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postal reform

Postal workers alliance sends letter to Issa opposing latest reform proposal

The four unions representing rank and file postal workers have sent the following letter to Darrel Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member:

alliance

Dear Mr. Issa and Mr. Cummings:

We write to share our views on the hearing held on April 8, 2014 on the President’s proposals in the FY 2015 budget regarding the U.S. Postal Service. We write on behalf of nearly 500,000 postal employees who live and work in every Congressional District in America and who belong to our unions. We respectfully request that this letter be included in the record of the hearing. Read the rest of this entry »

Maine Congressman Calls on Speaker Boehner to Bring Postal Reform Legislation to the Floor after Recess

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Mike Michaud is calling on Speaker John Boehner to prioritize legislation that would promote the stability and sustainability of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Rep. Michaud has sent a letter to the Speaker urging him to take action following the April recess. If Speaker Boehner refuses to act, postal facility hours will be cut, service standards will be reduced, and thousands of postal jobs will be lost. Read the rest of this entry »

Tester says postal bill moves the Postal Service closer to privatization

tester(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today voted against a bill to restructure the Postal Service, saying the measure “moves the Postal Service closer to privatization and could hurt rural mail delivery.”

Tester voted against the bill as a member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that oversees the Postal Service. Tester has worked for years to reach a fair compromise that puts the Postal Service on sound financial footing while keeping mail delivery service standards strong.

“Half measures won’t balance the Postal Service’s books or preserve needed mail service in rural America,” Tester said. “This bill shirks our responsibility to fix the Postal Service and further leads the organization down the path to privatization, which will further cut mail service in rural America. Better solutions exist, and I will keep working with my colleagues to include them in the bill.”

Tester says the bill would do nothing to reverse the closing of mail processing facilities nationwide, which has resulted in delayed mail delivery throughout rural America. The bill also fails to fully address the requirement that the Postal Service prepay retirement benefits of postal employees at a rate higher than necessary, but includes sweeping changes to the federal workers compensation program, even though the committee has yet to hold a single hearing on the issue.

Tester backed a bipartisan Senate plan in 2012 that gave the Postal Service the flexibility it needs to restructure while protecting postal service in rural states like Montana, but the House of Representatives never voted on the plan.

Tester has a long-record of working to reform the Postal Service while making sure rural Montanans can still reliably get their mail and packages. He successfully got the Postal Service to keep Saturday delivery in 2013, protected rural post offices from closure, and kept the Missoula mail processing facility open.

The Postal Reform Act will next be considered by the full Senate. Tester will continue to work to amend the bill to make sure it works for rural America.

Senate committee set to continue mark-up of S. 1486

From the National Association of Letter Carriers:

NALC-LOGOFeb. 4, 2014–On Jan. 29, the Senate committee with Postal Service oversight, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, spent nearly three hours in a mark-up meeting to debate a handful of proposed amendments to S. 1486.

After that first session stalled, committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) announced that the mark-up would resume on Thursday, Feb. 6.

“Unfortunately, none of the proposed amendments to S. 1486 will fix the fundamental flaws with the bill,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “and at least one amendment–on rate-setting–would make the bill worse.”

As written, S. 1486 would facilitate the end of door delivery and the elimination of Saturday delivery, therefore destroying tens of thousands of letter carrier jobs. It also would endanger all postal jobs by slowing service and driving business away from the Postal Service.

“I am disappointed that the committee will seek to advance this flawed legislation,” Rolando said. “We will continue to fight for the kind of reform that will strengthen the Postal Service without slashing service or attacking hard-working postal employees.”

Round 1

One of the first amendments considered after the first mark-up meeting came to order on Jan. 29, from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), called for an immediate end to six-day delivery. It was easily defeated on a voice vote.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) proposed an amendment calling on the Postal Service to declare bankruptcy and reorganize. In the senator’s vision of reorganization, collective-bargaining agreements between USPS and its employee unions would be renegotiated, while existing no-layoff protections and the ability to bargain over wages would be banned. The committee voted down the Paul amendment 11 to 4.

An amendment offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) called for the removal of the bill’s unfair provisions regarding injured workers. As written, S. 1486 imposes cruel and discriminatory reforms to the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) that would leave injured federal workers with the worst long-term injuries vulnerable to impoverishment when they reach Social Security retirement age. This FECA language was originally proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) under last Congress’ postal bill, S. 1789. Collins no longer serves on the oversight committee, but the language was still carried over into S. 1486.

Tester’s amendment failed, and the FECA reform language was retained. However, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), the committee’s ranking member, admitted that the language was reflective of the last Congress’ priorities, and he said that even if it made it into the final bill, he believed it would be removed during House-Senate conference committee negotiations. Tester disagreed, saying that he was hearing that the House would likely follow the Senate’s lead on the matter and leave the language in the bill, untouched.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) raised some concerns over the new bill’s call to transfer rate-setting authority from the Postal Regulatory Commission the Postal Board of Governors, effectively giving complete rate-setting ability to the Postal Service with greatly reduced oversight. She also raised concerns about a revised price index system.

Following a great deal of back-and-forth discussion on the matter, Baldwin’s concerns were noted and her amendment was held over for future consideration.

Senate committee schedules hearing on Carper postal reform bill

Thomas_CarperThe Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, which has responsibility for postal legislation, has scheduled a business meeting for next Wednesday, January 29 at 10 AM EST. So far the only agenda item is Senator Tom Carper’s postal reform bill, S. 1486.

Here is the Congressional Research Service’s summary of the bill: Read the rest of this entry »

Postal Reform Bill — “Wait Til Next Year!”

From NAPUS:

napusYesterday, at about 3:45 PM EST, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Tom Carper D-DE pulled the plug on consideration of S. 1486 for the year. Up until that time, the Carper-Coburn postal reform bill was scheduled on the committee calendar for a Wednesday morning “markup”. Nevertheless, committee consideration of the bill was predicated on the ability of the Chairman and Committee Ranking Republican Tom Coburn R-OK to reach an agreement on a “managers’ amendment” to replace S. 1486, as introduced.

During fall hearings on S. 1486, both Senators recognized the imperfections in the bill and pledged to collaborate on a managers’ amendment to address the problems; however, a number of key disagreements between the Senators could not be resolved by Tuesday afternoon. In addition, many doubt that even if such an amendment was to have been constructed, it would have been able to garner the support of a committee majority 9 votes. So, on Monday evening, a “chairman’s substitute amendment” was under consideration, but that possibility fizzled by mid-Tuesday. Under normal circumstances, all amendments should have been filed by 5:00 PM EST, on Monday, but the rule could be waived with consent of the Chairman and Ranking Republican. In any event, committee members filed 25 amendments by the Monday deadline.

Over the past week, NAPUS Legislative Chairs represented by Senators serving on the Homeland Security were in communication with their Senators, and, on Tuesday morning, were explaining NAPUS’ positions on the key filed amendments and the underlying provisions in the bill.

In sum, a legislative reset may take place early next year, possibly with a much narrower measure that addresses just the retiree pre-funding issue and some other issues, and such a bill would probably need to be considered by the committee by Presidents’ Day. And, just in case you forgot about the House of Representatives, there has been no effort to schedule H.R. 2748, the Issa postal reform bill, for floor action.

Read more: NAPUS.

NALC: Few surprises in first of two hearings on S. 1486

NALC-LOGOSept. 19, 2013—The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which has Postal Service oversight, held the first of two hearings today on the flawed postal bill, S. 1486, introduced by committee chairman Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and ranking member Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

“If passed, this bill would set the Postal Service on downward spiral,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said, “by calling for the slow dismantling of Postal Service’s retail, mail processing and last-mile delivery networks that are crucial for the booming e-commerce sector, while maintaining the misguided 2006 postal reform law mandate to pre-fund future retiree health benefit costs decades in advance.”

Today’s 2½-hour hearing focused mainly on rates and revenue. Among those called to testify before today’s hearing were Postmaster General Patrick Donahue, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway, USPS Inspector General David Williams, American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association President Jeanette Dwyer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Senate committee schedules another USPS hearing

Back from their lengthy summer vacation, members of Congress will get back to what they do best- holding hearings. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has scheduled one for next Thursday September 19, 2013 at 10:00AM ET.

No word on witnesses, and needless to say, not much chance that this hearing will be any more productive than all the others that have preceded it in both houses.

Outside the Box: Reforming and Renewing the Postal Service, Part I – Maintaining Services, Reducing Costs and Increasing Revenue Through Innovation and Modernization

Read more: Hearings | Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.

Mail Handler Union President Addresses Delegates at AFL-CIO Convention

NPMHU_logoNational Postal Mail Handlers Union President John F. Hegarty addressed the AFL-CIO National Convention in Los Angeles yesterday- here is a summary of his remarks:

President Hegarty commented that the NPMHU with support from other postal union affiliates of the AFL-CIO have worked to build broad public coalitions to resist more damaging austerity in the Postal Service and to build support for sensible reform.

Such reform has been proposed in Congress: The Postal Protection Act of 2013—S. 316 in the Senate and H.R. 630 in the House.

This legislation should be adapted and adopted to do the following:

Stabilize the Postal Service’s finances by reforming or eliminating unwise and unfair pension and retiree health financing policies that have crippled the Postal Service’s finances since 2006;

Strengthen and protect the Postal Service’s invaluable mail processing, retail and last-mile delivery networks that together comprise a crucial part of the nation’s infrastructure; and

Free the Postal Service to meet the evolving needs of the American economy and to set its prices in a way that reflects the cost structure of the delivery industry while assuring affordable universal service and protecting against anti-competitive practices.

The Postal Service is a national treasure that can play an important role in our future. Its networks are invaluable and should be used to address pressing national problems. The universal geographical reach of its 30,000 post offices could be used to provide financial services to the 40 million Americans who lack access to basic banking services, provide low- cost remittance services to immigrant workers, finance a National Infrastructure Bank to help rebuild our nation and create millions of jobs, and provide public Internet access and other media and technology services to underserved communities. With a federal vote-by-mail statute, the Postal Service could be the answer to voter suppression across the country while boosting voter turnout the way it has in Oregon and other states that conduct elections through the mail. The Post Office can be re-imagined as a platform for state and local services in rural and inner city areas that lack access to services. We should not only save the Postal Service, but also reinvent it for the 21st Century.

The AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions are called on to help mobilize the entire labor movement and our allies in the progressive community to defeat the forces of austerity and anti-unionism in the debate over postal reform. We must repeal the pre-funding mandate, free the Postal Service to diversify its services, and use the Postal Service’s unique networks to address other national problems by enacting legislation that promotes innovation and growth, not downsizing and decline.

Follow this link for more information

 

NAPS Analysis of Carper-Coburn Postal Reform Bill

The National Association of Postal Supervisors, representing over 28,000 active and retired supervisory and managerial employees of the United States Postal Service, supports the passage of comprehensive postal reform that ends the financial crisis afflicting the Postal Service and provides a foundation for future stability and growth.

NAPS believes that comprehensive postal reform should embrace short-term and long-term solutions. The immediate crisis facing the Postal Service is largely due to past actions taken by Congress. Short-term solutions should correct those errors and aim at restoring financial solvency. Longer-term solutions, meanwhile, should aim to fortify revenue and provide wider authority to the Postal Service to transform itself and sell innovative products and services. While no single action will solve the Postal Service’s problems, NAPS believes that four key solutions lie at the heart of comprehensive postal reform:

• Repeal or modify the retiree health prefunding requirement
• Return pension overfunding to the Postal Service
• Preserve Saturday delivery and other delivery standards
• Authorize the Postal Service to sell additional products and services

NAPS provides these comments in response to the legislation, entitled the “Postal Reform Act of 2013,” cosponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), ranking member of the HSGAC. NAPS believes that the legislation falls short of the progress made by the Senate in its passage of S. 1789 during the 112th Congress. While we compliment Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Coburn for their bipartisan efforts, we believe the bill should be revised in conformance with the following comments. Our comments are organized by section of the bill and incorporate descriptions of the provisions contained in the section-by-section summary prepared by HSGAC staff.

Click here to read the NAPS analysis.