Senators Introduce 21st Century Postal Service Act

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, which oversees the U.S. Postal Service, joined Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Scott Brown (R-Maine) to introduce the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011. His statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Over the past several months, Americans have realized the hard truth that the Postal Service is on the verge of financial collapse. Our troubled economy – coupled with the continued migration to electronic forms of communication – is putting the future of the Postal Service in jeopardy, and it’s happening faster than anyone ever expected even just a few years ago. If we do nothing, we face a future without the valuable services the Postal Service provides. And if the Postal Service were to shut down, the impact on our economy would be dramatic.

“Although the situation is dire, it’s not hopeless. With the right tools and quick action from Congress and the Administration, the Postal Service can reform, right-size and modernize. The bill I introduced with Senators Lieberman, Collins and Brown presents a comprehensive and bipartisan solution to the Postal Services’ financial challenges that would keep it from collapse, protect the millions of jobs that rely on it, and enable this critical American institution to reform its business operations so it can continue to serve the American public for years to come. The time to act is now. It is my hope that Congress and the Administration can come together on this plan in order to save the Postal Service before it’s too late.”

Buyouts and Retirement Incentives
The bill would give the Postmaster General access to the money the United States Postal Service (the Postal Service or USPS) has overpaid into one of its pension funds (FERS) and use it to offer buyouts or retirement incentives to reduce the active postal workforce by 100,000 or more employees over the next several years. The incentives could include either a cash buyout of up to $25,000 (the cap for federal worker buyouts) or credited service years toward retirement annuity: up to one year for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees and up to two for FERS employees. Any funds remaining after the Postal Service has completed this incentive program may be used to repay debt and meet obligations related to workers’ compensation, pensions, and retiree health. USPS has estimated that reducing its workforce by 100,000 would save up to $8 billion annually.

Health Care Savings
The bill would immediately begin a 40 year amortized payment schedule for the Postal Service is to fund retirees’ health benefits. It would also reduce the pre-fund goal to 80%. The bill also allows the amount of these payments to be reduced if the Postmaster General and postal union representatives are able to reach consensus on a health plan that significantly reduces this liability. The Postal Service and its unions would have until September 2012 to negotiate a separate USPS health insurance plan. The bill would also require any retirees eligible for Medicare who are not enrolled in Parts A and B to enroll and directs the Postal Service to work with OPM to develop Medigap-like plans (with the same benefit level that employees receive under the current system) within FEHB for postal retirees and their dependants.

Workers’ Compensation Reforms
Right now, there are thousands of workers’ compensation beneficiaries over the age of retirement who are still receiving workers’ compensation benefits, even though they’ll likely never return to work. The bill contains critical reforms across the government (not just USPS) to rationalize the program and restore its original purpose: to help injured workers rehabilitate and return to work whenever possible.

The bill would set compensation for new enrollees under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) at 66 2/3 percent of salary at the time of injury until they reach retirement age. At retirement age, compensation would be reduced to 50 percent of salary at the time of injury. Compensation for current workers compensation recipients would not be changed if they are permanently and totally disabled and unable to work. The remaining beneficiaries over retirement age would receive 66 2/3 percent of their salary at the time of injury, starting three years after enactment. Current beneficiaries under retirement age would receive 66 2/3 percent of salary at time of injury starting three years after enactment, and then, upon reaching retirement age, 50 percent of pay at the time of injury.

The bill would also increase certain compensation amounts for death and disfigurement. The bill would make also a number of changes aimed at helping workers’ compensation beneficiaries return to work, such as the development of and compliance with back-to-work plans and the expansion of the Department of Labor’s authority to temporarily place recipients in new jobs. It would also take a number of steps to combat fraud.

Arbitration Standards
The bill would require that arbitrators deciding a contract dispute between the Postal Service and labor organizations take into consideration the following factors when rendering a binding decision: 1) the financial condition of the Postal Service; 2) the requirement in law that USPS consider comparability of wages and benefits to those offered in the private sector; and 3) the polices of Title 39, the section of the U.S. Code that deals with all matters of postal law.

Limitations on Five-Day Delivery
The bill would prohibit the Postal Service from implementing its plan to eliminate Saturday delivery for at least two years. The implementation could only move forward if the following conditions are met: 1) the Postal Service identifies customers who may be affected disproportionately by five-day delivery and develops remedies; 2) the Postal Service makes full use of its authorities under current law and the new authorities and mandates included in this bill to increase revenue and reduce costs; and 3) after implementing all other savings options, the Postal Service determines that a five-day schedule is still necessary to achieve sustainability. Once that decision is made, and demonstrated through careful financial analysis, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would review the Postal Service’s financial situation, projections, and the adequacy of the savings initiatives already implemented in order to determine whether the implementation of five-day delivery is financially necessary. The Postal Service would not be able to implement a five-day schedule unless the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) has found that the Comptroller General has made a determination that doing so is financially necessary.

Streamlining Delivery
Under current practices, postal customers who don’t rent post office boxes receive delivery in a number of ways: some receive mail at their door while others receive it in mail boxes at their curb or at centrally-located stations at the end of their block or in a residential building. The bill would authorize the Postal Service, where feasible, to deliver to curbside, sidewalk, or centralized mailboxes rather than to door delivery points no later than 2015. This change could save the Postal Service billions every year.

Retail service standards
The bill would require the Postal Service to develop service standards to guarantee customers a certain level of access to retail services, whether at a post office or an alternative to a post office. The Postal Service must develop the standard, in consultation with the PRC, based on factors such as geography, population, and the availability of transportation. Communities concerned that a proposed closure violates a standard could challenge the proposal before the PRC.

Processing Facilities
The bill would require the Postal Service to complete a study prior to the closure of a processing facility. The study must evaluate the option of downsizing rather than closing the facility. The bill would also establish a rigorous public comment opportunity and require a response to those comments from the Postal Service as well as documentation that important factors have been considered prior to closure.

New Products and Services
The bill would allow the Postal Service to offer non-postal products or services if the PRC has determined that the products and services: 1) make use of USPS’s processing, transportation, delivery, retail network, or technology; 2) are consistent with the public interest and a demonstrated demand for the Postal Service to offer them; 3) do not create unfair competition with the private sector; and 4) have the potential to improve the Postal Service’s financial condition. The bill would also allow the Postal Service to offer services on behalf of state and local governments as it does today on behalf of federal agencies and to ship wine and beer like its private-sector competitors do.

Section by Section Review of the 21st Century Postal Service Act P 21

48 thoughts on “Senators Introduce 21st Century Postal Service Act

  1. After 26 years for the USPS, offer me 4or 5 years, and the $25,000 (or no cash) and I will leave. If I could get the S.S. supplemental for time served, I would be gone tomorrow, even with the reduced pension. Color me gone. It’s all about the social security supplement. I can’t support my family without it, and even then I would have to make some changes. But I would to get out a.s.a.p. I’m tired of all the BS too. For those postal employees who are eligible to retire, but don’t, shouldn’t get the cash. But those of us who are just short a few years, we would love to retire. And the added years and cash would certainly bring about the results that the USPS is looking for. So, this is a heads-up, Congress, USPS, politicians and employees. Get REAL and make it happen.

  2. So who is going to pay for all of the centralizing of themail boxes? Not the post office, they dont even want to oay for the changing of the locks!

  3. Im 56 sons in HS, Daughter living at home 1 year out of HS no job yet.

    CSRS and I want my 80%, were robbers now? tell you what 50K & 80% and will go.

    Till then wait your turn. Blame Congress for this mess not us.

    Your the robbers.

  4. NO early out for leeches 65+ who make no real contribution to task at hand but are awaiting an early out expecting $25000. offer. Lay them off in order to make them illeligible for any pay to retire.
    This group robs younger employees with families that must get hours to meet family financial needs.

  5. JOKE. now evrybody will laugh at the 1 year time because they know the next one will be 5 years to get out 30000 idiots do they really think were friggen stupid. I hat my wife I want 12 years and the 25000 to get me to stayn home with her idiots wake up

  6. Are you guys living on the same planet as I am 1 year at 2 percent and get rid of 100
    000 I can’t believe this nonsence. You offer that now and you’ll get maybe 10000 maybe and then what 90000 to go forget about it 15 percent of work force is civil service thats 100000 and the bottom has 28 years in 1 year thats 29 years you know how much cut in pay that is. This has to be a joke. 3 years won’t get 40000 out Im so tired of fantacy land to max out 100000 would take 12 years and some won’t go at that i need a beer

  7. the auto workers unio ratified reduction in salary, why not here before all this?

    untill usps is stabilized… and after the prepayment for retirement fund is settled( now 50% settled after the current bill)
    for those making more than 100,000$ = 23% cut
    for those making more than 75,000$- 17% cut
    I think for those who make more than 55,000$ -cut 15% ( will include a large chunk of management people who are directly resposible for this mess, also those who get perks out of others hard work)
    those who make less than 55,000$-35,000 that -10% cut
    for those part timers who make less than (national avg for poverty line, including what the whole family makes) no cut
    for those transitional, part-timers who make less than 15 hrs a week – no cut

    usps pays 2 billion$ per month or more average cut of 17% will make a savings of 5 billion$ or more –witthout any heart break for any one except for “pay cut” pain + trimming excess(not indiscriminately chopping off big branches

  8. the 25k , if 2 or 3 years were added, would get the 100,ooo + out.
    i doubt the desired number would go without the added years.

  9. I passed on the last incentive of $15,000 – no time was to be given – I’m thinking about taking this one if they add enough years – will only be one year short – can handle 2% loss – I’m just sick of the BS – don’t want to be there to train the new employees (whatever they are calling them now) that will be taking my job!

  10. Another Panel wants to shrink more federal workers?

    “This can all be summed up with do more with less. They are planning on reducing the workforce by 10%, hiring 1 for every 3 that leave federal service means that 1 will be doing the work of 3 people. The result will be less attention being paid to the work they are doing and/or work setting around not being done because there are only 8 hours in a day to do it, (no overtime authorized). The end result is it will be beneficial to the government to contract this out and pay two contractors to do the work of the other 2 out of 3 that left at a higher cost. Politicians need to stop shooting themselves in the foot with this type of legislation, pass another bill that sets up the federal workforce for failure. Then the federal workforce gets accused of being inefficient because they are following the rules imposed on them. Getting re-elected is more important than solving the problem. Balancing the budget is easy don’t spend more then you have in your pocket. You don’t need a degree from Harvard or Yale to figure this one out. Too many politicians have been educated beyond their abilities, we have a bunch of educated idiots running the show. The brilliance of politicians caused the mess we are in today. Turn our country back over to the people?.”

    Thats the new thing, do more with less.

  11. FYI- Postal Boys and Girls that think they are the P.O. you two Issa an Ross

    This just in just, like you care.

    No one likes the government, and few trust it.

    Perhaps for this reason, there seems to be a growing disconnect between the American people and the federal government.

    Keep up the good work and great service

  12. On this morning news, Channel 7 news states one out of fourteen americans are living in poverty about 20.5 million people.

    Be careful before you fogs leap. rib-it

  13. three potential incentives available to them in order of the cost to the Post Service.

    ■VERA with no cash payment and no increase in service time – this option when offered has had a negligible impact on the normal retirement related attrition rate at the Postal Service
    ■Retirement with service time adjustment – this offers a 2% increase in CSRS or FERS pension benefits over the life of the pension. For someone earning a $30,000 a year pension this would equal a $600.00 annual increase in benefit. The actual benefit depends on the size of the pension. The added pension costs could be amortized over many years so that the Postal Service would have only a small up-front cost of offering the incentive.
    ■Cash payment – Currently the maximum cash incentive that the Postal Service can offer is $25,000. It does not have to offer that amount. In the past, the Postal Service has offered incentives of $15,000 and $20,000. In both cases the incentive was spread over two years to reduce the impact on the Postal Service’s cash flow. Paying the incentive over two years may have some tax benefits for the recipient of the incentive.

    After passage of the Senate bill, the Postal Service will then be free to choose among these three incentives during its restructuring process. Logically, the Postal Service would offer the smallest incentive necessary to get the needed bump in retirements that it desires.

    Cash payments are likely to be used when it has to reduce employment rapidly. For example, the requirement that the Postal Service close regional and area offices forces a rapid reduction in retirement eligible employees that would require cash payments to avoid RIF’s. A simultaneous elimination of multiple mail processing plants in one region at the same time would also trigger a need for a rapid reduction in retirement eligible employees.

    The less generous increased pension benefit incentive would appear to make sense only in cases when the Postal Service needs to encourage employees that are already planning to retire to retire a year or two earlier. This would be most likely to occur as part of the Postal Service’s retail, processing, and delivery restructuring if that restructuring is staggered over multiple years.

    The smaller incentives suggest that getting 100,000 Postal Service employees to retire early, as Politico reported, will be extremely difficult unless normal retirement rates would result in a significant portion of the 100,000 retiring anyway.

  14. The bill would give the Postmaster General access to the money the United States Postal Service (the Postal Service or USPS) has overpaid into one of its pension funds (FERS) and use it to offer buyouts or retirement incentives to reduce the active postal workforce by 100,000 or more employees over the next several years

    Other thoughts? If you dont have 80% and can still hang?

    Why run now? Why not stay for several more years adding 2% more to your retirement for each year served while making 100%?

    When the fat lady sing (THIS IS IT) in the next several years take the buyout then?

    After giving it back in taxes its not really that much, whatever you buy will be taxed on top of what the Feds & State skim off up front.


  15. “The bill would give the Postmaster General access to the money the United States Postal Service (the Postal Service or USPS) has overpaid into one of its pension funds (FERS)”

    Kiss that money goodbye

  16. This is the Best it will Get. Take the Money or Years and RUN! Don’t be afraid. Most of us working still and those that have 30 plus years should be Glad. Listen…most of us will not live past 76 (National Average?)…. So do the Math! Not including the years you will not be getting around very easy! THINK PEOPLE


  18. Ughhhhh, Your full of it, dismatle the republic super committees say goodbye to Issa/ Ross, Obama 4 more years. The Republic party is only looking out for the rich and wall street and will lose more seats and wont have a president for years to come. The Partys over.

  19. Better watch out for what will be done to your health benefits. P.O. trying to start their own health coverge – big mistake like everything else they try to run – right into the ground!! CSRS get a whopping 2% more, LOL. FERS get more if you are older – LOL. Creepy management still around. Limit by law is ONLY $25,000, then those ‘helpful’ senators should change that limit and make the amount higher. They are trying their best to force people to retire, scare you into retiement.
    Get rid of O-Bummer, and everything will improve. Get rid of some of those unions that start trouble with protesters, unions only in it for themselves, not the workers. Occupy protesters should figure out that since O-Bummer took office, everything has gone downhill.
    Vote for someone qualified, NOT O-Bummer.

  20. Well old jimbob with what litle was offered to reduce the work force by the thousand?

    Will just have to ride it out to the bitter end.

    Till then the show must go on

  21. Botto mline: revenue generation is negative; operations must be cost effective to eliminate operating bottomline loss. Revenue will continue to decline as demand for USPS service and products is decreasing and will continue to do so. The USPS lost its position as the communications connector in the 21st century. Technological advances in communications electronics has made the USPS a past need relic of the 20th century. Volume will continue to decrease resulting in zero generation. Reform and modernize per the USPS must eliminate services that make no contribution to individuals and businesses. The ultimate wasted cost is 6 day street address delivery. Sat. street address mail delivery is a total waste as it is not revealant to communication process for individuals and businesses. The INTERNET connects instantly and does not require a postage stamp for a 1-2 day delivery time; people connect electronically via I phones, smart phones, tablets, texting and other APPS comming on line constantly. The USPS primary product is bulk business advertising sales mail referred to as JUNK MAIL. E marketing will also decrease this volume. Sat. mail delivery waste petroleumn products in fueling 292,000+ vehicles plus carrier manpower.
    Politicans must do due dilligence in devising cost effective means to reduce employees, headquarters management, postmasters, area-district duplications of management positions, consolidation and elimination of offices that changing demographics has made unnecessary as many small offices that were once community rural are now suburban with a close radius.
    Outsource custodial and maintenance needs.
    Concentrate on core markets which is centered around advertising mail and parcel delivery. First class volume as a signifigant revenue source is history as government agencies are requiring direct deposit(Social Security 2013) treasury checks direct deposit. Businesses reward customers for going paperless.
    USPS must balance workforce to workneeds to meet bottomline breakeven point as it was reorganized to do in 1960s.

  22. What a bunch of crybaby dreamers. You are not going to get 3-5 yrs added on or $25,ooo. You should have planned for retirement instead you probably lived off overtime

  23. joke,
    like our apwu contract
    this going to get ugly, they are going to close plants and just let the employees go wholesale
    don’t buy a house, a car
    get ready
    i repeat….get ready

  24. At least there are three senators who care about the Postal Service staying solvent and keeping americans working or to have DECENT RETIREMENT! Still the CRS overpayment pension worht $75 billion is not on the table to be paid back to the Postal Service. What about this money! This would really put the Postal Service back in the black, and keep the mail deliovery and processing as it presently is. Also is Darell Issa 2309 bill still on the floor where he is trying to force 15 years and above employees to retire without a decent retirement? This definitely does not take care of all the Postal Service or employees who do the processing and delivering of the mail daily that keep the american people door to door service everyday. Thanks again to Susan Collins and Liberman and Capers figthing for americans jobs.

  25. Tweakable. But giving control of any resources to the Postmaster General, who has been consistently trying to run the PO into the ground, is asking the skunk to quit smelling. They might also offer a choice of more cash/less years or vis a versa for those who have more bills to pay as they leave. Running, or even tempting off workers into bankruptcy will not help the overall budget crisis. Anyone leaving should also be counseled that they will not receive a timely paycheck with which to pay a few months bills with, either. Just as I predicted…..Issa is now a moot point. He was white noise, “fluff and awe”!

  26. This bill is Issa lite and is a piece of trash. This bill should be fought as hard as we are fighting the Issa bill. So much for the Dems being our friend.

  27. dear john:
    keep dreaming.
    do you actually think that the tea party fools in the House will go for that?
    THEY want to DISMANTLE the Postal Service, negate Union contracts, LOWER your wages and FORCE YOU TO RETIRE.
    the issa/ross bill is the ONLY ONE that will hit the House Floor and be voted on.

  28. Remember folks this is just a start. There is nothing to prevent the Senators from upping the years added to service and since they wrote the VSIP there is nothing that says they cannot change it. This is the first serious step toward a solution. It may become apparent to Senators that $25000 or adding 1 year will not be sufficient to get the I00,000 they seek. I think that if they offer somewhere between 3-5 added + $25,000 they can approach the number of retirements they seek .I know many will think this is wishful thinking but many of you who will say that also said a proposal like this one would never come.

  29. 25K OR and I repeat OR one year added on your service for CSRS? No thanks, I will stay for that little to nothing so called incentive. Do the math. They could offer 3-5 years added on and still save a ton of money starting in the first year. 25K minus taxes paid right back to the gov’t equals 15K. Senators, once again you are offering a carrott to the ones that were ALREADY going to leave. If you want to change some minds about staying you have to do a lot better than that.

  30. Remember one thing. The legislation that started this whole mess stemmed from the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The president who signed the bill also “inserted” a number of Board of Governors in 2006 who have at no end, been attempting to dismantle the USPS. At the very lease, derail it. This information is verifiable and accurate.

    Lets hope the board of governors sees some replacements in the next few years that will help repair the service, not dismantle it.

  31. The big buyout in 1992 (5yrs & 1/2 yrs wages) was designed to shed 85K jobs during an economic “boom” time (comparatively) when the USPS had close to 700k employees. Result were so far below expectations the USPS had to ‘beef up’ the numbers using Postal Math and gimmicks:

    *Some managers were forced to retire and later won MSPB suits getting back pay and other compensation.
    *Remember when front-line stuporvisors were EAS 15? In a brilliant act of subterfuge USPS abolished all level 15s and reported to Congress these jobs were were abolished and the wonderful incentives was a HUGE SUCCESS! The next day all these witless pawns were promoted to EAS 17s and somehow Congress was never informed. But, it looked REAL good on paper.

    With tough economic times around the corner (both sides of the corner actually) it’s not a time for tight-fistedness if downsizing the workforce is really so important. Stingy leavings will inevitably garner results falling far short of expectations.

    According to Vigalente (USPS HR guy) the USPS sheds 30k jobs each year to attrition. These proposed incentives will give the guys who were already planning on retirement a little icing on the cake (ie the buyout offering 15k over 2 yrs had a slight spike in overall retirement and then dipped in following years to average out).

    CONCLUSION: These wimpy incentives will not get a fraction of the number to retire that our vaunted Senators hope to glean from the pack. 100k? HA!!!!

  32. I retired from the USPS 6 years ago after 32 years of service. I am glad to see that a serious attempt is being made to keep the USPS in full scale operation into the distant future. The USPS has served this country well for over 230 years. For most of that time it was the main means of communication across the continent. If the USPS were to be disbanded private corporations would never be able or willing to provide the door to door service that the USPS has for such a reasonable price. I certainly hope that Congress passes this bill or a similar one that will keep the USPS operating forever.

  33. that looks like a good bill…. something i could believe in, as opposed to the issa-ross bill, which would destroy the postal service, and many dedicated, loyal, hard working postal clerks and carriers.
    i wonder if any incentives would be limited to those elligible to retire, or would it include those of us that are within 2 or 3 years ?/

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