Yesterday, Rep. Waters introduced H.R. 3916, the Protecting Post Offices Act, which would reduce the operating costs of the US Postal Service to provide continued service in urban and rural communities and save 28,000 American jobs. She is joined by American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO in support of this much needed legislation to stabilize the US Postal Service.
In 2011, USPS was expected to post a deficit in excess of $8 billion. “It has become clear that the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) has had an adverse impact on Postal Service’s finances preventing them from becoming profitable once again. In the current environment of reduced mail volumes, inability to raise prices and the exceptional pre-funding payments into the Retiree Health Benefits Fund, the US Postal Service (USPS) has experienced incredible loss.”
The Protecting Post Offices Act would replace mandated Retiree Health Benefits Fund pre-funding amounts with actuary numbers for payment starting in 2012. H.R. 3916 would also prevent the closure of post offices in high poverty and unemployment areas, saving inner city and rural post offices from closure and preventing the loss of 28,000 letter carrier and postal worker jobs.
“The pre-funding requirements and restrictions on providing non-postal services mandated by PAEA has placed USPS in a very compromising position hampering it’s ability them to generate profits and stay competitive in this tough economy. As a result of this, USPS is slated to close 667 post offices across the nation, putting 28,000 Americans in jeopardy of losing their jobs. Our urban and rural communities have been hit the hardest by joblessness. We must do all we can to prevent further job loss in America.”
H.R. 3916 will also allow USPS to provide non-postal services, assisting them in revamping their business plan to increase profits and functionality of local post offices. Lastly, this bill will allow the Post Master General to change rates for market-dominant products without the approval of the Postal Regulatory Committee, allowing them to stay competitive with other mail servicing companies like FedEx and UPS.
“While the postage stamp remains one of America’s best bargains, it comes at a significant cost to the US Postal Service. This loss in profits has not only put the American postal workers in danger, it has also placed residents in urban and rural areas in jeopardy of losing reliable daily postal services, possibly missing out on time sensitive items like medication. I am confident that through the passage of this piece of legislation we will not only protect the American postal worker but assist in making the US Postal Service profitable again by keeping local post offices open, and increasing their functionality to better serve their communities.”