When it comes to the postal “reform” bill now before the U.S. Senate, you have to wonder what has happened to common sense. If Congress damages the U.S. Postal Service and imperils its future, is that reform?
We say no, and we echo the TTD Executive Committee’s call for the Senate to reject S. 1486, a bill that would slash middle-class jobs and impose unfair reforms to postal employee benefits. As a broad coalition of transportation unions, we understand the important role that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plays in the movement of mail and goods throughout the country and as a major transportation provider.
Tens of thousands of postal workers, including members of our affiliate, the National Association of Letter Carriers, face losing their jobs over the misguided effort of S. 1486, while the focus should be on real solutions to ensure the financial solvency of the USPS.
Instead, S. 1486 would pave the way for the elimination of Saturday service and of door-to-door service—hurting residents and small businesses, creating a disadvantage for the USPS as it competes for business, and furthering the decline of the middle class by pushing dedicated employees out of their jobs.
Here are some of the bill’s worst features:
- It requires USPS to cut Saturday delivery—and eliminate 80,000 jobs—if total mail volume falls below an arbitrary threshold of 140 billion pieces.
- It creates a two-tiered workforce by changing the eligibility requirements for retirement and savings plans for new employees.
- It imposes discriminatory reforms to the workers’ compensation program that would affect all federal workers, not just those with USPS. The bill also mandates that USPS pre-fund workers’ comp benefits—a burden that no other federal agency bears, and which will do nothing to ensure financial solvency.
Even as the USPS has begun to post profits and turn itself around, S. 1486 would short-circuit the comeback and create new problems. We urge the Senate to reject S. 1486 and consider the reform plan offered by USPS unions to pay down debt with pension surpluses, provide greater pricing freedom and free the Postal Service to innovate and offer new services.
Before the United States of America was formed as a republic, the Postal Service helped to knit together its fabric. Congress should think hard before it slashes USPS services in the name of “reform.”