Postal issues front and center as reps return to DC
Jan. 26, 2012 -- As the nation’s elected representatives returned to Washington in January to begin the second session of the 112th Congress, NALC President Fredric Rolando penned a special greeting to all House and Senate members to mark the occasion.
“On behalf of the nearly 300,000 men and women who make up the National Association of Letter Carriers,” he wrote, “I would like to formally welcome you back and give you a brief update on letter carriers’ actions in the field over the last six weeks.”
In individually addressed letters, Rolando noted that carriers continue to closely watch the progress on Capitol Hill of a number of pending postal reform measures, some of which would have major impacts on letter carriers if they were to become law.
“Various bills making their way through both houses of Congress would eliminate our unique six-day delivery service, making it more difficult for the Postal Service to remain competitive and offer essential services to customers in every community, including hundreds of thousands in your district,” he wrote. “I urge you to reject those proposals in lieu of legislative solutions that strive to strengthen and build the Postal Service, not weaken and slowly destroy it.”
The president also made special note of the NALC’s recent successful petition drive in support of protecting six-day mail delivery, in which off-duty active carriers, alongside retired carriers, family members and friends, gathered more than 1 million signatures from Americans who oppose eliminating a day of delivery.
“I look forward to working together with you for the remainder of the session to ensure a competitive and financially viable Postal Service,” Rolando wrote.
The same day, Rolando also sent an urgent notice to the members of the NALC e-Activist
“With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announcing late last week that he would be
delaying a floor vote for the controversial anti-piracy bills pending before Congress,” the president wrote, “the Senate schedule now has unexpected floor time that will need to be filled.
All indications are that the leadership plans on moving S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011, as early as next week.
“S. 1789, in its current form, is unacceptable to the NALC and to many stakeholders and customers throughout the country,” Rolando wrote.
The president outlined some key problems with the Senate measure:
- It allows for cutting a day of mail delivery by 2014 if the Postal Service doesn’t turn a profit by then, while failing to give the USPS the flexibility it needs to be able to turn a profit.
- It calls for phasing out door-to-door delivery in favor of curbside and centralized delivery.
- It fails to call for the refund of between $50 billion and $75 billion in CSRS pension surplus funds that two independent audits found were the result of overpayments dating back to the 1970s that the USPS has made into CSRS.
- It includes an anti-labor provision that would direct arbitrators to take into special consideration the financial condition of the Postal Service before rendering a decision. Arbitrators already are required to consider all the evidence presented to them. Adding this pro-management provision to the law with no balancing pro-worker consideration would tilt the balance of interest arbitration against unions.
Rolando noted that S. 1789 could become a better bill if senators added in the provisions found in Sen. Bernie Sanders’ S. 1853, the Postal Service Protection Act of 2011.
“S. 1853 addresses the problems laid out above and sets out to strengthen the Postal Service while maintaining the excellent level of service Americans have come to expect, preserving middle-class jobs and creating new opportunities for the Postal Service moving forward,” he wrote.