Legislation to restore financial health to the U.S. Postal Service has gained more support in Congress, thanks in large part to the efforts of APWU members who have contacted lawmakers.
As of April 24, 20 senators and 120 representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of the Postal Service Protection Act (S. 316 in the Senate, H.R. 630 in the House).
The legislation would “go a long way toward solving the Postal Service’s financial crisis,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “It would make many of the planned cutbacks in service unnecessary; give postal employees a greater sense of security, and give the American people a Postal Service they can count on for the future,” he added.
Guffey called on union members to continue reaching out to lawmakers who have not yet signaled their support for the legislation.
“Our members must make sure that lawmakers — and the public — realize that widespread plant closings will delay mail by two to three days all week long, in cities and towns across the country,” he said.
“Plant closures have already forced the USPS to eliminate 25 percent of overnight mail delivery,” Guffey noted in an April mailing to APWU members. “Another round of closures will cripple service, further weaken this great American institution, make it less relevant, and make it less competitive.
As key lawmakers in both chambers are said to be close to reaching a bipartisan agreement on postal reform, APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid said, “Additional support for the Postal Service Protection Act can help convince lawmakers that Congress must act soon to pass a responsible bill that will improve service, protect postal workers, and strengthen the Postal Service in the digital age.”
The Postal Service Protection Act would:
- Fix the Postal Service’s immediate financial crisis by ending the mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees — a burden no other government agency or private company bears;
- Allow the Postal Service to recover overpayments the USPS made to federal pension plans;
- Re-establish overnight delivery standards for first-class mail, which would ensure the timely delivery of mail, help keep mail processing facilities open, and protect jobs;
- Protect six-day delivery;
- Allow the USPS to develop new products and services that would generate new sources of revenue, and
- Protect post offices by giving the Postal Regulatory Commission binding authority to prevent post offices from being closed based on the effect on the community and the effect on the employees.