Largest Postal Union Calls on Senate to Reject S. 1789 As Currently Drafted

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Fredric V. Rolando, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), has formally called on the U.S. Senate to reject S. 1789 — the 21st Century Postal Service Act — because as currently drafted, it provides only short-term fixes. He said that while the measure “might provide resources to allow the Service to limp along for a few more years, it will not change the downward trajectory of this vital institution.”

In a letter sent today to each U.S. senator, Mr. Rolando stated, “S. 1789 appears to be based on the Postal Service’s dangerously misguided business strategy, which relies almost exclusively on reducing the quality and value of its services to households and American businesses, the main users of the mail.” He added that it risks driving away customers and thereby reducing revenues.

To read the letter, click here: http://www.nalc.org/downloads/fvr_senate-letter-03262012-FINAL.pdf

Mr. Rolando said NALC has “no choice but to oppose S. 1789.”

Rather than settle for harsh and counterproductive reductions in key services as S. 1789 would do, Mr. Rolando said, “What the Postal Service needs is a business plan based on a comprehensive rethinking of the institution, one that asks for shared sacrifice from all stakeholders but also allows this vital national resource to grow and prosper in the years ahead.

“Until a plan of this nature exists, it is dangerous to advance reform legislation, particularly when the legislation will do nothing but facilitate the Postal Service’s decline,” he told senators.

Mr. Rolando noted that just last week, a USPS witness before the Postal Regulatory Commission acknowledged that a study ordered — but later stopped — by the Postal Service on its own plan for service reductions indicated that the “combined effects of all the service cuts under consideration, including the elimination of Saturday delivery (and 80,000 delivery-related jobs), would reduce mail volume by an extraordinary 10.3 percent.” The practical effect of such a drastic reduction in mail volume means that the cuts could exceed the projected savings.

NALC represents 284,000 USPS letter carriers, about a quarter of whom are military veterans.

Other key points from Mr. Rolando’s letter about the flaws in S. 1789:

  • It fails to adequately address the single biggest cause of the Postal Service’s recent financial distress, the mandate imposed by Congress in 2006 that the Postal Service pre-fund future retiree health insurance benefits. That mandate — required of no other government agency or private business — has cost USPS $21 billion over the past five years. It is money that could have been used to restructure USPS in light of changing economic, technological and social needs. The Senate bill would reduce that funding requirement, but “any burden at all is indefensible at a time when 150,000 jobs are at risk,” Mr. Rolando said.
  • It fails to let the Postal Service introduce new products and services that take full advantage of its unique “last-mile” delivery network. Nor does it provide the Postal Service flexibility to price its services appropriately.

While Mr. Rolando acknowledged that some provisions in the bill have merit, such as the return of the Postal Service’s surplus in one of its two pension plans and the limited allowance for the Postal Service to use its networks to generate new revenues (e.g., the delivery of beer and wine). Unfortunately, he said, the bill is too deeply flawed otherwise and — unless fundamentally revised — should be rejected.

  • Andy 1972

    Unfortunately Mr. Rolando does not have a feasible plan that is better than MR. Donahoe’s plan. Raising rates will lower volumes and overall revenue. The sad fact is that, in today’s business environment, the USPS is overpaying it’s unskilled labor (Craft and Management) and we need to get to pay levels that keep us breaking even or a little better (for capital investment purposes) EVERY year. This is not an easily solvable problem but what we could do is all agree to take 10% pay cuts in conjunction with congress ending the HB retiree fund and letting USPS dictate ALL product and service rates and let attrition from baby boomers, which soon will come as a windfall, take care of complement. More may be needed but I think we can reach annual breakeven if we all agree to take a 10% pay cut and do a few other key actions. It’s better than putting 150,000 people on the street. But maybe it’s not legal to cut pay I don’t know I’m not a lawyer.

  • GW 1966

    A 10% pay cut is neither legal nor needed. The rate of pay for “skilled” craft and for management in the USPS environment is not even a part of the problem. The amount of technical skills most crafts have to have to be successful is much higher than Andy may believe. The detail, accuracy, volume, safety and security involved all translate to their current fair compensation. Managements (front line) “leaders” constantly growing responsibilities in supervision, finance, human relations, marketing, and community relations certainly earn their current pay structures. If the goal is to save on redundant salaries eliminate every one of the 67 Districts (MPOO’s, DM’s, HR teams, Finance teams, Ops teams,….etc). Don’t reduce, eliminate all. They serve no useful purpose.

  • Kim

    Obviously, Andy, you are not a Letter Carrier. Unskilled is a derogatory term probably better aimed at much of middle management who are nothing more than figure heads who do not contribute to the productive nature of the USPS. The way to save us without pay cuts or closing of facilities is to do away with anyone and anything that does not move, sort, handle or deliver the mail. Redundant reports, departments, such as those used to send customer service survey’s, and over staffed maintenance crews should be the first things to target for reform or removal. Working in a midsize city, such as I do, I could cut their budget about 500,000 dollars without closing a plant or losing a viable worker; compound that nationwide for all cities, and millions, if not billions could be saved. It is like the old saying, “Too many chief’s, not enough indian’s” – The bottom-line is that middle and upper management are bleeding the USPS dry. Offer working positions to those folks if they still want to have employment. Micromanaging working people is not cost effective, and it is wasteful. If the USPS wants to keep track of every minute of the day, they should try strapping a GPS unit on their ‘executives’ and see how much is not getting done.

  • georgb

    usps cut 7 districts saved 1 billion a year cut 35 more districts save 5billion a year leaving usps with the same number of districts as ups whats the hold up nocongressional approval needed

  • Brian

    We don’t need a 10% cut in pay. We need 150,000 people to retire. When they retire they are not put out on the streets, they have pensions. If they don’t retire, it’s time for forced retirements of all over 67

  • Andy is a Tea Party sock puppet

    Sure, let postal employees take 10% pay cuts so Congress can keep taking billions. Who are you really, Andy? Issa? Ross? McCain?

  • johnb

    goergb is spot on. We need to eliminate the top-heavy bureaucracy first….No real money making business would have this many layers of management…

  • EDM

    Apparently “Andy 1972” is the username of the PMG. It is your so-called “unskilled labor” that keeps the USPS running. Even with the threat of losing their jobs, the employees continue to be dedicated to moving the mail just like they always have. Perhaps higher-level management should agree to stop receiving the bonuses made off the backs of the “unskilled labor”.

  • te postal worker

    I love when people say they should cut the pay and benefits. i work six days a week about sixty hrs a week with no benefits, i get laid off for 5 days a week. they call that my my vacation. i have no retirement. i got atacked by a 3 dogs and you want me to make less. if they paid less then this the wouldnt have any workers. also we get paid between what fed ex makes and ups. the people that call for less pay usually think their tax dollars pay my hr wages wrong!! creep

  • knowsomething

    Why should the employees take a pay cut when Congress created this mess? Don’t forget, less money for workers means less money to spend, and the ecomony doesn’t need that either. There are currently 111, 464 employees that they can lay off and already 27,000 have left through attrition, that is the same number (150,000) that the USPS said they needed to cut this year. So what is the problem? They don’t want to lay-off those who make the less amount of money! But by the same token, they give each other a raise! The holdup to anwer georgb is that the USPS wants to change the delivery standards and close facilities. You cannot do either or both without losing revenue. They (USPS) do not have a solid enough plan to do this! And speaking of cutting more districts goes.. there goes cutting more employees. The fat needs to be cut from the top! A realistic asssesment of USPS jobs in management that do nothing needs to be done first and cut. That is at least a start!

  • Scout

    Dear Andy, us craft employees of the USPS are not overpaid for what we do.It is not that we are paid for great skills, the reason we are paid what we are paid is that we are paid for the abuse and stupidity of upper management.When they replace us with lower paid workers you will not get the dedication you get from the now workers.They will quit fast and tell the USPS they are crazy.Lower paid craft is going to get you low life workers.

  • mcgoo

    NEVER ONCE HEARD THE PMG SAY HE HAD TOO MANY MANAGERS WITHIN THE USPS. I GUESS HE NEEDS THAT MANY TO MISMANAGE THE PLACE EFFECTIVELY.

  • PMG Favors H.R. 2309?

    It is time to throw him out! He will kill the USPS along with the GOP!

  • redbankrogue

    We need downsized management not clownsized.

  • bob komar

    Congress and Postal Mismanagement..LISTEN TO EDM,mcgoo and knowsomething,,THEY HIT THE MOPE on the HEAD! mgmt CAUSED THESE PROBLEMS and BLAMED THE CRAFT and Congress by not ADJUSTING the PRE-PAYMENT for FUTURE RETIREES!IF YOU WANT TO RUN THE PO LIKE A BUSINESS,HIRE REAL BUSINESSMEN!(WOMEN)

  • pennsylvania bob

    if mr. donahue is going ahead with the plant consolidations…. he will need to offer early outs and incentives to retire….one goes hand in hand…
    WHERE /WHEN ARE THE EARLY OUTS AND INCENTIVES TO RETIRE COMING???

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