Letter to the editor: Postmaster of USPS spouting same script as predecessors
CantonRep.Com – Letter to the Editor by Amy L. Rodehaver Canton Ohio Area Local member
“A recent letter to the editor relates some history of the U.S. Postal Service, but the writer holds a much different perspective on the plight of our venerable public service institution than I. Perhaps he is unaware of congressional legislation that, by design, has put enormous financial burden upon the Postal Service. The 2006 Postal Enhancement and Accountability Act mandated that profit be diverted to fund health benefits 75 years into the future. Not only profit was diverted, but borrowed funds as well.”
Letters to the editor for July 30, 2019
Ocala – Letter to the Editor
“Concerning the relationship between the U.S. deficit and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), USPS receives no tax dollars; it operates exclusively through selling postage. In fact, in 2006 Congress passed a bill which required USPS to deposit $5.6 billion into an account to pay for future health benefits of retirees. As written, this means money is being paid for retirees not even born yet.”
“The Temporary Emergency Committee (TEC) of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service will meet Aug. 9, 2019, in open session at Postal Service headquarters, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, D.C. The public is welcome to observe the meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET in the Benjamin Franklin Room on the 11th floor. “
Postal Supervisors Sue for Better Pay
“After the Postal Service largely ignored the non-binding findings of a mediation panel, supervisors sued for retroactive pay increases.”
“Servicemembers stationed overseas probably don’t think much about how their mail to and from the United States is delivered through the immense system of Army, Air Force and Navy post offices. In 2018, the Defense Department’s Military Postal Service Agency oversaw the delivery of 88,618 tons of packages and letters sent or received by overseas soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and federal employees at about 1.2 million post office boxes, unit mail rooms, buildings and other delivery points. That was roughly equivalent to mailing 1,310 Abrams tanks. The average military mail customer has also likely given little thought to an arcane international treaty called the Universal Postal Union — but they’re apt to hear a lot more about it by October.”
“The Post Office at Tampa International Airport has been evacuated due to a report of a suspicious package. Tampa Police Department’s bomb squad is on scene investigating…”
“United Parcel Service drones outfitted in the company’s signature brown may soon be buzzing across the sky. The delivery company said Tuesday that it’s creating a subsidiary that will focus on expand…”
“Last week, a Michigan-based vehicle company announced it landed an order of more than 2,000 delivery vans from “North America’s leading e-commerce retailer.” Amazon confirmed to Business Insider on July 24 that the Seattle-based e-commerce giant was indeed that retailer.”
Federal News Network
“No matter what path Congress takes in reaching what some members have called an urgent need for postal reform, the Postal Service, for the first time since December 2014, has enough members on its Board of Governors to reach a quorum. The Senate confirmed three governors Thursday before leaving for their six-week August recess. The governors operate much like a company’s board of trustees and make important business decisions for USPS, such as selecting the next postmaster general and approving postal products. The board is also supposed to be the driving force behind a major financial course-correction for USPS, according to the recommendations reached by a White House postal task force. The new members include Ron Bloom and Roman Martinez IV, both former investment bankers, and John Barger, former director of the Investment and Retirement Boards of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association, the country’s largest pension fund.” (See also: USPS Regains a Functioning Governing Board for the First Time in Five Years)
“A semi-truck caught fire on the way to Jacksonville Monday and some of the mail was destroyed in the blaze, WCTI reports. The United States Postal Service says first responders acted quickly, so some mail was salvaged and they will try to deliver as much of it as possible after the fire.”
“Arizona state Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-20th District) is asking for an investigation into what she describes as unsafe work conditions for postal service workers, KNXV reported. Bolick sent a letter to the president of the American Postal Workers Union, Mark Dimonstein, urging him investigate reports of hazardous working conditions for mail carriers because of the Arizona heat.”
“The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) membership has ratified a new three-year labor contract with the Postal Service. The contract covers approximately 131,000 employees represented by the union. Highlights of the agreement include annual general wage increases, a reduction in the employer share of health premiums, additional operational flexibility to use rural carrier associates, and enhanced health benefits for eligible non-career rural carrier employees. In addition, the agreement includes a comprehensive memo of understanding on the implementation of a rural carrier standards study.”
“The pace of work is unrelenting, reflecting Oregonians’ insatiable consumer appetites and the desire to have their orders in hand right away. “This warehouse, like others, just has a high rate of repetitive motion and other types of injuries,” said Jamie Partridge, a retired postal worker now with the PDX Amazon Workers Solidarity Campaign. The organization, associated with the Democratic Socialists of American and Jobs with Justice, says it represents Amazon employees who say they cannot speak out themselves for fear of losing their jobs. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it has conducted six inspections of Amazon sites over the past three years. Complaints about dust, vehicle emissions and heat triggered the inspections, one of which led to a citation for Amazon for lacking an effective safety committee and another resulted in a warning letter over heat issues.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Sundays will soon look a lot like weekdays at FedEx Corp. FDX -3.95% and United Parcel Service Inc., UPS -2.01% as delivery drivers fan out to neighborhoods to deliver online orders to doorsteps. But there will be a significant difference: Drivers working that day will be paid at a much lower rate than those who drive during the week.”
Acting Labor Secretary Has a Long Paper Trail
“For Labor Department employees looking for clues to how acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella may lead the department in the interim before the Senate approves a permanent secretary, the long-time executive has a considerable paper trail revealing his views on federal employee unions, management and leadership. In op-eds for Government Executive magazine over the last 14 years, the former chief human capital officer and senior management executive at Labor during the George W. Bush administration and sole Republican member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority during the Obama administration described his efforts to push for stronger performance management, curb the amount of time workers could spend on union business and strengthen efforts to hold officials accountable for their actions.”
Labor Department Makes Public 401(k) Rule Change
The Wall Street Journal
“The Labor Department released a final rule to make it easier for small businesses to band together to create joint 401(k) retirement plans for workers. The rule, which takes effect Sept. 30, broadens the ways companies could join together to offer retirement accounts, according to a department official. Under the rule released Monday, companies in different industries—for example, landscaping companies and real-estate firms—could create a joint plan as long as they are located in the same state or metropolitan area. The rule also would clarify that similar companies—for example two landscaping companies—located in different regions of the country could join together.”
Workers’ health, safety, and pay are among the casualties of Trump’s war on regulations
Economic Policy Institute
“On December 14, 2017, President Trump held a press conference to take credit for the “most far-reaching regulatory reform in history,” claiming his administration has been responsible for more than 1,500 cancelled or delayed regulatory actions.1 He is expected to tout this number again at his upcoming State of the Union address to Congress. While the specific figure Trump cited at the press conference has been called into question, there is no disputing that Trump and congressional Republicans have engaged in an unprecedented attack on regulations over the last year, rolling back rules that were intended to protect workers, consumers, and public health. The Economic Policy Institute’s Perkins Project on Worker Rights and Wages has been tracking Trump and Congress’s decimation of federal labor standards through deregulation since January 2017.2 Regulations play an essential role in protecting workers—ensuring safe workplaces and fair pay and protecting workers’ rights to organize and join a union so they can bargain collectively with their employers. But not only do regulations provide essential protections; research shows that federal regulations in fact provide an overall net benefit to the economy—contrary to what its opponents would have people believe. In this report, we review what the research says about the benefits of regulations, and we shine a spotlight on Trump and Congress’s most egregious deregulatory actions—actions that advantage corporate interests and those at the top of the income distribution at the expense of low- and middle-income workers.”
“Congressman Francis Rooney (R-FL) has introduced a bill (HR 4090) which would, according to his press release ‘Stop Government Employees from Getting Paid Taxpayer Dollars for Union Activity’. The bill is called the Do Your Job Act with the purpose of ending ‘official time, an abusive practice where government employees use paid time off to perform union duties.’ In other words, the bill would eliminate the use of “official time” by federal employees who are representing a federal employee union.”
Yes, America Is Rigged Against Workers
New York Times
“Academics debate why American workers are in many ways worse off than their counterparts elsewhere, but there is overriding agreement on one reason: Labor unions are weaker in the United States than in other industrial nations. Just one in 16 private-sector American workers is in a union, largely because corporations are so adept and aggressive at beating back unionization. In no other industrial nation do corporations fight so hard to keep out unions. The consequences are enormous, not only for wages and income inequality, but also for our politics and policymaking and for the many Americans who are mistreated at work.”
Systematic Inequality and Economic Opportunity
Center For American Progress
“The National Labor Relations Act of 1935, also known as the Wagner Act, was enacted shortly before the FLSA and expanded collective bargaining rights nationwide.32 Union membership afforded workers higher wages, improved benefits and job security, and better working conditions, allowing many to transition into the middle class.33 However, the Wagner Act excluded domestic and agricultural workers and permitted labor unions to discriminate against workers of color in other industries, such as manufacturing.34 The Wagner Act’s discriminatory provisions also coincided with a national movement to dismantle collective bargaining altogether, especially in more racially diverse states.35 While workers eventually convinced lawmakers to ban unions from engaging in racial discrimination, many domestic and agricultural workers, who are disproportionately people of color, remain excluded from Wagner Act protections.”
INTERNATIONAL POSTAL AND LABOR NEWS
Bristol post office gets alcohol licence despite objections
BBC News – England
“A post office in an ‘alcohol-fuelled’ crime hotspot has been granted permission to double up as an off-licence despite police objections.”
Brazil’s Postal Workers Announce Strike as of Today
The Rio Times – Brazil
“Postal workers have announced a strike starting this Wednesday evening, July 31st. According to the National Federation …”
Workers at Merlins Bridge Royal Mail delivery office staged a walk out
Western Telegraph – England
“The walkout took place yesterday morning, Tuesday, July 30, with Royal Mail workers in their uniforms and orange hi-visibility vests stood outside the gates of the Haverfordwest delivery office in Merlins Bridge.
A spokesman for the Communication Workers Union, whose members took part, said the walkout was the result of a dispute between a member of staff and a manager.”
Royal Mail management hit by 60 complaints as strikes continue
Plymouth Live – England
“The Communication Workers Union which represents Royal Mail members has said that there has been … Mr Ferrett said that the postal workers are “deeply sorry” for the disruption unofficial industrial action has caused to post.”
Drone crash near kids leads Swiss Post and Matternet to suspend autonomous deliveries
TechCrunch – Switzerland
“A serious crash by a delivery drone in Switzerland have grounded the fleet and put a partnership on ice.”
Trade Union leader fears privatisation of Postal Department
Star of Mysore – India
“Mysuru: Accusing the Centre of practicing anti-labour policies, former General Secretary of All India Postal Employees Union (AIPEU) R.”
|Join our nationwide phone action on July 23.
Sign up to support the USPS Fairness Act and save our public Postal Service.
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We have the opportunity to collectively educate the members of the House of Representatives on the value of the public Postal Service and the threats it is facing.
In 2006, Congress saddled the US Postal Service with an extraordinary financial burden of prefunding retirees’ health care costs 75 years into the future, through a law called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).
That burden has led to service and job cuts. It is also what the White House Task Force report is using to justify proposing the elimination of our right to collectively bargain wages and benefits, and threaten the sale of the public Postal Service.
This White House threat couldn’t be any more serious for postal workers and the public. It’s time for Congress to start undoing some of their damage by passing the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382).
No other Federal agency or private organization is saddled with this kind of burden.
Taking billions of dollars out of the day-to-day running of the Postal Service has prevented investments and innovations for the future. It is also part of the reason why we so often find the USPS understaffed and we are so overworked.
The White House Postal Task Force made it clear that they see an opportunity to come after our jobs and our livelihood. In their recommendations to deal with this manufactured crisis, they state: “USPS employee rights should be more closely aligned with other federal employee rights by eliminating collective bargaining over compensation.”
Part of a real solution is to get rid of this burdensome mandate.
The USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382) would put the Postal Service on the road to sustainability by immediately repealing that mandate.
This bill has unprecedented bipartisan support. We can get this passed if we all take action together. Sign up now. Register for our July 23rd online action day.
In union solidarity,
Legislative and Political Director, Judy Beard