e-Team Report, April 19, 2013

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Postal Reform Bill Coming ‘Very Soon’

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee convened a hearing this Wednesday, April 17, which it billed as: "Options to Bring the Postal Service Back from Insolvency."  The 4-hour hearing included testimony from witnesses such as Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the Chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, Mickey Barnett.

During the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) suggested that new postal reform legislation is forthcoming.  “I think we’re close,” said Issa of bipartisan postal reform at the hearing.  His optimistic comments echo those of Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who also hopes to move soon with a bipartisan bill.  At the hearing, the House committee’s ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), noted the critical importance of getting postal reform through Congress, saying “If we can’t get this done, we might as well go home.”

To read more about the hearing and lawmakers’ hopes for a postal reform bill, please click here.

To view the full video of this week’s hearing, please click here.

Look Out for APWU Brochure Supporting Postal Reform in Your Mailbox!

While members of Congress negotiate over postal reform bills, they need to be reminded that right now the Postal Service is going full speed ahead with damaging plans to close mail processing centers, slash hours at post offices, and reduce service nationwide.  APWU President Cliff Guffey is calling on all APWU members to tell Congress they must act before the Postal Service sows the seeds of its own demise. 

To help APWU members get the message to Congress, the union will be mailing a brochure to the homes of union members in the coming days.  The brochure outlines APWU’s common sense goals for postal reform and sample letters that a member can send to their senators and representative.  Guffey is asking all recipients to sign the postcards included in the brochures, affix stamps, and drop them in the mail.  So again, watch your mail and make sure Congress hears from you!

For more information on the union’s urgent call for congressional action, please click here.

Ricin-Tainted Letters Confirmed, Lawmaker Thanks Postal Workers for Selflessness

On April 16, it was reported that mail contaminated with the deadly poison ricin passed through Memphis, TN and Washington, D.C. processing facilities, possibly exposing postal workers to the toxic substance.  No symptoms of poisoning have been reported by workers at this time and the Postal Service has stated they do not believe the “substance in the letters is in a form that would pose an inhalation or other risk” to employees.  The letters were addressed to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and President Obama.   

On Wednesday, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) issued a statement thanking postal workers for their selflessness for the risks they face in national letter threats.  “I’d like to thank our postal workers at facilities in Maryland for their hard work and diligence,” said Rep. Hoyer.  

The APWU continues to monitor developments closely and will provide updates as more information becomes available. For more on ricin-tainted letters passing through processing facilities, please click here. To view Rep. Steny Hoyer’s statement thanking Maryland postal workers, please click here

The APWU Family Mourns Loss of Victim Killed in Boston Marathon Attack

One of the three victims who lost their lives in the bombing of the Boston Marathon, Krystal Campbell, 29, was the niece of Elaine Slattery and Kathy Reilly, members of the APWU Boston Metro Area Local.  The blasts also seriously injured the son of a Sales & Service Associate, and nephews of an In-Plant Support employee.

APWU President Cliff Guffey said, “we mourn for the families who lost loved ones and send our encouragement, support, and prayers to the wounded.” 

For more on the Boston Marathon attack touching the APWU family and resources for APWU members and their families following traumatic events, please click here

House Rejects Measure to Fire Postal, Federal Employees Who Owe Federal Taxes

This week, the House rejected a bill that would have singled out postal and federal employees for termination if they fell behind on their taxes.  Introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the bill (H.R. 249) would have made any person with “seriously delinquent tax debt” ineligible for federal or postal employment.  Last year, the same measure was also voted down in the House. 

Rep. Cartwright (D-PA), a freshman member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, questioned the sincerity of the bill in improving tax compliance or whether the bill was “just another in a long series of unfair attacks on federal employees and the unions that represent them.”  Such a question is merited considering the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports that 97 percent of federal employees pay their tax on time, as compared to 92 percent of the general public.

For more on the House’s rejection of a bill to fire postal and federal employees with tax debts, please click here.

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