Postal Reform is ‘Marked-Up’
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
By Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard
On March 16, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee “marked-up” and approved the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756). A mark-up is a process where a congressional committee can consider and amend a bill before advancing it to the House of Representatives or Senate.
Recognizing the need to set the Postal Service on sound financial footing, the APWU supported H.R. 756 advancing through committee. The favorable vote to move the bill out of the Oversight Committee is one of several steps in a lengthy legislative process.
The bill helps to solve the disastrous pre-funding mandate caused by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), while at the same time treating our retirees fairly (please see pages 8-12 for answers to how the bill specifically affects APWU members). The bill would also allow the Postal Service to modestly raise postage rates immediately by one-cent, generating roughly an additional one-billion dollars in annual revenue.
Several revisions to the bill were considered in the mark-up, addressing some of APWU’s concerns:
- A manager’s amendment (a change to the bill by its sponsor) was offered by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and adopted by the Committee, to clarify prescription drug benefit coverage under FEHBP.
- An amendment by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) requires the Postal Service to give members of
Congress advanced notice if a postal facility in their district would be subject to closure, consolidation or a reduction in service.
There are key legislative steps still before H.R. 756, including consideration before the full House of Representatives, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the full Senate.
Additional Legislative Issues
In addition to postal reform, there are several legislative issues we would like you to know about. Let your Congressional Representatives know where you stand on these issues!
- Support H. Res 31, a bipartisan House Resolution to keep the “Service” in Postal Service. Take action to end the mail slowdown by restoring prompt service standards.
- Support H.Res.15 (defends six-day delivery) and H. Res 28 (protects door delivery).
- Oppose attacks on federal workers, such as H.R. 1364’s proposal to end “official time,” in which union representatives can represent their coworkers on government time. We must stand with our sister unions to stop legislative attacks on their representation and collective bargaining rights.
- Oppose measures which force federal and postal workers to pay more into FERS for less retirement benefits.
- Support H.R. 676 (“Medicare for All”), which advocates for health care as a right, not a privilege.
- Support fair treatment of America’s seniors. S. 427 gives fair increases to those receiving Social Security benefits. H.R. 1251 makes Cost of Living Adjustments reflect the spending habits of seniors.
Go to the “Resources” section of the Legislative Department’s page on apwu.org for 1 page sheets with detailed information about these issues. Staying active and engaged with your local, state and congressional representatives is critical in order to move them on any issue.
Legislative and Political Training
The 2018 mid-term elections are coming up fast, and we will be providing training to increase voter turnout. The training will consist of mobilizing our members, sharpening our message and getting out the vote. The Legislative and Political Training will take place October 1, 2017 in conjunction with the All Craft conference taking place in Las Vegas, NV at Bally’s hotel. Go to apwu.org for more information.