NALC: We don’t have to dismantle the Postal Service to save it’

Statement of NALC President Fredric Rolando on the new version of S. 1789, The 21st Century Postal Service Act

April 17, 2012 — Today, the four co-sponsors of S. 1789 introduced a new version of their bill to reform the Postal Service and the Senate has voted to debate this legislation in the days ahead.

Although the National Association of Letter Carriers deeply appreciates the hard work of Sens. Lieberman, Collins, Carper and Brown in bringing this legislation to the floor, we cannot in good conscience support S. 1789 as currently drafted. We believe it will drive the Postal Service into a death spiral.

The legislation unwisely continues a policy adopted in 2006 that requires the Postal Service —and only the Postal Service—to massively pre-fund future retiree health insurance premiums decades in advance. No other company, agency or branch of government—including UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Congress—is required to pre-fund such benefits. The USPS has already set aside nearly $45 billion for future retiree health benefits, enough for nearly 30 years’ of premiums. Although S. 1789 would reduce the burden of pre-funding somewhat, the revised legislation retains a mandate on the Postal Service to plow $3.5 billion to $5 billion per year into its massive retiree health fund.

Despite this pre-funding burden, the bill maintains the current law’s rigidly inflexible price controls and strictly limits the range of services that can be provided.

To cover this unaffordable burden, the bill essentially endorses the gradual dismantling of one of America’s oldest and most beloved institutions, including eliminating the jobs of 18 percent of the nation’s postal workers—nearly 100,000 jobs—over the next three years.

Rather than using its limited resources to adapt and restructure its services to take advantage of an explosion in e-commerce deliveries and finding new uses for the Postal Service’s unmatchable networks, the bill opens the door to further downsizing. This would not only damage the nation’s No. 1 employer of veterans, but also threaten the entire mailing industry that employs nearly 7.5 million private-sector workers—particularly those employed by millions of small businesses and rural-based enterprises.

The bill would all but guarantee the elimination of Saturday delivery in two years, degrading the Postal Service’s most unique quality—a last-mile delivery network that gives America’s businesses (banks, utilities, magazines, shippers, prescription drug distributors and advertisers) access to 150 million addresses six days a week. This would weaken a crucial part of the nation’s economic infrastructure and undermine the USPS’ ability to continue to continue its recent growth in the booming e-commerce sector.

S. 1789 also would mandate the phase-out of door-to-door service for the 35 to 40 million households and businesses that enjoy such delivery in favor of curb or centralized (remote) service, and would open delivery to household mailboxes to unaccountable third parties on days the USPS does not deliver.

Lower quality, less frequent and slower service will simply drive more business away and do more harm than good. A recent internal USPS study predicted a 10 percent loss in mail volume if all these service cuts are implemented—the study was withheld from the Postal Regulatory Commission’s proceedings on the Postal Service’s network realignment plan.

Beyond the central “business strategy” flaw in the legislation, the bill includes a punitive workers’ compensation reform that could impoverish injured workers suffering from long-term injuries when they reach retirement age.

NALC is committed to working with senators from both parties to fix the worst flaws in this legislation. But as today’s white paper drafted by our consultants from the Lazard investment bank concluded, what really is needed is a new business model for the Postal Service. As drafted, S. 1789 will simply accelerate a failing business strategy. Our message to the policy makers is simple: We don’t have to dismantle the Postal Service to save it.

Congress and the Obama administration should commit themselves to developing a sensible restructuring plan for the USPS. Such a plan should embrace an ethic of shared sacrifice so that a more innovative, albeit somewhat smaller, Postal Service can emerge to meet the changing needs of the American economy. NALC members are willing to do their part to make this happen. We hope policy makers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue will do so as well.

10 thoughts on “NALC: We don’t have to dismantle the Postal Service to save it’

  1. If the letter carriers are against 5 day delivery service, then they should just say so. Why the pretense?

  2. Send your Senators a message urging support for the S.1789 by CLICKING HERE.  This will take 20 seconds.Provides incentives to eligible postal employees (up to 100,000) to retire 
    ACT NOW:  Send your Senators a message urging support for S.1789 CLICKING HERE.   
    Forward this message to your colleagues, relatives and friends too and urge them to send the same message to the Senate to ACT NOW.
    NALC, APWU, NAPS, NAPUS, all Associations and workers, all Support S.1789!

  3. The National Association of Letter Carriers also indicated it would be willing to ask its nearly 300,000 members for more “tough sacrifices” to get the Postal Service out of the red. It didn’t specify what concessions it would seek from members, besides no COLAS and a 1% raise 2 years from now.
    Mail Carriers Try Own Rescue Plan.
    Mail Carriers Support S.1789 !
    Raising Stamp Prices Is Central to Postal Union’s Plan.
    The Postal Service’s proposal to keep open thousands of post offices and not cut back on the number of days that mail is delivered “will work” and would accelerate the agency’s ascension from debt, according to the six-page report by Ron Bloom, President Barack Obama’s former auto czar, and investment bank Lazard Ltd., LAZ -0.45% who were hired by the union in October.
    Part of this report sponsored by the NALC promotes the VERA, the early outs, as so called, to allow craft workers to retire with dignity, and the S.1789, the Senate bill is a linchpin of the NALC’s six-page report by Ron Bloom, President Barack Obama’s former auto czar, and investment bank Lazard Ltd., LAZ -0.45% who were hired by the union in October.

    (Capitol Switchboard)
    [Click here for direct #s]
    Tell them you Support 
    S. 1789 as it is currently written.

  4. Does 1789 include incentives for Vera? If so will amount be debated on senate floor also? SHOW ME THE MONEY!

  5. The people who suggest privatizing have you had to deal with some of these companies?

    A few weeks ago I bought a item from Amazon, a couple days later a couple of ladies knocked on my door and gave my GF a package, one of the ladies told my GF that someone could not get past the security gate of our community and asked her if she could deliver the package for him. Not only was these ladies not our neighbor but we had never seen them in our life. This company was called Ontrac or something like that.

    My only dealing with Fedex, I lost my debit card and I was going on vacation and I needed the card delivered overnight. The company I was dealing with only used Fedex, the price Fedex charged was $25, UPS charges $18.20 for the exact same service. I get up early in the morning and sit my butt on the couch to make sure I am at the door when Fedex gets here. I wait and wait and I look online to see Fedex attempted delivery. No knock on the door, no ringing the door bell, no note on the door. I call Fedex and complain and their response was sometimes when its raining outside the driver won’t leave notes on the door because the note won’t stick. Like I am a idiot.

    UPS. In the last 2 years I don’t think they have rang the doorbell or knocked on the door even once. One day I hear people talking outside my door, I open the door and I see 2 UPS men walking towards their truck and a $600 laptop sitting on my porch. They did not bother to ring the doorbell or knock on the door.

    In the last couple of years I am very disappointed with private workforce that competes against the Post Office. I use to consider UPS a good company, but a couple of years ago they seem to make the decision that service was not important. Add to it that these companies charge considerably higher prices and I avoid using them if possible.

  6. AGENDA WINGNUTS apparently have found a new plaything….the computer keyboard.
    “Oops I lost my drawers” and “athletic Supporter” would have the entire country pay FedEx or UPS rates for everyday mailings….if you can get them to travel out to your country home.
    Though these people are obviously village idiots, there ARE an awful lot of folks out there who think that PRIVATIZING THE USPS might be a good idea…too bad….once THAT IS DONE, there is no going back and this country will have to live with the disastrous consequences.

  7. It’s fine, outsource the usps jobs to private. this industry is really suck with crap system, it needs 100% reform, go to privatize, get rid off those idiot bureaucracy mangement.

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