e-Team Report, June 27, 2011

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APWU, Mailing Groups Urge Legislators to Support H.R. 1351

The APWU, along with dozens of key mailing industry groups and labor unions, urged U.S. representatives to support crucial legislation that would restore financial viability to the Postal Service. “We urge you to act now to free the Postal Service of the unnecessary and unsustainable statutory requirement that has destabilized the Postal Service’s finances and poses an immediate and serious threat to the U.S. economy,” the organizations wrote in a June 14 letter that was sent to every member of the House of Representatives.

The letter urged members of Congress to support H.R. 1351, a measure introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on April 4 that would correct the overfunding of the Postal Service’s pension accounts, and would allow the agency to use any surplus to meet its retiree health benefits pre-funding obligation.Tell Congress: Support H.R. 1351

The crisis is immediate because the USPS will run out of funds by the end of the summer,” the letter states. “Since 2006, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) has required it to pay roughly $5.5 billion each year to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, including those of workers that have not even been hired yet.

“The Postal Service can no longer bear this burden,” the organizations wrote.

The letter points out to lawmakers that the effects of a crippled Postal Service would be dire. “The USPS stands alone in offering affordable and accessible, universal service to 150 million homes, and thousands of communities and businesses six days a week. “It is at the heart of a $1.3 trillion mailing industry that employs over 9 million workers.

“It is the linchpin in marketing and distribution systems through which businesses large and small can advertise services and distribute products,” the letter said.

The organizations noted that independent of this pre-funding requirement, the USPS has done its job to remain solvent, shedding more than 110,000 jobs since 2007 and making numerous closings of facilities and operations — but legislation is needed to ensure the Postal Service remains viable in the future.

“H.R. 1351 would allow sound business decisions to be made in a clear and stable environment while providing Congress and the postal community the time to develop a consensus on further reform,” the letter said.

“The Postal Service provides a vital service that is important to the nation’s economic recovery,” the letter stated. “As a business and a public service mandated in the Constitution, a healthy USPS remains vital to your community and the Nation.”

As of June 16,H.R. 1351 had 149 co-sponsors. APWU President Cliff Guffey urged members to contact their U.S. representatives and encourage them to support this critical measure. “If your members of Congress have not co-sponsored this bill, please call them and urge them to do so,” he said. “If they have, thank them for their support.”

If you have not already taken a minute to send a quick note to your member of Congress asking them to please support and cosponsor H.R. 1351, please click here to do so today. 


GOP Presidential Hopefuls Sound off in Favor Of Right to Work (for less) in Presidential Debate

During Monday night’s GOP Presidential debate a few of the candidates were asked about their position on Right to Work Legislation. All three of the Republican hopefuls responded in favor of right to work legislation.

So called “Right to Work” laws at the state level would stop employees and employers from negotiating an agreement that would require all workers who will reap the benefits of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement from paying what is known as their “fair share” of costs to represent them when filing a grievance. These laws are simply unfair to all of the dues paying members of the local who are then forced to bear the burden of filing a grievance on behalf of the non union workers using their hard earned union dues. Lower wages, fewer benefits and less on the job saftey standards are all results of “Right to Work” legislation.

Click here for each of the three candidate’s exact responses along with coverage of the debate.

Just a day after some Republican Presidential candidates spoke out in favor of so called Right to Work legislation another blow was felt in the battle over Right to Work in Wisconsin.Wisconsin’s Supreme Court upheld the law stripping public sector workers in Wisconsin of having the right to collectively bargain.

Click here to read a short comparison between right to work states and non right to work states.

Maine Ends Same Day Voter Registration, Other States Working Toward Voter ID Requirements

After thirty eight years state legislators in Maine decided to change an overwhelmingly popular law allowing residents to complete a same day voter registration. This legislation has passed through both houses of the state legislature and is expected to be signed into law. In 2008 over 60,000 residents in Maine decided to complete their same day voter registration and vote for president.

Click here for more information.

However, there are residents already in the process of trying to restore same day voter registration. 

At least seven other states are pursuing other means of hampering voter turnout in future elections. Several states are now in different stages of passing voter ID bills through their respective state houses. 

Please click here to find out if your state is one of them.

Congresswoman Giffords to Return Home from Hospital

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is set to start her next stage of her recovery. After being shot at point blank range in the head only five months ago Giffords has just been released from a Houston, TX hospital. She will now start the still long road to her full recovery from her and her husband’s home as an outpatient.

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