76,000 Postal Retirees Will Get The Shaft While Large Mailers Say Pass The Postal Reform Bill

2/02/17 – Large mailer organizations such as The American Catalog Mailers Association (press release below) and The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (press release below) fully support H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 – and, as it looks as of today, so do postal unions. So, what are we missing here? Here’s what we’re missing – these organizations are not subject to having the benefits they were promised by their employer when hired thrown out and replaced with benefits that will serve their needs. Simply put – this postal reform bill, if passed as is, will FORCE, yes, FORCE, postal retirees into Medicare coverage whether they desire it or not. This portion of H.R. 756 needs to be excluded or corrected to afford current postal retirees to continue to receive the benefits (namely…health coverage under FEHB) they were promised when they were hired and then again when they retired from USPS, If postal annuitants desire to sign up for Medicare coverage then allow them that privilege – BUT, don’t force them into this coverage. REPEAL P.A.E.A. to correct this financial burden for USPS and leave current retirees benefits alone. Rick Owens – PEN

American Catalog Mailers Association Press Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Catalog Mailers Association wholeheartedly endorses the just-released Postal Service Reform Act of 2017, a critical milestone toward resolving the health of our nation’s Postal Service, which drives some 7.5 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in commerce. The bill was introduced by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on January 31st.

“We are delighted with the progress to resolve an enormous problem that only Congress can solve, and the House seems intent on doing just that,” says Bob Runke, ACMA’s Vice Chairman and CEO of Barco Products. “We commend Chairman Chaffetz, Ranking Member Cummings and the bipartisan co-sponsors for all their hard work in the past session and their leadership in the new Congress.”

The ACMA believes that by gaining bipartisan support from Congress, as well as Postal Service management, its labor unions and the mailing community, this bill can truly make a difference to jobs in America while protecting critical infrastructure that all Americans rely on.

“Passage of this bill is vital for the future survival of our Postal Service,” says the ACMA’s President & Executive Director Hamilton Davison. “Absent Congressional action, users of the mail will face increasing uncertainty that will drive business out of the mail and effectively force unprecedented taxpayer support to keep the USPS afloat – and nobody wants that.” Since 1971, the US Postal Service has been fully funded by postage. It receives no taxpayer funding.

“We sincerely hope the House of Representatives will quickly push this bill forward,” Davison adds. “It has been studied, vetted, positively scored and is clearly good for all interests. Congress must demonstrate this is not business as usual and get this commonsense legislation passed into law.”

About the American Catalog Mailers Association

ACMA is a Washington-based not-for-profit organization specifically created to advocate for the unique collective interests of catalog mailers in regulatory, public and administrative matters where the shared impact transcends individual company interests. ACMA participates in rulemaking and other proceedings of significance where a single collective voice increases influence and effectiveness. More information can be found at www.catalogmailers.org.

The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service Press Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service (C21) expressed its support for HR 756, the Postal Reform Act of 2017, introduced by a bipartisan group of Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, including its leaders.  The Postal Service is in deep financial trouble, and this bill would constructively address, among other things, retiree health obligations that account for many $ billions in postal red ink.

Not only is the postal system deeply in the red on its balance sheet from its virtually unique and unsustainable statutory prefunding obligations (operations are nominally in the black), it and its customers are confronting a mandated review of its rate setting system this year.  What is at stake is whether the Postal Service can continue to be wholly funded by user fees:  postage.  It receives no taxpayer funds. Absent this bill, the result could be major, unaffordable rate increases that would drive large volumes of mail out of the system, damaging businesses and costing jobs around the country.  Ultimately, taxpayer funds would be necessary to prop up a failing, but still essential postal system.

“This bill provides an intelligent, workable and bipartisan solution to the financial predicament faced by USPS,” said Art Sackler, Manager of C21.   “C21 mailers and suppliers, and the industry as a whole, have long supported a universal, self-sustaining postal system, and this bill would keep it that way.”

The industry generates $1.4 trillion in commerce, and employs 7.5 million workers.  With the major increases necessary to cover postal liabilities, mailers would gravitate aggressively to electronic alternatives to mail in online, social and mobile media.  This would put the survivability of the postal system at risk, and likely require support from taxpayers.

“The beauty of this bill,” added Sackler, “is that it would put USPS back on the path to financial balance without taxpayer funds.”

The OGR Committee will conduct a hearing on HR 756 on February 7.  C21 will testify.

C21 consists of business mailing associations and companies of every size – including  newspapers and other periodicals, advertisers and catalogers, greeting cards, financial services, telecommunications, insurance and other statement mailers, ecommerce businesses and other parcel shippers – and their suppliers – paper, printing, technology, envelope manufacturing, and mail services.


5 Responses to "76,000 Postal Retirees Will Get The Shaft While Large Mailers Say Pass The Postal Reform Bill"

  1. Postal Joe   February 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Rick Owens, you are 100% right!!

  2. Ididnotvoteforthatguy   February 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Neither APWU nor NALC have taken an official position on H.R. 756 yet. Both their official statements indicate their still reviewing it until further notice. I am assuming at least APWU would object to the mandated Medicare integration for existing retirees. I’m sure there will be some adjustments before it gets approval from Congress … if they ever get to it.

    PEN: In our opinion Rolando has already given his blessing to forcing postal retirees/employees into Medicare. Read his statement below:

    From NALC: Rolando also urged the committee to consider a narrow set of provisions upon which most stakeholders agree as a way of bringing greater financial stability to the Postal Service, including:

    – mandating the use of postal-specific assumptions in postal pension valuations;
    resolving the pre-funding burden by reforming the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to maximize postal emplyees’ Medicare participation;


  3. Patrick Cotter   February 3, 2017 at 6:17 am

    The former TE’s got the shaft and once converted to career, they are forced into the lower pay scale.
    All regulars who were former TE’s should be placed in the higher pay scale

  4. Postal Joe   February 3, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I love how this committee talks about the American Catalog Mailers Association endorsement of the reform bill!!! The committee should just bring all the executives into a meeting and ask them to set their own mailing costs because now their costs are going to be subsidized with the savings from screwing the Postal Retirees out of their health care insurance! That would be a lot easier than going thru all this BS!!

  5. Ididnotvoteforthatguy   February 4, 2017 at 1:05 am

    @PEN I understand the concern, but I still don’t read Rolando’s statement as giving his blessing to forcing postal retirees into Medicare. Rolando actually agreed to “maximize postal employees’ Medicare participation.” I read that as “employees” … not current retirees. NALC members and retirees may want to contact Rolando and ask that an official position be issued on the forced Medicare integration for existing retirees. Current retirees should have an option to retain their current health plans and be grandfathered in. But Rolando did say “employees” so I am not so convinced yet that he gave his blessing to the forced Medicare integration for existing retirees.

    Besides, from what I’m learning from other postal retirees is that choosing to pay the $134 more in Medicare may benefit some in the long run by saving their out of pocket expenses. Some retirees over the age of 65 may find that a better financial option. But others may find it better sticking with the FEHBP without being forced into Medicare. Postal Unions should make a stand to address this issue in the final draft of H.R. 756 by allowing current retirees to retain their preexisting retirement agreements.

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