Senator Susan Collins Introduces Postal Reform Bill

United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Senator Susan M. Collins

For Immediate Release

December 2, 2010


Sen. Collins’ Bill Would Help USPS Adapt to Digital Age, regain better financial footing

Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today introduced legislation to help the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) regain its financial footing as it adapts to the era of increasingly digital communications. The “U.S. Postal Service Improvements Act of 2010” would help the USPS achieve financial stability and future cost savings without undermining customer service.

“The Postal Service is at a crossroads,” said Senator Collins. “It must embrace changes to revitalize its business model, enabling it to attract and keep customers. This legislation would help spark new life into the Postal Service, helping it evolve and maintain its vital role in our nation’s economy. I appreciate the support of a number of groups including the National Newspaper Association, Affordable Mail Alliance, PostCom, and the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers in this reform effort. ”

The Postal Service is the linchpin of a $1 trillion mailing industry that employs approximately 7.5 million Americans in fields as diverse as direct mail, printing, catalog production, paper manufacturing, and financial services.

The financial state of the Postal Service is a concern due to a number of factors – some out of the control of the USPS and others a result of its own management. The recession, high operating costs, and the increased use of digital communications have challenged the Postal Service’s ability to remain financially viable. The Postal Service lost $8.5 billion during the past fiscal year. In addition, many of the recent proposals of the USPS to save money could have the effect of further driving away its customer base, the opposite of what the USPS should be doing to attract and maintain customers Senator Collins’ bill would fix the overpayment by the Postal Service to the Civil Service Retirement System, estimated to be $50 billion, as well as the $3 billion it has overpaid into the Federal Employees Retirement System. This legislation would direct the Office of Personnel Management to correct the methodology for calculating Postal Service obligations to these pension funds and would greatly improve USPS’s financial condition.

“The bill would set in motion a process that would definitively and equitably correct the actuarial errors, and overcome the administrative roadblocks, that have burdened the Postal Service and its customers with unfairly high pension–related costs,” said James R. Cregan of the Affordable Mail Alliance. “These provisions, if enacted, would go far toward ensuring the future viability and affordability of the national postal system upon which we all depend.”
The legislation also would improve the Postal Service’s contracting practices, and help prevent the kind of problems recently uncovered by the Postal Service Inspector General, which include contract mismanagement, ethical lapses, and financial waste.

Senator Collins is proposing several provisions that would enhance efficiency and reduce costs including one to lessen workforce-related costs by converting employees on long-term workers’ compensation to retirement when they reach retirement age. This is a common-sense change that would significantly reduce expenses that the Postal Service cannot afford to sustain.

“I want the Postal Service to survive and thrive,” concluded Senator Collins. “This valuable and viable American institution with roots in our Constitution must be put back on steady course.”

A list of supporting organizations follows:
Affordable Mail Alliance
Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers
The Association of Magazine Media
Conde Nast Publications
National Association of Postmasters
National Newspaper Association
PostCom (Association of Postal Commerce)

see text of bill from Postcom

7 thoughts on “Senator Susan Collins Introduces Postal Reform Bill

  1. The only solution is to repeal the Postal reform act and let the Postal service do what it used to do,collect ,process and deliver mail and focus on customer service.This means eliminating at least 20 or more V.P.positions,areas and districts,perpetual details of management personnel, and eliminating customers 45 minute wait in line, instead of using only using ill-conceived BPI and EXFC figures,and cutting overhead and waste, In case anyone didn’t notice, since this was enacted in 2006, everything has gone south.John Potter was put in to privatize the Postal Service, and Pat Donahoe will continue on the same path. Does anyone remember the brilliant ideas of the past, such as Emery Airlines, Priority Mail Processing Centers, Optima, or the segways for the carriers? The only ones that benefit are the companies with the contracts and whoever gets the kickbacks. I wonder if Potter and Bernstock will be hired as consultants? Being from Luzerne County, Pa with the kids-for -cash scandal and excessive corruption, I can say they are a kindergarden class compared to the Postal Service.

  2. Dear Senator Sue, I emailed you back in ’06 when you drafted your ill-conceived nonsensical postal reform act. You, ma’am, are the single largest reason for the debt the USPS now advertises. Your backroom deal caused the USPS to incur over $20 BILLION worth of needless debt; debt devised to basically bankrupt the Postal Service into privatization. For the past 4 years, any time a negative story concerning the USPS hit the news, there would usually be a hairbrained quote from you blaming the postal service for failing to follow your “plan.”

    Now here you come again with yet another go round at postal reform. Sorry, Suzie, but fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Here’s what you really need to address(but don’t yet grasp), that will put the postal service on solid footing. STOP REWARDING NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR IN POSTAL MANAGEMENT. We are run by largely inept arrogant managers who universally follow CYA policies, instead of common sense practices. Numbers are fudged(even in the scanner age), mail is hidden, and BONUS money is paid out even when we lose big money.

    Upper income types always try to screw labor above all else. We are so top heavy, you could immediately cut 50% of ALL management positions nation-wide, and the USPS would not miss a beat. I’ll re-emphasize this for you; the mail would still move just as well with half of our top paid officials let go. Everyone quotes the oft repeated half truth in postal stories; “labor accounts for 80% of our costs.” What ISN’T stated, is that OVER HALF of that figure is management salaries, NOT labor.

    I’ve been on the job for 30 years, and while there is always a bad apple in the bunch, by & large, the postal workers I’ve worked along side have been dedicated professionals whose main concern is getting the mail out. In contrast, of all the supervisors and managers I’ve worked for and around, at best 20% had a solid grasp of how to effectively move mail. Most were more concerned with making the numbers look better than their managing created. I’m out.

  3. Just think, at one time the Postmaster General was a cabinet level postion and Senators were appointed. We have elected officials who have been raiding off budget money from social security, civil service, postal employee and military retirement for years now we are looking for them to save our jobs. Technology is killing postal jobs, but with telecommuting why aren’t federal elected officials working full time they could be working part-time at home.

  4. To the above statements…I am a postal employee, and I do depend on my job to support my family. Due to the fact that the postal service is the only organization that has had to pre-find CSRS and FERS, it is imperative that this bill be passed in order for the service to recoup. Thousands of workers within the service have been victimized by mass closings, along with many many of those who work outside of the service. If the bill is passed and the USPS is allowed to account for this money, perhaps, and hopefully, those who are in charge, will make the right decisions. This would include reorganizing the USPS business strategy to better accommodate the current revolutionizing trend of technology. The USPS is an integral part of our culture, and has been around for over a century. Yes, at times I believe that many of my co-workers are taking for granted that fact that have a job that pays them far more than minimum wage, and yes I do believe that we should focus more on customer service than on numbers, like any business minded person would know, take care of the customers and they will return. Management needs to be fine-tuned, perhaps even given a few ethics courses. In any case, I commend Senator Collins’ proposal, and being a dedicated employee of the USPS, I certainly hope this bill gets passed.


  6. It would take some time before we will know about the details of the bill and I look forward to seeing them if it passes. As for tax breaks for the rich nonsense, no one should be taxed more in this economy. Government is the one that creates deficits not wealthy Americans not paying enough in taxes. It was George Bush the senior who coined the stupid term Voo Doo economics in his lame explanation of American economics. The taxing the rich to increase revenue argument is dead, it never works, the rich take thier money invest in safe havens that do not create jobs. It was Andrew Mellon the then secretary of treasury to Calvin Coolidge said this will always take place. If we continue these socialist policies we will be Greece, France, England, (big austerity programs because governments can’t pay for their socialist programs).

  7. Wait! We can’t do this until we extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. What is she thinking? Lets put this on the back burner till we satisfy the greed of our biggest donors. The Postal Service has lasted this long, they can wait a little longer. When we do tackle this make the workers the problem and management the solution. Sorry for the rant, but this will never get any attention at all.

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