The APWU has united with a prominent veterans’ organization and other postal unions to urge members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to vote no on H.R. 2309 when the committee deliberates on Oct. 13. [Click here for live Webcast – committee deliberations begin at 10:30 a.m.]
The bill would force the Postal Service to lay off workers, including tens of thousands of veterans.
In a print ad appearing in publications [PDF] that are widely read by members of Congress, the APWU and VoteVets point out that “The USPS hires more veterans than any other civilian employer in the country.
“Some in Congress want to fire them,” the ad continues.
“Putting tens of thousands of America’s veterans out of work won’t fix the Postal Service,” the ad notes. “Congress talks a lot about patriotism, but there’s nothing patriotic about destroying the USPS, devastating mail service, and telling our veterans they’re not wanted.”
The Postal Service has announced it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000. H.R. 2309, which was introduced by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and co-sponsored by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), would grant authority to a newly-established control board to carry out layoffs, despite any provisions in union contracts that limit such actions. The bill says that employees who are eligible for retirement must be laid off before employees who are ineligible, and dictates that retirement-eligible employees with the longest service must be separated first.
If 120,000 postal workers were laid off, approximately 26,000 veterans would be affected.
The Issa-Ross bill calls for $1 billion worth of cuts in post offices in the first year and $2 billion worth of cuts in mail processing facilities in the second year. If facilities are shuttered, veterans would be among the employees laid off, even if they are covered by the Veterans Preference Act.
“H.R. 2309 would destroy the Postal Service as we know it,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “In the process, it would devastate many dedicated workers, including thousands of military veterans.
“This mean-spirited bill fails to address the fundamental cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties,” said Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid. ”It does nothing to correct the requirement to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, which forces the USPS to fund a 75-year liability in just 10 years, he said. No other government agency or private business is required to make these payments, which cost the Postal Service approximately $5.5 billion annually. The bill also fails to address billions of dollars in USPS overpayments to federal pension accounts, Reid noted.
H.R. 1351 would help provide the Postal Service financial stability by allowing the Postal Service to apply the pension overpayments to the pre-funding obligation. The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), has 226 co-sponsors — including 29 Republicans — but Rep. Issa has refused to allow it to come up for a vote.
The ad will run in Politico, The Hill, CQ Today and the National Journal Daily on Oct. 12 and 13. Sponsoring the ad with the APWU and VoteVets are the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association.