WASHINGTON – The National Association of Letter Carriers (AFL-CIO) announced today that active and retired members in Missouri will demonstrate Tuesday, December 6 with informational picketing at offices of Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-MO) in four Missouri cities to protest his one-man roadblock of passage by Congress of bi-partisan federal postal reform legislation.
The legislation (S. 662) is aimed at helping the U.S. Postal Service provide more efficient universal service to Americans and also prevent unnecessary postage rate increases.
NALC President William H. Young said the picketing will be held at the noontime period (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST) at Bond’s offices in four Missouri cities: St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Springfield.
‘We had hoped that this action would not be necessary," Young said. "But the refusal by Senator Bond to lift his "hold" on the bill and allow an up-or-down vote before Congress adjourns for the year leaves us no alternative."
"We believe the distribution of informational materials on Tuesday will assist the general public in understanding the need for postal reform legislation if the U.S. Postal Service is to keep postage rates down and improve service to all Americans," Young added.
In a November 30 letter to Bond urging that he end his "hold," Young noted that the scheduled increase of first class postage from 37 cents to 39 cents in January, along with increases for other classifications, could have been avoided if S. 662 (the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2005) had been enacted by this time.
Young said today that if Bond does not lift his hold after the picketing, other activity is being planned for later in the week in Missouri. The Senate returns from its Thanksgiving break next Monday.
"The American people want improved postal delivery throughout the nation without unnecessary postage rate increases," Young said. "This can only be done by updating the 35-year-old law that governs the Postal Service so that it can compete and operate efficiently in the Internet age. Senator Bond – and Senator Bond alone – is not allowing that to happen."
Similar legislation was passed by the House of Representatives on a 410-20 vote in July. S. 662 was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in a near unanimous vote, paving the way for Senate floor action. Under Senate tradition, however, a senator can prevent further action on a bill or nomination simply by placing a "hold" on the legislation by requesting the leadership not bring it up for a vote.
The bill would strengthen the long-term viability of universal delivery of postal services to all Americans. It would modernize the U.S. Postal Service by giving it greater flexibility to manage its operations and set prices, but also would require the Postal Service to operate more transparently and give expanded oversight power to a new Postal Regulatory Commission.
The NALC has 220,000 active city delivery letter carriers as members in all 50 states and U.S. jurisdictions, including 4,200 active letter carriers in Missouri.