Congressman Lynch Joins Higgins in Fight Against Closing of Buffalo Mail Processing Facility

January 27, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Congress, postal, postal news, usps 

Ranking Member on Postal Subcommittee Latest Voice Asking Postmaster to Keep William Street Center Open

Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-9) is joining Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) in asking the U.S. Postmaster General to remove the Buffalo Mail Processing facility from the list of those slated for closure. Congressman Lynch is a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where he serves as Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy.

“Congressman Lynch understands the struggles of hard-working communities and the devastating economic impact closing the Buffalo facility would have on families and businesses in Western New York,” said Higgins. “We are thankful to add the Congressman’s name to the hundreds of others locally who are fighting to keep the William Street plant open.”

“The Buffalo Processing and Distribution Center plays a key role in western New York’s economy and its closure could have serious economic ramifications for the entire region,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. “Based on the U.S. Postal Service’s own criteria for closing facilities, it makes no sense that the Buffalo facility should be closed. I join with my colleague, Congressman Brian Higgins, in asking that it be removed from consideration for closure.”

Prior to serving in Congress, Lynch worked as an ironworker for 18 years at sites across the country and was eventually elected president of his local union. Congressman Lynch is the son of a postal clerk.

Below is a copy of the letter sent jointly by Congressmembers Higgins and Lynch:

January 26, 2012

The Honorable Patrick R. Donahoe
Postmaster General
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington D.C. 20260-3500

Dear Postmaster General Donahoe,

We write in strong opposition to the potential closing of the Buffalo Processing and Distribution Center (Buffalo P&DC) and respectfully urge you to remove this site from the United States Postal Service’s list of Area Mail Processing facilities that could be subject to consolidation. Importantly, the Buffalo P&DC plays a vital economic, service, and community role in the Western New York region and its continued operation is essential to the economic vitality of the City of Buffalo and its surrounding areas, all of which depend on this facility as an invaluable source of employment, commercial stimulus, and exceptional delivery standards.

In examining the consolidation and closure of any mail processing or retail facility, we believe that USPS must consider all relevant factors prior to reaching a determination that a site will subject to such action. In particular, due diligence requires that the Postal Service afford maximum consideration to the overall impact of a decision on local residents, postal employees, businesses, and the affected community at-large. Included among the variety of factors that must be taken into account is the economic importance of the facility to the continued vitality of the region. In this regard, the Buffalo PD&C is essential to maintaining economic growth in the City of Buffalo and the greater Western New York area. Read more

Reps. Cummings and Lynch to Announce Innovative Legislation to Return USPS to Profitability

September 20, 2011 by · 26 Comments
Filed under: postal 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tomorrow, Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and Congressman Stephen Lynch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, will hold a press conference to announce comprehensive legislation to fundamentally change the Postal Service’s business model to cut costs and increase revenue. Read more

Congressmen Denounce USPS Bid to Break APWU Contract

September 12, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: APWU, postal, postal news, usps 

Two U.S. Representatives have denounced Postal Service legislative proposals to abrogate its collective bargaining agreements with postal unions.

In a sharply-worded letter [PDF] to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), condemned management’s proposals to dissolve “no lay-off” provisions in union contracts and to remove postal employees from federal retirement plans and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).

On May 23, 2011, the USPS signed a four-year contract [PDF] with the APWU that retained federal retirement and health benefits and maintained protection against layoffs for career employees. But in August, the USPS announced that it would ask Congress to introduce legislation removing postal employees from the federal benefits programs and giving management the authority to lay off 120,000 workers.

“These requests call into question the good faith of the Postal Service,” Cummings and Lynch wrote.

“To now ask Congress to nullify part of this same contract less than five months after it was concluded is neither fair to Postal Service employees nor helpful to the Postal Service’s credibility in future negotiations… [Postal] employees deserve to have their commitments honored,” they wrote.

“The Postal Service enjoys broad support among the American people, and we are proud of the excellent service it continues to provide. We believe the Postal Service can continue this tradition without abandoning the collective bargaining process and dismantling employee rights,” they said.

The letter from the two Congressmen was written on the same day that APWU President Cliff Guffey told a Senate committee that the USPS legislative proposals were “outrageous, illegal, and despicable.”

“We are outraged by the Postal Service’s attempt to abrogate the agreement on the subject of layoff protections for APWU bargaining unit members we signed only a few months ago,” he said.

Rep. Cummings and Rep. Stephen Lynch are the ranking Democrats of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, and its Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, respectively, which have jurisdiction over the Postal Service. Read more

Congressmen Cummings and Lynch Issue Statement On USPS Cash Conservation Plan

June 22, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: politics, postal, postal news, press releases 

Washington, DC – Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and Stephen F. Lynch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy, issued the following statement on the U.S. Postal Service’s decision to suspend its employer’s contributions for the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

“Today, the Postal Service announced its intention of suspending its payments to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to address its budgetary shortfalls. This emergency measure only underscores the immediacy of the agency’s financial situation and the need for legislative action. Given the seriousness of this matter, we urge the Department of Justice to take a swift but thorough examination of this proposed move and, additionally, we ask that the Postal Service ensure that any decision will not adversely impact its current retirees or active employees. While a suspension of FERS payments may help now, the Postal Service will be unlikely to regain financial stability absent legislative action. H.R. 1351 would correct the Postal Service’s overpayment to the federal government of both its Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employee Retirement System obligations, which is collectively in the range of $60 to $80 billion, providing the Postal Service with an opportunity to find long-term solutions. In light of today’s announcement, we call on our Republican colleagues on the Oversight Committee to give this legislation prompt consideration.”

Congressmen Introduce Bill: “USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011″

April 6, 2011 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Congress, postal, usps 

The following is a bill introduced by Congressmen Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on April 4, 2011 Currently the bill has 8 sponsors:

Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] – 4/5/2011
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. “Gerry” [VA-11] – 4/5/2011
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7] – 4/4/2011
Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-7] – 4/5/2011
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] – 4/5/2011
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] – 4/5/2011
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] – 4/5/2011
Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10] – 4/5/2011

To amend the provisions of title 5, United States Code,relating to the methodology for calculating the amount of any Postal surplus or supplemental liability under the Civil Service Retirement System, and for other purposes.

(A)to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund to pay any liability to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund for fiscal year 2011;

‘‘(B) if all liability to the Postal Service Retiree 5 Health Benefits Fund for fiscal year 2011 has been
paid, to the Employees’ Compensation Fund (as established under section 8147); and

‘‘(C) if all liability of the United States Postal Service to the Employees’ Compensation Fund (as
so established) has been paid, to the United States Postal Service for the repayment of any obligation
issued under section 2005 of title 39.’’.

SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.
(a) IN GENERAL.—This Act and the amendments 15 made by this Act shall take effect on the date of enactment 16 of this Act.

(b) INTENT OF CONGRESS.—It is the intent of Congress that this Act apply with respect to the allocation
of past, present, and future benefit liabilities between the 20 United States Postal Service and the Treasury of the 21 United States. Read more

Congressman Stephen Lynch Introduces Legislation To Correct USPS CSRS Retirement Overpayments

July 16, 2010 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Congress, CSRS, postal, postal news, usps 

Congressman Stephen Lynch introduced legislation yesterday to correct methodology which overcharges USPS for its CSRS retirement obligations.  The legislation amends the provisions of title 5, United States Code, relating to the methodology for calculating the amount of any Postal surplus or supplemental liability under the Civil Service Retirement System.

This is a bill in the U.S. Congress originating in the House of Representatives . A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President before it becomes law.

SPEECH OF HON. STEPHEN F. LYNCH
OF MASSACHUSETTS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010

Mr. LYNCH. Madam Speaker, the United States Postal Service’s CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010, is intended to remedy a unfair and inequitable methodology for allocating the Postal Service’s share of Civil Service Retirement System, CSRS, retirement benefit liabilities for employees that provided service to this country under both the Post Office Department and the independent United States Postal Service.

According to a January 2010 report by the United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, USPS-OIG, the Postal Service paid more into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund that it would have paid if a more equitable methodology were used to allocate CSRS retirement benefit liabilities between the Federal government and the United States Postal Service.

As a result of the USPS-OIG report’s findings, the Postmaster General of the United  States Postal Service submitted a request, in accordance with section 802(c) of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, to the Postal Regulatory Commission, PRC, calling for an independent and objective review of the methods used to allocate benefit liabilities between the Postal Service and the Federal government under generally accepted actuarial practices and principles.

The independent actuarial firm hired by the PRC, The Segal Company, determined that the current methodology used by the Office of Personnel Management, OPM, for allocating such retirement benefits between the United States Postal Service and the Federal government follows an antiquated methodology that fails to incorporate current actuarial best practices and accounting standards as recognized and codified by the Financial Accounting Standard Board.

Accordingly, to remedy this unjust treatment, this legislation I am introducing today directs OPM to update and modernize the actuarial methodology to be used in allocating CSRS retirement benefit liabilities between the United States Postal Service and the Federal government in accordance with The Segal Company’s recommendation. Under this approach, the Federal government’s portion of an individual’s CSRS annuity will be based on the CSRS benefit accrual formula and the conventional individual’s “high-3” average salary. By utilizing this methodology, this legislation will ensure that OPM is using modern actuarial practices and accounting standards to apportion the benefit liabilities that are codified by the independent Financial Accounting Standard Board under FASB ASC 715.

House Subcommittee Approves Measures to Benefit Federal Employees

March 26, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: postal 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10 a.m. in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on held a business meeting and approved several priority pieces of legislation.  

Introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), H.R. 4489 will strengthen federal oversight of the prescription drug benefits available to federal employees through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).  Specifically, the FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act will provide the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) greater contract authority over Pharmacy Benefit Managers to better ensure that federal workers and retirees, as well as taxpayers, are receiving the best benefits at the best price.

In addition, H.R. 4865, the Federal Employees and Uniformed Services Retirement Equity Act of 2010, introduced by Chairman Lynch and Subcommittee Ranking Member Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), will allow federal and postal employees, as well as members of the armed forces, to deposit unused annual  leave into their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts.  The legislation will allow the TSP to remain in line with the offerings currently available to private-sector workers participating in 401(k) plans.

Furthermore, H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), will serve to improve the effectiveness of telework programs across the federal government.  In response to agency and employee concerns regarding the current underutilization of telework, H.R. 1722 will require each agency to designate a Telework Managing Officer and implement a series of agency reporting requirements in order to enhance the availability of information regarding the status of individual agency telework programs. 

Finally, H.R. 3913, the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. District of Columbia National Guard Retention and College Access Act, introduced by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), will significantly broaden the educational opportunities available to members of the National Guard of the District of Columbia by authorizing additional grant funding for education assistance.  Per a Manager’s Amendment offered by Chairman Lynch and approved by the Subcommittee, D.C. National Guard members will receive up to $6,000 in education assistance per year.

“By approving H.R. 4489, the FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act, I’m pleased that the Subcommittee has taken the first step towards ensuring greater transparency and accountability in FEHBP contracting for the benefit of our hardworking federal and postal employees, and for federal taxpayers at large,” said Chairman Stephen F. Lynch.  “I’m also pleased by the Subcommittee’s action on H.R. 4865, H.R. 1722, and H.R. 3913, all of which represent common sense solutions to enhancing the federal government’s workforce recruitment and retention efforts, as well as that of the D.C. National Guard.” 

H.R. 4489, H.R. 4865, H.R. 1722, and H.R. 3913 have now been referred to the full Committee on Oversight & Government Reform for further consideration.

Local APWU Calls For Congressional Investigation of Oakland, California Mail Center

January 22, 2010 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: APWU, Congress, postal, usps 

Oakland APWU President Fred Jacobs urges other locals to follow suit in requesting an investigation.

letters to congress

Dear Chairman, Representative and Senators:

We, the undersigned Oakland Local 78 APWU members, Oakland Post Office P&DC bid cluster Postal Service employees, union officials, customers, concerned citizens, and constituents of the 9th Congressional District, over the years have stood by helplessly and dismayed as the Postal Service deteriorated. The methodical decline of the Postal Service has been primarily caused by a conspiracy involving special interest groups, Postal Service Headquarters, and some members of Congress, with the objective of privatizing the Postal Service. We have watched as Postal Service Headquarters pandered to large mailers to the detriment of the public, small businesses, non profit organizations, Postal Service employees, and the Postal Service itself.

For years, management has falsified figures regarding the volume of mail processed and delivered at the Oakland Post Office P&DC bid cluster (1675- 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94615); understaffed postal operations based on falsified figures; discriminated against injured employees; and used inept managers to run these operations using outdated equipment that is in serious disrepair. These practices have caused delayed mail delivery, the closure of facilities, hiring freezes, unsafe working conditions, blatant violations of Federal laws and the employees’ Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the loss of numerous Postal Service jobs.

It is time for the new leadership in Congress and the new administration to take a serious and sincere look at the Postal Service’s business practices. We urge Congress to conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation of the Oakland Post Office P&DC bid cluster, that will include interviews with craft employees and visits to all facilities.

Privatizing the Postal Service would give private industry a responsibility that it cannot handle adequately and mail would not be under the protection of Federal law. People living in remote areas would be denied mail service or it would become very expensive for mail because of delivery cost and volume. Moreover, many jobs would be lost.

Yes, it is true, the Postal Service has its problems just as other businesses do; however, the United States Postal Service moves more mail more cheaply and efficiently than any other government or private systems in the world.

The Postal Service is a vital public service. It connects citizens like nothing else. You can be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, in prison, or even homeless, yet you still get your mail. Now it’s time to revive the Postal Service for the common good and to protect a service that citizens need and deserve. The Postal Service a place where jobs can be saved! If you have any questions, contact:

Fredric Jacobs, Oakland Local APWU President, Robert Jeffrey, Executive Vice President, Oakland Local APWU, or James Perry, Business Agent A, Oakland Local APWU at (510) 635-0897

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