‘Stakeholders’ Urge Congress To Give USPS Legislative Relief
11/20/2008 - The APWU is part of a group of 50 postal unions, management associations, and mailers that has asked Congress to help the agency during the current nationwide financial difficulties by giving legislative relief to its retiree health-insurance liability.
In a Nov. 17 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), the group said that the “$900 billion mailing industry, millions of jobs, continued efficient universal postal services, and the long-term survival of the Postal Service are at stake.”
“The 2006 postal reform law required the Postal Service to pay off, over the next ten years, its actuarial unfunded liability for retiree health insurance coverage,” the letter said, while noting that in today's economic climate, the 10-year payment schedule has become unrealistic.
“The Postal Service has proposed an adjustment to that payment schedule which would preserve the law's requirement for full funding of retiree health benefits, but lessen the financial demand on the Postal Service for several years,” the joint letter said. “It does not relieve the Postal Service of any existing financial obligation. Employee and retiree benefits are fully protected.”
The letter pointed out that since the Postal Service proposal does not adversely affect the deficit, it is simply a cash-management change, “not a bail out.”
“Swift legislative enactment of the proposal is critical to the Postal Service, its employees, and the mailing industry.”
The letter to Reid and other congressional leaders was signed by representatives of the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association; several management associations; Pitney Bowes, Newsweek, and several other large mailers; and industry groups, including the Magazine Publishers of America and the Newspaper Association of America.