APWU’s Guffey to Testify to House Committee

APWU President Cliff Guffey has been asked to testify about the union’s tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, whose powerful chairman has publicly condemned the new agreement and said it is too generous to postal employees.

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said the April 5 hearing will “examine the sustainability and affordability of the postal workforce, in light of the USPS’s looming insolvency and poor financial outlook.” Contract renewals present the best chance for the USPS to find savings, Issa said, but the Tentative Agreement “looks like a missed opportunity.”

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, also expressed “serious concerns” about postal employees’ pay.

The union president was undaunted. “Postal workers are part of the great American middle class. Political leaders should find ways to create new and better jobs – they should not try to knock ours down,” Guffey said.

“The Tentative Agreement is an example of the benefits of collective bargaining – even in difficult economic circumstances,” he added. “The proposed contract is good for postal workers and good for the USPS.

“The union’s main goals were to preserve jobs and to lessen the hardships associated with excessing. The Tentative Agreement will help accomplish those objectives. The USPS is seeking to reduce costs and increase workforce flexibility. The agreement will help management meet its objectives as well,” he said.

Not the First Time

The April 5 hearing will not be Rep. Issa’s first incursion into the APWU’s collective bargaining process. In September 2010, during negotiations, he wrote in a guest editorial in the Washington Times that, “No union has or ever will lobby for a layoff, so it’s up to USPS management and Congress to demand concessions.”

Citing the USPS’ financial difficulties, Issa said in September that the “postal lobby” would seek a “bailout” of the USPS, and he implied that employees are the source of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Guffey said. “As we have pointed out many times, the requirement to pre-fund future retiree healthcare liabilities is the cause of the USPS economic crisis.

“This unique and unreasonable requirement of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) is pushing the Postal Service toward insolvency,” he said. No other federal agency or private company is required to make such payments, which cost the USPS more than $5 billion annually for 10 years.

“The Postal Service does not need a bailout, and no one has requested one – not the USPS, not its customers and not its unions,” Guffey added. “In truth, the USPS is bailing out the federal government.”

Two independent auditors have concluded that the Postal Service has overfunded its Civil Service retirement fund by $50 billion to $75 billion. If the USPS were permitted to apply those overpayments to the Postal Service’s future retiree healthcare obligations, the agency’s financial crisis would be resolved. The Federal Employees Retirement System is also overfunded by approximately $9 billion.

“Postal workers did not cause the Postal Service’s financial difficulties,” Guffey said, “but our Tentative Agreement has features that will help the Postal Service address them.

“Across the nation workers are being stripped of the right to collective bargaining,” he said. “We will not stand idly by and let the American dream slip away.”

  • I agree with Guffey

    If only we could be in the upper 1 to 5% then our earnings would not be an issue except that congress would be fighting tooth and nail to keep us from paying taxes. The clerks have had no increase since 2009 and will not get another increase before 2013 under the present tentative agreement. I find it interesting that the burden be put on the working class to pay for all of the deregulation, greed, incompetency and antisocial behavior both inside and outside of the government which has left this country in a mess. What I find more interesting is that we are willing to tolerate this and focus on what politicians tell us to focus on which is fighting amongst ourselves. As long as we have a global economy, I guess the buying power of the middle class does not matter as much because the businesses will sell in other markets outside of this country. Those folks I spoke of above will be fighting hard to keep these businesses from paying taxes because they will “create jobs”. IF so, I wonder if these jobs can support a family, a family’s’ medical welfare, a family’s’ safety and security, a family’s’ education, a family’s’ dwelling, a family’s’ transportation, a family’s’ food, a family’s’ entertainment, clothing and ability to pursue their own religious beliefs and prosperity, and to pay off debt, as well as the ability to save for retirement as so many of these folks want us to do. This seems unlikely as the folks in Congress do not seem to believe that workers should earn a wage that can sustain the family needs I just mentioned. I like Ford Motor Company and I suppose it is good they can sell overseas because presently it is doubtful they would survive otherwise. I would love to buy a new Ford but I cannot afford it even though I have a big fat job paying $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
    It looks as though some of the folks in Congress would like to take the one hundred billion in taxes saved by the upper 1 to 5% out of the hide of the Postal Service through the billions of Postal overpayments and the excessive 5.5 billion-retiree health care prefunding each year. After all, isn’t this economic crisis the fault of the big bad federal workers and the big bad unions?

  • Crushar

    Well said!

  • Gregg

    Not ANOTHER hearing before Darrell Issahole!! This CLOWN has no idea about the USPS.Let him have a hearing with some of the current USPS employees and listen to what WE have to say.After he hears our voice,see if he still thinks we are overpaid and have to many benefits.After we explain to this GOON how many sacrifices USPS employees make each and every day.Going to work at ungodly hours.Working long hours during the Holiday season.Seeing less and less of our familes.The list could go on forever!!What does he care about the USPS anyway?? He’s got enough to worry about in his home state!!Billions and Billions of DEFICIT!!Typical politician.Let’s attack someone who pulls down $50-$55,000 a year and call them overpaid.To many benefits and a HUGE salary!! Get real Issahole!! Your a friggin MORON!!

  • cleansweep

    I would like Issa to explain how he got the new road built with federal funds to raise the value of his business property?