APWU President Tells Senate Panel: Congress Must Save Postal Service

USPS Plan Would Hurt Service, Workers, Communities

Testifying before a Senate panel on Sept. 6, APWU President Cliff Guffey urged Congress to take action to prevent a collapse of the Postal Service, and he denounced USPS proposals to abrogate the union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

APWU President Cliff Guffey urged the Senate to take action to prevent a collapse of the Postal Service, Sept. 6, 2011.
APWU President Cliff Guffey urged the Senate to take action to prevent a collapse of the Postal Service, Sept. 6, 2011.

“The Postal Service needs access to the overpayments it has made to retirement programs,” Guffey told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
[full testimony – PDF]

The agency also needs relief from the requirement that it pre-fund its retiree healthcare benefits, he said. “No other federal agency is required to pre-fund its health benefits obligation, and very few private-sector firms do so,” he pointed out.

Outrageous, Illegal, Despicable

Guffey condemned USPS legislative proposals to give management  authority to lay off 120,000 workers and to remove postal employees from federal retirement and health insurance programs, calling them “outrageous, illegal and despicable.”

The contract was signed less than four months ago, Guffey noted, and the APWU made compromises in order to keep retirement and health insurance benefits and to retain protection against layoffs for career employees. Yet the Postal Service is now seeking to circumvent the agreement by asking Congress to enact legislation overiding what the USPS and APWU negotiated, he said.

“The attempt by the Postal Service to keep what it gained from our bargain and to unilaterally abrogate what the APWU gained is in utter disregard for the legal requirement to bargain with the APWU in good faith,” he said.

“The APWU will oppose with every resource at our disposal any effort to destroy our health benefits program, to lay us off and replace us with temporary workers or to undermine our retirement,” Guffey said.

More Damaging in the Long Run

USPS proposals to cut jobs and slash service would damage the Postal Service in the long run, the union president said.  The proposed cuts include the closure of thousands of post offices, stations, and branches, and “rapid and extreme consolidation” of mail processing facilities. These changes would weaken the Postal Service and exacerbate its revenue problems, Guffey said.

The savings that could be realized by closing thousands of post offices, for example, would be less than one percent of postal costs, he pointed out.

Tell Congress: Support H.R. 1351

Contact Your Legislators

H.R. 1351 Co-sponsors
(updated 07/26/11)

The loss of jobs, the loss of a community focal point and identity, and the loss of service caused by the post office closings would have a far more damaging impact, Guffey said.

“For many communities, the Post Office is where the flag flies.  It is the face of the government to the people,” he said.

Also testifying were: USPS Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe; U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry; U.S. Government Accountability Office Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues Phillip R. Herr; Thomas D. Levy, Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary of the Segal Company; National Association of Postal Supervisors President Louis M. Atkins; Hearst Magazines Editorial Director Ellen Levine; and National Newspaper Association Director of Public Policy Tonda F. Rush.

APWU members are encouraged to contact their legislators and urge them to support bills to correct the USPS financial crisis. “We must make legislative action a priority,” Guffey said. For more information, visit www.apwu.org.

APWU President Tells Senate Panel: Congress Must Save USPS

2 thoughts on “APWU President Tells Senate Panel: Congress Must Save Postal Service

  1. Onthedole you are about as twisted as your repugnicant buddies. You guys always want to take from the “less” and give to the “haves”. This money does not belong to the government nor Social Security. Postal employees paid into these funds in good faith with the expectation of receiving the benefits upon retirement. You don’t care anything about the Social Security lockbox. Remember you and Perry believe Social Security is a ponzi scheme anyway. The Democrat Congress doesn’t need to protect our employees. The facts show the USPS absent the repugnicant passed legislation mandating the prefunding is more than able to take care of its finances. The money you speak of was earned solely by services rendered by postal employees WITHOUT the assistance of tax dollars or Congress. Until Bush and the repugnicant Congress passed this mandate the USPS had surpluses to overpay into retirement accounts. Postal employees made and paid the money so it should be rightfully returned back to the employees.

  2. Rather than returning that money to the Postal Service it should be placed in the SS Trust Fund! Congress has been using this money for whatever reasons – let the guberement postal employees see what it’s like. You can bet the Union Democrats in Congress will protect these union employees first!! PUT THE MONEY IN SS NOW!!

Comments are closed.