As you probably know by now, the United States Senate this afternoon adopted a deeply flawed postal reform bill, voting to pass S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, by a vote of 62 to 37.
The legislation embraces a downsizing strategy and fails to fully lift the onerous burden to fund decades of future retiree health benefits decades in advance. Also, it gives the postmaster general the authority to propose a switch to five-day delivery in two years—at a cost of 80,000 jobs—if he believes such a change is necessary to preserve the “solvency” of the Postal Service, subject to review by the Postal Regulatory Commission and the Government Accountability Office. Although the bill reduced the level of required pre-funding, the cost of the mandate is still too heavy to allow the USPS to regain a sound financial footing.
We’re disappointed by today’s outcome, but we are determined to fight on. Because, of course, the legislative process is far from over. It may take months to get a bill through the House of Representatives, but we will not rest in our spirited campaign to defend a strong and viable Postal Service. And even then, assuming the House comes up with some sort of postal reform measure, a conference committee would have to reconcile the House’s bill with the Senate’s bill, and then President Obama would have a chance to weigh in on the legislation, since a bill that passes both houses would not become law unless he signed it.
I personally want to thank you and your brother and sister letter carriers for your hard work these past few weeks. We have flooded the Senate with tens of thousands of phone calls. And although we didn’t prevail in striking the five-day delivery provision or the regressively unfair FECA cuts in S. 1789, tens of thousands of letter carrier jobs were saved thanks to the Senate’s adoption of the door-to-door delivery amendment sponsored by New York Senator Chuck Schumer.
Keep your chin up. This fight to save America’s Postal Service is far from over.