Senators Call for House Action on Postal Reform

August 2, 2012 by · 25 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news, postal reform, press releases 

WASHINGTON – Anticipating the imminent default by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on its required pre-payment for future retiree health benefits, the Senate authors of comprehensive postal reform legislation Wednesday urged the House of Representatives to consider its own version of postal reform legislation quickly.

Senators Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Tom Carper, D-Del., and Scott Brown, R-Mass. authored reform legislation to shore up the Postal Service’s financial solvency.  That legislation passed the Senate in April. The House must act now and allow the two chambers to reconcile the differences between the bills.

Lieberman, who is Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, said: “In the absence of reform legislation, the financial condition of the Postal Service continues to deteriorate to the extent that it will miss a $5 billion payment to its healthcare fund for future retirees today and is likely to miss the next payment as well. The Postmaster General is running out of options, and, unless Congress acts, draconian cuts are a certainty in the future. The Senate passed the 21st Century Postal Service Act in April. It is long past time for the House to take up its own postal legislation so that we can get the Postal Service back on solid financial footing before essential services are lost for millions of people.” Read more

Video: As U.S. Postal Service Faces Default, Critics See Manufactured Crisis to Speed Up Privatization

August 1, 2012 by · 18 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news 

From Democracy Now : For months, Americans have heard dire warnings about the impending collapse of the United States Postal Service due to fiscal insolvency. As Republicans push to privatize the post office, the agency is now bracing for its first-ever default today. Unlike every other governmental agency, the Postal Service is required to fund 75 years of retiree health benefits over just a 10-year span. We discuss the fight over the Postal Service with Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Chuck Zlatkin of the New York Metro Area Postal Union. “The American people have to wake up here about what’s happening with the Postal Service,” Kucinich says. “The whole concept of the Postal Service, embedded in that is the idea of universal service, that if you’re poor, you live in a rural area, you’re going to get served just like someone who lives in a city and who may be wealthy.”

 As U.S. Postal Service Faces Default, Critics See Manufactured Crisis to Speed Up Privatization

USPS Default Could Have Been Avoided

July 31, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news 

The Postal Service’s default on a $5.5 billion payment to the U.S. Treasury due Aug. 1 is the result of a congressionally-manufactured financial crisis and could have been avoided, APWU President Cliff Guffey has charged.

Although the default won’t have immediate consequences for mail delivery or on employees’ pay, the Postal Service’s precarious financial situation is forcing the agency to scale back overnight mail delivery, close half of the nation’s mail processing centers, and slash hours at post offices, the union president pointed out. And businesses, communities and individual customers are bracing for more severe cuts in the months ahead. Read more

APWU, OSHA Investigate Employee Death at Detroit NDC

July 31, 2012 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, postal, postal news 

APWU Web News Article 91-2012, July 31, 2012

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the APWU are investigating the death of APWU member Steny Wing Hoi Yu, who died July 27 from injuries sustained in work-related accident at the Detroit NDC on July 23.

Although the investigation of the accident is still underway, reports indicate that Yu’s injuries were the result of falling approximately 10 feet from a “fixed” ladder. Yu is reported to have been carrying a fire extinguisher up the ladder in an attempt to fight a fire.

The Detroit Metro Area Local is working closely with OSHA and the APWU to assist in the investigation.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “We extend our deepest sympathies to Steny Wing Hoi Yu’s family and co-workers.”

Yu is survived by his wife, Syndia and two daughters, Yvonne and Angela.

APWU Settles Lawsuit on Retirees’ Debts

July 31, 2012 by · Comments Off
Filed under: APWU, postal, postal news 

APWU Web News Article 92-2012, July 31, 2012

The APWU and a retired union member have resolved a lawsuit against the Postal Service and an Accounting Services manager for violations of the Debt Collection Act, Industrial Relations Director Mike Morris has announced. The suit charged that the USPS and the manager routinely violated the rights of retired employees by instructing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to withhold a portion of the monthly annuities of retirees who had appealed Letters of Demand before they left the Postal Service.

Letters of Demand are issued when management alleges an employee is responsible for a financial loss to the Postal Service. The letters are subject to appeal through the grievance procedure and collection of alleged debts must be postponed until appeals have been exhausted. Read more

OIG Review of USPS Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 Liquidity Projections

July 30, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news 

From the USPS Office Of Inspector General:

July 25, 2012

David C. Williams – Inspector General

This memorandum provides the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) review of U.S. Postal Service liquidity projections as of June 2012 (Project Number 12BD016FI000). Without legislation to eliminate or defer prefunding payments into the Retiree Health Benefits Fund, the U.S. Postal Service will likely default on the $11.1 billion in payments due in fiscal year (FY) 20121 and the $5.6 billion payment due in FY 2013. In addition to these defaults, the Postal Service projects an estimated $100 million cash shortfall on October 15, 2012, with a slow increase in liquidity from October through December 2012. Liquidity risks and shortfalls are projected to return in spring 2013 through October 2013, with the Postal Service projecting an estimated $1.2 billion cash shortfall in mid-October 2013.

These liquidity concerns exist even with the expected Postal Service default on the Retiree Health Benefits prefunding payments. To preserve its liquidity, the Postal Service presented the following additional measures for consideration: withhold employer contributions to the overfunded Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) pension fund, and consider three different options for reimbursement of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) workers’ compensation claims and administration costs. Read more

USPS: No employee impact from missed retiree health prefunding payments

July 30, 2012 by · Comments Off
Filed under: postal, postal news 

Business as usual

The Postal Service’s decision not to make two payments to fund retiree health benefits — due Aug. 1 and Sept. 30 — will have no impact on employee pay or operations.

In a prepared statement, USPS said it will “continue to deliver the mail, pay our employees and suppliers and meet our other financial obligations.”

The $5.5 billion payment due Aug. 1 and the $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30 are required by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which became law in 2006.

The statement also said that the Postal Service is moving ahead with implementation of its strategic plan, adding “comprehensive postal legislation is needed in order to return the Postal Service to long-term financial stability.” USPS says it “remains hopeful” a new law will be enacted during the current Congress.

via USPS News Link

NALC Statement on the August 1st Postal Service “Default”

July 30, 2012 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news 

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The pending August 1st “default” of the U.S. Postal Service is not primarily the result of a bad market or even bad operations, but of bad legislating by Congress. The only thing that will happen on Wednesday is that the Postal Service will not pay $5.6 billion into a fund for futureretiree health benefits — a fund that already has $45 billion, enough to pay for decades of future retiree health care.

At the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), our two highest priorities are ensuring the long-term health of the Postal Service and protecting the well being of our country’s active and retired letter carriers. If we thought our retired members were in danger of losing their health care, we’d be screaming bloody murder about it. But the retirees are fine and so is their health insurance. And on August 1st, the mail will continue to be delivered and employees will continue to be paid. Read more

USPS Statement on Retiree Health Benefits Payment

July 30, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news 

The U.S. Postal Service will not make mandated prefunding retiree health benefit payments to the Treasury of $5.5 billion due Aug. 1, 2012 or the $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30, absent legislation enacted by Congress. This action will have no material effect on the operations of the Postal Service. We will fully fund our operations, including our obligation to provide universal postal services to the American people. We will continue to deliver the mail, pay our employees and suppliers and meet our other financial obligations. Postal Service retirees and employees will also continue to receive their health benefits. Our customers can be confident in the continued regular operations of the Postal Service.

The Postal Service continues to implement its strategic plan. However, comprehensive postal legislation is needed to return the Postal Service to long-term financial stability. We remain hopeful that such legislation can be enacted during the current Congress.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

USPS schedules major financial system upgrade starting next week

July 30, 2012 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: postal, postal news, USPS News Link 

USPS has scheduled a major software upgrade of its national financial system that will impact payments and reporting for a period from Aug. 9 through Aug. 27.  The software upgrade is scheduled to occur from the evening of Aug. 9 through Aug. 20. Catch-up processing will be performed from Aug. 20 through Aug. 27.

During the upgrade period, Finance will not be able to complete certain financial processes — including supplier payments, contract processing, employee travel reimbursements and some basic record-keeping activities.  Also, up-to-date reports normally available in the Accounting Project in the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) will not be available until Aug. 28, after the upgrade and catch-up processing are completed.

Payroll processing and eFlash, also known as “Flash,” reports are not affected by the upgrade. However, eTravel reimbursements will not be generated during the upgrade period. To avoid any delay in receiving reimbursement for official travel, file Travel Expense Reports in eTravel promptly.

Acting CFO Steve Masse said to lessen the risk of delayed payments, managers and supervisors should immediately certify and process invoices they receive up to Aug. 7. Employees also should assure suppliers that any payment delay is temporary and coordinate planned contract activities with Supply Management to avoid interruptions the upgrade may cause.

“Our goal is to minimize the impact of the upgrade on our internal stakeholders and our suppliers,” said Masse. “Supply Management is notifying our supplier community about the upgrade and will explain the potential for short-term impacts to contract actions and payments.”

via USPS News Link Story – Financial system upgrade.

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