“PMG Pat Donahoe appeared recently on “The Kudlow Report,” to represent the Postal Service’s position on the need for congressional action to address the USPS requirement to pre-fund retiree health benefits, frequency of delivery and allow the Postal Service to access overpayments to the Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System. Donahoe explains to CNBC host Larry Kudlow that legislative changes are “not a bailout.” Read more
Filed under: NAPUS, politics, post office closings, postal, postal news, usps
Senate Post Office Closing Amendment and House Financial Services Appropriations Bill
This week, Sen. John McCain filed an amendment to S. 679, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, which would have made it easier for the Postal Service to close Post Offices. Senate Amendment 488 was filed and printed in the Congressional Record; however, Senator McCain did not call the amendment up for consideration. NAPUS Legislative Chairs communicated with their Senators, and urged the Senators to oppose the amendment if it came up for a vote.
On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Financial Services Appropriations bill (does not yet have a bill number), which includes a provision protecting small and rural Post Offices, and 6-day mail delivery. Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) managed the bill. During Committee consideration, Rep. Chakah Fattah (D-PA) offered an amendment, which would have enabled the USPS to use its undisputed $6.9 billion Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) overpayment to pay this year’s retiree health pre-funding payment and workers’ compensation system obligation. The amendment was defeated by a party line vote of 21 to 28. NAPUS anticipates that the appropriations bill will come to the floor after the July 4th Recess and it may be an “attractive” vehicle for anti-postal amendments. Consequently, NAPUS Legislative Chairs should remain vigilant.
also see Issa Introduces Postal Bill, Without Widely-Supported Provision via eNAPUS Legislative & Political Bulletin- http://www.napus.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/E8-7.pdf
Filed under: financial statements, postal, postal finances, postal news, usps
The US Postal Service filed its eighth month preliminary financial report of the 2011 fiscal year (unaudited) with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) . USPS reported a net operating loss of $1.3 billion for the month of May 2011. This same period last year saw a $642 million net loss. In October 2010 USPS saw a net profit of $283 Million, November 2010 net loss $456 million, December 2010 net loss $156 million, January 2011, net loss $451 million, February 2011, net loss $1.1 billion, March 2011, $657 million, April net loss of $747 million . After eight months into FY 2011 USPS reports a net loss of $4.7 billion (same time last year it was $2.9 billion). USPS May 2011 Financial Results Net loss $1,348 billion for June and $4,653 billion ending May 31, 2011. at the end of April USPS loss was $ a little more than $3.3. billion.
Postal Service reduced work hours in the month of May by 94,182 million hours or 2.2%.
The number of career employees on May 31, 2011, was 567,401, non-career was 90,050.
* Total mail volume of 12,873,284 billion pieces, compared to 13,125,257 billion pieces in the same period a year earlier, a decrease of 1.90%
* Operating revenue of $5,120 billion, compared to $5,270 billion in the same period a year earlier, a decrease of 2.8%
* Personnel Compensation & Benefits was $3,930 billion roughly 77% of the total operating expenses, an increase of 0.4% SPLY
Mailing Services results for the month of May include:
* First-Class Mail revenue of $2.471,315 billion,decrease 7.8% on volume of 5,641,337 billion pieces;down 7.2%
* Standard Mail revenue of $1,396,194 billion,up by 4.1% on volume of 6,567,762 billion pieces; increase of 3.0%
* Periodicals revenue of $147,527 million,0.07% on volume of 579,449 million pieces; decrease 0.07%
* Package Services revenue of $119,404 million, increase 8.7% on volume of 47,145 million pieces, increase of 5.5%.
* Shipping Services revenue of $711,194, up by 4.7%. Shipping Services volume of 114,342 million pieces represented a 5.6% percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier.
* Total mail volume of 12,873,284 billion pieces, compared to 13,125,257 billion pieces in the same period a year earlier, a decrease of 1.90%
Congressman Dennis Ross attempts to clear up the whole issue about USPS overpayments. After reading statements from politicians, unions and employees on the postal reform bill, the real showdown may come down to America and Issa/Ross duo.
Myth: The Postal Service has overpaid by $50-$75 billion into the Civil Service Retirement System and Congress owes this money back.
Fact: There is no Postal Service overpayment. In 1974, the Postal Service agreed to a formula to share the retiree costs of individuals who worked for both the Post Office Department and the Postal Service (which replaced the Department in 1971). Now, more than 40 years later, the Postal Service argues that that formula is unfair. The Postal Service argues that if a formula it considers to be fair had been used instead, than it would be owed $50-$75 billion by the US Treasury. This is an attempt to rewrite history. The original formula was instituted as part of a broader set of decisions concerning the creation of USPS. For instance, those decisions included not charging any fee to USPS in return for the postal monopoly it was granted. Another reason why it makes little sense to speak of an overpayment due to USPS is that the Postal Service had a clear requirement from 1971 until 2006 to raise postage rates to cover all costs, including its cost of retirement funding. If a different formula had been used all these years that had resulted in lower annual payments by USPS for its federal employee retirement costs, those savings would have been used to lower the cost of postage rates.
Myth: The Postal Service is unfairly saddled with an annual $5.5 billion retiree health care prefunding payment that is required of no other federal agency. If only the prefunding requirement were eliminated the Postal Service would be profitable again.
Fact: If the Postal Service were allowed to immediately cease prefunding of its retiree health care obligations, it would have an unfunded liability of nearly $100 billion by 2017. This would clearly be an unaffordable burden for an entity whose core business and revenue is steadily shrinking. It would likely result in a taxpayer funded bailout of postal workers’ retiree health care payments. USPS is under its statutory prefunding requirement because – although it was created to be a self-sustaining entity – taxpayers stand behind the large and growing retiree health care liability. Its also important to note that the annual deficit of the Postal Service now easily exceeds its entire annual prefunding payment, illustrating its fiscal problems run much deeper.
Myth: The Postal Service has a FERS surplus of $6.9 billion that should be immediately returned.
Fact: The Postal Service, in addition to a number of other federal agencies, has a temporary, projected surplus because interest rates have been at historically low rates. Once interest rates inevitably begin to rise, that projected surplus may melt away leaving the Postal Service with a deficit it can ill afford to pay back. Other federal agencies with temporary surpluses are not being granted refunds for “overpayments” as a result of these fluctuating balances.
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, released a statement in response to the introduction of the Postal Reform Act by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Sen. Carper introduced the Postal Operations Sustainment and Transformation (POST) Act last month.
“While I welcome Congressman Issa’s interest in finding solutions to the Postal Service’s serious financial challenges, I, unfortunately, have deep concerns about the approach taken in the legislation put forward today,” said Sen. Carper. “This bill appears to assume that the Postal Service will undergo a complete financial collapse in the coming months. Instead of preventing a catastrophic collapse from happening, this bill would abdicate responsibility for cleaning up what would be a colossal financial disaster both for the Postal Service and the broader economy to a newly-created government entity. This is unacceptable. No practical solution for the Postal Services’ serious financial woes should allow them to go belly up and jeopardize our fragile economic recovery, along with the jobs of some 7 million employees in the mailing industry who depend on a healthy Postal Service.
“We know what needs to happen to put the Postal Service on the right path. Congress just needs to have the courage to do what is necessary to make that happen. Namely, Congress needs to stop acting like a 535-member Board of Directors – each protecting their individual parochial prerogatives – and finally give the Postal Service the freedom and flexibility we always say they should have to make the tough, but necessary, businesses decisions needed to survive and even thrive in the long term. We are just beginning the process of finding a legislative solution to the Postal Service’s problems, but we must act quickly to address this dire situation. I look forward to working with Congressman Issa and Senator Collins to find common ground on this issue.”
Filed under: postal, postal inspectors, postal news, press releases, usdoj
ROCHESTER, N.Y.– (June 24, 2011) U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Mark Joseph Rossel, 52, of Rush, New York, on a charge of assaulting a federal officer and inflicting bodily injury. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Field, who is handling the case, stated that according to the Indictment, on May 12, 2011, the defendant attacked a United States Postal Inspector. The Indictment alleges that Rossel bit the inspector, causing punctured wounds.
The Indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Robert Bethel and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
source: United States Attorney’s Office, Western District Of New York
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has introduced a bill, H.R. 2309, that is “a reckless assault on postal workers and the Postal Service,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
“The bill would drastically reduce service to the American people by establishing a commission that would order $1 billion worth of post office closures in the first year and $1 billion worth of facility closures in the second year,” he said.
“Incredibly, it fails to address the main cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties — the unique mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, at a cost of more than $5.5 billion per year,” Guffey said.
“It also completely ignores the fact that the USPS has massive surpluses in its pension accounts,” the union president noted. “The overpayments could and should be used to resolve the Postal Service’s cash crisis.”
Direct Attack on Workers
“The bill is a direct attack on the hard-working men and women who sort and distribute the nation’s mail,” Guffey said.
It would create a “solvency authority” with the power to unilaterally modify collective bargaining agreements any time the USPS defaults on “any obligation to the federal government for more than 30 days.”
“The solvency board would be empowered to cut wages, abolish benefits, and end our protection against layoffs,” he said.
In addition, at the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreements, the bill would increase employees’ costs for healthcare coverage and life insurance, and eliminate the right to bargain over these benefits. It also would allow the USPS to end Saturday delivery.
Propagating a Falsehood
“Rep. Issa insists that the legislation is designed to avoid a ‘bailout,’ but nothing could be further from the truth,” Guffey said.
“In fact, the federal government is holding billions of dollars of excess postal payments to FERS and CSRS.” (The USPS has a surplus of $6.9 billion in its Federal Employee Retirement System account, and, according to two independent actuarial studies, has overpaid the Civil Service Retirement System account by $50 billion to $75 billion.)
“The Postal Service does not rely on taxpayer funding,” he noted, “and doesn’t need a bailout.”
“We are continuing to analyze details of the bill,” said Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid. “We are working with legislators and their staffs, as well as with other unions and postal organizations, and will provide additional information as events warrant.”
“In the meantime, union members must make it clear to their U.S. representatives that we adamantly oppose this bill.
“We must let them know that we support an alternate bill, H.R. 1351, which would address the cause of the USPS financial crisis without slashing service and without eliminating collective bargaining rights,” he said.
H.R. 1351, which was introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on April 4, would correct the overfunding of the pension accounts, and would allow the cash-strapped agency to use the pension surplus to meet its retiree health benefits pre-funding obligation.
“H.R. 1351 would restore financial stability to the Postal Service,” Guffey said, “without putting any burden on American taxpayers.”
source: American Postal Workers Union
PostalReporter.com Note: The Letter Carriers cited below were sent home under the USPS “National Reassessment Process” (which has now been renamed “ELM546″ program). Some of the Letters Carriers have been sent home AGAIN by USPS after only two weeks back at work.
According to Robert Rutter, President, NALC Branch #1111 in its June 2011 Newsletter.
…..”Branch 1111 has put more than 80 Letter Carriers back to work who were put off “No Work Available,” and put back with full back pay and benefits. My rough calculation is that this liability will cost the Bay-Valley District just for our branch somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million to $2 million. Kind of wipes our Customer Connect. But it should be enough o get somebody promoted!
NALC Branch #1111 is located in Richmond CA and represents Letter Carriers in most of the Bay Area :
Representative Issa introduces draconian postal reform bill
Misguided bill is ‘a missed opportunity,’ Rolando says
June 23, 2011 — Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), chairman of the committee’s subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and District of Columbia, introduced a comprehensive postal reform bill today in the House of Representatives. Sadly, it fails to address the central cause of the financial crisis facing the Postal Service—the destructive and unique mandate to massively pre-fund future retiree health benefits that accounts for 100 percent of the Postal Service’s losses over the past four years. Instead, the bill proposes radical changes that would recklessly downsize the U.S. Postal Service in a way that would seriously damage the $1.3 trillion mailing industry and the entire U.S. economy.
“We are very disappointed in the Issa/Ross bill,” NALC President Fredric V. Rolando said. “We hoped for a more common sense, practical and non-ideological approach to an institution that has historically engendered strong bipartisan support. Instead, we got a draconian downsizing plan and a misguided and unjustifiable attack on hard-working postal employees who provide the most affordable and highest quality mail service in the world.”
Rather than taking sensible action to avert a financial crisis that would result from the failure of the Postal Service to make the next unaffordable $5.5 billion pre-funding payment for future retiree health benefits (due in September), the bill seeks to take advantage of the pending cash crisis to force a massive downsizing and to launch a frontal assault on the pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights of postal employees. Indeed, it fails to even mention the massive surpluses in the Postal Service pension accounts that two private, independent auditors have confirmed over the past two years—surpluses that can and should be used to resolve the financial crisis caused by the pre-funding mandate.
Under the Issa/Ross plan, tens if not hundreds of thousands of good middle-class jobs, many of them filled for decades by military veterans, would be needlessly destroyed.
The core of the bill is the creation of two unelected groups authorized to take extreme steps to cut costs and reduce services, one to generate lists of post offices and facilities to be closed and one to serve as financial overseers with the power to alter or nullify collective bargaining agreements and to make other operational decisions to reduce expenses. The Board of Governors and Congress would be effectively marginalized under the bill.
The bill would allow the Postal Service to eliminate Saturday delivery—inconveniencing millions of residents and businesses—and would repeal the right of postal employees to bargain over health and life insurance benefits, a right won more than 40 years ago. It would also inject political issues into the process for resolving collective bargaining impasses and unfairly restructure interest arbitrations by giving pro-management factors top priority in the law.
“It seems the war on collective bargaining that we have seen in the states has come to Washington,” Rolando said.
NALC is in the process of studying the lengthy Issa/Ross bill in detail. Meanwhile, the union will continue to work with the Obama administration and with leaders in the Senate from both parties to develop more moderate and sensible solutions to the Postal Service’s problems.
We will also seek to work with Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and the bipartisan group of 153 other co-sponsors of his bill, H.R. 1351, to make progress in the House of Representatives. H.R. 1351 would allow the USPS to use its pension surpluses to cover its pre-funding costs, thereby resolving the immediate financial crisis without collateral damage.
“We regret very much that Representatives Issa and Ross have taken this approach. We view it as a missed opportunity,” President Rolando said. “Historically, the constitutionally mandated Post Office has been an issue that has been spared the destructive impact of partisan politics. We remain hopeful that a more reasonable, bipartisan bill can be developed in the House using H.R. 1351 as the starting point.”
Filed under: postal, postal news, postal reform, usps, veterans
Letter To Congressman Darrell Issa from postal employee Guy Nohrenberg
Rep. Darrell Issa
June 23, 2011
Money is being taken from the US Postal Service as a hidden additional Tax.
The wealthiest Congressman in History continues his terrorist attack on the US Postal Service through trying to add an additional government bill, “The Postal Reform Act of 2011″. What is it? It is another expensive government paid committee intended to destroy the nations largest civilian employer.
The US Postal Service is not being harmed by reduction of mail volume, fax, email, or any of that other elitist inspired propaganda. It can manage through mail fluctuations and always has. It’s being harmed by an additional hidden tax that this congressman and his ilk have imposed upon the US Postal Service. The US Postal Service is the employer of people you know, love and are related to. This Congressman has a strange fetish against the US Postal Service and he regularly bullies it in an effort to eliminate it.
So he wants more unemployment? His “Postal Reform Act of 2011″ will place over a million Americans out of work. Isn’t it bad enough that Post Offices in small towns are closing by the minute, against the desires of the local communities losing them and that you have to drive further just to mail packages and scented letters to loved ones overseas.
The US Postal Service employs a significantly high percentage of Military Veterans. Many are from his own district. This Congressman has continually assaulted the US Postal Service, with misinformation and propaganda. He’s even subversively trying to divert attention from the honest efforts underway to stop his hidden additional tax of $5.5 Billion Dollars each year.