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Issa's 'Postal Destruction' Bill Passes House Subcommittee

A bill that would destroy the Postal Service as we know it passed a House subcommittee on Sept. 21 by a vote of seven to four, along party lines. Republicans voted in favor of the bill; Democrats voted against it. The bill, H.R. 2309, was co-sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), chairman of the postal subcommittee.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Issa amended the bill, which he first introduced on June 23, to include numerous provisions that are even more controversial than those contained in the original version:

The amended version includes a provision to grant authority to a newly-established control board to carry out layoffs, in spite of any provisions in collective bargaining agreements that might limit them. In addition, it says that employees who are eligible for retirement must be laid off before employees who are ineligible, and dictates that retirement-eligible employees with the longest service must be separated first. The new language also forbids the payment of severance pay to retirement-eligible employees.

The new version of the bill continues provisions from the original that would empower a newly-created “solvency authority” to unilaterally cut wages and abolish benefits.

The amendment doubles – from $1 billion to $2 billion – the value of mail processing facility closures mandated by the bill, and it continues the provision found in the original version which requires $1 billion worth of post office closures. The new version also includes many changes to mail delivery, such as a requirement to reduce “door delivery” by 75 percent within two years.

In addition, the amendment includes several changes that would negatively affect workers who are injured on duty, including one that would cut the monthly compensation of totally disabled employees from 66.66 percent to 50 percent, once they meet the age and service requirements for retirement.

Democrats on the subcommittee argued strenuously against the bill and offered several amendments of their own; all of them were defeated by the Republican majority.

APWU President Cliff Guffey denounced the bill. “This is a brazen attempt to dismantle the United States Postal Service and render it ripe for privatization,” he said. “It is a blatant attack on unionized workers.

“The bill does not address the cause of the Postal Service’s financial crisis. It does nothing to correct the requirement to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, which forces the USPS to fund a 75-year liability in a period of just 10 years,” Guffey said. No other government agency or private company is required to make such payments, which cost the USPS approximately $5.5 billion annually. “The bill also fails to address billions of dollars in USPS overpayments to federal pension accounts,” he noted.

“The Postal Service is a critical part of our economy. It is the center of a $1.2 trillion industry that employs 8 million people, including printers, mailers, and other businesses that rely on the Postal Service,” Guffey said.

“The post office is where the flag flies across America, and it is an integral part of our national life. Yet the bill would destroy this great institution – shutting thousands of offices, slashing service, and punishing workers.”

Guffey called on all union members to participate in rallies set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, to Save America’s Postal Service. Events are planned in every congressional district across the country, as part of a campaign by the four postal unions to win support for legislation to avert a collapse of the nation’s mail system.

The APWU is working with the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association to organize the activities. (Please send high-resolution photos of your event to sdavidow@apwu.org.) To find the location of the rally nearest you, visit www.SaveAmericasPostal Service.org.

The unions are urging support for H.R. 1351, which was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). The Lynch bill would prevent the financial collapse of the USPS – without closing thousands of post offices, eliminating hundreds of mail processing facilities, delaying mail delivery, laying off 120,000 workers, cutting postal workers’ pay, or ending collective bargaining rights.

H.R. 1351 would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees.

“We are fighting for our lives,” Guffey said. “I urge every APWU member to attend a rally, and to ask his or her member of Congress to support H.R. 1351.”

via Issa’s ‘Postal Destruction’ Bill.

  • Brett

    What is going on out there. This is a pure violation of age discrimination. All the employees who are eligible to retire would do so if they could afford to. This Issa and Ross should get their heads out of their backsides and decide if they are for the people (who voted for them) or for big business. If the senior employees are let go, does this save on unemployment compensation, or for the numerous lawsuits going to be filed about age discrimination? Is Congressman’s Issa and Ross going to reimburse the government for their stupidity. Is the American public going to open up their eyes and see the garbage they are putting into office, with their own agendas. Hopefully not, but if so be prepared because after the Postal Service is finished then maybe your jobs will be next!

  • SpacedOutAce

    Yes, your jobs will be next!

  • SpacedOutAce

    And Let’s not forget who you voted for………….

  • Larry

    issa is a scumly republican wanting to turn own union over to private business however half of the po people are republican
    wake up you nut jobs right wing po people

  • Scout

    If the Union really wants to make a difference they would be going straight to Lafante Plaza and march right up to the white house for the whole USA to see.Congress is in session so the only persons in the districts will be the aids.Sorry Union but you have missed the boat again.

  • myztero

    Welcome to Fascism!

  • Linda

    I agree with Issa, the old postal workers need
    to go !

  • steve

    guess if my wages are cut my house will foreclose too

  • james C.

    Send the Junior people with Linda out first.

  • james C.

    Larry is right on.

  • paul

    the government has used the postal service to siphon money to be used as income and then want to turn around and pass legislation to destroy the postal service as we know it. instead of righting this wrong by returning the massive overpayments made into numerous accounts. it is reminds me of the theft of over 2.5 trillion dollars that should be in an account for social security but has spent by every president and congress since its creation and replaced with iou’s. the government has no problem taking and spending money that does not belong to them, while in turn detroying an institution that serves every citizen.

  • mike r

    They must need more money for thier 16 dollar muffins

  • mary jo

    It sure if becoming a dog eat dog society. When an employee with senority are let go before someone just hired off the street. Maybe Linda someday it may happen to you and I hope it does I work with some that are just like you and you would be first in line to flip the switch if you could advance yourself. I bet you think your doing so much more that everyone else poor you. Your the type always up at the desk sucking up and tooting your own horn.

  • Kathleen W.

    How in the heck can this be legal? There are laws to prevent age
    discrimination! Not to mention that a great deal of the on the injured work
    force got hurt on the job. This is how are national government repays
    dedication to service? Shame on you all! Do not expect to get re-elected!

  • kc411

    I agree with james C., Linda needs to go!!!!!!!!!!!! Even if I was old enough to take the retirement, which as a Fers employee is 56, I would not be eligible to draw my social security yet, nor would I be eligible for medicare. After taxes and health care, I would be lucky to receive 800.00 a month. And finding another job at 52 years of age to supplement that income would be difficult in itself! Especially with the economy the way it is. My guess is that Linda is at the bottom!

  • kc411

    Mike R, I agree! I seen that story on the Early Show yesterday morning. I wouldn’t have had a problem with the government spending 16 dollars a muffin and 8 dollars per cup of coffee for their meetings if… Issa would have choked on them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Laurie S.

    if they can try and change the laws, so shall we with a strike…..

  • Tony

    VERA Now so employees may retire early and save money!

  • donieray

    Don’t forget who you voted 4!!!! yes it is a lot of TEA PARTY VOTERS In the POST OFFICE U know who U are!!!!!!

  • Tim

    The problem is this is happening everywhere in my state. Jobs are going fast and all these large companies including hospitals are letting go of the most senior employee’s first. People who are able to retire are getting their paper’s in ASAP before they get let go. Issa will ruine the USPS mark my word !!

  • jim

    It’s not just the Postal Service it’s the country that’s going right down the crapper, the people of this country have to stop voting for the smoooth talking shyster/business man who have nothing in common with the middle class. Issa is just an extreme example of that fact.

  • Bob

    Issa and the other Republicans must have stopped,during break, for 2 or 3 double martinees before they had this brain fart of a idea!! Just where is our country headed with people like this in office?
    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said: Love your Country!, but never trust your government.

  • TE

    Its time for everyone to realize that they don’t care about you or what you think. They just care about their parties and not the people. For all senior carriers most of you guys do great work and have for many years. But there are those small majority that don’t want to work by milking their routes, dumping work loads on others, always arguing with supers and management. It makes the usps want to get all you you guys out of here. You guys have the most benefits, pay, leave ext. Zext., they simple just don’t want to pay for you guys anymore. We know you guys don’t like us, I don’t know why. We want the same thing you guys wanted 25 -35 years ago. We got no benefits, we work six days a week, we can’t call in, we got some you guys dumping on us and blaming us for things we didn’t do. We get laid off at the end of the year for five days sometimes including Sunday in that five and that’s our family time ext. vaction. Yet you won’t every hear me complain, I work my tail off for the customers, management and youth carriers an your routes. So when you guys come back from your three day weekends you don’t have a disaster waiting for you, all in hopes of having a career. Usps is seeing all this, their not dumb. I pay union dues for a union that can’t even help me out. I’m just saying the storm is here and we’re all in for a bumpy ride. So if you see someone arguing, milking, dumping, being on light duty for 4 or 5 years when the don’t have to. Don’t be afaid to tell your fellow union brothers and sisters your making us look bad. This is whys their trying to destroy our lively hood.

  • J C

    I guess all the laidoff people that can’t go will fill out more slots on the unemployment roles. Congress will have to give more money to the states to bail them out because we will file. Who wins then. Can’t get another job to supplement loss of income. More foreclosures and bankruptcies. Sounds like same old same old.

  • Tampa Steve

    Today we mourn the loss of a beloved friend- Common Sense. This isn’t about politics. The Republicans want smaller govt yet the Issa /Ross bill will create another board to oversee the postal service. This is a full frontal attack on the unions. These two guys have no good in their hearts. What liars.

  • Miked49

    Don’t forget that the Dems control the Senate. Issa’s bill is DOA there. However, if all of us sit on our hands and don’t vote in2012, the GOPs will gain control, then the USPS as we know it will cease to exist. Thank God I’m retiring in 84 days.

  • dory

    I agree with u James C

  • Clarice P.

    You are going to force people into retirement without giving them time to pay their debts to the credit uniions etc. You will probably force a lot of postal workers to become homeless. You don’t have a clue what the people’s pockets are like escpecially with the economy the way it is and unemployment not paying out the way it used to. Why are you trying to hurt the middle man or even the poor man. Why don’t you take some of the money out of your pockets and put it in our pockets. You’ve been paid very well now give back some. you want to take our dignity as well. I still have four years to go to get my 80%. I owe debt to the PO. I need my job. I thank God for it everyday.

  • Yuri

    I doubt if this move will become law; however, everyone prepare for a massive lawsuit against Issa, the P.O., federal government, for damages (pain and suffering), to be made whole and reinstated, and total court costs and punitive damage, and violation of constitutional rights. This is outrageous.

  • Mike

    For years gov’t used the USPS as cash cow. Now when many people are closed to retiring in next 5 years, they want to pull out of FEHP and Fers. After all these years of overfunding, now they pull the rug out from under our feet. Guess who benefits from all this? The politicians and other federal agencies because their retirement and benefits are in Fers and FEHP. So the poor schmuck who works for 50k/yr will have no retirement worth keeping. Just another Ponzi scheme. Just another Enron. Oh yeah, all you eligible employees time for you to go. Give the next generation a chance. Greedy baby boomers looking for a buyout, who most wont do their share because they’re ‘senior’.

  • andre

    way to go YURI, couldn’t have said better, now its time
    to let these Ca. voters realize that they have elected a rich big mouth who probably has stock (hidden) in mailing houses because the rich dont have enough money take it from the poor instead. so go after the postal workers and destroy the only Govt instatution that the public trusts. Time for the public to wake up.

  • Patsy

    Does this mean all fed employee have to retired or just Postal employee Should they do that for Congress too

  • mike

    is this what i worked twenty five yrs for? to get booted out? they offered management an early out last yr……but the carriers,clerks and mail handler’s get no offers?…..this company and the people behind the scenes never respect what we actually do. all they’re good for is milkin the usps cow!…..now they want to send tens of thousands of people out to the already bulging unemployment lines….join the forclosure dissaster…..ete……i’ve served for 25yrs…..i hope my country doesn’t turn it’s back on me….

  • excesscarrier

    I’m a young full time regular letter carrier that been in the service for only 10 years and I got excess to another office 63 miles away to a full time regular clerk position. There is a grievance going on that is stuck in arbitration because there are 5 PTFs below me with lesser years that are now all making 40+ hourse. I think that is so wrong. But this bill is outrageous. If this bill passes in the House Senate I have no faith in the government. They should not force the retirees out. They paid their dues with the post office. That’s just a slap in the face. How can they treat people like that. There are many people in politics that will not going to Heaven. They lie everyday!!!!!!! That is their job. Good luck to all USPS workers. I’m not sure whats going to happen to all of us. I sure don’t want a minimum wage person delivering my mail.

  • cpttuna

    do not forget the $8.00 cup of coffee with that muffin

  • ricoh

    I have 35 yrs service and counting! So us OLD guys go first? I don’t think so! Where do these people come from?

  • fed up

    ENOUGH OF THIS CRAP. iSSA NEEDS TO BE VOTED OUT. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD TRY AND RUIN AN INSTITUTION THAT HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE BEN FRANKLIN JUST TO MAKE A BUCK WHEN WE GO PRIVATE. MAYBE THEY SHOULD GIVE UP THEIR LIFETIME HEALTH BENEFITS OR THEIR PER DIEM AND SEE HOW THEY LIKE IT

  • Richie Rich

    Linda and Issa must go

  • tom cruise

    Clarice P,you are pathetic!

  • tom cruise

    I cant believe how many dumbasses work for the PO.How did this place make it as long as it has.All of this talk is to break the union.NALC will not give back.Rolando might have to grow some balls first.

  • Tampa Steve

    All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.

  • Gregg

    Yes,we all agree that Darell Issa is anassahole.It’s like he has some kind of mental disorder.His brain fluid balance is somewhat unbalanced.However,he does have one good point.Senior USPS employees need to retire now.No problem.Just show us the “Cash Now”!!Oh that’s right,we don’t have any!!Maybe some of the overpaid,underworked management personnel we have way to many of should be targeted first.Nah,that makes to much sense!! When is this Nightmare gonna end?? Stay Tuned for more Foolishness!!

  • Marilyn Powell

    TSP gone to hell, Social Security gone to hell, Postal Service gone to hell, American government gone to hell. What’s next?

  • Mailman666

    The US Postal Service, which has been around longer than the Constitution, and is one of the our trusted government organizations in this country, is evil because it is outdated and it can done better if “privatized”, and worse, pays its employees a living wage and decent benefits.

    If you look at net income from the year 1994 to year 2010, the US Postal Service has had a net income of $12.4 Billion, if not for the DAMN Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006!

  • Retired

    If they do away with the contract, use the best weapon you have. STRIKE. If the no layoof clause is ignored then the no strike clause is ignored. See what Issa does when the whole country shuts down. Only the big cities need strike cause the small offices won’t get any mail to deliver and the packages they accept won’t go any where. Remember 1971.