay Area Protests|
|Date||Thursday April 24|
|Time||10:00 AM - 4:00 PM|
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BAY AREA EVENTS:
Time: 10:00 AM
Address: 1700 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109 SAN LEANDRO
Time: 1:00 PM
Address: 15555 East 14th Street #200, San Leandro, CA 94578 CAMPBELL
Time: 3:30 PM
Address: 500 East Hamilton Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008
Postal Workers Staples National Day Of Action Against Privatization- Bay Area Protests April 24, 2014
A national protest against privatization at Staples is being organized with April 24, 2014 protests throughout the country. The APWU president Mark Dimondstein is also calling for a public bank at all post offices in a speech in Chicago.
APWU Pres Mark Dimondstein Calls For Defense Of The People's Post Office
On April 4, 2014, Mark Dimondstein president of the American Postal Workers Union spoke in Chicago at the Labor Notes convention on how to defend the People's Post Office. He also discussed the union's new effort to establish a public postal bank system for millions of poor and working people who do not have access to the commercial banks.
For more information on APWU go to http://www.apwu.org
Production of Labor Video Project http://www.laborvideo.org
US Postal Police at APWU Stop Staples Demonstration
US Postal Police Protecting Staples?
Corrupt Blum-Feinstein Privatization Scheme To Profit In Sell Off Of US Post Offices
Inspector general criticizes USPS relationship with real estate representative CBRE
By Lisa Rein, Published: February 20 E-mail the writer
The U.S. Postal Service is putting itself at financial risk by allowing an outside real estate firm to negotiate sales and leases of postal property on behalf of the mail agency and prospective buyers and renters at the same time, a watchdog warned this week.
The practice, called “dual agency representation,” has the potential to create conflicts of interest for CBRE, with the result that the real estate company might not maximize revenue for the financially ailing Postal Service.
“CBRE conflicts of interest could lead to financial loss to the Postal Service and decrease public trust in the Postal Service’s brand,” USPS Inspector General David C. Williams said Wednesday in a “management alert” that strongly recommends that the arrangement be scrapped.
The Postal Service and the firm have been targeted by critics for the selling off of historic post office buildings, at what preservationists say have been relatively low prices and without adequate public notice or effort to adhere to federal preservation guidelines.
The chairman of CBRE’s board of directors is Richard C. Blum, who is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a fact that has heightened scrutiny of the relationship between the Postal Service and the real estate firm. Wednesday’s report did not address the historic buildings or Blum.
In the report, the inspector general urged postal officials to switch to arm’s length transactions, in which CBRE would represent only the agency. The change, the report said, would ensure that contract terms do not give too much financial control to buyers or to sellers.
“We do not believe allowing the arrangement is in the Postal Service’s best interest,” Michael A. Magalski, deputy assistant inspector general for support operations, wrote to postal officials.
“When representing the Postal Service, it is important for CBRE to be focused on maximizing revenue when negotiating sales and leases of Postal Service properties and reducing costs when negotiating leases of properties for the Postal Service to occupy,” Magalski wrote. “This focus is compromised when it is also representing the interests of the buyer, lessee, or lessor.”
Postal officials told Magalski that they do not plan to stop the practice of dual representation, arguing that it gives them wider exposure to potential buyers or renters and ensures healthy competition. Such arrangements also are allowed under CBRE’s contract with the General Services Administration, postal officials said.
“The Postal Service appreciates the time and effort that the [Office of Inspector General] invested in preparing the Management Alert, however, it does not agree with the OIG in this instance,” Sue Brennan, a Postal Service spokeswoman, said in a statement. Postal officials believe that “following their recommendation is not in the best interests of the Postal Service.”
She said the agency “has put in place reporting and consent requirements to minimize any risks associated with conflict of interest.”
But the inspector general said “no consensus exists as to the benefits associated with a dual agency arrangement.”
In a statement, CBRE said the company “undertakes to maximize the value of each asset disposition” for the Postal Service, whose properties have “consistently” been sold at or above the appraised value provided by a third party.
“All properties are sold on an arm’s length basis after broad exposure to the market,” the company said.
Wednesday’s report is the latest in a string of controversies involving the Postal Service’s contract with CBRE, a $7 billion Fortune 500 company the agency made its exclusive real estate agent in 2011. The Postal Service leases about 24,000 post offices and other properties and owns about 9,000 more.
The company said that Blum, as its “non-executive” chairman, plays no role in day-to-day operations and was unaware of the contract with the Postal Service when it was awarded. His investment firm owns 41 / 2 percent of CBRE’s outstanding shares.
Feinstein’s office has said the senator does not discuss her husband’s business decisions with him — and that Congress has no role in choosing which companies do business with the Postal Service.
Williams is also conducting a detailed audit of postal real estate transactions handled by CBRE, “given the multiple roles CBRE plays for the Postal Service and within the real estate industry,” the report said.
Opponents of the sales of historic post office buildings got nonbinding language in the recent federal budget that supports blocking further sales until the Office of Inspector General completes its probe of the agency’s process for transferring ownership of its buildings.
The contract with CBRE requires the firm to notify postal officials of any actual or potential conflicts of interest within five days of a request for or ordering of contract work.
The company has submitted 10 “dual agency” disclosure letters detailing transactions in which it represented both the Postal Service and potential buyers or renters, the inspector general said. It represented both parties in three of those transactions before the contract with the Postal Service was changed in June 2012 to allow for dual representation.
Staples Protests by APWU Against Postal Privatization Take Off!
Staples Protests Take Off!
APWU Web News Article #019-14, Jan. 28, 2014
More than 150 APWU members and supporters took part in a lively protest outside a Staples store in San Francisco on Jan. 28, challenging a deal between the company and the U.S. Postal Service that staffs “postal” counters in Staples stores with non-postal employees. The deal threatens good-paying union jobs and jeopardizes public post offices, they said.
The protesters chanted, held signs saying “Stop Staples: The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale,” and passed out flyers [PDF] about the deal to customers and passersby.
“The U.S. Postal Service is the people’s postal service,” said APWU Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez. “We have to spread the word. We want post offices staffed with public servants who are accountable to the people,” he said.
The union is demanding that postal employees be assigned to perform the postal work at Staples stores. If Staples and the USPS refuse, the APWU will ask customers to take their business elsewhere.
“The APWU supports the expansion of postal services and retail hours,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein notes. “But we cannot accept USPS plans to replace good-paying union jobs with non-union low-wage jobs held by workers who have no accountability for the safety and security of the mail,” he said. The program is a direct assault on postal jobs and on public postal services, and with 40 percent of APWU members working in retail operations, the threat to postal jobs and to public post offices is real, he said.
The event garnered considerable press coverage, with local television stations, radio and newspapers reporting on the activities.
Alan Ross of the East Bay Area Local told ABC 7 News in San Francisco, “Our biggest fear, obviously, is that if Staples is successful in staffing those units with their workers, then our opinion is it may lead to the closing of some of the smaller post offices located near Staples centers.”
A protest is also planned for a Staples store in San Jose, and a nationwide day of action at Staples stores around the country will take place soon, APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. Sustained protests will be organized in locations where Staples stores have postal counters.
“We will take this issue far and wide, looking for support among all those who believe in a public Postal Service and in protecting jobs that pay a living wage,” Dimondstein said.
At the San Francisco protest APWU members were joined by postal customers and representatives of the American Federation of Teachers, American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), United Food and Commercial Workers, the National Union of Healthcare Workers and the National Association of Letter Carriers. Several APWU members from Southwest Coastal Area Local attended, along APWU members from in and around San Francisco.
More than 80 Staples stores in California, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Central Massachusetts are participating in the trial program. If Staples and USPS executives consider the trial successful, the program could be expanded to the chain’s 1,600 other stores.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told the Associated Press that he would like to expand the program “as soon as possible.”
“We intend to stop it,” Dimondstein said. “We believe we can, and we will.”
The privatization of the post office is focused on Staples which is outsourcing post office jobs. This is pushed by Congress and President Obama