From PSE to Full-Time Career: Retirement Buy Back

Judy Beard

July 25, 2019

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

On May 2, the Federal Retirement Fairness Act was introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-04). If signed into law, H.R. 2478 would allow postal and federal employees who moved from a temporary (Postal Support Employees) to a career position to “buy back time” towards their retirement. This legislation would ensure that former, temporary employees would have access to full retirement benefits and would not be forced to work extra years to make up for the time they were not able to contribute.

The buy-back would work by employees making a deposit of 1.3 percent of base pay for each year as a temporary employee, the corresponding interest rate, and the government’s contribution (as calculated by the Office of Personnel Management).

This legislation would affect more than 60,000 APWU members who converted from temporary to career positions. I am asking every active and retired APWU member, and our auxiliary members, to support their brothers and sisters by contacting your member of Congress and asking them to cosponsor H.R. 2478.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your representative.

Attack on Seniors’ Benefits (Chained CPI) is back on the White House Agenda

Recently, the White House directed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to look into changing the inflation rate, affecting how the Federal Poverty Line is determined. The White House wants to measure inflation using the Chained Consumer Price Index. This would underestimate inflation because it does not take seniors’ spending habits into consideration, and would affect the already low Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) seniors receive.

This attack by the White House will devastate low-income families by denying them access to critical food and health programs because, with the new poverty line, they will ‘make too much’ to qualify.

This will also have a direct impact on lowering postal/federal retiree COLAs.

The APWU will fight back against this attack, and will push for legislation that instead increases the COLAs of those who worked and fought for retirement security.

We believe that COLAs should be calculated using the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). This formula would have a positive effect because it more accurately reflects the spending habits of seniors on health care and housing.

We support legislation in the House of Representatives and Senate that not only advocates for the CPI-E formula, but also expands Social Security benefits. Please contact your Representative and Senators (202-224-3121) and tell them to co-sponsor the Social Security Expansion Act (H.R. 1170 in the House and S. 478 in the Senate).

APWU takes the Anti-Privatization Fight to Our Labor Allies

The APWU has been spreading the word of our US Mail: Not for Sale campaign to stop postal privatization to union members across the country. Together with the NALC, we made presentations on our anti-privatization campaign at each of the six AFL-CIO district meetings.

These presentations highlighted our vision for the future of the Postal Service, the attacks we are facing, and how working families can help us fight back. After the presentation, attendees discussed the importance of these types of campaigns and the role the attendees can play to help preserve the public Postal Service. Approximately 3,000 union members attended these meetings.

Join us for the Legislative and Political Conference on Sunday, October 27 in Las Vegas!

Workshops Include:

  • One-on-Ones with Your State Representatives and Congressional Officials
  • The Interlinking of Congress and the Postal Service
  • Make Digital Media Part of Your Political Strategy
  • Reshaping Democracy at the State and Local Level: Changing Laws to Win Economic Power
  • How to Write an Op-ed/Letter to the Editor
  • Stopping Postal Privatization

Regional breakouts and a general session will also be held. Register today here!.

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