Staples, USPS end program to set up mini-post offices in stores -WSJ

July 14 Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:33pm EDT

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July 14 (Reuters) - Staples Inc and the U.S. Postal Service will end a pilot program to set up mini-post offices in the company's retail outlets, according to the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Postal workers have protested the program for months, objecting to expanding post office services to Staples stores, staffed with non-union workers.

The report comes days after the American Postal Workers Union won the support of the American Federation of Teachers after it approved a resolution to boycott Staples.

The AFT represents 1.6 million members in education and other fields, according to its website.

The USPS and Staples agreed in October to allow Staples employees to sell postal packaging and accept mail that is later picked up from the stores by postal workers.

The stores instead will be part of the Post Office Approved Shipper program, which is available in thousands of outlets operated by other retailers, WSJ reported, citing a Staples representative.(on.wsj.com/1mbQ1iH)

In the pilot program, Staples sold only USPS shipping services and products. However, in the approved shipper program, Staples, like other retailers, will offer some postal agency products alongside those of other shippers, WSJ reported.

A Staples representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The USPS was not immediately available for comment outside business hours.

In March, Staples said it would close up to 225 stores in the United States and Canada - 12 percent of its North America outlets - as it loses customers to mass market chains and e-retailers.

The Postal Service has also been plagued by financial troubles as more people pay their bills and communicate electronically instead of sending stamped mail, and as it struggles to pay into a health fund for its future retirees, as mandated by a 2006 law. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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