Senators Introduce Anti-Postal Legislation
Proposed Bills Threaten Workers’ Health, Life Insurance Benefits
APWU Web News Article 040-2011, April 11, 2011
Powerful senators have introduced legislation that, if adopted, would dramatically increase the cost of health and life insurance premiums for postal employees, and would void provisions of the tentative 2010-2015 USPS-APWU Collective Bargaining Agreement.
On March 28, Sen. John McCain introduced an amendment to S. 493, a bill to reauthorize small-business programs, which would force active postal employees to pay a higher portion of their health andlife insurance premiums.
According to the union’s current contract with the USPS, the Postal Service pays approximately 81 percent of an employee’s health plan premium, while other federal agencies pay 72 percent of their employees’ health insurance premiums. Over the life of the Tentative Agreement between the APWU and USPS, management’s share of health plan premiums would decrease by 5 percent; its share of life insurance premiums would remain unchanged.
Sen. McCain’s amendment would set postal contributions to health and life insurance coverage at the same rate other federal employees pay, increasing employee contributions substantially.
“This is clearly an attack on our collective bargaining rights, and an affront to both the union and the Postal Service,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “The parties reached an agreement that would benefit both sides — and now anti-union legislators are threatening to nullify the agreement.”
In addition to McCain’s amendment, Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that would deny all federal workers hired after 2012 the ability to participate in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
If approved, S. 644 [PDF] would end the defined benefits portion of the FERS program and leave in place only the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). It also would reduce the employers’ pension contributions, and force employees to pay more toward their retirement benefits.
Threatening Our Rights
Guffey said the recent amendments are an attempt by lawmakers to undermine the negotiating process and strip postal workers of their collective bargaining.
“We cannot sit idly by as politicians try to deny postal employees of their hard won rights and benefits,” Guffey said. “It is more important than ever that we fight to protect our jobs, wages and benefits.
“These attacks demonstrate how important it is for APWU members to cast their vote on the Tentative Agreement,” the union president said.
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