For APWU Members Only
APWU Fights to Save Saturday Service, Fix USPS Finances
(This article was first published in the September/October 2010 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
The fight to retain Saturday service gained momentum on July 29 when two congressional panels voted to approve spending bills — one in the House and one in the Senate — that would require the USPS to continue to provide mail delivery six days per week.
The two bills have a long way to go before they could become law, however. The full House and Senate would have to approve the bills, and then the two versions would have to be reconciled to resolve any differences.
As part of a nationwide campaign, local union members across the country have ramped up the fight to Save Saturday Service, taking action to alert the public to the dangers of the Postal Service’s plans to eliminate Saturday delivery.
Armed with colorful signs and flyers produced by the national APWU, locals have organized informational pickets and attended town hall meetings to inform communities about how ending Saturday delivery would harm American citizens, businesses, and the USPS itself.
“Eliminating Saturday delivery would be the beginning of the demise of the Postal Service,” APWU President William Burrus said. “We ask our members and their families to continue the fight to Save Saturday Service.”
Urge Congress to Support H.R. 5746
Members are encouraged to contact their U.S. Representatives and urge them to support H.R. 5746, a bill to restore financial stability to the Postal Service.
“This crucial legislation is a vital step toward returning the USPS to solvency,” said APWU President William Burrus. The bill, introduced July 15 by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), would alter the methodology for allocating the Postal Service’s share of pension costs for employees whose careers spanned the former Post Office Department and the USPS. Under current law, the costs are disproportionately split between the two, to the disadvantage of the Postal Service.
The bill cleared its first hurdle July 21, when it was approved by the House postal oversight subcommittee. While the 8-1 vote in favor of the legislation was an important first step, it still must be approved by the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee before it can be voted on in the House.
H.R. 5746 directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to determine if there has been an overpayment and to transfer any surplus to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. This transfer of funds would alleviate a major source of the Postal Service’s economic problems.
The obligation to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, a provision of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, costs the USPS $5 billion annually. No other federal agency or private company bears this burden.
The pre-funding requirement, combined with the economic downturn, has prompted the Postal Service to propose severe cutbacks in service, such as closing stations and branches, consolidating installations, and eliminating Saturday mail delivery.
“This bill could go a long way to alleviating the Postal Service’s financial difficulties,” said Myke Reid, APWU Legislative and Political Director. “It would relieve much of the pressure on the USPS — and on us,” he said.
“We urge union members to get active right away in support of this crucial legislation.”
The bill currently has 51 co-sponsors.