April 2013 Update
Progress is being made towards implementing the 2011 National Agreement. Numerous questions remain, however, and it has become clear that we will have to rely on the grievance procedure to provide the answers. This is not something unusual when it comes to new contractual provisions and it may be an ongoing process for quite some time.
While we continue working towards this objective, we must be ever watchful in other areas which will have a direct impact on our future, specifically Congressional action. Legislation has been introduced once again in both the House of Representatives and the Senate which will modify the business model of the Postal Service. Captioned as “The Postal Service Protection Act” S. 316 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and H.R. 630 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) on February 13th.
If this legislation were to be enacted it would:
- Continue six day delivery.
- Allow the Postal Service to recover over-payments made to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) as well as the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS).
- End the pre-funding mandate which requires the Postal Service to fund 75 years of retiree healthcare benefits in a 10 year period.
- Restore the first class overnight delivery standard which would ensure timely mail delivery and help mail processing plants remain open.
- Allow the Postal Service to develop innovative products and services that would generate new sources of revenue, such as issuing licenses, ending the prohibition on beer and wine shipments and providing notary services.
- Ensure the security or rural post offices by giving the Postal Regulatory Commission binding authority to prevent post offices from being closed based on the effect such closures would have on the community and employees.
The voice of Local 323 will be heard on Capitol Hill in support of this legislation during May when Vice President Kathy Schultz attends the 2013 Legislative NPMHU Legislative Conference. During this conference, Kathy will be meeting with the offices of our Congressional delegation to solicit their support. We’ll see where it goes from there.