Hundreds of letter carriers from
New Jersey and New York fanned out over Capitol Hill during
the past two weeks, launching face-to-face lobbying with
House and Senate members of Congress on critical postal
reform legislation that is on the front burner this year.
NALC President William H. Young told the
New Jersey and New York legislative activists that along
with valuable trips to the nation's capital by many NALC
state delegations, his call for enlistment of members in
the e-Activist and COLCPE programs has been "overwhelmingly
"There is no guardian angel
up in the sky looking after letter carriers," Young
told New Jersey carriers March 4. "We've got to look
out for ourselves. My job is to save your jobs."
Young said to date 57,000 members had
signed up as NALC Legislative Activists to help advance
letter carriers' concerns in the halls of Congress and many
active carriers have also taken the opportunity for a payroll
deduction for COLCPE. He added that the Office of Personnel
Management (OPM) is expected to soon give the go ahead for
checkoff of COLCPE donations by retired members through
their annuity payments.
"Postal reform is moving
on a rather fast track," Young said. "There's
a possibility we could get a reform bill passed this year."
Young noted that the latest figures from
the Postal Service show a 4.7 percent decline in first class
mail in January which he said "augers very poorly for
the future of this organization."
"The Postal Reorganization
Act of 1970 was a great success, but in 1970 computers
and emails were distant dreams," Young added. "The
world we live in today is much different than the world
that was in existence in 1970."
He urged members of Congress to keep in
contact with the NALC as they consider postal reform legislation.
"This is a bipartisan
issue that affects every single American," Young
said. "We need the support of both parties,"
acknowledging that currently the Republicans control the
White House and both chambers of Congress.
At a joint meeting with New Jersey carriers
at NALC Headquarters, Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine,
both D-NJ, urged them to be active in the presidential campaign.
"This country has
to make a change," Lautenberg said.
"It is absolutely
essential to participate in the election," Corzine
added. "There is a real important decision being
made on November 2."
At the New Jersey congressional breakfast
March 4, much of the attention of lawmakers was on postal
reform legislation being considered by Congress.
"Something You've Earned"
"I said I would never sign
onto any reform until the Letter Carriers signed onto
the reform first," said Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ),
adding: "No one should fool with your collective
bargaining rights. That's something you've earned."
Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said he opposed
some of the recommendations of the President's Commission
on the U.S. Postal Service involving collective bargaining,
including health benefits and pensions.
"I can not understand a
country in which we are seeking to build a postal system
in Iraq, but seek to destroy a postal system here in the
United States," Menendez said.
At the New York breakfast March
11, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) told the delegation that
she was going to be discussing issues less than a hour later
with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and would
make sure NALC legislative issues were "on the top
of the list" of things to be accomplished.