Senate Postal Bill Jeopardizes Healthcare, Retirement Benefits

August 6, 2013

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A bill introduced by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) on Aug. 1 would jeopardize the healthcare and retirement benefits of postal employees by giving arbitrators the authority to remove them from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

“We vehemently oppose removing postal employees and retirees from these programs,” APWU President Cliff Guffey said.

“The bill (S. 1486) also would destroy service to our customers by virtually eliminating overnight mail delivery, decimating the mail processing network, closing post offices, phasing out door delivery, and ending Saturday letter-mail delivery,” he said.

The four postal unions quickly condemned the measure and sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Harry Reid expressing “utter dismay” at its introduction.

The bill continues the disastrous policy of mandating massive pre-funding of retiree health benefits and provides for major downsizing measures to pay for it, the letter points out.

“Our unions were not consulted about these proposed major changes to our rights as federal employees or to our collective bargaining process,” the letter notes.

The bill would also devastate service. It would:

  • Allow the USPS to reduce delivery standards, close hundreds of mail processing facilities and shut thousands of post offices; 
  • Eliminate Saturday mail delivery;
  • Mandate the elimination of door delivery; and
  • Impose “cruel and discriminatory” changes to the Workers Compensation program that would leave injured federal workers vulnerable to impoverishment when they reach Social Security retirement age.

“This massive downsizing and the bill’s assault on postal employee benefits are not necessary,” the letter says. “They are being driven by the irrational retiree health financing policy that no other business or agency would adopt. The Postal Service has already pre-funded decades of retiree health premiums, more than any other enterprise in America. Indeed, USPS has already set aside an estimated $49 billion for such premiums, approximately 50 percent of total expected costs over the next 90+ years.”

The letter urges Sen. Reid to “actively work to promote postal reform that will create jobs and innovation, not more job cuts and reduced service for the American people.”

Senators who have co-sponsored the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013 (S. 316) have taken the right approach, the letter says. “That bill would strengthen the Postal Service, promote innovation and, most importantly, resolve the retiree health and pension policies that have crippled the Postal Service in recent years.”

The APWU has called on locals to organize meetings with lawmakers to discuss postal reform during Congress’ August recess and is asking union members to participate.

[S. 1486 - bill text]

[ S. 1486 - section-by-section-summary prepared by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs]


Take Action Now!

To contact your representatives by phone, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

To send an e-mail message, visit

August Action

Join your APWU local in lobbying your legislators during the congressional recess (Aug. 5 - Sept. 6)

Urge Lawmakers to Co-Sponsor

  • Postal Service Protection Act (H.R. 630 in the House / S. 316 in the Senate)
  • USPS Stabilization Act (H.R. 961)
  • Protect Overnight Delivery Act (H.R. 2459)

Urge Lawmakers to Oppose

  • Carper-Coburn Bill (S. 1486)
  • Rep. Issa’s Bill (H.R. 2748)

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