Calls Again for Postal Service to Regain Financial Stability in Responsible Way Without Burdening Workers and Retirees
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Jay Rockefeller today announced he is pushing to amend the postal reform bill to prevent the closure of rural postal facilities in West Virginia and safeguard Postal Service workers’ and retirees’ health care benefits.
“The Postal Service continues to slash jobs and hurt West Virginia communities through postal closing and consolidations,” said Rockefeller. “And West Virginia continues to face disproportionate closures compared to other, much larger states. It’s unfair, and I’m doing everything I can to protect these jobs and services.
“The Postal Service needs to fix its financial mess. But it must do so in a responsible way that doesn’t just involve ending jobs for thousands of workers or ripping out the safety net of hard earned health care benefits for its workers and retirees. Many employees have worked long and hard for these benefits, and they absolutely deserve them. This is an issue of fairness, and I will continue to stand up for the workers and retirees so it is reflected in the final bill.”
- Stop rural post office closures. Cosponsored an amendment to prohibit the closure of rural post offices in West Virginia for the next two years while the Postal Service considers options to best rework its finances. The amendment would also prohibit the closure of rural post offices in the future if residents and communities will be harmed by the closings. The current postal reform bill would allow the eventual closure of 150 post offices in West Virginia and others across the country.
- Protect workers’ current and future retiree health benefits. Introduced an amendment to protect current Postal Service workers, including more than 3,000 in West Virginia, from losing their existing or future retiree health care benefits, which they earned through years of work. If a new health plan is negotiated, it must be of the same quality as the existing benefits they receive under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP). The current postal reform bill would allow the Postal Service to negotiate a withdrawal of employees from the current health plan without making sure those employees receive comparable benefits. The amendment would also make sure that executives at the Postal Service are required to enroll in the same health benefits as their workers. In the postal reform bill, Postal Service executives are able to stay in the FEHBP even if they transfer their employees to a less comprehensive plan.
- Prohibit bonuses for Postal Service executives. Cosponsored an amendment that would prohibit Postal Service executives from receiving bonuses until the Postal Service faces its financial difficulties and repays its debts to the U.S. Treasury. The current postal reform bill continues to allow Postal Service executives to receive bonuses even though the organization is struggling financially.
- Safeguard retiree health plan options. Introduced an amendment to prevent the Postal Service from altering the benefits of West Virginian Postal Service retirees, as well as other retirees throughout the country, who worked hard for their health benefits. The amendment would allow retirees to keep their existing FEHBP benefits, rather than enable the Postal Service to shift costs onto Medicare. The current postal reform bill provides incentives for retirees to change health care programs, and Rockefeller is concerned that it could enable the Postal Service to force retirees into Medicare over FEHBP. His amendment would guarantee that retirees have a choice.
On March 20, Rockefeller and six other Senators sent a strongly worded letter to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe asking for details on how the Postal Service is spending its money. They also identified ways to save billions of dollars and raise new revenue before pushing ahead with drastic cuts to post offices and other facilities. Click here to view the letter.