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  No. 04-10 May 14, 2004       
 
 
  Key House Committee Approves Reform Bill
  H.R. 4341 Headed to House Floor On 40-0 Vote;
Retains Bargaining Rights and Six-day Delivery
   
  NALC President William H. Young comments on House committee approval of postal reform bill in address to hundreds of letter carriers at Pennsylvania Congressional Breakfast May 13.


NALC President William H. Young comments on House committee approval of postal reform bill in address to hundreds of letter carriers at Pennsylvania Congressional Breakfast May 13.

Letter carriers won a significant victory on the road to postal reform May 12 when the House Government Reform Committee voted 40-0 to report out H.R. 4341, The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2004, and sent it to the House floor. It was the first time in over three decades that major postal reform legislation has won committee approval in the Senate or House.

The bipartisan document contains several points critical to the NALC and letter carriers: retention of universal service to all Americans, six-day delivery of mail, and Private Express Statutes, and continuation of collective bargaining rights. A new Postal Regulatory Commission would not have power to alter collective bargaining agreements or establish pay comparability standards.

 NALC e-ctivist Alert!

 

NALC Members who have signed up as e-Activists should go online for a new message from President Young on the postal reform bill .

 

NALC President William H. Young praised the leadership of chief sponsor Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), who headed a special panel on postal reform, and House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) as well as the other principal cosponsors: Committee ranking Democrat Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), and Candice Miller (R-MI).

"While it is not a done deal . . . this is a good first step," Young said.

Young told hundreds of activists from Pennsylvania at their congressional breakfast May 13 in Washington that the NALC is off to a good start and praised carriers in Philadelphia Region 12 for having the highest percentage of e-Activists in the nation. But, he added, "There's still work to be done."

"Just continue the effort that you've already started and there is no doubt in my mind that in a very short period of time, maybe as soon as the beginning of next year, we'll be able to have one big celebration ... as we enjoy postal reform," Young said.

In a statement after tshe committee vote, McHugh said the legislation would provide the U.S. Postal Service with the flexibility it needs to operate successfully in the 21st Century economy.

He said work will continue on refining the bill for House floor consideration in the coming weeks. NALC will continue to be involved in that process.

Major provisions of H.R. 4341, as defined by the Committee, are:


Modern Rate Regulation - Shifting the basis of the Postal Rate Commission from a costly, complex scheme of rate cases to a modern system designed to ensure that rate increases generally do not exceed the annual change in the Consumer Price Index. This applies only to market-dominant products (letters, periodicals, advertising mail) because the Postal Service is provided with different pricing freedom for its competitive products (Express Mail, Priority Mail, etc.)


Combining Market Disciplines with Regulation - Combining market mechanisms with Commission regulation to govern the rates of competitive products. The Postal Service would be given additional pricing freedom but would lose favored legal treatment for such products.


Limitations on Postal Monopoly and Nonpostal Products - Requiring the Postal Service to only offer postal services and for the first time defining exactly what constitutes "postal services." The bill also revises the authority of the Postal Service to regulate competitors.


Reform of International Mail Regulation - Clarifying the authority of the State Department to set international policy, applying customs laws equally to postal and private shipments, and giving the Postal Service the authority to contract with airlines for transport of international mail.


Strengthening of the Commission - Giving the Postal Rate Commission "teeth" by granting it subpoena power and a broader scope for regulation and oversight. The PRC would be renamed the "Postal Regulatory Commission."


Establish a Basis for Future Reforms - Mandating several studies, including a comprehensive assessment of the scope and standards for universal services.

Miscellaneous Reforms - Including returning the responsibility for the military service cost of Postal retirees to the Treasury Department, while also requiring the Postal Service to significantly fund its enormous liability for retiree health benefits.
 

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  NALC Drive Fills Food Banks;
Many Branches Set Records
  Union Receives 2004 World Hunger Award
   
North Coast Branch 183 carrier Andrew Becerra pushing a load of donated food in Rohnert Park, California South Florida Branch 1071 Treasurer and food drive coordinator Laurie Miale beams in midst of huge collection at Daily Bread Food Bank in Miami Detroit Branch 1 carrier Andre Batts accepts donations from customers along his rout

Left photo shows North Coast Branch 183 carrier Andrew Becerra pushing a load of donated food in Rohnert Park, California; in center, South Florida Branch 1071 Treasurer and food drive coordinator Laurie Miale beams in midst of huge collection at Daily Bread Food Bank in Miami, and at right, Detroit Branch 1 carrier Andre Batts accepts donations from customers along his route.

The results are just starting to come in, but by all indications the 12th annual NALC National Food Drive was a resounding success with a number of branches reporting record collections, some even as much as 80 percent above last year's total.

The national total for the drive will be announced in coordination with National Hunger Awareness Day June 3 and a detailed report, including results from branches in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam will appear in the July issue of the Postal Record.

This year's drive was held on a few days after NALC received one of the highest tributes from the anti-hunger movement – the 2004 World Hunger Year-Chapin Award for exemplary work and dedication on issues of hunger and poverty – at an awards dinner May 3 in New York City. Also receiving an award was Postmaster General John E. Potter, for USPS' cosponsorship of the NALC food drive.

  World Hunger Year Award is presented to NALC by Emmy-award winner and anti-hunger activist Tom Chapin, right, at awards ceremony May 3 in New York City. Accepting the award on behalf of President Young is NALC Public Relations Director Drew Von Bergen, national coordinator of the food drive


The World Hunger Year Award is presented to NALC by Emmy-award winner and anti-hunger activist Tom Chapin, right, at awards ceremony May 3 in New York City. Accepting the award on behalf of President Young is NALC Public Relations Director Drew Von Bergen, national coordinator of the food drive.

In California, FoodShare – the food bank for Ventura County -- issued a press release calling the drive "a huge success" and saying it collected 50 percent more than last year, enough to feed 350,000 people over the summer.

"This food drive was poetry in motion, demonstrating what the community can accomplish when we work together," the organization said.

Across the country in Jacksonville, Florida, NALC Branch 53 President Russ Dill was checking to see if this year's collection of 380,047 pounds – a more than 81 percent increase from last year – had set an all-time branch record. Among the promotions by the branch was a float in the annual Shrimp Festival Parade in Fernandina Beach.

Newspaper headlines told the story:

"REGIONAL FOOD BANK SETS DONATION RECORD" – The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

"POSTAL FOOD DRIVE BRINGS IN MORE FOOD THAN EXPECTED" – The Evening Times, Sayre, Pennsylvania.

"POSTAL FOOD DRIVE SURPASSES GOAL" – The Daily Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa.

"MAIL CARRIERS SMASH FOOD DRIVE DONATION GOALS" – St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Throughout the nation, thousands of rural carriers assisted city carriers in collecting the food donations, with strong encouragement from National Rural Letter Carriers union President Dale Holton.

Communications Workers President Morton Bahr also provided support, sending a message to all CWA locals urging members to participate in the drive.

Branch coordinators should submit their official results immediately to NALC headquarters so a national total can be recorded and branch results be published in the NALC Bulletin and Postal Record. Results must be received at NALC Headquarters by May 27.

Additional information will be in the June issue of the Postal Record and a full report on the food drive, accompanied by branch-by-branch totals, will appear in the July Postal Record. Reports will also be included on the Food Drive page of the NALC website.

 

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  NALC Executive Council to Meet
   

The 28-member NALC Executive Council will meet May 24 to 28 to discuss proposed amendments to the NALC Constitution and resolutions that have been submitted for consideration at the 64th Biennial NALC Convention in Honolulu. The Executive Council also plans to discuss new processes to adjust routes.

 

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  Fourth COLA at $416
   

The projected accumulation for the fourth of eight regular cost-of-living adjustments under the 2001-2006 National Agreement stood at $416 following release May 14 of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for April.

The $416 annual accumulation equals 20 cents per hour or $16 per pay period.

The projected accumulation toward the 2005 retiree COLA stood at 1.8 percent following release of the April CPI-W. The 2005 retiree COLA will be based on the increase in the CPI-W between the third quarter of 2003 and the third quarter of 2004.

The 2005 COLA for Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) participants stands at 2 percent based on the latest figures. The 2005 FECA COLA is based on the increase in the CPI-W between December 2003 and December 2004.

 

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  NALC Activists Swarm Capitol Hill
for Postal Reform
 
President Young with House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) expressing a point as Maryland/DC NALC President Hugh McElroy observes West Virginia NALC President Joe Paden greeting Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) making a point addressing the Region 13 congressional breakfast on postal reform Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) addressing Region 13 breakfast  
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) makes point under watchful eyes of Virginia NALC President Gail Burton-Jones and Delaware NALC President Al Castagn Illinois NALC President Ron O'Brien (l), with Region 3 NBA Neal Tisdale (c), and Chicago Branch 11 President Jim Canada at Illinois congressional reception President Young and Region 9 NBA Judy Willoughby chat with South Carolina NALC President Ron Vincent
  Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is welcomed by Executive Vice President Jim Williams and Vice President Gary Mullins at Pennsylvania congressional breakfast Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA) thanks carriers for making legislative trip to Washington  


NALC legislative activists from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia grabbed the eyes and ears of their Senate and House members as Congress moved forward on postal reform legislation during the past few weeks. They also attended legislative briefings, rap sessions, and congressional breakfasts and receptions. Top row, (l-r) show President Young with House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA); Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) expressing a point as Maryland/DC NALC President Hugh McElroy observes; West Virginia NALC President Joe Paden greeting Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). In second row, (l-r) show Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) making a point addressing the Region 13 congressional breakfast on postal reform and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) addressing Region 13 breakfast. Third row, (l-r) show Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) makes point under watchful eyes of Virginia NALC President Gail Burton-Jones and Delaware NALC President Al Castagno; Illinois NALC President Ron O'Brien (l), with Region 3 NBA Neal Tisdale (c), and Chicago Branch 11 President Jim Canada at Illinois congressional reception; President Young and Region 9 NBA Judy Willoughby chat with South Carolina NALC President Ron Vincent. Bottom row (l-r) show Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is welcomed by Executive Vice President Jim Williams and Vice President Gary Mullins at Pennsylvania congressional breakfast, and Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA) thanks carriers for making legislative trip to Washington.

 

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