Wage Watch: Postal workers protest service cuts and plant closings

US Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) logo is seen on the shirt of a letter carrier at the Brookland Post Office in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 9, 2013. The USPS is projecting a loss of as much as a $6 billion for the year as it keeps pressure on Congress for help, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said this month. The service is scheduled to release second-quarter results May 10. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mail workers: Reductions will “destroy” Postal Service

United States Postal Service employees will protest at 125 locations nationwide on Friday in opposition to proposed plant closings and reduced service standards that are set to take place on January 5.

Starting next year, the USPS will lower its service standards, which will slow down mail delivery—a move that will “virtually eliminate overnight delivery—including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town,” according to a statement released by the American Postal Workers Union, one of four postal workers unions taking part in Friday’s demonstrations.

The workers gathering at the USPS’s final Board of Governors meeting of the year in Washington, D.C., and at dozens of other locations, will also protest the planned closure or consolidation of 82 mail processing and distribution centers. The APWU notes in its release that more than 140 plants have closed since 2012.

In a letter to customers announcing its plans in late June, the USPS said the consolidations were in response to the $26 billion in losses it has sustained in the last three years.

The postal worker unions say that the cuts will cause hardships for customers and irreparable harm to the U.S. Postal Service while contributing to a “flawed management strategy” that has “failed to address the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis.”

Conde Nast settles with unpaid interns

Conde Nast paid $5.8 million on Thursday to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the magazine publisher of underpaying its former interns.

The case dates back to June 2013, when Lauren Ballinger, who interned for W Magazine in 2009, and Matthew Leib, who interned at The New Yorker in 2009 and 2010, sued the publisher for allegedly violating labor laws by paying them the equivalent of less than $1 per hour. At the time it was filed, the case was part of a wave of similar suits over unpaid internships filed against high-profile media and entertainment employers such as Hearst Magazines, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and the Charlie Rose show.

Conde Nast announced in October 2013 that it was discontinuing its internship program.

The settlement, which covers about 7,500 interns who worked at Conde Nast as far back as 2007, will award individual plaintiffs between $700 and $1,900 a piece.

Wal-Mart workers to strike again on Black Friday

Wal-Mart workers said Friday that they will mobilize strikes at 1,600 locations on Black Friday to protest what they say is the company’s “illegal silencing of workers” and to demand higher pay.

The workers’ organizing group OUR Walmart said that Wal-Mart employees and their supporters are planning flash mobs, marches, and prayer vigils across the country to call on the company to pay its workers at least $15 per hour and to provide consistent, full-time work.

The announcement of the strikes comes a day after 23 protesters were arrested outside a southern California Walmart store.

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