From the National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS):
The Postal Service yesterday proposed a series of extraordinary and controversial legislative actions to pull its employees and retirees out of the federal retirement and health benefit programs and terminate the no-layoff provisions of its union contracts.
If Congress were to approve the actions, the Postal Service would likely provide smaller retirement and health care benefits to its workforce, and as well as cut as many as 220,000 jobs by 2015.
The Postal Service is facing insolvency in late September due to massive retiree health care pre-payments required by Congress under a 2006 law. The benefit and layoff proposals are in addition to USPS proposals to eliminate Saturday mail service, close 3,700 locations and consolidate processing facilities.
In a statement released today, National Association of Postal Supervisors President Louis M. Atkins said:
“We recognize the grave financial situation of the Postal Service in light of falling mail volume and revenues. Clearly Congress must act to assure continued mail service to the American people.
The realignment by Congress of the Postal Service’s prefunding payments for its future retiree health care obligations remains the most viable way to provide relief, along with appropriate operational measures to reduce costs and achieve savings. For the past two years we, along with the rest of the postal community, have supported House and Senate proposals that would realign the retiree health prefunding payments. We continue to urge Congress to realign the prefunding schedule when it returns, before the Postal Service on September 30 must pay another costly $5.5 billion for future needs that will not arise for decades.
While we will continue to study the details of the Postal Service’s new proposals for administering its own retirement and health care plans, we are deeply apprehensive about their validity and their impact upon our members.”
The House and Senate proposals referenced by Atkins are contained in legislation proposed by: Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-MA (H.R. 1351); Sen. Tom Carper, D-DE, (S. 1010); and Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME (S. 353).
The Postal Service proposals are explained in two discussion drafts addressing “Postal Service Health Benefits and Retirement Programs”and “Workforce Optimization.”
The Postal Service in a media release rationalized its proposals because it “will be insolvent next month due to significant declines in First-Class Mail volume, the effects of a Congressional mandate to prefund retiree health benefits and increases in network costs, wages and benefits.” In April during a House hearing, the Postal Service defended the no-layoff provisions in two recently-negotiated union contracts.
The Postal Service proposals require the approval of Congress before they can be implemented.
Legislative Counsel to NAPS