Former USPS Exec Testifies Against Discounts
APWU Fights Postal Giveaway
APWU News Service Bulletin #3-02, Jan. 28, 2002 | PDF
Michael J. Riley, the former chief financial officer of the Postal Service, will present testimony to the Postal Rate Commission on behalf of the APWU, opposing the discounts the Postal Service is offering large mailers in its rate proposal. The APWU also will present testimony by Dr. Joel Popkin, an economist who has represented the APWU in previous postal rate proceedings.
The witnesses will explain why they believe the discounts the Postal Service is offering large mailers are inefficient, will increase postal rates and undermine the financial position of the Postal Service. The Postal Service admits that the discounts it is offering exceed the costs it avoids when large volume mailers pre-sort their mail.
The testimony is part of hearings required by the Postal Reorganization Act when the Postal Service proposes to increase rates. The union believes the discounts amount to subsidies for big business that will increase the cost of mail processing at the expense of consumers. In addition, the union believes the subsidies fuel the pre-sort business and the major mailing industry at the expense of APWU bargaining unit jobs.
APWU President William Burrus characterized the Postal Service proposal for excessive discounts as "a blatant giveaway to large mailers that is extremely shortsighted. Not only does it impose unfair high costs on smaller mailers, but it undermines the future of the Postal Service by creating uneconomical subsidies for industry."
The pending rate case ordinarily would result in postage rate increases in approximately September 2002. The Postal Service has sought to speed up the process by avoiding a full hearing on the merits of its rate proposals. By using this tactic, it is seeking to raise postage rates by June 30, 2002. In an effort to win the approval of large mailers for this earlier rate increase, the Postal Service increased the discounts to the major mailers by more than $80 million above its original proposal.
In the past, both the Postal Service and the Postal Rate Commission have contended that sound economic analysis requires that discounts be justified by cost savings to the Postal Service. In this case, the Postal Service has abandoned that philosophy and has sought approval to subsidize the pre-sort mailing industry.
"The APWU is prepared to show that these discounts not only exceed costs avoided, but violate sound economic principles. They will undermine the Postal Service itself," said President Burrus. "The Postal Service is the most efficient mail processor and distributor in the world. It is wasteful and inefficient to subsidize industry for doing what the Postal Service can do better."
Only APWU Opposes Rate Increase
Thus far, the APWU is the only intervenor in the proceedings to signal its intention to object to the Postal Service scheme. Of the 62 intervenors in the case, 55 have agreed with the Postal Service proposal to accelerate the rate increases to June 30, 2002. The others have not yet indicated their intentions.
In response to the APWU's request for a hearing on its proposed rates, the Postal Service urged the Postal Rate Commission to establish an accelerated hearing schedule that would require it to hear the APWU's objections and rule on them within 30 days. The APWU responded by filing additional objections to the Postal Service proposal to speed up the hearing process. Based on past rate case proceedings, it would take approximately 75 days to fully consider the APWU objections. The APWU has made it clear that it will not tolerate a denial of due process in the rate proceeding.
Formal testimony on behalf of the APWU will be filed on Wednesday, Jan. 30. After that testimony is filed, the Postal Service and interveners in the rate case will have a right to address written questions to the APWU witnesses. It is also possible that oral testimony will be given and that formal written briefs will be filed.
Union Distributes Heroes Funds
Checks Go to Victims' Families, Survivors
The APWU began distribution of its Postal Workers Heroes Fund last week, issuing contributions to the families of Joseph P. Curseen, and Thomas L. Morris, Jr., the two Brentwood postal workers who died of inhalation anthrax.
"We realize that no amount of financial assistance can replace your loved one or adequately compensate you for your loss," APWU President Bill Burrus wrote to the victims' families, "but we hope that the enclosed check helps in some small way to assist you and your family during this period."
"Your husband's memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all postal workers," he added.
Contributions also were sent to three postal workers who are recovering after contracting inhalation anthrax.
To date, approximately $50,000 has been contributed to the fund. "I urge postal workers to search their hearts and give generously, so that we can make more substantial contributions to those who have suffered so much," Burrus said. Additional disbursements will be made as contributions are received.
Contributions from individuals, as well as from local and state union treasuries, can be mailed to:
Postal Workers Front-Line Heroes Fund
1300 L Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20005
BMC Conference in Dallas
Meeting Scheduled for March 3-4
The Bulk Mail Center Conference is scheduled for Sunday and Monday, March 3 and 4, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75207-4498. The general session will be held both days, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To pre-register, complete the registration form below and mail it to Maintenance Division National Representative-at-Large Gary Kloepfer at the address given. The pre-registration process ends Feb. 2. On-site registration will be held on Sunday, March 3, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
To make hotel reservations, contact the hotel directly at (214) 651-1234 or 1 (800) 233-1234 and identify yourself as a participant in the American Postal Workers Union Bulk Mail Center Conference. The room rate is $89, single or double occupancy, plus city and state taxes, per room, per night. Reservations should be made prior to Feb. 2 to guarantee the negotiated rate.
The APWU BMC hotel block has a limited number of rooms, so make your hotel reservation early to guarantee the negotiated rate.
The hotel requires an advance deposit equal to one night's room and tax charges to hold all reservations. Deposits can be made by check or any credit card accepted by the hotel. Any reservation not guaranteed for late arrival will be held only until 4 p.m. of the day of arrival. Hotel check-in is 3 p.m. Check-out is 12 noon.
Shuttle service is available to the Hyatt Regency Dallas. The cost is currently $13 per person one way. The shuttle service can be found at both airports by following the directions to "ground transportation."
National Presidents' Conference Set
Miami Area Local Hosting Event
The next meeting of the National Presidents' Conference (NPC) will be held in the Southern Region on Sunday, Feb. 24, and Monday, Feb. 25, at the Miami Airport Hilton in Miami. The Miami Area Local is hosting the event and Miami Area Local Secretary-Treasurer Edmund Campbell is the local's coordinator. He can be reached at (305) 593-8219. The NPC business sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday.
To make reservations at the Miami Airport Hilton, call 1 (800) 445-8667 or (305) 265-3859. Room rates are $115 per night, plus tax (currently 12.5 percent).
Please mail agenda items for discussion to:
NPC Agenda Items
Att: J.N. "Jim" Alexander, Chairperson
P.O. Box 4004
Medford OR 97501
In addition, you can fax agenda items to: (541) 826-9427 or e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Training, REC Site Conference
For the first time, training will be held for delegates on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Miami Area Local will host the training, on OWCP, at no additional cost.
The REC Site Conference will be held from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Miami Airport Hilton. The REC Conference is open to all presidents, officers, and shop stewards with REC concerns. Please submit agenda items to Morline Moore, REC Conference Chairperson, P.O. Box 469, Beaumont, TX 77704. If you have any questions, please contact Morline Moore at (409) 838-0189.