Oppose S. 1486, the Postal Reform Act of 2013
As the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee continues the markup of S. 1486, Postal Reform Act of 2013, the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) urges you to oppose the current version of this bill and instead support efforts to strengthen the postal service and protect its workers.
As a broad coalition of transportation unions, TTD understands and values the important role that the USPS plays in the movement of mail and goods throughout the country. And while we do recognize the need for reform in order to ensure the financial solvency of the USPS, we reject the notion that financial solvency can be achieved by attacking the dedicated workforce of the postal service.
Instead of proposing commonsense reforms to address the financial issues of the USPS, S. 1486 seeks to cut Saturday service and along with it, 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. 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 USPS is vital to our nation’s transportation system and its importance to our national economy cannot be overstated. We urge you to oppose S. 1486 and instead consider common-sense, fair legislation that protects postal workers and strengthens the U.S. Postal Service.