Rallies Set for Sept. 27 in Every Congressional District
The APWU has joined forces with the three other postal unions to designate Sept. 27 as a day of action to Save America’s Postal Service.
Together, the APWU and the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association will rally in every congressional district in the country to build support for H.R. 1351, a bill introduced in the House by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).
“With the USPS’s dire financial situation making headlines, and a battle raging in Congress over what to do about it, postal workers must take action now,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “I urge APWU members to work with our brothers and sisters in the other postal unions to organize the rallies. We must let every U.S. representative know that we need their support.”
The Lynch bill would prevent the financial collapse of the USPS — without closing thousands of post offices, eliminating hundreds of mail processing facilities, delaying mail delivery, laying off 120,000 workers, cutting postal workers’ pay, or ending collective bargaining rights. It would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees. No other government agency or private company bears this burden, which forces the Postal Service to fund a 75-year liability in 10 years — at a cost of more than $5 billion annually. Without the mandate, the USPS would have shown a surplus of $611 million over the past four fiscal years.
Unfortunately, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has another idea. Word on Capitol Hill is that Rep. Issa is blocking consideration of H.R. 1351.
Instead, Rep. Issa has introduced a bill that would destroy the Postal Service as we know it. His bill (H.R. 2309) would do nothing to correct the cause of the USPS financial crisis: It would do nothing about the pension overpayments or the pre-funding requirement. But it would establish a “solvency authority” with the power to unilaterally cut wages, abolish benefits, and end protection against layoffs. It also would create a board 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. If H.R. 2309 is enacted, thousands of offices throughout the country would be closed.
At the same time, the Postal Service is proposing legislative changes that would authorize management to lay off 120,000 workers and that would remove postal employees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and from federal retirement plans.
Pass H.R. 1351 NOW
At the rallies on Sept. 27, the unions will be asking legislators to co-sponsor to H.R. 1351, the bill that would restore financial stability to the Postal Service. The legislation has 193 co-sponsors, including both Democrats and Republicans. Where lawmakers have already signed on, the rallies will thank them for their support and ask them to pledge to do everything in their power to ensure its passage.
Each union has volunteered to be responsible for specific congressional districts, and locals have already begun designating District Leads for various locations. The District Leads will secure permits (where necessary), contact the media, and make other arrangements.
The unions have developed a common Web site to provide information about the rallies, which will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. A complete list of rally locations will be posted on the site by Sept. 16, which will be updated often. Visit saveamericaspostalservice.org for the latest news about the Sept. 27 rallies.