We all understand that our jobs, and the quality of our union-negotiated compensation, depend on a financially-sound Postal Service.
You can help make that a reality by acting right now.
The NALC is working to get as many House of Representatives members as possible to co-sponsor H.R. 1351, the USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011, developed by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). We need letter carriers all across the country to help by reaching out to their House members to ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
Please take a few moments today to check here to see if your House member is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1351.
If your representative is not a co-sponsor, please call his or her Washington office. [Your representative’s Washington phone number can be found HERE.] Say that the Postal Service should be allowed to use its own funds to solve its financial problems, and tell him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 1351.
The Postal Service is in the midst of a financial crisis due largely to a provision in the 2006 postal reform law that requires the USPS to massively pre-fund its future retiree health benefits at a cost of $5.5 billion per year. No other agency or enterprise, private or public, is required by law to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. Without this requirement, the Postal Service would have been profitable during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression instead of recording losses totaling $20 billion. Fortunately, there is a sensible way to cover the cost of future retiree health benefits without further damaging the USPS. Congress should let the Postal Service use the massive surpluses in its two pension plans, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), to cover the cost of pre-funding those future retiree health benefits.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has repeatedly and grossly miscalculated the Postal Service’s assets and obligations under CSRS and acknowledges a significant postal surplus—$6.9 billion—in FERS. Two independent audits by private actuarial firms have found a surplus of between $50 billion and $75 billion in the CSRS postal account. If the OPM were to recalculate the Postal Service’s CSRS pension obligations, using fair and accurate methods, the Postal Service could use these funds (as well as the surplus in FERS) to cover 100 percent of its future retiree health benefit obligations. That is what the Lynch bill aims to require.
H.R. 1351 takes the necessary first steps towards ensuring a financially sound future for the Postal Service. If passed, the bill would direct the OPM to use fair methods to recalculate the Service’s balance in the CSRS pension fund and, once the size of its surplus is determined, give the OPM 15 days to transfer the money to the Postal Service’s retiree health benefit fund.
The bill would also allow the USPS to use its recognized surplus in the FERS pension fund to cover the 2011 pre-funding payment.
H.R. 1351 takes the crucial first steps toward returning the Postal Service to long-term financial viability by letting the USPS tap its own resources—not taxpayer funds—to meet its obligations.
On behalf of your brother and sister letter carriers, thank you for taking action today to protect the future of the United States Postal Service.
If you have any questions, please contact the NALC Department of Legislation and Political Action at 202-662-2833.
Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers