Ron Sargent Out as Staples CEO

Departure ‘An Opportunity,’ APWU Says

June 3, 2016

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The APWU welcomed the news that Ron Sargent will step down as Staples’ CEO at the company’s annual meeting on June 14. 

The decision follows Staples’ failed attempt to merge with Office Depot, a strategy Sargent championed. “The company was weakened by the failure and it ended Sargent’s tenure,” President Mark Dimondstein said.

The merger would have increased prices and limited choices for individual customers and small businesses, Dimondstein pointed out, and the union played an important role in support of consumers by publicly opposing the merger when it was being considered by the Federal Trade Commission.

“The Staples brand was also severely diminished by the company’s dirty deal with the Postal Service – a major move toward privatizing a great national treasure,” Dimondstein added.

An Opportunity

Sargent’s departure as CEO presents a fresh opportunity for the office-supply company to “do the right thing and get out of the postal business,” he said.

“Staples’ stock is down, revenue is declining, and stores are closing,” Dimondstein noted. The number of stores is down to 1,900 worldwide, from a peak of 2,300, the Boston Globe reported, and the company’s stock has plunged to less than $9 a share, down from a peak of $28 in 2006.

The APWU launched a boycott of Staples and in 2014, after the company entered a secretive deal with the USPS to set up fake post offices in its stores – staffed by low-paid, barely trained Staples employees rather than highly-trained, accountable postal workers.

At daily protests outside Staples’ stores, union members and supporters point out to customers that the deal jeopardizes service and threatens the future of the public Postal Service, along with thousands of living-wage jobs.

The AFL-CIO has endorsed the “Don’t Buy Staples” movement, along with numerous labor organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Teachers are a key ally in the fight, Dimondstein said, because they purchase so many supplies for their classrooms.

“Sargent’s replacement should be someone who is ready to end Staples’ foray into postal work,” Dimondstein said.

Contract Update 

With APWU members awaiting a decision by Arbitrator Stephen B. Goldberg on the terms of a new contract, President Mark Dimondstein reports that a decision is expected within the next several weeks – hopefully before July 1.

“We have fought a long, hard battle through negotiations, mediation and arbitration, for Good Service, Good Jobs, and a Good Contract,” he said.

Victory at Verizon 

The North Jersey Area Local was one of many APWU locals that supported Verizon workers during their 46-day strike. 


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