APWU Tells Members: Get Ready for a Busy Summer

APWU Web News Article 65-2012, May 29, 2012

APWU members should get ready for a busy summer, union President Cliff Guffey said as the unofficial start of the season got underway. “We must continue to take our message to members of Congress and the American people,” he said.

Although the Senate passed a postal reform bill on April 25, the House of Representatives doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to address the Postal Service’s underlying problems, and management is about to embark on its plan to close and consolidate mail processing facilities.

“We have asked our members to reach out to their U.S. representatives and to explain the urgency of the situation,” Guffey said. “If the USPS degrades service standards and dismantles its mail processing network, it will cause irreparable harm to the nation’s mail system.

“We must encourage legislators to address postal reform immediately,” the union president said. “Although the Senate bill (S. 1789) is flawed, it is far better than a bill that was passed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in October,” he said, “and it would provide some short-term financial relief and some protection of service standards. For that reason, we are urging the House to use the Senate bill as a starting point.”

House Republicans Working for H.R. 2309
Despite stiff opposition to the House bill (H.R. 2309), according to published reports, Republican leaders plan to try to win support for the measure in the coming weeks. The bill would gut collective bargaining – prohibiting postal unions and the USPS from negotiating protection against layoffs and allowing an appointed board to reject labor contracts it considers too costly. The legislation also calls for $3 billion in cuts to mail processing facilities and post offices in two years.

Rural legislators have been outspoken opponents of closing post offices, and Rep. Issa seems to be trying to win them over. In an April 24 letter to House Speak John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Issa said he would support an amendment to limit rural closings to 5 percent of the total number of offices closed in any calendar year.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Guffey said. “It will be a busy summer, and November’s elections mean it will be a busy fall as well.”