21ST CENTURY POSTAL SERVICE ACT OF 2012 with additional views
TITLE I: POSTAL WORKFORCE MATTERS
Section 101—Treatment of surplus contributions to Federal Employees
Retirement System (FERS)
This section requires a calculation of the Postal Service’s FERS balance each year, and directs any overpayment to be transferred to the Postal Service, upon request of the Postmaster General. For fiscal years 2011 through 2013, a portion of this overpayment is to be used for retirement incentives, including buyouts (up to the existing cap for federal workers of $25,000 for any one individual) or additional service credits under section 102. If there are additional funds remaining, these may be used by the Postal Service for certain other items such as repaying debt, workers’ compensation payments, paying down the retiree health liability and pension obligations.
Section 102—Additional service credit
This section allows the Postal Service (through OPM) to offer up to one year of credited service for individuals in the CSRS pension system and up to two years for individuals in FERS as an incentive to encourage retirement. Thus, an individual who needed 30 years of service to retire and had 29 years of service could be offered an additional year so as to be eligible for full retirement. This section further provides that an individual who receives additional service credit as a retirement incentive may not also receive a cash buyout.
Section 105—Arbitration; labor disputes
This section would require that arbitrators deciding a contract dispute between the Postal Service and one of its recognized unions take into consideration such relevant factors as the following when rendering a binding decision: (1) the financial condition of the Postal Service; (2) the requirement in law that the Postal Service consider comparability of wages and benefits to those offered in the private sector; and (3) the policies of Title 39, the section of the U.S. Code that deals with postal matters.
Section 204—Post Offices; retail service standards
This section requires the Postal Service to consider several options prior to making a determination to close or consolidate a post office. These include considering whether to consolidate two post offices within a reasonable distance, reduce the number of operating hours at a particular post office instead of a closure or onsolidation, and permit a contractor or rural carrier to provide retail services in the community served by the post office. The Postal Service must provide notice at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of such post office closure or consolidation to persons served by such post office. This section also requires the Postal Service to develop a set of service standards that would guarantee its customers a certain level of access to retail services, whether at a post office or some alternative to a post office, taking into consideration the following:
(1) the universal service obligation; (2) the alternate retail plan required under section 302 of the PAEA, as amended by section 202 of this bill; (3) the population served, including population density and demographic factors that may affect customers’ ability to access services, such as age or disability status; (4) the feasibility of offering retail access in addition to that offered at post offices; and (5) the existing requirement that the Postal Service serve remote areas and communities with transportation challenges and other conditions, including inclement weather, that could impede access to services. Customers who believe that the Postal Service has failed to provide them or their community with a level of service consistent with the standard would be permitted to file a complaint with the PRC.