Next Up: The House of Representatives
The Senate passed an amended version of the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) on April 25 by a vote of 62-37. “Although the bill is flawed, the amended version is far better than the original,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “That is a result of the tremendous effort of APWU members, postal customers, and elected officials who appreciate the importance of the Postal Service to American life. Thank you for your hard work.”
The bill will provide the USPS, which is facing imminent collapse, with short-term financial relief, by returning $11 billion in USPS overpayments to federal pension funds to the Postal Service. “Keep in mind,” Guffey said, “this is money paid by postal customers, workers and the Postal Service – not taxpayers.”
The bill also will provide some protection for service standards for a minimum of three years. “Although we sought stronger, longer safeguards, this is an improvement over the original bill, which did nothing to preserve service,” Guffey said. “Protecting service is essential to preserving the Postal Service,” he said.
The bill fails to provide the Postal Service with the relief it needs to meet the challenges of the future, Guffey said. “Although the bill will provide the USPS with limited relief from the requirement to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees, it does not provide sufficient relief. As a result, the USPS will not have access to the capital it needs to meet the challenges of the future,” he said.
The bill also will have devastating consequences for the thousands of postal and federal employees who were injured on the job and who receive compensation from the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP), Guffey noted.
“We will now take our fight to the House of Representatives,” Guffey said, “where we hope to improve the bill.
“We call on our members, small businesses, individual customers, and lawmakers to re-double our efforts to Save America’s Postal Service.”