Alternative Delivery and Access Point Program

Lamont Brooks

November 17, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Members will recall the APWU’s successful Stop Staples fight to prevent the Postal Service from utilizing Staples stores to offer certain postal products and services through its Retail Partner Expansion and Approved Shipper programs. The APWU prevailed in this battle, thanks in large part to the involvement of thousands of APWU members, our sister unions, and working men and women throughout the country.

Earlier this year, the Postal Service notified the APWU that it was implementing a new plan called the Alternative Delivery and Access Point Program. Under this program, the Postal Service initially utilized a select number of Target stores in the state of Iowa to allow customers to drop off or pick up packages at these locations. For example, a customer expecting a package can ensure that it will remain in a secure place, where they are planning to business already rather than lay on a front porch for an extended period of time. Another Target store in Los Angeles was later added to this program in July 2020.

Beginning in August, over 1,000 Staples stores nationwide also began to offer the Alternative Delivery and Access Point Program. Prior to implementation of this project, we met with Postal Service officials, who offered certain assurances that this program would not be a repeat of previous attempts to use Staples to take work from postal employees. Among these promises were: 1) the program will be used solely for customers to drop off or pick up a package; 2) packages will be kept in a secure location at that business; 3) these stores will not provide or sell postal products or services; 4) no employees at these stores will be involved with the program, other than handing off a package to a customer after ID is shown; and 5) letter carriers with one of these stores on their regular routes will deliver and pick up the packages.

If the program is operated as management suggests, it can be a new pathway for the Postal Service to compete with UPS and FedEx, who already offer these services at several businesses. UPS has been offering this service at Staples for quite some time. Customers who shop at Target and Staples stores will at least have an option to use the Postal Service rather than one of our competitors.

Nevertheless, members are advised to beware of the recent history between the Postal Service and Staples and their past efforts to provide and sell postal products and services. Your Clerk Craft National Business Agents have been provided with a list of all Target and Staples stores who are currently participating in the Alternative Delivery and Access Point Program up to this point, but management has informed the APWU that it intends to expand this program nationwide and the approximate 1,100 Target and Staples stores already offering these services may not be the end of the line.

Your officers at the national level will continue monitoring this situation. That includes visiting some of these businesses to ensure that the Postal Service keeps its promise to only allow these stores to offer pick up and drop off services of packages that will remain in the mail stream, worked by postal employees, and delivered by postal carriers. Check with your local or state union to see if you have a Target or Staples store near you that is currently on the list. A quick visit may be in order, to see to it that they are offering only pick up and drop off package service.

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