As you know, on April 25, the Senate passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act. This measure embraces the postmaster general’s short-term downsizing strategy while failing to adequately address the crushing mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, which will continue to cost the Postal Service about $4.7 billion to $5.3 billion per year, every year, from now on. No other agency or company faces this burden.
On top of that, the bill calls for giving the PMG the authority to propose moving to a five-day delivery schedule in two years, at a cost of 80,000 to 100,000 good-paying middle-class postal jobs, if he feels the cut in service is needed to keep USPS afloat. Slashing so many jobs in the midst of a national jobs crisis would weaken the country’s economic recovery.
If it became law, it would force the USPS to degrade its unique six-day-per-week last-mile mail delivery network in the name of funding future retiree health benefits that are already massively pre-funded. And it would seriously undermine the Postal Service’s ability to build on its growing success in the delivery of residential parcels and e-commerce packages.
And alarmingly, S. 1789 attacks the rights and benefits of postal workers by amending the collective-bargaining provisions of current law to favor postal management and by slashing workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers.
As I mentioned in my e-Activist message the following day, despite all of this bad news, it’s important for us to remain positive because the legislative process is far from over. For one thing, it may take months to get a postal reform bill through the House, which then would be followed by the appointment of a joint House-Senate conference committee whose job it would be to come up with a bill both chambers could pass and the president would be willing to sign.
I also promised you that we would put together a comprehensive reaction to S. 1789 as passed, highlighting the many areas where the bill falls short of addressing the real issues facing the USPS or where it is downright damaging to the network and its employees.
Click here to access this critique posted on nalc.org. Please use this information in any meetings or conversations you will have with your senators and representatives in the coming weeks, to help them understand that they still have a chance to help repair any damage that has been done by the passage of this bill.
Meanwhile, NALC is mobilizing our resources to stage a grassroots and media campaign to oppose the Issa bill in the House of Representatives. I will call on all of you to contribute to this campaign.
Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication as we continue our fight to save the Postal Service and do what we can to spur it toward creating a business model to help it thrive for decades to come.
Fredric V. Rolando, President
National Association of Letter Carriers