APWU: The Threat of Privatization – From Within

Postal workers are under constant attack by the forces of privatization. Unfortunately, this group includes the Postmaster General, members of the Board of Governors, some members of Congress and others.

Privatization is a clear and present danger — facility by facility, operation by operation, and job by job.

It appears the Postmaster General took a right turn – downhill on Rep. Issa’s bandwagon.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Postmaster General for the recognition that he has earned — as an advocate of privatization of postal services.

Like so many postal workers, I am outraged that the PMG submitted legislative proposals to Congress in August that would abrogate our contract — less than four months after he signed it.

The Postal Service’s proposals seek to eliminate our protection against layoffs, and were accompanied by the announcement that the USPS planned to reduce the workforce by 220,000, and would need to lay off approximately 120,000 workers to reach that goal. The PMG also proposed to remove postal workers from the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and federal retirement programs – which would provide a major pathway toward privatization of the Postal Service.

Yet earlier this year, the Postal Service, postal unions and management associations all recognized that we should focus our efforts on legislation that would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that requires the USPS to prefund 75 years of healthcare benefits for future retirees in a 10-year period.

So what happened?

Issa’s Bill

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is what happened.

In June 2011, Rep. Issa introduced a bill (H.R 2309) that constitutes an irresponsible attack on postal workers and the Postal Service. The bill was designed to drastically reduce service to the American people by establishing a commission that would order billions of dollars worth of post office closures and facility closures within two years. This bill would enhance further contracting out of mail processing and retail services to the private sector.

The bill also would create a “solvency authority” with the power to unilaterally modify collective bargaining agreements any time the USPS defaults on “any obligation to the federal government for more than 30 days.” In addition, the board would be empowered to cut wages, abolish benefits, and end our protection against layoffs.

Furthermore, at the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreements, it would increase employees’ costs for healthcare coverage and life insurance; eliminate the right to bargain over these benefits, and allow the USPS to end Saturday delivery.

We must ensure that Congress rejects H.R. 2309

Downhill on Issa’s Bandwagon

So what about the Postmaster General? Somewhere along the road, it appears he made a right turn — downhill on Issa’ bandwagon.

The PMG’s treacherous actions against postal workers and their unions didn’t end with the proposals announced in August.

On Sept. 21, a House subcommittee approved Rep. Issa’s Postal “Destruction” Act, and on Oct. 13, the full Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed the bill. Before each vote, Rep. Issa amended the bill to include additional provisions that are even more outrageous than those contained in the original legislation.

Unfortunately, the PMG’s fingerprints are all over the bill — which is designed to restrict collective bargaining and dismantle the United States Postal Service so that it will be ripe for privatization.

In addition to establishing a control board to carry out layoffs, the amended bill would prohibit the union and the Postal Service from negotiating protections against layoffs in the future.

The bill also would negatively affect workers who are injured on duty. It includes a provision that would cut the monthly compensation of totally disabled employees from 66.66 percent to 50 percent once they meet the age and service requirements for retirement. It also would force disabled employees to retire as soon as they are eligible.

Our Work

We have our work cut out for us. We must ensure that Congress rejects H.R. 2309.

Despite the PMG’s treachery, we must focus our efforts on saving America’s Postal Service. The first order of business is getting Congress to correct the requirement to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, which forces the USPS to fund a 75-year liability in a period of just 10 years. The USPS must be allowed to use the billions of dollars in pension overpayments to meet its financial obligations.

Massive job cuts, reductions in service, extensive closures of post offices and mail processing facilities, and tampering with collective bargaining are unnecessary and unjustified.

Click here for news about the Sept. 27, 2011 Save America’s Postal Service rallies.
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Sept. 27 Rallies

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the rallies on Sept. 27 to Save America’s Postal Service, especially those officers, stewards and activists who worked so hard on such short notice to organize the events. There were close to 500 rallies on the same day — at least one in nearly every congressional district in the country.

This is the first time that the four unions, the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union and National Rural Letter Carriers Association, joined together for a common cause. If we are to be successful, it cannot be the last. Even the National Association of Postal Supervisors went on record in support of the rallies.

Thanks to your efforts, more than 220 U.S. representatives are co-sponsoring H.R. 1351, the bill introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) that would allow the USPS to use pension fund overpayments to offset future retiree health care fund liabilities. Unfortunately, having a majority of representatives co-sponsor a bill is not a guarantee that it will pass – or even come up for a vote.

We are fighting for our lives, against those who would destroy us. It is crucial that APWU members stay active and participate.


(This article was first published in the November/December 2011 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

11 thoughts on “APWU: The Threat of Privatization – From Within

  1. I heard today that the PMG doesn’t want to pay anything to get people to retire because he said he doesn’t know how the PO is going to continue to make payroll. I have one idea, get the $80,000.00 bonus checks back he gave his vice-president. That’s a start. What a total dumb ass. Does any of these mental midgets have any business skills?

  2. I looked at Issa in wiki( please do so in if you have not). you will understand where does bill 23 dash dash comes from… it is easy for anyone to reflect ones ownselves belief on the whole community!… real hero does not do this necessarily.

    any one with common sense can expect consequences of pvtztn: sky high mail prices when this great machine is dismantled for sure ( then every one except corporate owners and their supporting politicians, will be for sure loosers in some aspect or other)

    fedex and ups: have profits even when they claim their labor charges are 20% lesser (but their products are costly compared to usps)

    facts: 1) the govt mandated prefunding (6 billon or so per year) has somehow crept in to the calculations of the labor charges for usps. actually usps labor charges are comparable to the private company, if that 6 billon or more is taken out of the labor compensation calculation by the legislation ( this in my view is called cooking up, but for what! )
    2) fedex and ups depend on usps to complete their delivery. they feed on their network to make profits!

  3. Folks,

    You need to be very careful what you say about your authority.

    Respect the position even if you don’t like the person. He has been placed over you for a reason.

    Mainly to build character.

    If he abuses power, he will be removed or his attitude will change. Until then you must submit.

    Let every soul be subject to the higher power …

  4. Hey Gregg…tell all your constituents about the money donated to Issa’s campaign during 09-10 by the APWU. OCCUPY APWU by sending in your PS Form 1188 !

  5. Exactly^ keep eating up the bs these supposed unions are feeding you. We need a union that does not make a dime past what the highest level craft employee they represent makes. Why am I not able to give myself big fat incentives taken from my own dues. I am the union member on the ground doing the actual work. Why can’t I make six figures like these officers?

  6. This shithead is Goofball Guffeys under the desk boy, if the Union cared, they would have fought for VER, so we can get out of working carrier positions that we are being excessed into, we have a job, right , after 20-30 years you have to leave the craft?, where is the APWU, partying at Burrus tropical island mansion, not kidding you, these top APWU whackos are retired and living it up on massive paychecks and unlimited expenses, drop out , screw them assholes, no VER, no dues !.

  7. Can’t come up with round-trip tix to Wash DC? You can Occupy APWU HQ easily by filling out your PS 1188 today! Do it before the next round of dues increases and assessments coming round the bend brought to you by your union!

  8. What took them so long at the National APWU to realize that we’re being privatized from the inside out. Most of the rank and file saw this coming long ago. Now, the question, what are they going to do about it?

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