House Panel Approves ‘Postal Destruction’ Bill

Amendment Prevents Bargaining to Limit Layoffs
Union Vows Fight to Save America’s Postal Service

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved an amended version of the Issa-Ross postal bill on Oct. 13 by a vote of 22-18. All but one Republican (Rep. Todd Platts of Pennsylvania) voted in favor of the bill; Democrats voted against it.

The APWU has denounced the bill, H.R. 2309, as a “reckless assault on postal services and postal employees.” The bill demands that the USPS implement $3 billion worth of cuts in post offices and mail processing facilities in a two-year period. It also would reduce “door delivery” by 75 percent.

In addition, the legislation would gut collective bargaining: An amendment adopted by the committee prohibits postal unions and the USPS from negotiating protection against layoffs.

Bill Guarantess Layoffs

The Postal Service announced in August that it wants to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and is seeking authority to lay off as many as 120,000, including tens of thousands of military veterans. H.R. 2309 would authorize layoffs; the wholesale elimination of post offices and mail processing facilities demanded by the legislation virtually guarantees that massive layoffs would take place.

The bill also would empower a new “solvency authority” to unilaterally cut wages and abolish benefits.

“This legislation would destroy the Postal Service as we know it,” President Cliff Guffey said. “It would lead to drastic cuts in service to the American people, and it would pave the way for privatization of this crucial public service.

“The bill violates fundamental principles of our nation: fairness, the right of workers to engage in free collective bargaining, and respect for seniority,” he said.

“The APWU will continue the fight to save America’s Postal Service,” Guffey said. “We will be joined by our brothers and sisters in the other postal unions, veterans, senior citizens, and communities that rely on a robust Postal Service.”

Other Amendments

In addition to the amendment that would prevent bargaining over layoffs, several other amendments were adopted: An amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) would remove postal employees from the federal injury compensation program and would require the USPS to develop a separate program for workers who are hurt on the job. It also would force disabled employees to retire as soon as they are eligible.

An amendment offered by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would permit the Postal Service to eliminate up to 12 delivery days per year rather than requiring an immediate abandonment of Saturday delivery. An amendment offered by Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) would limit to 10 percent the number of rural post office closures.

An amendment offered by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) to evaluate the impact of layoffs on veterans was adopted. The amendment was introduced in response to an ad sponsored by postal union and VoteVets, a prominent veterans’ organization, decrying the layoffs of tens of thousands of veterans that H.R. 2309 would cause. The ad appeared in Washington publications that are widely read by lawmakers on Oct. 12 and 13.

“Two of the adopted amendments were clearly regressive,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid, referring to the prohibition on negotiating limits on layoffs and removing postal employees from the federal injury compensation program. “Some of the others may appear to improve the bill,” but they just “nibble around the edges” without changing its basic character, he said.

“If passed, H.R. 2309 would be a disaster for the USPS and for postal employees.” The bill must be passed by the full House and Senate and signed by President Obama before it can become law, he pointed out.

“H.R. 2309 fails to address the fundamental cause of the Postal Service’s financial difficulties,” Reid added. The bill 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.

GAO Report as a Backdrop

An Oct. 13 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that rejected the findings of the USPS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) regarding USPS overpayments to the Civil Service Retirement System served as a backdrop to the deliberations. Two independent actuarial studies performed at the request of the OIG and PRC concluded that the USPS has overpaid $50 billion to $75 billion into the account, due to a faulty funding formula.

The OIG and PRC provided a vigorous rebuttal to the GAO report, and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) called it “terribly flawed.” Nonetheless, at the hearing, Rep. Buerkle and Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) cited the GAO findings and voiced reservations about their previous support for H.R. 1351, the bill postal unions are supporting.

The APWU issued a statement denouncing the GAO report, calling it “seriously flawed.”

“Fortunately, there are many in Congress who reject this discredited report and will continue to tell the truth about the need for reform and fairness on this issue,” the union said.

“The report was clearly designed to undermine support for H.R. 1351,” Reid said, “so APWU members will have to make sure members of Congress remain steadfast in their support for this important legislation.”

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. It would provide the USPS with financial stability it needs to modernize and adapt to changes in communication.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), has 226 co-sponsors – including 29 Republicans. The number of co-sponsors is significant because it represents a majority of the members of the House of Representatives; nonetheless, Rep. Issa has refused to allow it to come up for a vote.

“I am deeply disappointed that Rep. Issa would thwart the will of the majority and prevent Congress from debating a bill that has wide bipartisan support,” Guffey said. “But he will not be able to stop the American people for long!”

House Panel Approves Postal ‘Destruction’ Bill.

Related link:  Opinion: Congressmen Issa-Ross Ignores 226 of their colleagues on Postal Reform legislation.

19 thoughts on “House Panel Approves ‘Postal Destruction’ Bill

  1. I can’t help but wonder what kind of financial interest Mr. Issa has in seeing the Postal Service destroyed. He seems hell-bent on running it into the ground and then selling off the broken pieces to privatize the USPS. He stubbornly refuses to move HB 1351 out of committee and onto the floor for debate and a vote even with an overwhelming number of co-sponsors on board. I think a closer look into Mr. Issa’s finances is warranted.

  2. If you are so confident in your abilities Gregory…resign…that way stewards like myself won’t have to file anything….SCAB ; )

  3. To Gregory…. You are full of shi$. As soon as management wanted you to work days and or hours that you normally wouldnt work you would cry like a biaaatttch..

  4. i agree with bono there is no way the po can stay at 6 day delivery , saturday deliver is a wasted day with alot of greivances eliminate saturday delivery

  5. Mr. Guffey seems to forget that -since the very FIRST collective bargaiing agreements were ever signed, non-union members have literally been held hostage by being forced to abide by contracts with which they do NOT agree. I would GLADLY have forgone an COLA’s or wage step increases or any of the so-called “Benfits” the union touts to have the freedom to negotiate my OWN working relationship with management… you see, I’m secure enough in my abilities and the contributions I make to our workforce NOT to need the leaky umbrella of protection this most-corrupt union allegedly provides. BTW: in the world of corporate contract law, this kind of “one-for-all-all-for-one” situation is illegal. If I personally do not sign a contract -or ratify it through my personal vote- then I am NOT legally required to recognise it’s authority. Perhaps it’s time for non-union members to stand up and speak out against this form of illusory control over us.

  6. how come we don’t hear anything about Congress taking a pay cut after office. They get the same pay and benefits after they leave. Time to change the laws.

  7. It’;s clear that REP. ISSA do not care anything about working men and women!! Nor does he care about Americans after they have workedfor years and go into retirement! I guess he just want the wealthiest americans to live a decent life in their golden years. He and copngressmen who voted along with him, do not care about the state of the economy! The just want to make it worse, so more Americans will be in poverty and suffering! Shame on them! Call your congressmen, senators and the President, and let them know how you feel about all the detriment this 2309 bill will do to many americans citizens and their families if it is passed! Let’s hope all of congress and the President don’t think like ISSA does. He’s truly a idiot, and have any business being in office! All of them need to listen to Cong. Reid. Niothing ISSa is proposing would help the Postal Service stay solvent. This is what he suppose to be holding the Chairman office for. It’s a shame, he will not let the HR Bill 1351 come before the subcommittee, since they have over 220 backers. How can this be! Our country is going down the drain, with people in office like him!!!!

  8. Here is a great example of why congress has a 14% approval rating. Carriers, clerks, and the rural carriers are the most trusted federal workers. Lord help us all (Americans) if they ever get their way and privatize the PO…They’ve taken a great job, killed the morale, and are trying to drive a stake through the Postal Services’ heart. What will they do when they won’t have USPS’s billfold to rob anymore?

  9. As was said in the mark up, those new employees wont know where the restrooms are let alone which side of the stamp to lick.

    80% + $50K = ELIMINATED. Hope to hear from you soon 🙂

  10. Many employees eligible to retire are awaiting an earlout with pay. This group needs to be eliminated; forced retirement. OPM SHOULD NOTIFY AS TO DATE OF RETIREMENT AND OPTIONS AVAILABLE. Employees who have years but lack age should not be penalized 2%. eLIMINATE SMALL OFFICES WITHIN A 4-5 MILE RADIUS OF LARGER OFFICIES. Demographics has changed community layouts over the years. Horse and buggy transportation is history and many of the formers community offices are now surburban area of larger towns.
    6 day mail delivery is a wasted cost as it has no revelance to communications in the 21st century. Ignore cost reduction and continue to operateat a loss and someday Congress and PRC will have to stop the waste that now exist in USPS.

  11. Those of us on immediate retirement want the full 80% and a yrs pay cash in a suit case. Just call us into the supervisors office to sign the papers.

    If not go suck?

  12. Give anybody who is eligible for early retirement 3 years and 15k, RIF those on immediate retirement, and privitize all but the rural routes. Let be done and over with it.

  13. Issa, is the biggest corrupted person in Congress, how he became so rich. No one ever try to investigate him. Seems to me he is the second Suddam, who is ruining his own people. He should be out of the office, sooner and early is out of congress is better for the people of the country and for the country. He is not capable to perform his duty. IG should investigate his hole where he hide his wealth, IRS should inverstigate his wealth and his taxes. He will be running out like mouse. This mouse can only be busted if the Cat the (Federal Agents) catch him. If he really want to favor the bill ask him and his team to work in Postal Plant sort mail on automation, work with mail handler, and then deliver the mail for 3 years. Report to work on time like we do. He regrest that we deliver mail free for each and every congressman, senate, to each and every person who serve the country overseas or in war. It’s not congressman Issac who deliver the mail to those who serve and protect our country it’s the postal employee. congressman Issac should see that when he point his one finger at us, his own four point to himself, stating that “Mr Issac that we may be dirty little, but you are totally dirty”.

  14. early out incentives…. $50 k…… like the auto industry.please.

    issa needs to be investigated.

  15. In September 2011, the group American Family Voices filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Issa, alleging that he has repeatedly used his public office for personal financial gain.
    The guy is the richest Congressmen in the history of Congress.
    How does that happen?
    He is so shady it is scary.
    He does not play with a full deck.
    Why aren’t Federal agents of the law investigating him?
    People are always scratching their heads saying there is something not right with him.
    He should not even be in Congress.
    How does a guy like him go into Congress with a hundred thousand dollars to his name and now he is the richest Congressman in the USA.
    How does that happen?
    Someone tell me.

  16. simple math…last 4 years USPS minus 20 billion….last 4 years US treasury has taken 22 billion from USPS as “pre-funding” for retirees who are not even born yet…if not for pre-funding USPS would have MADE 2 BILLION over last 4 years in this rotten economy

Comments are closed.