Postal service deal with Staples raises ire

More than 100 U.S. Postal Service workers put down their letter carrier bags and picked up drums, buckets and tambourines, or really, anything that would harmonize with their chant, “the U.S. Mail is not for sale.”

The loud ensemble shut down K Street in the District on Thursday as they marched to the Staples store at L and 19th Streets as part of their protest against the postal service's{ } plan{ } to allow the office supply store to sell stamps, mail service and package delivery--services that are normally available only at post offices.

"We think it’s a dirty deal between the post office and Staples,” said Mark Dimonstin, president of the American Postal Workers Union.

The deal may be a way for the postal service to get out of paying postal workers the average hourly salary of $25 an hour by instead paying a Staples worker $8 an hour and putting postal services in the hands of private sector businesses, demonstrators said.

"People are getting older. They're retiring. They're not replacing us. And when they do replace u,s they're replacing us (with) Staples. Non-union at a lower wage,” said Brian McLaurin,a postal truck driver.

A U.S. Post Office spokesperson said in an email to WJLA that the agreement with Staples isn’t privatization, but an opportunity to grow the postal service’s business.

Former and current postal service employees don’t seem to agree with that.

"If they do that in Staples stores across the country, they'll close post offices,” said Judy Beard, a retired postal worker.

Staples stores in Pittsburgh, Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay area are already selling mail services, though the company announced plans to shutter 225 stores by 2015.{ }