Message to the PMG - Not So Fast!!

July 25, 2019

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APWU National Executive Board Counters Postal Management’s Cut and Slash ‘Business’ Plan with the Union’s ‘Service’ Plan

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine) 

The Postal Board of Governors (BOG) and Postmaster General (PMG) Megan Brennan are promoting a new management “10-year Business Plan.”

This business plan poses a serious danger to postal workers and postal customers alike.

The “plan” calls for reducing workers’ rights and benefits, including raising postal workers’ retirement contributions by thousands of dollars a year, creating a lower-tier of career workers with fewer benefits, and increasing the “non-career,” lower-paid workforce. It advocates for an end to defined benefit retirement plans – moving to 401K type plans with no guaranteed monthly annuities for future workers.

Using the excuse of financial stresses on the Postal Service manufactured by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), their “plan” includes the outrageous proposals of closing more processing plants, fewer delivery days, thousands of post office closings and subcontracting more jobs currently performed by members of the APWU.

“Instead of improving and expanding service, management’s plan undermines the needs of our communities and guts the benefits of the employees who service postal patrons,” said President Mark Dimondstein. “We will fight back to ensure that vital services and job security are not sacrificed.”

In stark contrast to the USPS’s “business” plan to cut and slash service and worker benefits, the APWU National Executive Board proposes the following ten year “service” plan. It is an optimistic and creative plan to ensure that the public Postal Service – enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – is viable for generations to come and continues to be a place of decent, dignified work for hundreds of thousands of workers.

Job Protection, Job Creation, and Service Improvement and Expansion

1. No cuts to the benefits of current, retired or future workers. Good jobs build strong communities. No balancing the books off the backs of those who move the mail every day and are trusted public servants.

2. Job creation through expanded and enhanced services to meet the needs of the public:

a. Restore overnight mail service/delivery to where it stood on July 1, 2012. The elimination of overnight delivery even within the same city or town failed to meet customer needs and drove away business and revenue.

b. Reopen many closed processing plants to restore the processing network for better/faster service. Closing plants has reduced service while adding transportation costs.

c. Proper Staffing. Short staffing means mail sits too long before being processed and delivered, and retail lines are too long. It also places undue stress on the workers and drives business away.

d. Expanded financial services. Postal services the world over provide financial and “postal banking” services. The USPS should start with paycheck cashing (transferred to no-fee debit cards), increase international remittances and money transfers, electronic bill paying, and ATMs. Customer service and revenue will grow and the USPS can help lift up the 25% of U.S. households forced into the predatory paycheck-cashing and payday-lending loan industry.

e. Use the postal infrastructure to perform same day and/or overnight “store to door” package delivery. More retailers are shipping from local retail outlets. No one is better positioned to successfully perform this work than the USPS.

f. Promote vote by mail as the law of the land. Vote by mail significantly prevents voter suppression, increases democratic rights, and increases mail volume and revenue.

g. Reverse current and stop future cuts to retail hours. Expand hours of service to meet customers’ needs and business/work/life schedules.

h. Implement an array of expanded services, partnering with federal and state governments (including bringing back normalcy after natural disasters). Have the Postal Service also provide notary services, licensing, and electric car charging stations for an electric postal fleet and individual customer use.

Legislative Action

1. Legislative “postal reform” that ends the “prefunding” debacle – the mandate that forces the Postal Service to fully pre-fund retiree health care costs seventy-five years into the future. No other entity or company faces such an onerous burden. This pre-funding mandate created the financial crisis used to cut service and jobs.

2. Properly assess the Postal Service’s finances, taking into account the agency’s true retirement health care benefit liabilities. Honest accounting would present a much more favorable financial picture rather than the dire one used to advocate less service and less jobs.

3. Return billions of dollars of FERS and Civil Service overpayments to the USPS. Legitimate studies determined that the Postal Service’s contributions to both FERS and CSRS led to billions of dollars in overfunding. This is money that should be returned and used for proper staffing, new services, capital improvements, and a new and environmentally friendly fleet of vehicles.

4. Stop forcing the retiree health care benefit funds into low interest Federal Treasury bonds when health care inflation is rising at close to double digits. The USPS should be allowed to invest some of the fund in secure TSP-like investment instruments where it would generate more money to fund retirement health care benefits.

5. Explore alternative means of financing a robust universal service obligation. For example, broadband and public access TV are funded by a cable TV and internet users’ fee. A “bind the nation” small user fee could be charged when utility and other bills are paid on line, to be then placed in the Postal Service operating funds to ensure universal service to everyone.

Regulatory and Administrative Measures

1. End the pre-sort discount “corporate welfare” system that drains revenue from the USPS and creates a giant private mail processing industry at the expense of the public Postal Service.

2. Eliminate the 2006 Postal and Accountability Enhancement Act’s artificial price cap on postal rates. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) now has authority to entirely scrap the cap. Without any cap prior to 2006, the U.S. Postal Service proved capable of providing the most reasonable postal rates in the world.

3. Cancel all reseller programs, used by and others, that drain revenue and business from the Postal Service, enrich private companies, and shift work away from postal employees.

4. Save hundreds of millions of dollars each year by forcing frontline supervisors and postmasters to comply with the terms of our collective bargaining agreements.

5. Limit subcontracting. It leads to the loss of decent union jobs, to corrupt practices and to higher costs compared to performing maintenance, motor vehicle and information technology work in-house.

6. The USPS is a dangerous place to work, costly to worker well-being and the Postal Service. Invest in workplace safety measures including better designed equipment, ergonomic rotations on the machines, training, proper staffing and less forced overtime.

Engagement and Solidarity Win the Day

Right now, postal worker jobs, wages and benefits are under attack like never before in the history of the APWU. The best defense against the current threats from management and the government is activism and unity.

“The union is the front line of defense against corporate privatizers,” said President Dimondstein. “We strongly encourage all members to get more involved in their union. Attend local meetings, go to our website – – to stay up to date on what is going on, sign up for alerts, volunteer to help on a US Mail: Not for Sale action or another local action. Together, we will prevail.”

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