Of Turkeys and Lame Ducks

By Richard Thayer

Just as the sparrows return
each spring to San Juan Capistrano, the turkeys have returned to
Washington after the Thanksgiving holiday and are now busy giving their
constituents the bird.

Yes, it seems the
Thanksgiving turkey has plenty of company at the chopping block. Among
the proposed chopees are Social Security recipients (present and
future),Medicare recipients, the unemployed and all federal civilian
employees, and the health care reform law.

But not to worry,
if you make over $250,000 a year, your tax breaks won’t be affected.
Congratulations.

However, for the
rest of us, 2011 is not shaping up to be a banner year.

The turkeys in
Washington are evidently seeking revenge on behalf of those who recently
lost their lives so we could fill our bellies.

They plan to hit
us where it hurts: In our wallets ( Those owning Gucci handbags will not
be unaffected).

It has been
reported that members of the Republican Party intends to block all
Democratic-backed bills that are not connected to government spending
and tax breaks. Especially tax breaks for the wealthy. They definitely
want to make sure that the top two-percent in our country get their tax
breaks.

In case you missed
it, President Obama announced a two year wage freeze for all civilian
government employees. This under the auspices of “shared sacrifice.”
Everyone is to share in this particular sacrifice…unless of course you
make over $250,000. You will be exempt. This, of course, would
include most Congressmen (and no letter carriers).

But that’s fair,
right? After all, most Republicans and everyone at Fox News believes
that government employees make way too much money anyway. This despite a
recent report from OPM that private-sector workers earned at least 24
percent more than federal employees in 2010. And now, with the freeze,
that disparity will grow even wider.

Although that
freeze doesn’t directly affect letter carriers and other postal
employees, it’s definitely going to make our contract negotiations even
more difficult. And we can see from how things have gone with the APWU
and the rural carriers in their negotiations, that it wasn’t going to be
a cakewalk to begin with.

Since Republicans
have pretty much agreed to block everything except bills pertaining to
tax cuts and government spending, we might infer that the NALC-backed
bill, HR 5746, would be passed since it will save the Postal Service
billions of dollars. Right? Call me cynical if you will, but I have a
hunch that the Republicans will block that bill as well. So, if HR 5746
is not passed by the lame ducks before the Christmas recess, it is very
doubtful, in my mind, that it will be passed by a turkey-controlled
Congress in 2011.

Let me hasten to
add, however, that this doesn’t mean that five-day delivery of mail is a
done deal. It does mean, however, that we’ve got our jobs cut
out for us in 2011. If we haven’t been politically active in the past,
it would behoove all of us who are employed by the Postal Service, to
get involved and make sure we retain six-day delivery. If we don’t,
privatization is just around the corner, and with it will come lower pay
and little, if any benefits.

And you can kiss
your pension good-bye.

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