Update: Congress Refuses to Tax the Rich, But New Postal, Federal Workers Must Pay

Current Workers Still in Jeopardy

Published reports indicate that the latest deal to extend the 2 percent payroll tax holiday would require only new postal workers and federal employees to pay more for their retirement benefits. The increase would be used to fund another portion of the bill, which extends unemployment benefits.

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The latest compromise, which excludes current employees from the increased cost, was reached at the insistence of a group of Democratic lawmakers. The agreement has not been finalized, and complete details of the agreement are not yet known.

Current Workers Still in Danger

However, another bill, which could be voted on in the Republican-controlled House at any time, would cut pensions for current postal and federal employees, while increasing the contributions the workers must make toward their retirement. H.R. 3813 would increase the amount postal and federal employees contribute to their retirement by 1.5 percent, with the increase phased in over three years, beginning in 2013.

In addition, employees with less than five years of service would face an increase of 3.2 percent. The bill also would reduce pensions for employees with less than five years of service by calculating annuities based on the average of employees’ high-five salary years instead of their high-three years, which is the current method. In addition, their pensions would be calculated at a lower rate of 0.7 percent per year, down from 1 percent.

The measure also would eliminate the supplemental annuity provision, which augments benefits for employees who retire before they are eligible for Social Security benefits at age 62.

H.R. 3813 was pushed through the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by a pair of politicians who are well-known opponents of postal workers: Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL). The two are co-sponsors of H.R. 2309, a bill that would destroy the Postal Service as we know it.

The committee approved H.R. 3813 in a party-line vote, 22-16, with Republicans voting in favor of the retirement cuts and Democrats voting against.

Contact Your Legislators NOW!

“No one else is being asked to pay more — certainly not the banks or corporations,” said APWU Legislative Director Myke Reid.

Union President Cliff Guffey also condemned the move. “Congressional Republicans scream whenever there is a hint of raising taxes on the richest 1 percent,” he said, “but when it comes to taxing postal and federal employees, they’re all for it.”

“I encourage union members to contact their senators and representatives and tell them this is a raw deal,” the union president said. “Ask them to stop Congress from balancing the budget on the backs of public servants.” Call the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 and the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121.


5 thoughts on “Update: Congress Refuses to Tax the Rich, But New Postal, Federal Workers Must Pay

  1. you commies need too go owt and git reel jobs. git off your marksist free ride. and rich peeple is reely herting rite now.

  2. NY

    The GOP Party Line–Today, Mitt Romney, son of George “Brainwashed” Romney, does not blame the Pentagon for his views on unions, but follows a script against unions written by the Koch superPAC and affiliates. Money from the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and others happily portray unions as a socialist plot to wreck the “free market”, a notion that has the blessing of the GOP.

    In point of fact, however, unions are more American than they, if American means working for a more equitable share of a common enterprise. Our history is the struggle of ordinary Americans to realize a better way of life, in all senses.

    Even the GOP School of Entrepreneurship 101 tells us when an entrepreneur gets income from his investment of time, labor, expertise / education and/or materials, this is called “fair return” for his labors.

    Likewise, “Joe”, the autoworker and entrepreneur, after investment of time and training, is entitled to a fair return for his own labors. That return (and profit), the GOP tells us, is the glorious engine of progress in the American economy.

    Put another way, all factory workers, from management to the assembly line, are workers and entrepreneurs entitled to a fair return and profit.

    Entrepreneurship applies in all cases, the GOP tells us– except when the entrepreneur wears an assembly-line uniform. Yes, given to convenient self-conTradiction, the GOP– the self-styled “party of the entrepreneur”– is actually hostile to entrepreneurs who also happen to be assembly-line workers and union members.

    Apparently, only when an entrepreneur meets the qualification of wealth, does the GOP decide the entrepreneur is one of its own. Suitable candidates include nearly bankrupt corporate CEOs, nearly bankrupt Wall Street fund managers and bankers, and that arch anti-patriot and politically bankrupt demagogue, George W. Bush. Not to mention Mitt Romney.

    The Ultimate GOP Hypocrisy–A livable wage is the issue– one that lets a union family buy the house in about 30 years, affords medical care and lets the kids attend college, if they wish.

    But that involves money which management never has liked to share with fellow workers.

    A fair wage is the issue. In 2008, UAW wages averaged $28 hourly, not the untruth about $73 hourly the GOP floated just before its election defeat. By comparison, the non-union worker at an American plant of Honda or Toyota makes $20 to $26 hourly.

    And UAW wage scales let UAW hires start at $14 hourly, entirely in line with current labor rates.

    Yet, have we heard the GOP and Mitch McConnell or the sages of Faux News condemn American executive pay scales? Not until the Wall Street crash, we haven’t. Yet, average CEO pay at a large American corporation is around $12 million, versus only $1.2 million for a comparable CEO in Japan.

    Moreover, Wall Street-style perks have been the rule for more than two decades (and directly responsible for widespread damage to shareholder value and assets). Yet, little unrest about executive pay from the same people now complaining about union hourly wage or national competitiveness.

    When Bank America distributed $4 billion in bonuses to executives after a year of disaster, that dramatically defined the “dent in national competitiveness” the GOP wants to blame on union wages.

    This dual standard– or call it the hypocrisy it is– about union wages vs. executive pay runs deeply in the GOP, as well as circles of the American Enterprise Institute, and Cato and Hoover Institutes.

    Creator of the American Middle Class–In fact, unions have helped maintain the American standard of living. Robert Reich explains the radical concentration of wealth just before the Great Depression probably ushered in that disaster. Not surprisingly, only when unions began to flourish in the 1930’s did income begin to diffuse to most Americans again.

    Unions made a massive contribution to American prosperity, putting wages at a level where millions of workers could enjoy a middle-class living. And by so doing, unions undersigned this country’s claim of upward mobility. Without unions, we would lack the American middle class we so often take for granted.

    Likewise, were it not for unions, millions of sharecropper black American families in the South would have had no economic future but as slaves of the Jim Crow system. Unions are also a boon to Hispanic Americans. With too many of the GOP, unions are a racial mobility issue and threat to a white-only zone of comfort.

    Finally, the GOP canard about union wages symbolizes the hypocritical stance of the party about Detroit, and the rest of the country. GOP spokesmen say nothing about Detroit perks, limousines, redesigned offices, golden parachutes or corporate jets, but love to sing false choruses about union wages and health care costs.

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