Of course, you already know how much the “crisis” has cost the taxpayers- zero. The USPS doesn’t get “taxpayer dollars”, and hasn’t asked for any. So where does Darrell come up with the $15 billion on his “bailout clock”? Easy- it’s the amount of the deficit Congress forced the USPS to incur under PAEA. It isn’t taxpayer money. Calling it a bailout is like calling your home mortgage a “bank financed bailout”. Except your mortgage bought you a house to live in- the USPS just gets to loan the money back to the Treasury. And, of course, you presumably applied for your mortgage- Congress didn’t force it on you.
More importantly, Darrell’s little ticker ignores the fact that the USPS has an undisputed $42 billion in past USPS profits sitting in the PAEA mandated trust fund already. That’s in addition to an undisputed $6.9 billion in FERS overcharges- and it doesn’t include the $50-75 billion in CSRS overcharges attested to by independent auditors.
Darrell somehow manages to pretend that forcing the USPS to borrow billions of dollars so that it can then loan those billions back to the Treasury means that the USPS is “already costing” taxpayers billions of dollars.
That’s not an exaggeration- that’s an outright lie, and Darrell knows it.
Footnote: If you don’t find lying politicians loathesome enough, ponder this tweet Darrell posted later this afternoon:
The APWU is challenging proposed changes to USPS service standards that would result from a major reduction in the number of mail processing facilities. The Postal Service announced plans to eliminate 252 mail processing facilities on Sept. 14, and one week later published an “advance notice” of the proposed changes in service in the Federal Register. [PDF]
“The APWU vehemently opposes the USPS proposal to eliminate 60 percent of existing mail processing facilities and to make corresponding cuts in service standards,” President Cliff Guffey wrote in a letter dated Oct. 5. [PDF] “If adopted, this proposal would deprive postal customers of needed service, damage the economy, and drive customers away from the Postal Service.
“It is worth noting that the proposal acknowledges what the Postal Service has repeatedly denied regarding the closure and consolidation of mail processing facilities: Slashing the mail processing network will result in drastic cuts in service to the American people,” Guffey wrote.
“The Postal Service cannot eliminate hundreds of mail processing facilities and meet its current service commitments,” said Executive Vice President Greg Bell. “Despite management’s reassurances to community leaders and lawmakers, wholesale facility consolidation would devastate mail service — and that is what the Postal Service is planning.”
In his letter protesting the service changes, Guffey wrote, “The elimination of overnight delivery of first-class mail and periodicals as well as a reduction in the range of two-day delivery would impose a significant hardship on postal customers. And, in addition to the reductions specifically discussed in the proposal, the changes would likely destroy Express Mail and Priority Mail.”
The proposed changes are contrary to the objectives of the Postal Reorganization Act, Guffey asserted, and fail to take into account many of the factors the Postal Service is required to consider when setting service standards.
The law stipulates that changes in service standards must be designed to “enhance the value of postal services to both senders and recipients,” “preserve regular and effective access to postal services in all communities” and “reasonably assure Postal Service customers delivery reliability, speed and frequency consistent with reasonable rates and best business practices,” the letter notes.
“The proposed rulemaking fails to meet these objectives,” Guffey said. The proposal focuses on mail volume and costs, but fails to pay attention to customer needs, he wrote.
The USPS notice states that the proposed reductions in service are necessary to “align the Postal Service’s infrastructure with current and projected mail volumes and to bring operating costs in line with revenues,” and that, “If the Postal Service were to revise service standards as described above, it could significantly improve operating efficiency and lower the operating costs of its mail processing and transportation networks.”
These objectives are not among those listed in law, the union president pointed out. “By designing service standards to meet budget goals rather than service demands, the Postal Service is violating the maxim that businesses cannot cut their way to financial health.
“In doing so, the proposal would degrade existing USPS products; limit the Postal Service’s ability to introduce new products, place the USPS at a distinct competitive disadvantage, and severely hamper its ability to accommodate growth. Consequently, the proposal virtually guarantees continued mail volume declines and further cutbacks in service.”
The USPS notice in the Federal Register invites comments from the public until Oct. 21. If the USPS decides to implement the proposed changes in service standards after the public comment period, it will submit its proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission for an advisory opinion. It also will publish an additional notice in the Federal Register specifying precisely what changes it intends to make in regulations governing service standards. The review by the PRC and the next notice in the Federal Register will provide an additional opportunity for public comments.
On Monday, League President Mark Strong and NAPUS President Bob Rapoza sent a joint letter to USPS Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Megan Brennan, requesting a meeting to discuss the impact that the Retail Access Optimization Initiative (RAOI) may have on Postmasters whose offices are on the study list. Specifically, the leaders of the two Postmaster organizations are asking to meet with members of the Postal Service senior management team to discuss minimizing or avoiding the impact that RIF may have on Postmasters whose offices may be discontinued.
RIF Avoidance and minimization strategy actions listed in the ELM 354.23 include voluntary early retirements, voluntary early retirement incentives, voluntary reassignments and other actions that can be considered for impacted employees. The two presidents reminded Ms Brennan that Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said that he would work with the Postmaster organizations as he had worked with other RIF impacted employees. For more information on this and other important news from President Rapoza, click here http://www.napus.org/president-rapozas-updates/.
We have received several inquiries from Exempt status Postmasters who lost employees as a result of Delivery Unit Optimization (DUO) and are re-classified to non-exempt if they manage less than two full-time equivalent employees, but the Form 50 isn’t processed to change them to the correct status for several months. Listed below is the USPS Headquarters response to the FLSA status question and their response on when salary protection begins for Postmasters who are downgraded as a result of DUO.
When staffing conditions in a Post Office do not meet criteria for FLSA-exempt status, the Postmaster’s FLSA status becomes non-exempt. If the FLSA status of the job changes, this should be brought to the attention of the appropriate management authorities promptly so that FLSA status may be adjusted timely, within one or two pay periods of the Postmaster no longer meeting the criteria of an exempt status. We recommend that Postmasters coordinate closely with their supervisors to ensure that work beyond 40 in a pay week is authorized expressly. This will help prevent potential problems. Postmasters should document overtime hours they work since DUO implementation. They should also document the dates such hours are worked, and they should furnish this material to local management for review and determination if there are concerns about pay.
Salary protection for DUO impacted Postmasters begins on the Form 50 effective date of the downgrade.
Next week, members of the two Postmaster organization pay talks teams will resume discussions with Postal Service representatives. The meetings will include discussions on pay, benefits, leave and changes to the ELM that may impact Postmasters. The Postmaster organizations and the Postal Service agreed to extend the October 5, 2011 deadline.
The web site 21st Century Postal Worker has posted a copy of a letter from an unnamed USPS District Manager telling employees that they are not to “engage in campaigns for or against changes in mail service.” As examples of offending behavior, the letter says “Some of our Postal employees have written congressmen and senators”, and accuses them of misleading “community members on the costs, revenues and benefit of retaining their local Post Office”.
(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill today to address the most serious financial burden threatening to push the Postal Service into default. At the same time, the bill also prevents the Postal Service from closing the most remote rural Post Offices.
"The Postal Service has serious budget troubles to tackle, and Congress has a responsibility to play its part. This bill provides the life preserver the Postal Service needs to stay above water while we work together to find longer-term solutions to preserve the postal services and jobs Montanans depend on," Baucus said.
Baucus’ bill builds on legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by adding the protection for rural offices. Postal workers recently rallied in support of the House bill at Post Offices across Montana.
Baucus’ Bill does two things:
1. Prevents the Postal Service from closing any Post Office where another office is not available within 10 miles
The Postal Service has claimed that nationwide 90 percent of the post offices they are studying for closure are within 10 miles of another post office. Baucus has pointed out that among the 85 rural Montana offices the Post Office is studying, approximately 90 percent are actually farther than 10 miles from another office. And in some cases the next nearest office is also being studied for closure.
2. Provide the Postal Service approximately $7 billion in financial relief to avoid default this year
The Postal Service is currently required to pre-fund it’s retiree health benefits. Postmaster Patrick Donahoe has said the upcoming $5.5 billion payment threatens to push the Postal Service into default. At the same time, it is estimated the Postal Service has overpaid into another retirement fund, the Federal Employee Retirement System, by approximately $6.9 billion. Baucus’ bill would require the Office of Personnel Management to calculate the exact overpayment the Postal Service has made and use that money to cover the Postal Service’s current payment into the retiree health benefits fund and ease the burden of next year’s payment. Baucus also supported a provision in the recently passed Continuing Resolution to delay the immediate health benefits payment while Congress works towards a longer-term solution.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 — The office of Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., issued the following news release:
Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus sent the following letter to Post Master General Patrick Donahoe today in response to initial closure notices being issued for Post Offices in Galata, Dupuyer, and Melrose.
"You have previously assured me that decisions to close post offices would come after significant and substantive consideration of public input. This has sadly not been the case. I strongly oppose closing any Montana post offices until the Postal Service has conducted all public meetings in Montana and has demonstrated that it is working in good faith to take community input into account as part of the closure studies," Baucus wrote.
Today’s letter is the latest in Baucus’ continued effort to make sure Montana’s are heard in the Postal Service’s process.
Full text of the letter follows below.
Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:
I am writing to express my severe disappointment with the recent decision by the United States Postal Service to move forward with closing the post offices in Galata, Dupuyer, and Melrose, Montana. Neither Dupuyer nor Galata were given even a full week from the time of their public meetings to the time of receiving their closure notices. It is clear that the Postal Service decided to close these post offices without sufficiently considering community input, and I oppose moving forward with the closings until Montanans have more time to voice their support for their local post office.
As you will remember from my July 26th letter, post offices are anchor institutions for rural Montana communities. Montanans depend on those post offices for staying in touch, receiving time-sensitive medications, and operating family businesses. Closing rural post offices would force seniors, disabled veterans, and other folks in these communities to travel many miles to the next available office. Last Wednesday, folks in Galata had a chance to hear firsthand from the Postal Service why their post office was being studied for closure. People living in Dupuyer had a chance to hear from the Postal Service last Friday. Those meetings were important parts of a transparent decision-making process that should have taken public input into account. However, only days later and without adequate time to submit informed and considered comments following the public meetings, those communities are being faced with losing their local postal service and losing good paying jobs.
The Postal Service should take the time to make sure that they are thoroughly considering the impacts of these proposed closures. Instead, there is no indication of how public comment was collected, organized, and fully understood in just a few days. There is no indication that the decision was not already made for these towns before they finally had a chance to hear from the Postal Service. Closing the Galata, Dupuyer, and Melrose post offices will take away jobs and impact families and businesses. Those families and businesses should have had more time to consider the information from the public meeting and they should have had additional time to comment on the potential impacts of losing their post office. And the Postal Service should take time to weigh those comments heavily.
You have previously assured me that decisions to close post offices would come after significant and substantive consideration of public input. This has sadly not been the case. I strongly oppose closing any Montana post offices until the Postal Service has conducted all public meetings in Montana and has demonstrated that it is working in good faith to take community input into account as part of the closure studies. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with you to ensure that future Montana communities receive the adequate consideration they deserve and finding long term solutions for the Postal Service without disproportionately affecting mail service in rural communities.
Congressman Darrell Issa has set up a web site he calls “American Job Creators” to promote his agenda of rolling back health and safety protections for American workers. But when it comes down to actual jobs, Darrell is much more interested in putting Americans out of work:
The California Republican reiterated at a Monday event that he believes his USPS legislation would allow the agency to shed as many as 200,000 workers in the next few years
In an sloppily written article by Randall Stross published yesterday, the New York Times jumped on the Big Lie Bandwagon, ridiculing the idea that the USPS is being forced into bankruptcy by Republicans in Congress:
The postal unions avert their eyes. They say that the service ran into trouble solely because Congress has required huge payments for future retirees’ health care costs. Silly me: I thought funding benefits fully was a good thing.
The one thing Stross gets right is the fact that he’s silly. The gentleman is supposedly a professor of business at San Jose State University, but he tosses off the real cause of the USPS’s problems with a totally dishonest one-liner. No one disputes the proposition that benefits should be fully funded. What the chuckleheaded prof ignores is that the USPS is being required to PREfund benefits 75 years in advance- for people who have yet to be born, and may never actually work for the USPS. Silly me- I thought college professors dealt in facts and careful research, not talking points authored by the Tea Party…
Darrell pretends to be ignorant of a couple of facts-
The political contributions dispensed by labor union PACs come from voluntary contributions from members, not union dues
The current APWU ad campaign is supported by a dues increase that was publicly announced by the elected representatives of the APWU membership. The members elected the leadership and gave them the authority to make that call- if the members aren’t happy with that, they can vote the leadership out.
Unlike Darrell Issa, postal workers are not allowed to use taxpayer dollars to get their point across- they use the money they earn by actually working
“Big Labor” is a term the right wing likes to use to make unions sound just as bad as Big Business- it ignores the simple fact that labor unions are organizations whose leaders are elected by the members, supported by the members’ dues.
Darrell also ignores the simple fact that union members probably contribute more money to right wing politicians involuntarily– for example, every time they buy “Brawny” paper towels, “Angel Soft” toilet paper, and a host of other products sold by the Koch Brothers, some of that money ends up in the hands of the Tea Party “movement”. That’s the real scandal, not the money postal workers contribute voluntarily to protect their jobs.