Urgent Call to Action:
Contact Members of Congress During Memorial Day Recess
05/21/2012 - The APWU and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) are asking their locals and state organizations to meet with their U.S. representatives at their district offices during the Memorial Day congressional recess, May 21 to May 29, to urge them to act now to save the Postal Service from financial collapse.
“APWU members should urge House members to act on postal reform as soon as they return, and use the Senate bill as a starting point for discussion,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. The Senate passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Reform Act of 2012, on April 25, by a vote of 62-37.
Although the bi-partisan bill is not perfect, it is far better than H.R. 2309, which was approved last year by the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Guffey said. H.R. 2309 would destroy the Postal Service as we know it by forcing extreme service cuts and by creating a “solvency authority” that could void our contract and order massive layoffs.
Although the Senate adopted S. 1789, the legislation is not final. The House of Representatives also must approve a bill; a conference committee must resolve differences between the House and Senate versions; both chambers must pass the conference version, and the president must sign it.
“Meeting with House members gives us an opportunity to seek improvements to the Senate bill and to stress the urgency of enacting postal reform,” said APWU Executive Vice President Greg Bell.
The APWU is asking the House to make several improvements to the Senate bill, including:
- Provide greater relief from unnecessary and excessive pre-funding requirements;
- Improve protection of service standards, which are essential to preserving the Postal Service and postal jobs, and
- Eliminate provisions, not relevant to postal reform, which would have devastating consequences for the thousands of postal and federal employees who were injured on the job and who receive compensation from the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP).
Meet at Your Congressperson’s Offices
As a result of the efforts of APWU members and officers, as well as other postal unions and supporters, several important amendments to S. 1789 were adopted, including provisions to offer some protection for service standards, allow greater public input before a post office or mail processing facility can be closed, and grant authority to the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn improper USPS decisions to close offices. In addition, S. 1789 would return $11 billion to the USPS for overpayments to the U.S. Treasury for FERS pension benefits. It would also re-amortize the pre-funding of retiree health benefits, easing the burden that pre-funding has placed on the Postal Service’s finances.
“Local leaders should contact their representative’s district office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible,” Bell said.
“During your visit, explain the urgency of enacting postal reform before the Postal Service begins to dismantle its critical infrastructure of plants and post offices. It is urgent that the House take immediate action to protect existing service standards. The Postal Service cannot eliminate hundreds of mail processing facilities and still meet its current service commitments,” said Reid.
The APWU has provided talking points for locals to use when meeting with their congressperson.
Whether or not your plant or post office is targeted for closure or consolidation this summer, the Postal Service’s plans threaten the jobs of every postal worker. Forty-eight plants are scheduled for consolidation before the end of August, with an additional 92 slated for consolidation beginning in January 2013 as part of Phase 1 of the Postal Service’s latest consolidation plan. The USPS intends to close an additional 89 plants during Phase 2.
“The Postal Service’s strategy remains the same,” Bell said. “Management still plans to eliminate half of all mail processing facilities.”
Furthermore, the USPS strategy of dismantling the network and slashing service will not fix the USPS’s finances. It will lead to the demise of the Postal Service by making its services less timely and less valuable.
“Locals are doing a fantastic job getting our message out at rallies, public input meetings, and in the media. We need to keep up the pressure on Congress to act now, before management does irreparable harm to the postal network and our jobs,” Guffey said.
Please join us in contacting Congress over the Memorial Day recess. If you require any assistance, contact the APWU Vice President’s office at 202-842-4250 or the Legislative Department at 202-842-4211.