More Co-Sponsors Needed for HR 1351

By Richard Thayer

Received an e-Activist Alert from NALC President Fred Rolando on Friday concerning a bill that’s extremely important for the Postal Service. It’s HR 1351, the USPS Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA).

As of May 4, 65  congressmen/women have co-sponsored the bill. But more are needed. Sorry to say, of those 65 nary a one is a representative from North Carolina. Not one. This would seem to indicate that either we (letter carriers) aren’t doing a very good job of letting them know where we stand on this matter, or they (our representatives) aren’t doing a very good job of representing us.

If you haven’t contacted your rep yet, or if you have and they haven’t responded in a positive way (by cosponsoring the bill), you can get in touch with them by going here or here and asking that they co-sponsor HR 1351.

It’s extremely important that you do this because the Postal Service in its normal, misguided, dysfunctional way thinks eliminating Saturday delivery is the way to go, when in fact, it’s not.

Some quick background info: As the result of the 2006 postal reform law, the Postal Service is required, unlike anyone else, to pre-fund its future retiree health benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year. That’s billion with a B. It seems that the Office of Personnel Management made a slight miscalculation when it figured this up. Now we want them to go back to the drawing board, using the correct criteria, and recalculate the amount.

If it had not been for the OPM’s “misclaculation,” the USPS would actually have made a profit over the last five years.

HR 1351 directs Congress and the OPM to allow the Postal Service to use its own surpluses in its two pension plans, FERS and CSRS, to cover the cost of its retirees.

According to two independent audits there now exists a surplus of between $50 billion and $75 billion in the CSRS account.

If HR 1351 is passed — and hopefully it will be — the law would direct our mathmatically-challenged friends at OPM to properly recalculate the Service’s balance in the pension fund and transfer the money over to its health benefit fund.

For additional information on HR 1351, check out the NALC’s Fact Sheet.


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