APWU Web News Article #023-14, Feb. 6, 2014
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs approved an amended version of a postal bill (S. 1486) that faces vehement opposition from the four postal unions. The committee with oversight responsibility for the Postal Service passed the measure by a vote of 9-1 on Feb. 6.
“This was a bad bill that was made worse by the ‘substitute’ version that was introduced last week,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director John Marcotte. “Today the committee amended the bill around the edges but gave no relief to workers and no long-term assurances to the American people about their mail service.”
The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), would:
- Threaten 100,000 full- and part-time postal jobs;
- Lead to pension cuts;
- Weaken workers’ position in upcoming contract negotiations;
- Require the USPS to pre-fund workers’ compensation by $17 billion, further strangling USPS finances;
- Permit the USPS to close and consolidate mail processing facilities after two years;
- Allow the Postal Service to further reduce service and delivery standards;
- Eliminate Saturday delivery after 2017;
- Eliminate door-to-door mail delivery for new businesses and households, and
- Expose injured workers to impoverishment once they reach retirement age.
Voting in favor of the bill were: Sen. Carper, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Coburn, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) was the lone recorded no vote. Others who voted no by proxy were: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Rand Paul(R-KY). Proxy votes were not recorded.
Amendments adopted on Feb. 6 would:
- Allow firearms in postal parking lots, provided there is no conflict with state and local regulations;
- Permit the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn plant closures, and
- Postpone plant closures and changes to service standards until one year after the Comptroller General issues a report on USPS compliance with service standards.
“This disastrous bill would severely damage service to the people; weaken the USPS and make it ripe for privatization, and destroy good jobs throughout the country,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “The APWU urges senators to vote against the bill if and when it is brought to the Senate floor for consideration.”