March 2018 Update
Once again, we turn our attention towards Capitol Hill to see if Postal Reform will be enacted by Congress.
The bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act of 2018 was introduced on March 22nd by U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). This latest Act represents an enhanced version of House Resolution 756 which passed out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on a bipartisan voice vote in March of last year.
Specifically, the objectives of the Postal Service Reform Act of 2018 include:
- Allowing the Postal Service to coordinate its retiree healthcare system with Medicare, gaining efficiencies and saving a significant amount of money over time. This reform would reduce or eliminate the Postal Service's projected unpaid health care liabilities and would be fully paid for.
- Eliminate the current aggressive retiree health prefunding requirement by allowing the Postal Service to pay down any remaining health care obligations over 40-years, while at the same time protecting taxpayers by requiring the Postal Service set aside far more funding for health care than is currently being done by any other large business.
- Restore half of the 4.3% emergency rate increase put into place after the recession to provide sufficient revenue for the short term until the Postal Regulatory Commission can complete a comprehensive review of the postal rate system required by law.
- Include service reforms that put the postal customer first by improving mail service performance across the country, while also requiring transparency and enforcement to ensure the Postal Service’s accountability. Service performance would also be stabilized by preserving current service standards for at least 2 years.
- Require the Postal Regulatory Commission to complete a study of affordable options and timetables for improving services and give the Commission additional authorities to ensure service improves.
- Enhance transparency by improving management, effectiveness and efficiency of Postal Service operations, costing systems, customer service, and contracting efforts.
So, what does this mean for Mail Handlers? That remains to be seen. Certainly, the devil’s in the details. Like employees of any organization we want our employer to be successful. Whether this Act comes through the legislative process as something that will ultimately be beneficial will be determined in the future. The benefits and effects to Mail Handlers will have to be monitored and assessed on an ongoing basis. We’ll be watching.