Postmasters Call on Congress to Stop Closing Post Offices…

and to Let USPS Pension Overpayments Prefund Retiree Health Benefits

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — "Enough is enough. Congress must act. The time to act is now and the action to take is to allow the Postal Service’s pension overpayments to be transferred to its retiree health benefit fund," said LEAGUE President Mark Strong in a Statement submitted today in the Senate hearing on the Postal Service Crisis. "This would allow the Postal Service to stop closing rural post offices and stop devastating thousands of small rural communities," he added.

Today’s hearing, chaired by Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT), was before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Entitled "U.S. Postal Service in Crisis: Proposals to Prevent a Postal Shutdown," today’s hearings focused on the current conditions of the Postal Service and the fact that Congress will not let it use its pension overpayments to prefund its retiree health benefit obligations.

"Allowing the Postal Service to use those overpayments, calculated by actuaries to be as much as $75 billion, to prefund the retiree health benefit obligation would relieve the Postal Service’s current financial stress and allow it to calmly refocus on the future," said Strong. "It would also help the economy and help prevent a double dip recession," added Strong. "Ideas such as withdrawing from the Federal Employee Health Plan are terrible ideas, should not be taken seriously, and simply reflect the frustration that top Postal Service management feels," he concluded.

"Because of the way the law is written, the Postal Service must make more than $8 billion per year in pension and retiree health benefit payments, despite pension overpayments of up to $75 billion. While the Postal Service has been losing billions of dollars each year since the recession started, if the overpayments were officially recognized and credited towards the retiree health benefit obligation, and current payments stopped, it would be running in the black," said Robert Brinkmann, the League’s Legislative Counsel. This "crisis" is a crisis that, while precipitated by the recession, has been created by Congress, and it is a crisis that only Congress can resolve.

The National League of Postmasters has been representing active and retired postmasters throughout the country since the later part of the 19th Century.

  • Rural mail lady

    Right on!!! Hire minimum wage people to run these small post offices and RIF postmasters!!!

  • georg berthiaume

    usps closed 7 districts saving 1 billion dollars ayear closing 35 more districts will save 5 billion a year

  • Tony

    VERA why is that being offered? Many including myself would leave now!

  • rural carrier in socal

    If we are hurting soooo bad, (which I know we are) why are the City Carriers not allowed to case mail in the office and go to the one bundle system ? How much money, gas, and time, are we wasting every day across the nation, with carriers sitting in their postal vehicles sorting mail?? Seems to me that 2-3 hours on the street, compared with somewhere around 4-6 hours on the street, would save a heck of a lot of money, and time. Didn’t someone say, “time is money?” Oh yeah here’s another thing, wouldn’t less time on the street equal less accidents? Somebody WAKEUP!!!

  • Re Ality

    Who would be willing to pay someone $5 to make $2? Times are changing and so it goes

  • mike

    Does congress even have a clue. I listened to the circus show today. They can’t even see the pink elephant in the room. So the way o see it more money was wasted today. When will it stop.?. Ok congress. Here is a great idea. Listen to the front line get up front. I am a 28yr veteran with the postal service. Some don’t want to hear this. But here it goes. #1. Get rid of Saturday , #2 someone needs to monitor the management sector that is wasting the real money. #3. Offer some kind of incentive for senior people’s to go. Then the postal service can be just fine in 3yrs. Also they can lay off anyone with less than 6yrs. A ton of te,s. Casual, and ptf’ s. What is the postal service’s real problem? I can say for sure its not the prefunding. Just be fair post office office. And maybe all will be ok. Keep on current track. We Will all be without a job. You fool’s.

  • future

    Dear Mike,
    I can agree with one and two, but how can we give away something we dont have. Some of the real problems are the workers who don’t come work which causes management to do what they have to to hold up the standards we promise to our customers. Next, people who fake accide ts because they are to lazy to work and receives a honest days work for a fair days pay. This only hurts your fellow workers and causes the postal service to use more money to maintain standards for our customers. Workers remember why were here and stop complaing.

  • Retired Postmaster

    Did you ever hear Pat Donohoe talk about growing the business or selling new products ? Postal management is blind to the possibilities – the USPS can deliver anything, we have the largest fleet in the world and go everywhere and yet we are only delivering mail – Why ? why not auto parts, or freight or flowers or anything that a courier delivers. What about USPS real estate ? Why not lease out building to private sector, lawyers, etc. Why not have the military recruting stations in Post Offices ? There are a million ideas on how the USPS can make money but all they talk about is downsizing and cutting. It is a shame that there in no one in USPS HQ with an original thought

  • bertha

    Like anything this to will pass, the only reason we are being attacked and not helped they owe us money. Think about it, this new postmater general is all about customer service but he has cut so much we cant be effective in our jobs anymore. I go to work in a positive state and leave a bundle of nerves. Our economy is failing and they want the second largest employer to lay off. How smart is that. To run a business smartly you dont air your troubles you work them out. Aloso your customer is your business so treat them like gold and they will be back!!!

  • bertha

    Also think about this, we cut out saturday mail. What will monday be like and if there is a holiday. And what about those that get checks and cant have a checking account?? Yes not all people in this country have a checking account. and those who get medicines, they would have to wait that extra day. Maybe this doesnt matter to those of you ready to retire but consider it, also the jobs lost and the hours on a paycheck, oh I forgot you are ready to retire. Remember when you were yoounger and your income was threatened, how did you feel, It wont affect you or those politicians so you people dont care. Wake up and see the big picture.And Management when they are done cutting us to the bare bone you will be next, and if you are lucky and are not cut you will have to work harder, hmm

  • Gregg

    The National League of Postmasters is right.Don’t close these Post Offices that serve Rural America and small town America.Many have already closed.Really a shame.Small town USA should have a Post Office.However,when the USPS faces a possible 9 Billion dollar loss this year,that’s where they aim their slashing guns.At the very core of what the USPS really is.Really where the USPS started.Small town USA.Their is no easy fix.We may or may not survive this crisis.But smart decsions must be made by the USPS and Congress to assure this vital service survives.Anything less is unacceptable.

  • jimmie

    all usps personnel are in the sAME (SINKING), BOAT. SO IF YOU TAKE FROM RETIREES OVERFUNDED ACCOUNT,(SUPPOSEDLY),TO GET THE USPS IN THE BLACK. 1 HOW LONG WILL IT LAST
    2 IF BY SOME STRANGE MISCALCULATION, THIS AMOUNT IS WRONG, ETC. THEN YOU SAY WHOOPS! WE WE WERE WRONG, SORRY, THEN IS RETIREMENT IN JEAPORDY. AND I UNDERSTAND , YOU MAY SAY, WELL ITS ONLY FAIR THAT WE ALL SUFFER. I CANT ARGUE WITH THAT.
    SO, BEFORE WE TAKE A BIG LEAP PERHAPS TO ONLY PROLONG THE INEVITABLE, I WOULD LIKE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO BE PUT ON THE TABLE.
    EXAMPLES MAY BE
    1 CUT IN EVERYONES PAY
    2 RAISE DEDUCTABLES
    3 INCREASE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS
    4 GET BRAIN STORMING ON WAYS TO INCREASE REVENUE

    OR HELL JUST LET THE WHOLE SHIP GO DOWN

  • Buggs

    Well Terrific!!! Mgt. Blames US…WE blame them…in my 28 years as a carrier, 1 yr. in Mgt.,(That was a mistake!!!!!). I have seen monumental waste. From favoritism, to downright theft of time and $$ by Supervision. While I was a Front Line supervisor, I was encouraged to falsify carrier time records, falsely accuse carriers of misconduct, falsify carrier street observations (by NEVER going to the street to observe work practices!), entering data from 3999’s that was recorded on a PREVIOUS 3999 to facilitate unfair route adjustments, told to ignore discipline for favored employees (relatives, runners, those with influence in the business climate!). The REAL attitude for decades in the P.O. has been, We ARE the ONLY game in town! We do not have to be nice, we do not have to serve our customers yadda yadda yadda… NUMBERS are what matters!!! NOT REAL customer service. And that means those who mass mail with us to the public, right down to Grandma sending a birthday card to her grandson!!! 5.5 billion be Damned…Mgt. will find a way to extort it… and blame the Crafts and their Unions!!! The PO WANTS to go out of business and the Republicans are right there to HELP!!!…

  • bertha

    Now hold on, look at the big picture.
    1 cut everyones pay, what if some are barely surviving, ie single family incomes.
    2 raise deductibles, cant afford what we pay now. and that would help the insurance companies not us.
    3 increase health insurance premiums. some of us have the cheapest ones available and they are slii taking a hugh amount out of our checks bi weekly.
    4 I agree cuts need to be made, like

    1. supervisor incentives(no longer called bonuses)
    2 VOE surveys What a waste, who ever returns them do you realize someone gets a kickback for everyone returned.
    3 A ptf sent to another office gets paid milage, when work is available in the home office.
    4 have some one who knows what they are doing look at the schedules and vamp them according to peak hours.
    5 Keep saturdays and CUT SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAY WORK!!!!!
    6 we have supervisors and postmasters in the same office, yes we need both but at the same time??? Ive been in offices where the supervisor sits at the desk and reads a book. and the postmaster never leaves there private office except to go to there private bathroom.
    7pick up on customer service the customer makes our business.
    8 Mystery shoppers come on!!!
    want me to continue???
    All this is doing is causing bad morale, back stabbing and a miserable work envirement. Please look at the big picture.

  • Your an Idiot Bertha

    We as USPS employees make a very good living and should be willing to give back equally. We have it far better than alot of other families. Our benefits are good and we should be thankful.

    You say that supervisor incentives are bonuses, they are not. They do not get a yearly increase just because, like craft employees. They are paid based on their performance…

    We have many fine employees both management and craft and we should celebrate that. We also have employees on both sides that need to be dealt with and not protected by unions and management organizations.

    You are correct about the waste of mystery shopper, ODIS and EXFC they should go away.