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NALC President Rolando condemns Senate postal bill S. 1789

NALC is bitterly disappointed with the legislation reported out by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today. The bill, S. 1789 (the 21st Century Postal Reform Act of 2011), would cause irreparable harm to our nation’s Postal Service. It perpetuates the misguided policy that places pre-funding future retiree health benefits above the viability of a network that serves 150 million American households and businesses six days each week—a classic case of “killing the Post-Office in order to save it.”

No other agency or firm in America is required to pre-fund retiree health benefits, and forcing the Postal Service to do so will not only endanger the quality of mail service but threaten tens of thousands of good postal jobs. In addition to the loss of these direct jobs, the Postal Service sits at the core of our nation’s $1.3 trillion mailing industry, supporting 7.5 million private sector jobs. These jobs are threatened as well.

By phasing out door-to-door delivery for 40 million American households and allowing the elimination of Saturday delivery service, additional volume would be driven out the system, sparking a death-spiral from which the Service could not recover.

The misguided bill fails to address the real cause of the Postal Service’s financial woes—the unique burden to massively pre-fund future retiree health benefits. Indeed, it may actually increase the level of pre-funding from the present level of $5.5 billion per year. Nor does it address the massive over-funding of the Postal Service’s civil service (CSRS) pensions.

The nation’s letter carriers will fight this disastrous bill and vigorously advocate alternative ways to cut costs and promote growth in the Postal Service.