But Needs Relief from Pre-Funding Requirement
“We expect the Postal Service to continue as a vital public service agency funded solely by postal customers for the foreseeable future,” APWU President Cliff Guffey told a House Committee in a May 3 statement.
“However, the USPS needs immediate and short-term relief from the unique and unreasonable requirement that it pre-fund retiree health benefits,” he said. In addition, the Postal Service must have access to the excess funds it has paid into the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the union president noted.
Guffey made the remarks in response to a series of questions posed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The questions were presented following an April 5 hearing that examined labor costs in light of the APWU’s tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement. Guffey testified at the hearing, along with Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors Louis J. Giuliano, and USPS Governor James C. Miller III.
In response to the follow-up questions, Guffey stressed the need for legislative action on the congressional mandate to pre-fund future retiree healthcare payments, which is pushing the agency towards insolvency. Charts accompanying the responses also demonstrated that the change in postal compensation has closely tracked those in the private sector from 1980 through 2010.
At the April 5 hearing, Republican committee members said the Tentative Agreement is too favorable to workers and blamed labor costs for the Postal Service’s financial crisis.
For the complete text of questions and the union’s responses, click here [PDF].