Mikulski places hold on postal legislation “in objection to flawed USPS consolidation plan”

From Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.):

Senator Reaffirms Support for USPS Reform; USPS Continued Push to Rush Disastrously Flawed Closure Plan ‘Flies in the Face’ of Senate Reform Bill

Mikulski Plans to Hold Bill as Future of Easton AMP is Uncertain, Says Plan to Decide Mail Processing Future with No Public Input ‘Unacceptable’

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) announced today that she has placed a hold on Senate consideration of postal legislation as a result of the United States Postal Office’s (USPS) lack of public input or transparency in the possible closure of the Easton Mail Processing Center. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senator Mikulski expressed that “while I absolutely agree that the USPS must be reformed to meet the country’s needs in the 21st Century, I must object to moving forward on consideration of this legislation while the USPS continues a rushed study to close a needed mail processing center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”

Last week, Senators Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) sent a strongly worded letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe expressing their outrage over the “total disregard for a transparent and public process for consideration of the closure and consolidation of the Easton mail processing center to the Hares Corner mail processing center in Wilmington, Delaware.” In the letter to the Postmaster General, the Senators demanded an open “public process.” A copy of their letter is available here.

The complete text of Senator Mikulski’s letter is below:

March 20, 2012

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Reid,

I write to notify you that I am putting a hold on S. 1789, the Postal Reform bill, dated March 20, 2012. I will submit a copy of this notice to the Legislative Clerk and the Congressional Record within 2 session days and I give my permission to the objecting Senator to object in my name

While I absolutely agree that the United States Postal Service (USPS) must be reformed to meet the country’s needs in the 21st Century, I must object to moving forward on consideration of this legislation while the USPS continues a rushed study to close a needed mail processing center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Making matters worse, USPS plans no public hearings and no opportunity for written comment in this study process. This is totally unacceptable.

The half a million residents who live on the Eastern Shore and rely on the mail service must have a voice in this process. These residents include farmers, small businesses and a significant rural and elderly population that relies heavily on mail delivery for life saving medications, daily newspapers, and important business documents.

The Easton area mail processing center is the only mail processing center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and its ongoing operation is critically important to the economy of the shore. Relaxing delivery standards by moving mail processing from Easton to Delaware is simply not a practical or sustainable option.

My constituents have a right to be heard, they have a right to maintain the standard of delivery service that they currently receive, and they deserve a fair and transparent process for decisions about the Easton area mail processing center.

I’m grateful for your leadership, and I look forward to working with you to ensure that the Postal Service remains financially solvent and ready for the 21st Century. But I must object to consideration of S. 1789 while this issue remains outstanding and I grant permission for you (or your designee) to object in my name.

Sincerely,

Barbara A. Mikulski

United States Senator

via.

  • WHY NOT

    Please reform but don’t piss in my apple orchard. Typical political grandstand. Don’t touch anything in my district

  • Big Deal

    Don’t worry too much about this stuff… Rumor has it Donahue is writing a book to show the rest of postal management how to do things. I heard it is suppose to be named “How to run the Postal Service for Dummies”. Imagine that.. an idiot writing for dummies???

  • JackD

    The Postal Service doesn’t need reform it needs new leaders! The Problem started with Potter giving him self a big salary increase and bonus, He made a deal to put any thing over his pay into a retirement package! To do this he had to increase all of his managers. Craft and managers use to get a 1% to 2% increase. With the new pay for performance managers could get 10% or more. The craft got a level increase but still received a 1%-1 ½% increase.

  • David

    I am a true blue union dude, JackD! But I must respectfully submit to you that griping about USPS managerial bonuses, though comforting, strays wide of the mark in explaining our collective losses in first class volume and revenue as a company over the last three years. We lost 27 percent of our first class volume in the last three years and lost 5.1 billion dollars just last year alone. Besides losing first class volume, we have a huge pre-funding inequity related to future retiree healthcare benefits (We’re prefunding benefits for people who haven’t yet been born). Congressional reform needs to focus on carving out opportunities to create postal products to replace this lost volume, as well as letting USPS keep more of its own money and sensibly funding future healthcare liabilities. If reforming pay-for-performance incentives for managers is a part of these other much needed reforms, I’m okay with that, too. Keep in mind, though, that there’s a lot of folks out there who think all of us — craft employees — are over paid, too. That’s why I’m hesitant to start down that road.

  • paulie

    Meanwhile, thousands of employees are in the dark regarding their future situations, whether it be those hoping to retire with a little lump to give them time to get that part-time job ,or those who will be affected by consolidations and need to know how far they will have to travel to keep their job. Also, those who may not have their 6 years of tenure and could get axed any moment if nothing is settled. Sen. Mikulski, I’m not sure you’re doing anybody any favors by putting a hold on the bill with the best chance of getting passed for postal reform.

  • OC mailman 21842

    The major problems killing the USPS are manufatured by congress…mostly the mandate to prefund retiree health benefits for the next 75 years and to do it in a 10 year window to the tune of $5.5 BILLION dollars a year. Since the mandate, postal funds have dried up. We currently have enough in that “fund” to cover the next 20 years of retiree health benefits. Couple that with overpayments to the Civil Service Retirement System, and were looking at $50/$75 BILLION in OVERPAYMENTS. Lets see any other business withstand that! But for the prefunding, the USPS would have made a $200 MILLION PROFIT last quarter. On top of all of that, congress now wants to cut into our collective bargaining rights, cut our pay and benefits, and put tens of thousands of postal workers into the unemployment lines. You think the economy is bad now? Put 60,000 postal employees out of work and watch it then. Lets all vote on congressional pay and benefits!!! Give those SOB’s something to sweat about!

  • zippy

    I agree with Paulie…lets get something goin now!

  • Jennifer

    I agree Zippy, congress needs to act on something instead of stalling.

  • David

    Yes, Paulie, I agree. Middle Class jobs hang in the balance for tens of thousands while Mikulski seems to be grinding her own axe!

  • TBirdTom1987

    3 years ago GM was $172 Billion in the hole. Today they are the #1 Auto maker in the world with the biggest profit in the history of the company. The post office can be turned around, but not with management that is intent on cutting service. Its not accidental. They are intentially destroying the Posta Service to kill the Unions & privitize mail delivery. If this happens it will cost us all.

  • Glenn Koscielski

    Fire Donahoe and his VPs ASAP. Get every state attorneys general to file a injunction against the USPS. Demand Obama take executive action if necessary and vote out every damn politico that opposes us. Congress should get a boot in their asses for supporting such an idiot as Donahoe and his business plan. Apwu local 497,springfield,Ma.

  • Ainkur

    Gee! I guess that since she’s putting S1789 on hold nothing will get done as far as postal reform goes, and I’m sure they were all just about to agree on the bill too. Haha
    Can you imagine that… Congress and them actually NOT getting something done!