Postal Employees and Retirees See Threats to Pay and Benefits in White House Budget

21-2019

03/29/2019The White House released its plans for the fiscal year 2020 budget this month. It once again attacks workers, calling for deep cuts to salaries, retirement and health benefits. It also echoes parts of the Postal Task Force December 2018 report that calls for the elimination of union negotiated collective bargaining rights over pay, creating a postal employee pay system similar to what is seen in the federal workforce.

Further mirroring the Postal Task Force report, the budget calls for privatization of the Postal Service in part, including outsourcing processing and sortation to private companies, and providing access to mailboxes to third parties.

“The cuts in the current White House budget proposal clearly come at the expense of postal employees, retirees, and the American people,” President Mark Dimondstein said. “Similar attacks on postal workers and universal postal service were also seen in the June 2018 report from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in which the White House proposes to sell the Postal Service to the highest corporate bidder.”

“APWU members must remain vigilant, organized and unified in defense of the public Postal Service and the rights of postal workers,” President Dimondstein continued.

In addition, the budget also attacks our wages and benefits through:

  • ‘High Three’ to a ‘High Five’

The White House budget recommends basing retirement annuities on the average highest five years of salary instead of the current high three, resulting in a decreased annuity payment.

  • Changes to COLAs for FERS and CSRS Retirees

Postal retirees under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) would see a total elimination of cost of living adjustments (COLAs) under the budget plan, and those in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) would see a 0.5 percent reduction of COLAs.

  • Elimination of FERS Annuity Supplement

Current FERS retirees who left service before Social Security eligibility qualify for an annuity supplement. This would be eliminated for new retirees.

  • Increases to postal employee contributions to FERS

FERS enrollees will see an increase of their contributions by one percent over six years. By doing so, employee and employer contributions will be equally divided.

  • Changes to the G Fund

The Thrift Savings Plan’s (TSP) G Fund interest rate would be modified under the Trump Administration’s endorsed budget. Proposed changes would lower the rate to under one percent. This would only possibly save the federal government $16.5 billion over 10 year, and make the G Fund virtually worthless for those TSP participants.

  • Changes to Retirement Services & Healthcare Administration

The management and administration of both retirement reservices and healthcare will move from the duties of the Office of Personnel Management to the General Services Administration.

For this budget plan to come to fruition, it would have to be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. The Senate Budget Committee released its budget plan for fiscal year 2020 on March 22. In it, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is requested to develop $15 billion in savings. This would most likely come in the form of reductions to employee health care benefits.

The House Budget Committee has yet to release its fiscal year 2020 plan. Votes on past plans to cut pay and benefits did not pass in either the House or Senate.

It is important to be aware of these threats and to raise your objections to your lawmakers.

“APWU will continue to meet with elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, reminding them of the value of the work of postal and federal workers to this nation,” said Legislative & Political Director Judy Beard. “Retirees should live with respect; receiving COLAs and annuities that should be increased, not cut. Federal budgets should lift workers and communities up, not tear them down.”

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Pledge to Join the Fight to Defend the PUBLIC Postal Service APWU

Our campaign kicks off Oct. 8–pledge to join us!

Pledge to Join the Fight to Defend the PUBLIC Postal Service

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90-2018

09/18/2018Pledge to join the fight!

Beginning October 8, we’ll be taking action in person, online and on the phones to defend our PUBLIC post office and preserve this national treasure. Click here to learn more about our first actions and download flyers for your worksite and community!. Pledge to take action by filling out the form below, and we’ll keep you posted on ways you can help stop the privatizers from selling off the USPS.

 

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Major Victory For Expanded Postal Services APWU

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72-2018

07/23/2018On Wednesday, July 18, the APWU and our allies won a big victory by defeating an attempt to prohibit the Postal Service from expanding financial services. In a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, an amendment to a government appropriation bill (H.R. 6147) offered by Representative Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was rejected by a bipartisan vote of 212 to 201. The APWU greatly appreciates the bipartisan support from lawmakers who voted down this proposal.

In the short span of only two business days, APWU President Mark Dimondstein and the Legislative and Political Department launched a strategic campaign in coordination with our sister postal unions and other allies to defeat this stealth attack. “Make no mistake about it, this was an attack on our public Postal Service,” said President Dimondstein. “The defeat of this concerted effort to curtail financial and other innovative services is an important victory for those who believe that the Postal Service exists to serve the people of this country.”

The amendment would have prevented the Postal Service from using its existing legal authority to enhance its offering of basic financial services – including domestic electronic money transfers, bill payment services, expanded check cashing, and expanded international money transfers.

Not stopping there, it also preemptively banned future USPS innovations that have not already been approved by Congress. Earlier versions of the proposal even meddled with APWU collective bargaining, as it attempted to overturn the agreement reached in our last round of contract negotiations with the USPS to pursue expanded postal services.

The banking industry lobbied hard in favor of this amendment, joining with anti-government organizations like Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation. These are the very groups that are determined to privatize our public Postal Service.

“This victory is an excellent example of what is possible through bipartisan outreach by the APWU to educate lawmakers of both parties about the importance of a robust public Postal Service,” said APWU Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard. “It also shows the importance of coalition building.”

The commitment of the National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, as well as our allies in the Campaign for Postal Banking, the AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform, and Take on Wall Street, won the day. “Only through the collective work of all our allies in the public interest, united in solidarity, could we defeat this attack,” Director Beard emphasized.

Standing up for robust postal services, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, urged his colleagues to “oppose this effort to impose arbitrary limits on the Postal Service’s ability to innovate.”

Speaking on the House floor, Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) urged their colleagues to vote “No” on the amendment. “The Postal Service,” said Connolly, “deserves better, our consumers deserve better, Postal Service customers deserve better, and we can do better.”

When Representative John Curtis (R-UT) – who was serving as Acting Chair at the time – called for a voice vote, it was clear the majority opposed the amendment. Despite this, however, he ruled that the amendment had been adopted.

Recognizing the strong bipartisan opposition to the amendment and that the Acting Chair had ruled incorrectly, Representative Kaptur demanded a recorded vote. When the votes were counted, she was vindicated as the House of Representatives rejected the amendment by a roll call of only 201 in favor and 212 opposed.

The Postal Service is in a unique position to provide basic, affordable, non-profit financial services via its existing infrastructure, as well as a host of attentional expanded services. These services provided by the USPS could help struggling families throughout the country achieve financial stability and strengthen the USPS mission to serve the public.

“Be heartened sisters and brothers, because this vote is testament to the support for our cause,” said President Dimondstein. “However, we have a ways to go. We must go forward and build on this victory to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now – and for many generations to come.”

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