House Committee, Senate Moves On 5-Day USPS Delivery Schedule
Full vote expected in next several weeks.
The House of Representatives
’ Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee
on Federal Workforce, the U.S. Postal Service [USPS] and Labor Policy voted 8-5 on Wednesday to advance a bill that would limit mail delivery to 5-days a week.
The bill, H.R. 2309, is now headed for a review by the full committee on Oversight and Government Reform
—if it is approved by the larger committee it will be sent for a floor vote by the full body of the House of Representatives.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) introduced matching legislation on Friday, a move to increase the momentum of the reforms.
The House legislation, entitled the Postal Reform Act of 2011, is sponsored by Congressmen Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Dennis Ross (R-FL).
In addition to the 5-day delivery provision, the bill would require the USPS to develop and submit a plan for the closure or consolidation of postal retail facilities, mail processing facilities and USPS area and district offices.
The Postal Service Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority would be established under the new law, which would require the USPS to submit a financial plan and budget for each year that USPS is in a control period, which the bill’s summary defines as “a period which begins when the USPS has been in default with respect to any loans, bonds, notes or other form of borrowing for at least 30 days.”
The Library of Congress’ bill keeping database also states that the new law would grant certain powers to the Assistance Authority to act on behalf of USPS during a control period; it would include the power to renegotiate contracts and to submit recommendations to ensure compliance with USPS financial plans and budgets.
The Postal Service, which is expected to default on September 30, currently has a projected loss of around $10 billion for FY 2011.
The American Postal Workers Union
[APWU] contends that many of its fiscal problems lay with a government mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees, which they say costs the agency more than $5.5 billion per year and amounts to an overpayment to the Civil Service Retirement System account by $50 billion to $75 billion to date.
The group is completely opposed to the legislation proposed by Representatives Issa and Ross and claims the bill “would destroy the Postal Service as we know it.”
According to a news release from the group, the legislation would foster several lay-offs of those who are eligible for retirement before employees who are ineligible. The APWU also contends that the new law would“dictate that retirement-eligible employees with the longest service be separated first. The new language also forbids the payment of severance pay to retirement-eligible employees.”
The group is also denouncing the legislation because it states it would require a 75 percent reduction in “door delivery” within two years and would cut wages and abolish benefits.
“This is a brazen attempt to dismantle the United States Postal Service and render it ripe for privatization,” says APWU President Cliff Guffey, according to a news release. “It is a blatant attack on unionized workers.”
The group is supporting Congressman Stephen Lynch’s (D-MA) bill, H.R. 1351, which the APWU says “would prevent the financial collapse of the USPS—without closing thousands of post offices, eliminating hundreds of mail processing facilities, delaying mail delivery, laying off 120,000 workers, cutting postal workers’ pay, or ending collective bargaining rights.”