Battle Over USPS Future Enters Critical Period
Union Launches Petition Drive to Protect
Post Offices, Mail Processing Centers, Service Standards
APWU News Bulletin 25-2011, Oct. 31, 2011 | PDF
The battle over the future of the Postal Service — and our jobs — has reached a critical stage: Key senators are meeting behind closed doors in an effort to produce a compromise bill to address the USPS financial crisis. It is likely that any proposals they develop will be submitted to the congressional “super-committee” to be incorporated into the committee’s plan to reduce the nation’s deficit.
“It is absolutely essential that we make our voices heard now — before any deal is cut that could adversely affect the future of the USPS and our members,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
The union has launched a petition drive with an important message: Slashing the postal network and service to customers will hurt, not help, the USPS.
Unfortunately, the Postal Service is proposing drastic reductions in both. On July 28 the USPS announced plans to close 3,700 post offices — with thousands more closures expected in the next several years — and on Sept. 14 the agency announced plans to eliminate 252 of approximately 460 mail processing facilities.
A week later, the USPS admitted something management has been denying for years: The proposed cutbacks in the postal network will lead to severe reductions in service to the American people. The Postal Service announced [PDF] in the Federal Register on Sept. 21 plans to change service standards — to eliminate overnight service for first-class mail and periodicals and to change two-day mail delivery to three days.
A Perfect Fit
The Postal Service’s slash-and-burn strategy fits perfectly with the provisions of H.R. 2309, the Postal “Destruction” Bill. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), would destroy the Postal Service as we know it.
The Issa-Ross bill would require the USPS to make $3 billion worth of cuts in post offices and mail processing facilities within two years. In addition, it would prohibit postal unions and management from negotiating restrictions on layoffs, and would empower an appointed “solvency authority” to unilaterally cut wages and benefits.
The bill was approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Oct. 13 — and could come up for a vote in the full House at any time.
H.R. 1351, a bill postal unions enthusiastically support and which has more than 220 co-sponsors, hasn’t even been considered.
“We must show Congress that the American people stand with us,” said Executive Vice President Greg Bell. “If every APWU member can get 10 friends, neighbors or family members to sign a petition, we would have over 2 million signatures,” he said.
Petitions and flyers will be mailed to local and state presidents.
Completed petitions should be returned by Nov. 14 to:
Save America’s Postal Service
American Postal Workers Union
1300 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20005.