The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has the vast responsibility of providing mail services to every state, city and community in this country and in doing so uses virtually every mode of transport – aircraft, train, truck, boat, ferry, helicopter, street car, subway and hovercraft. TTD understands and values the important connection between a strong and financially stable postal service and our transportation system, and we stand with our nation’s postal workers in opposition to the Postal Reform Act of 2013 (S. 1486).
While we do recognize the need for reform in order to ensure the financial solvency of the USPS, we reject the notion asserted by this bill that financial solvency can be achieved by attacking the dedicated workforce of the postal service. Congress must reject this irresponsible attempt at reform and instead support efforts to strengthen the postal service and protect its workers.
Instead of proposing commonsense reforms to address the financial issues of the USPS, S. 1486 seeks to cut Saturday service and along with it, tens of thousands of postal jobs across the country. The bill establishes an arbitrary volume trigger of 140 billion pieces and requires the USPS to cut Saturday delivery should total mail volume fall below that threshold in the future. Cutting Saturday delivery will not only eliminate a service that customers expect and value but will greatly disadvantage the USPS as it competes for business. Furthermore, cutting Saturday service would eliminate the jobs of 80,000 hardworking postal service employees, making them scapegoats for the misguided and onerous retiree health pre-funding policy.
S. 1486 also unfairly targets the benefits of new postal workers by making eligibility for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Thrift Saving Plan subject to collective bargaining agreements. Coverage under these programs is currently set by law for all federal employees. Denying these benefits to new postal employees is wholly unjust and creates a two-tiered workforce that disadvantages new employees.
In a further attempt to scapegoat hardworking postal employees, this bill imposes discriminatory reforms to the FECA workers’ compensation program that would make vulnerable all federal workers, not just postal workers. Additionally, the bill contains a provision that mandates that the USPS pre-fund future workers’ compensation benefits, a burden that no other federal agency bears and which will do nothing to help ensure the financial solvency of our postal service.
The Postal Service’s unions have offered an alternative reform plan that would fully resolve the retiree health prefunding policy, pay down USPS debt with pension surpluses, provide greater pricing freedom and free the Postal Service to innovate and offer new services. TTD supports this plan and urges Congress to do the same.
The USPS is an important user of our nation’s transportation system and its importance to our national economy cannot be overstated. It is critical that Congress reject S. 1486 and instead consider common-sense, fair legislation that protects postal workers and strengthens the U.S. Postal Service.
Policy Statement No. W14-05
Adopted February 16, 2014