Postal Service Retiree Funding ‘Astonishingly High’

At a time when the U.S. Postal Service is considering deep cuts in services and jobs, an internal watchdog told Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday that a big funding cushion already has been built into the mail service’s retirement and health benefit funds. Billions of dollars owed to the funds have been cited by Postal Service managers as a main reason that it must cut 220,000 jobs and close 3,700 post offices and 252 mail processing plants – half of all the current sorting centers.

In a letter to Sanders, however, Postal Service Inspector General David C. Williams said the programs are flush with funds. He said the Postal Service has “significantly exceeded” the amount that the federal government and the nation’s most profitable corporations have socked away for pension and retiree health care. “Using ratepayer funds, it has built a war chest of over $326 billion to address its future liabilities,” Williams told Sanders.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) joined Sanders a Capitol Hill press conference.

Armed with the new information from the inspector general, Sanders said the Postal Service should be released from what he called an “onerous and unprecedented burden” of being forced to put $5.5 billion every year into their future retiree health benefits fund. Even if there are no further contributions from the post office, and if the fund simply collects 3.5 to 4 percent interest every year, that account will be fully funded in 21 years, Sanders said. He also said the Postal Service should be allowed to recover more than $13 billion in overpayments it has made to a federal retirement systems.

Even with those changes, Sanders said the Postal Service needs reforms to make it competitive in the e-mail era.

“Let’s be clear: these short-term accounting efforts will not solve the long-term financial problems facing the U.S. Postal Service. In order to do that, the Postal Service needs to adopt an entirely new business model which makes it much more entrepreneurial, pro-business, and pro-consumer compared to where it is today,” Sanders said.

He wants a blue ribbon commission to give the Postal Service ideas about how it can substantially increase revenue by offering far more services than today.

via Postal Service Retiree Funding ‘Astonishingly High’ – Newsroom: Bernie Sanders – U.S. Senator for Vermont.

  • Scout

    Armed with new information, LOL, are you kidding me, this is not new information.If you want to offer far more services then you will need far more employees.

  • zippy

    VERA NOW!

  • dougie

    We have been listening to all these proposals for the last three years. How long does it take to make a decision? If the politicians would stop trying to satisfy the union voter, and if the union would stop trying to save their almighty dollars from dues, maybe they could solve something. 5 day is the way. Mail on Sat. for rural areas, no mail on Sat. for city areas.

  • sancon

    Ohhh yeah Dougie…eliminate Sat…bring the Postal Service crashing down….do you know how many people depend on Sat?…meds…signature confirmations ..registers….netflix…etc???? that is the only day THEY have off to receive any of these things!!…YOU may not receive or want mail on Sat…but who are YOU to take that away from the millions of people who not only want and rely on it…but also NEED it and depend on it!!

  • Jack

    Postal management has increased 28% since 2000 and the workers have decreased 20%. This is why customer service has fallen. . Now they want to decrease our ranks by 220.000. That leaves about 400,000 to do real work. If management gets their way again this means 1 boss for every 4 workers. It was 1 for 55 when a stamp was 23 cents. Even with HR 1351 passing this won’t keep management from destroying our postal service. They will continue increasing their ranks and paying their bloated salaries with our jobs. Management will still close plants and stop universal service to pay their bonuses’. We still hear congressmen telling Donabloe how good of a job he is doing. I don’t see it! I say FIRE DONAHOE! And get rid of the middle man. LOCK OUT UPPER MANAGEMENT!

  • M. Jamison

    Reading the message boards that accompany these articles it’s clear that many employees are less concerned with the future of the Postal Service than they are with getting a better schedule or securing a buyout.
    I’m a disabled veteran and the Postal Service gave me the opportunity to earn a good middle-class living. I’m nearing retirement and an incentive buyout would do wonders for my financial situation but I can’t help thinking that more important than me getting something now is the idea of preserving that has served the American people well and given hundreds of thousands of workers, including many veterans, an opportunity to earn a decent living and also serve their communities.
    Those who demand five day in the face of compelling evidence that it would save much less than trumpeted by management and would likely accelerate the decline in volumes are simply being selfish. And those who cheer for VERAs and buyouts ought to think about future generations – at least just a little.
    I see on many of the message boards someone posting a canned message proclaiming that postal employees should jump up and support S 1789 – primarily it seems because it offers buyouts. It’s a very selfish message and more than a bit sad.
    We should have pride in the institution and we should advocate for solutions that will result in the preservation of a piece of our infrastructure.
    It’s time to recognize that the vision expressed by postal management and some in Congress is little more than a path to privatization, a path that will make a few quite wealthy while dismantling a service that is essential to the American public.

  • cpttuna

    Right now it’s supposed to be universal service 6 days a week. But it looks like a lot of asses (including those in Congress) need kicked to insure the american public gets what it is supposed to be getting. If it were in my power to fire people who were not contributing 100% in making this happen(including fix’n the overpayment problem), I believe the problem could be fixed in a short period of time. In the service once, I saw a finance major being told on a friday that if he did not have a partiular private’s pay problem fixed by Monday, he no longer had a job. sure enough,the problem ,which had existed for months, was fixed by Monday. Catch my drift???????????

  • jobs

    GIVING THE MONEY BACK IS FINE,BUT SOMEONE NEEDS TO OVERSEE WHO SPENDS IT. THE POSTAL SERVICE HAS WASTED ALOT OF MONEY PAYING MANANGEMENT WHO DON’T PERFORM THE WORK AND PAYING CONTRACTORS TO INSTALL ITEMS INTO POSTAL FACILITIES THAT DON’T WORK. THE POSTAL YES DESERVES EVERY PENNY THAT WAS OVERFUNDED TO GIVE BACK TO IT’S EMPLOYEE’S AND OVERHEAD COSTS FOR OPERATIONAL EXPENSES.

  • Poor Richard

    $585 278.27 for each current employee. That would everyone from the newest to the most senior. Astonishing. That they only offer $20,000 which doesn’t get issued for 17 months to VERA retirees is obscene.