APWU: USPS seeks to end layoff protection, take postal workers out of federal health and retirement programs

APWU President Cliff Guffey has condemned USPS legislative proposals that would destroy the collective bargaining rights of postal workers and interfere with the union’s contract, which Postal Service and the APWU agreed to in March.

Guffey made the statement in response to USPS announcements [PDF] that it would seek congressional support for legislation to eliminate protection against layoff from collective bargaining agreements; remove postal workers from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), and separate USPS employees from federal retirement programs.

“The APWU will vehemently oppose any attempt to destroy the collective bargaining rights of postal employees or tamper with our recently-negotiated contract,” Guffey said. “Crushing postal workers and slashing service will not solve the Postal Service’s financial crisis.

“As we have pointed out many times,” he added, “postal employees are not the cause of the crisis.

“The USPS economic crisis is the result of a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 that requires the Postal Service to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees — a burden no other government agency or private company bears.” The mandate requires the USPS to fund a 75-year liability over a 10-year period and costs the USPS more than $5.5 billion per year.

Guffey also pointed out that “the federal government is holding billions of dollars in postal overpayments to its pension accounts.”

“Congress must address the cause of the Postal Service’s financial crisis so that postal workers can continue to serve the American people and the USPS can continue to act as an important engine of the U.S. economy,” he added.

“There are some in Congress who may support these proposals,” Guffey noted. “But we will not allow the hard-working men and women of the U.S. Postal Service to be made the scapegoats for the outrageously poor judgment of Congress in instituting the pre-funding requirement.

“Congress created this mess,” he said, “and Congress can fix it.”

Guffey reiterated his call for postal employees to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to support H.R. 1351, and oppose H.R. 2309.

H.R. 1351 would address the cause of the USPS financial crisis
without cutting pay and benefits, he noted, without eliminating
collective bargaining rights, or slashing service. The bill, introduced
by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would:

  • Allow the USPS to use billions of dollars in pension overpayments
    to meet its financial obligations — including the congressional
    mandate to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees.

  • Leave workers’ collective bargaining rights intact. It
    would make no changes to wages, benefits, or protection against
    layoffs.

By contrast, H.R. 2309, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
and co-sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), would:

  • Do nothing to correct USPS overpayments to its pension accounts.
  • Do nothing to correct the congressional mandate that requires
    the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees.

  • Force postal workers to make up the difference:
    • Ensure that Postal wages are “comparable” to
      the private sector.

    • Empower a board to unilaterally cut wages, abolish
      benefits, and end protection against layoffs.

  • Create a commission that would order:
    • $1 billion worth of post office closures in the first year,
      and

    • $1 billion worth of facility closures in the second year.
  • Increase employees’ costs for healthcare and life insurance,
    and eliminate the right to bargain over these crucial benefits.
  • SB

    We should be taking the reality to the public in a much more deliberate manner. Most of the public is still unaware of how unfairly the USPS is being treated by Congress with its retirement prefunding requirement. Our Congress subsidizes big oil and bails out Wall Street, but thumbs their noses at the hardworking people of middle class America. Go ahead, take 120,000 middle class jobs out of the economy…then reap what ya’ sow.

  • City Carrier

    It’s obvious to me that these over payments into the preretirement healthcare/retirement systems, are so valuable to the federal governments budget deficit, that they are willing to do anything to keep the flow of money comming. Passing the Issa bill would insure that even more money could be stolen from the postal service, and reducing the political clout postal employees have currently. Postal employees are being used as “scape goats” for the lack of leadership in the budget crisis, and are being Falsy accused for the problems the postal service is facing to date!

  • VMF Retired

    Tell me Mr. ISSA…what do you pay for your health insurance and will you be taken out of FEHB program also…Make us pay more..are you F’n kidding me…before I retired I was paying almost 220/mth…now that I am retired I pay 430/mth…how much more can I afford after taxes, death benefits for the wife and health care coming out of my retirement check…that is over 1K a month off my gross pay…WTF is wrong with you people in Congress..losing more faith on a daily basis about our lack of leadership in DC…both parties…

  • Gruntled

    I’m not Republican I’m not Democrat. I’m American, a middle-class postal worker who believes in postal service not postal servitude. Is this a country or a corporation run by the rich? Let’s be the spark that lights the fire of the good fight. Welcome to class warfare.

  • stewart

    This is a direct attack on unions and the middle class. A private company does not have the option of going to congress and rewrite collective bargaining. What makes a semi independent government agency think they can. If congress allows this type of union busting to occur, we stand to lose fare more than employment with the Postal Service. You can count on this shameless mentality spreading to the private sector.

  • Nutzy

    “CLASS WARFARE” No truer words have been spoken. The so called leaders of this country.Which are elected by having the most money. have put themselves on A pedastal high above those that work for A living.

  • USPS

    Someone needs to bitch slap PMG! Just sayin.

  • Robert

    Are we still paying IBM millions to track our priority mail. And who do you think was rewarded for hiring them!!!

  • Proud Product of the USA

    Isaa is holding HR1351 hostage in the committee he chairs. It was referred to his committee earlier this year and has stated he will not allow it to reach the floor for vote. However his bill HR2309 he is willing to bring to the floor. His goal is destroy more jobs, close Post offices and eliminate the Post Office as we know it. A message needs to be sent to Issa and the supporters of his bill that he is not going to turn the Post Office over to his rich buddies to further take advantage of the american people. The Post Office is part of the constitution and belongs to the american people. Contact your Representatives and let them know the attack on the elderly, low income, handicapped and middle class is over. Ask them for their support of HR1351 to release the Post Office from irresponsible mandates, allow the USPS to use the overpayment funds and discontinue the closing of Post Offices that belong to the american people across this great nation

  • INSPECTOR 19

    THE PMG is planning to huff and puff and blow that door down, but there is nothing on the other side. My bread and butter has turned into moldy slime. The USPS is now a wreck less machine out of control and unpredictable. May the best man win.

  • Lilly

    I voted no on this new contract-very disappointed that union members bought all the propanda that was sent to us from the union. Now, my office is facing all our jobs being abolished and “new jobs” going up that will basically be 30 hr positions as they are considered full time. So, I am taking a 25% cut in pay, when ask union president what can be done, we hear “I don’t know”. I have always believed in supporting the union but I can no longer afford it, this is a no win situation

  • Jim

    Cliff: Where are our attorneys in these issues? They are in direct violation of the contract as respect to using clerks as carriers in Fla. And this past contract was a joke! Thanks for the 3.5 %Raise but 4%give back insurance and crappy cola deal. Is this this the same or worse deal than last -I think so! What a great leader we have at the APWU -you people really need to work back at this crap hole the P.O. to truely see what going on in todays world. Then , maybe you could negotiate alittle better contract for your dues paying members. This , Union is becoming a joke. It’s time Cliff to sac-up and really do something. And do something for your members before you have none!

  • Jon

    Question?

    Do you have mail? UPSP could just stop mail totally.

    questions?