On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to cosponsor H.R.2382, the USPS Fairness Act. This bipartisan legislation would repeal the destructive and unprecedented retiree health benefits prefunding mandate imposed on the U.S. Postal Service.
In 2007, without due consideration for the critical service USPS provides, and the thousands of middle class jobs it supports, Congress passed legislation that requires USPS to prefund its retiree health benefits program for 75 years—for postal workers who hadn’t even been born yet. No other federal agency faces such an extreme requirement, and no private business would ever choose to operate in this manner.
Since the law was enacted, it has cost an average of $5.4 billion annually and is responsible for 92 percent of USPS losses over the last twelve years, and 100 percent of losses over the past six years. For some, this was not an unintended consequence. The mandate was an attempt to financially cripple USPS and ensure that it will struggle to compete with other delivery services. This entirely manufactured crisis threatens USPS’s continued existence and its ability to improve and invest. Critical services like six day shipping, door to door service, and delivery to the most remote rural corners of our nation are at risk, alongside the livelihoods of the hard working employees of USPS.
Thankfully, Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Tom Reed (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM) have introduced legislation to end this arbitrary and needless requirement. As USPS continues to achieve record revenues and growth it must not be simultaneously forced to cope with burdens that exist only to cause it harm and threaten the agency’s mission. Repealing the onerous prefunding requirement is essential to the future of the Postal Service.
I urge you to support this critical and overdue legislation, and to ensure that we continue to have a Postal Service that provides reliable service to all Americans and supports good-paying jobs across the country.
Larry I. Willis