H.R. 1351 Gains Momentum on Capitol Hill

Saving the Postal Service from financial collapse seems to be getting attention on Capitol Hill: H.R. 1351 — a bill supported by postal unions, management associations, and the mailing industry to address the USPS financial crisis — has become one of the top three bills searched for on the Library of Congress’ legislative research Web site.

Meanwhile, 21 additional members of the House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors of the bipartisan measure since Congress returned from its August recess.

“It’s a good sign,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Myke Reid. “Members of Congress are obviously hearing from concerned workers, business people, and citizens who are demanding that Congress act,” he added.

“But we’ve got to keep the pressure to save postal jobs and service.

“Now is the time for all postal workers to urge their U.S. representative to support H.R. 1351,” Reid said. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Steven Lynch (D-MA), would prevent the financial collapse of the USPS — without closing thousands of post offices, eliminating hundreds of mail processing facilities, delaying mail delivery, laying off 120,000 workers, cutting postal workers’ pay, or ending collective bargaining rights.

“I also urge every APWU member to participate in rallies on Sept. 27,” Reid said. “Find out about your local’s plans and join with our brothers and sisters from other postal unions to visit your representative’s district offices with the simple message: Save America’s Postal Service — Pass H.R. 1351.”

H.R. 1351 would allow the Postal Service to apply billions of dollars in pension overpayments to the congressional mandate that requires the USPS to pre-fund the healthcare benefits of future retirees. No other government agency or private company bears this burden, which forces the Postal Service to fund a 75-year liability in 10 years — at a cost of more than $5 billion annually. Without the mandate, the USPS would have shown a surplus of $611 million over the past four fiscal years.

The bill currently has 204 co-sponsors — nearly half the house, yet Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is withholding action on it while advocating his own bill, H.R 2309, which would destroy the Postal Service as we know it.

Rep. Issa’s bill would do nothing to correct the cause of the USPS financial crisis: It would do nothing about the pension overpayments or the pre-funding requirement. But it would establish a “solvency authority” with the power to unilaterally cut wages, abolish benefits, and end protection against layoffs. It also would create a board that would order $1 billion worth of post office closures in the first year and $1 billion worth of facility closures in the second year. If H.R. 2309 is enacted, thousands of offices throughout the country would be closed.

10 Responses to "H.R. 1351 Gains Momentum on Capitol Hill"

  1. Nancy   September 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Plant closings have still been announced to the plant employees in those plants. Everyone in a frenzy worrying if they will have jobs next year.

  2. Sherri Sturdivant   September 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    As a wife of a rural carrier, I can tell you, we have been so terrorized by the video’s of the Postmaster General. There have been at least 2 video’s now, they are not in any way supporting any carrier or union. He seems to be licking his fingers in anticipation of perhaps extra dollars in his pocket? Otherwise it seems he would be worried about his job? Mail is not dead, it is still.going strong, my husband works his butt off everyday. It just so happens that there is a Post Office wide mail count for rural carriers. It is funny how the heaviest amount of mail is taken out before the mail count takes place. You see the count determines the wages of the carrier for the next year or so. They count every piece of mail and packages. And also something called “box holders”, which are an excellent source of mail and something the carriers get all year long, but…. the post office has rushed out (maybe with a special agreement with the senders) two sets of box holders this month, they usually have one, two is special, both BEFORE the mail count meaning the carriers will not get paid for this huge volume of extra work because if it doesn’t come during the mail count it doesn’t make the cut.

  3. Kerry in Maine   September 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Sherri, you, your husband, and postal workers in general are not alone. Public sector employees were just as shocked and horrified when the nationwide assault on their jobs, pensions, and freedom of association kicked into high gear out of nowhere in January 2011. We didn’t know who our attackers were or how they were getting away with their assault on American workers. Key brutal people took unexpected, unprecedented action against us, flat out lied about our pay, benefits, and pensions and laughed at us as they carried out their assaults. Many still think the attack is coming from those key people. It’s not. They’d be gone already if they didn’t have a highly financed and organized power base. And they all act alike, using the exact same made up information, using the same derogatory and demeaning language when referring to public employees, and ramming the same ill-begotten “solutions” through state legislatures, claiming it’s just the beginning and lots more of this carnage is absolutely necessary to save America. None of them listen to anybody or change their minds and they all act very very angry with public employees, like you pointed out, it’s like they’re “licking their fingers” as they roll out their cruelty. They all revel in and relish their “victories” over us as they destroy America. And they seem to be backed by everybody because these nut job fake “grass roots” groups whip people into a frenzy and spur them on to attack public employees using all the media and every public forum. It’s like a gang rape in a biker bar in the middle of the desert where no police dare to go. I’ve seen enough to know there is no middle ground. They won’t have it. And something has to be done about them. I don’t pretend to know what that will look like, I’m just saying…

    Tomorrow, in solidarity with you we of MSEA SEIU Local 1989 will be demonstrating in Portland Maine, Augusta Maine, and Bangor Maine from 4 to 5:30 p.m. In Bangor Maine we will be publicly thanking/honoring Representative Mike Michaud for co-sponsoring H.R. 1351 — a bill supported by postal unions, management associations, and the mailing industry to address the USPS financial crisis.

  4. Stan Smart   September 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I’m a conservative republican and I absolutely think this pre-funding of retirement benefits is ridiculous. Great to know someone recognizes
    “common sense” when they see it.

  5. Steve Olis   September 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    If you are going to pay retirees health care cost, the cost should be accrued for the hours being worked now not 10, 20 or 30 years latter. This reflects the true cost of to an employer and the true cost of an employee. Who knows what the future will bring for mail delivery? What if we do not have a post office say in 10 years. Who will pay this unfunded liability? I am sure the workers would expect Uncle Sam to pick up the unfunded liability. This is the reason to set aside a small amount per hour to fund the future liability. This is just another example of kicking the can down the road with our Federal Budget.

  6. USMC   September 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Talk about being hijacked , I feel like I`m on those planes in 2001 , these A holes are taken a damn good service provided and running it nose first into the ground! Thanks Alot

  7. Reb   September 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I called my representative and asked him to support HR 1351, turns out he is a co-sponsor. Call your reps and demand they support this. We cannot let a great service like the USPS go down the tubes.

  8. Pingback: SOS! Save our Services! « APALA DC

  9. Bill   October 5, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I say save the usps, cut funding to the 3rd world countries and all other foreign aid and cut the pay by 50% of all the BS artist in Washington. That all ads up to a good start of getting this country back to where it should be..

  10. Dewey Bueno   December 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I have been sort of following this through The Ed show. I am also concerned in general about the many laws that have been passed by this so called Tea Party that has taken over the Republican party.

    The constitution is being completely ignored and it is obvious Fedex and UPS are selling routes and are at war with the USPS>

    What is it going to take to wake up those who are working so hard at low wages to wake up. Everyone is so tired they cannot listen and I really feel Democracy in general is at risk.

    Please advise me to what is going on with the HR1351 and this bogus attempt to privatize the USPS into the next market crash

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