In a Press Conference Wednesday, August 5th, PMG Potter reiterated his calls for help in dealing with the USPS’s yearly obligation to pre-pay $5.4 billion to cover retiree healthcare benefits as well as possibly reducing mail delivery to five days down from six.
Both bills to address retiree healthcare benefits (House bill HR. 22) and (Senate bill S. 1507) have been reported out of committee. If you don’t remember your “School House Rock,” once a bill is introduced, it goes to committee where it is reported out – either with no changes, with amendments or is not acted on (dies in committee).
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported out HR. 22 favorably with no amendments, however the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably with an added amendment that has caused the presidents four major postal unions (APWU, NALC, NRLCA, NPMHU) to call for the defeat of the senate bill.
HR 22 has 338 co-sponsors in the house so it looks like an easy pass, but the Senate bill only has 2 co-sponsors so far, so the amendment that provides instruction to future postal arbitrators to “take into account the fiscal position of the Postal Service as part of any arbitration” may act as a “poison pill” for this legislation.
“If this legislation, HR 22 or S 1507, is enacted it will improve our solvency, reduce our losses and help shore up our financial position,” Potter told the conference.
Potter also repeated his call for cutting back mail delivery to five days, an idea that will also require Congressional approval and was one of the amendments that were rejected in the mark-up of S. 1507.