Voting Begins on Postal Bill,
Important Votes Set for April 25
APWU Web News Article 45-2012, April 24, 2012
The Senate began voting on amendments to the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S. 1789) on April 24, with action on the bill expected to be wrapped up in the Senate on April 25.
Still to be voted on is Amendment #2042, offered by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), which would maintain current delivery standards for four years. The amendment would not prevent all plant closures, but it would stop the USPS from implementing its “slash and burn” strategy to close or consolidate more than 200 mail processing facilities, shut 3,600 post offices, eliminate overnight delivery of first-class mail and generally slow mail delivery, said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
The APWU supports the amendment, and is urging union members to contact their senators before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, to ask them to vote in favor of the measure. “There is still time to contact both of your senators to ask them to support Sen. Casey’s amendment,” said Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid. To send your senators a message in support of this amendment, click here.
“USPS officials have demonstrated that they will attempt to slash service — unless Congress stops them,” Guffey said.
Senators voted in favor of Amendment #2056, offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), which would modify the process for closing or consolidating post offices and postal facilities. The APWU supported the amendment, which was approved by a voice vote.
The senators voted against Amendment #2034, offered by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), which would have replaced provisions that would be financially devastating to thousands of postal and federal employees who were injured on the job and who receive compensation from the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP). The APWU supported the amendment, which was disapproved by a vote of 46-53.
Other Approved Amendments
The other amendments approved April 24 are listed below. (Please note that the precise wording of many amendments is not yet available.)
Amendment #2020, offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), would require the Postal Service to consider the effect of closing or consolidating a postal facility on the ability of the affected community to vote by mail. The amendment passed by a voice vote. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Tester.
Amendment #2031, offered by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), would prevent closure of rural post offices for one year and would require the USPS to exhaust all options to continue service before closure. The amendment was approved by a voice vote. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Baucus, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), Sen. Brown (OH), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IO), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Merkley, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Sen. Sanders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Tester, Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
Amendment #2047, offered by Sen. Bennet, would allow community advocates to participate in the facility closure process and permit the USPS to provide additional services. The amendment was adopted by a voice vote. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
Amendment #2058, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), would encourage “co-location” of postal services at alternative commercial or government establishments. The amendment passed by a voice vote. It was co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Amendment #2060, offered by Sen. Coburn, would limit spending by federal agencies on conferences and meetings. The amendment was approved by a voice vote.
Amendment #2080, offered by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), would allow verification by the Postal Regulatory Commission of projected savings associated with the closure of a mail processing facility. The amendment was adopted by a voice vote.
Amendment #2082, offered by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), would prevent the Postal Service from closing or consolidating a facilitiy for three years if consolidation was rejected after June 1, 2001. The amendment passed by a voice vote.
Other Defeated Amendments
The other amendments defeated on April 24 are listed below. (Please note that the precise wording of many amendments is not yet available.)
Amendment #2025, offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), which would have ended the mailbox use monopoly, was defeated by a vote of 35-64.
Amendment #2033, offered by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), which would have established a BRAC-like (Base Realignment and Closure) Commission on Postal Reorganization, failed by a vote of 30-69.
Amendment #2043, offered by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), which would have eliminated provisions that call for the Postal Service to go to five-day service in two years, was defeated by a vote of 43-56. It was co-sponsored by Sen. Brown (OH), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Leahy, Sen. McCaskill, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Sanders, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Wyden.
Amendment #2049, offered by Sen. Akaka, which would have directed the Postal Service to engage in consultation with supervisors and postmasters on compensation and benefits, failed by a vote of 57-42. (Amendments require 60 votes for adoption.)
Amendment #2061, offered by Sen. Coburn, which would require retirement-eligible employees of the Postal Service to retire, was defeated by a vote of 33-65.
Amendment #2083, offered by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), also was voted down, by a vote of 29-70. It would have prohibited “no-layoff” clauses from postal collective bargaining agreements; removed a provision from current law that ensures benefits for employees cannot be lower than those in effect in 1971, and required a switch to five-day mail delivery.
Click here [PDF] to read a section-by-section summary of the revised bill.