(NEW YORK) -- The postal workers union is not happy about postal counters that opened at dozens of Staples stores around the country in late 2013.
The cause of the stir is that pilot program is staffed by Staples employees, not postal workers. The average postal clerk earns about $25 per hour, not including health and retirement benefits, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Staples counters would be run by non-union workers, paid much less.
Notre Dame management professor James O'Rourke tells ABC News that he shares some of the concerns of the postal union, and that too many Americans work for minimum wage. However, O'Rourke said, "If the Congress of the United States can require that some level of Postal Service training and that a living wage be provided, you're still going to find great convenience and great value."
"The public," American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said, "deserves being served by Postal employees who are well trained, who are accountable to the people." In fact, if the counters are not run by postal workers, Dimondstein says that the APWU will "urge the people of this country and our friends and our neighbors and our coworkers to take their business elsewhere."
The controversy, highlights the fact that the U.S. Postal Service has been struggling through financial issues for a number of years. "Eliminating that work space could save about $3.5 billion dollars over a ten year period," O'Rourke said. Even with that savings, the Postal Service would still have more work to do. The Notre Dame professor told ABC News that the pre-funding over future retirees' health care is the most costly drain on Postal Service revenue.
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