Senate to Vote on Postal Bill
The APWU has learned that the Senate will consider postal legislation in the near future. As currently written, the bill would give the USPS some short-term financial relief, but would also inflict long-term damage to the nation’s mail system, said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
“The bill would force the Postal Service to close hundreds of mail processing centers, shut thousands of post offices, and cause massive delays in mail delivery,” said the APWU president. “By failing to give more substantial financial relief, the bill would weaken the Postal Service, kill jobs, and drive customers away,” he added.
The union is seeking support for amendments to:
- Set strict service standards. (This is crucial, because the Postal Service is planning to degrade delivery standards in order to eliminate more than half of all mail processing facilities.)
- Allow the USPS to recover overpayments the Postal Service made to its retiree pension funds.
- Adequately address the requirement that forces the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits. (This mandate is the primary cause of the agency’s financial crisis. No other government agency or private company bears this burden, which costs the USPS approximately $5.5 billion annually.)
- Establish new ways to generate revenue, such as providing notary services, issuing licenses, contracting with state and local agencies to provide services, and allowing the USPS to offer services that mail systems in many other countries provide, such as digital services.
- Prevent the closing of small post offices by giving the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) binding authority to prevent closures based on the effect on the community and employees.
- Protect six-day delivery.
- Eliminate the provision that would drastically reduce the compensation of workers who are injured on duty once they reach retirement age.
- Repeal the provision that would require arbitrators in postal contract negotiations to consider the financial health of the USPS. (Postal unions note that arbitrators routinely do so, and criticize the provision as an attempt to skew contract negotiations in favor of management.)
“We must not allow this bill to destroy service to the American people,” Guffey said.
APWU members are being asked to take action by calling senators. More information can be found on the APWU site.