A controversial partnership between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples is officially coming to an end this year.
The USPS said in a statement that it will comply with an order from the National Labor Relations Board to end the retail partnership which allowed customers to access USPS services at Staples stores.
Staples has also confirmed the end of the partnership, adding that customers will still be able to use UPS shipping services at Staples stores, reports the Associated Press.
By early March, Staples will discontinue operations at the office supply retailer’s approximate 500 U.S. locations that handle postal services.
In 2013, Atlanta was one of the pilot cities for the partnership between USPS and Staples. Almost immediately, the American Postal Workers Union launched a campaign against the partnership.
Staples did not hire USPS employees for the jobs and the APWU argued that the partnership privatized postal services and hurt postal service workers by transferring jobs that pay a livable wage, offer health care and earn a pension into minimum wage, no benefits, part-time jobs at Staples.
The APWU also argued that shifting postal services from neighborhood post offices to Staples locations could hurt customers and diminish the USPS brand.
“Staples is out of the mail business which they should never have gotten into. Our members take great pride in their training and their responsibilities; they swear an oath; they perform a public service,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein in a statement.
Now that the USPS/Staples partnership is ending, the Union is also ending the years-long protest which included rallies and demonstrations at Staples retail locations as well as a national boycott of Staples stores that was supported by other labor unions including the AFL-CIO, The National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.