Natan Sheyer
Legislative Chair
Sergeant-at-Arms
Outlook September / October 2019

2019 Legislation

Summer recess is over and Congress is back at work with much to accomplish on their agendas for the new fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1, 2019.

Back on August 2, 2019 the House and the Senate passed the fiscal year 2020 budget and the Debt Ceiling Agreement extension for two years, which has been signed into law by the President. Currently, lawmakers need to negotiate the spending for all 12 Appropriation Bills before the end of September 2019. Hopefully, a government shutdown will be averted or a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) will be considered to keep the government open.

On August 1, 2019 the Senate approved nominations to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors (BOG) and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which has five commissioners and serves a term of six years. The Board of Governors currently has five governors and serves up to 7 terms. Four seats on the Board of Governors currently remain vacant. The BOG is much like a Board of Directors who conducts long range planning and set up strategic policies.

To get legislation passed into law in Washington, gaining momentum is key. However, the ultimate authority over postal operations still rest with Congress. As Congress steps into the first session of the 116th Congress, the NALC has accomplished much and continues to gain co-sponsors on various non-binding bills, which can be our only line of defense in receiving postal reform.

Today, the highest Legislative Priority Bill is USPS Fairness Act (H.Res. 2382). This bill would repeal the USPS Prefund. Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” – meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.” This bill reached a bi-partisan majority of 236 co-sponsors. Some other resolutions that reached bi-partisan majority of co-sponsors are:
H.Res 23 – Door delivery: 247 co-sponsors;
H.Res 33 – Anti-privatization: 260 co-sponsors;
H.Res 54 – Six-day delivery: 279 co-sponsors;
S.Res 99 – Anti-Privatization: 53 co-sponsors;
H.Res 60 – Service Standards: 191 co-sponsors
(Still in need of more co-sponsors, H.Res 60 needs a 218 majority in the House.)

Presently, the NALC is seeking to have a postal reform bill drafted in the House. Members of the NALC must always be ready for upcoming events on the Hill. Please download the NALC member app, at www.nalc.org to receive updated information from our Legislative Department in Washington, D.C. regarding important postal issues. Let’s all keep up with our continued support for the Letter Carrier Political fund (LCPF).
KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! ENJOY THE UPCOMING HOLIDAYS

Outlook July / August 2019

A Look Ahead

Both Chambers of Congress were in session throughout July before heading home for August recess and will reconvene once again on September 9, 2019.

In the coming months, Congress will work on the fiscal year 2020 budget which begins on October 1, 2019. Their work will include the 12 appropriation bills that fund the government and must be completed by September 30, 2019, an effort that usually ends in extensions known as “Continuing Resolutions.”

The Senate is also looking to deal with government spending caps and the debt ceiling which will run out of money by mid-September 2019. The current debt ceiling is at about 22 trillion dollars. The Senate will push for a 2-year raise of the cap to prevent a government shutdown; talks will continue to prevent this issue from coming up during next year’s 2020 Presidential Election.

We continue to build alliances with the men and women on both sides of the aisle for our postal issues and try our best to persuade them to co-sponsor the House and Senate resolutions and bills. Currently, there are five Priority Resolutions and one bill.

H.Res-23 -- Protect Door Delivery (232 co-sponsors)
H.R.-33 -- Opposing Privatization of the Postal Service (258 co-sponsors)
H.R.-54 -- Keep Six-day Mail Delivery (267 co-sponsors)
H.R.-60 -- Restoring Service Standard (184 co-sponsors)
S.Res-99 -- Opposing Privitazation of the Postal Service (53 co-sponsors)
H.R.-2382 -- Repeal the requirement that USPS prepay future retirement benefits (180 co-sponsors)

Currently, these resolutions are racking up co-sponsors on both sides of the aisle. In the House, we need 218 co-sponsors to reach majority; three resolutions have reached it so far. In the Senate we need 51 co-sponsors to reach majority and we did it.

On June 26, 2019, the 15th contract negotiation between the NALC and USPS formally began negotiations and will hopefully achieve a mutually beneficial contract for both sides.

On June 30 through July 02, 2019, the N.Y. State Association of Letter Carriers held their 36th Biennial Convention in Huntington, Long Island. Delegates debated resolutions and constitutional amendments and NALC President Rolando addressed the delegation on postal issues. The NALC is awaiting the filing of vacancies on the Board of Governors and on the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The Board oversees and directs Executive management of the Postal Service on postal operations. Hopefully those seats will soon be filled.

It has been two years (July 25, 2017) since our beloved Branch 36 Executive Vice President, John Springman, passed away. Yet his voice can still be heard in the membership meetings and has not been forgotten. May his memory be a blessing to his family and our members.

The next Democratic Primary Debates will be held in Detroit on July 30 and July 31, 2019, and also on September 12 and September 13, 2019.

Letter carriers need to stay alert as the NALC fights against those harmful White House proposals during budget talks. I encourage all members to download the NALC member App, which will keep you updated on letter carrier issues. Remember to support our Letter Carrier Political Fund (aka COLCPE).

Stay involved! Have a safe and healthy summer season.

Outlook May/ June 2019

Moving Forward

would like to congratulate the Charles Heege/Pascual Ortiz team on another three-year term. I look forward to keeping Branch 36 active and retired members up-to-date on postal legislation from Capitol Hill. Knowledge is power!

I would also like to share with you, greetings from our New York State Delegates, who attended the yearly lobby trip in pursuit of educating our House and Senate members on our current postal issues and priority resolutions in Washington, D.C.

On April 28, 2019, the House of Representatives introduced the bipartisan bill, the USPS Fairness Act (H.R. -2382). This bill would repeal the mandate, which the USPS Pre-Fund and decade’s worth of health benefits for its future retirees enacted, through the Postal Accountability Act (PAEA) on December 8, 2006. This mandate manufactured a financial crisis in an otherwise profitable agency. Currently, we have 75 co-sponsors in the House. The NALC, along with the Letter Carrier District Liaisons across the country, are moving forward to urge their House Members to co-sponsor this bill. The NALC hopes that this bill will come out on the House Floor for a vote this year and we can turn our focus on a new postal reform bill.

We also have made progress on co-sponsors for the other 5 priority resolutions: H.Res-23; H.Res-54; H.Res-60; H.Res-33; and S.Res- 99. Fact sheets can be found on these resolutions at NALC.org under the Government Affair link. These resolutions are the expression of the House and Senate on how they would vote, should such legislation be introduced for the postal service. During the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearings on the financial condition of the postal service, held on April 30, 2019, NALC President Fredric Rolando encouraged the committee to move forward to fill the remaining seven vacancies on the Postal Board of Governors and to implement the ten-year review by the Postal Regulatory Committee on the postal financial condition. We currently only have two on the Board. Those solutions along with the repeal of the Pre-Fund would put the Postal Service on the path to financial stability

On a local note, from the election of November 2018, the State Assembly and the New York Senate are now under the control of the Democratic Party with progressive members elected that are looking to make some reforms. One of the reforms was signed early this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo for early voting with some reforms and should increase the voting percentage. Counties are required to allow New Yorkers to vote in person up to 10 days prior to an election. All state primaries will be held in June. These reforms will allow 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register when they sign up for a driving permit and be automatically registered and transferred to the county rolls when they turn 18 years old.

We are fortunate to have a PAC (Political Action Campaign) which gives us a foot in the door and voice in Congress. Our PAC money is distributed across the party line to members of Congress, who support letter carriers on postal issues. The NALC is urging members to get involved and sign up for payroll deduction, which will allow better use of the money during election year.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate brothers Harold Hillard and Pat McNally on their retirement as officers of Branch 36. Thank you both for all your advice and experience which you have shared with me over the years. Be well and I will look forward to seeing you in attendance at our meetings.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy summer. Remember, get involved!

Outlook March / April 2019
Spring Forward
The first session of the 116th Congress (2019-2020) is currently underway. We are faced with the typical and all too familiar challenges of working with the Republican Party in Congress.

We have a duty to continue to build alliances with the men and women on both sides of the aisle to proactively find champions for our causes. We do so by maintaining contact with our Representatives in Congress and by persuading them to co-sponsor the House Resolution Bills and the Senate Resolutions which are very important in defending our postal issues.

Currently there are five priority resolutions that were introduced in the 116th Congress:
H.Res-23 ... Protect Door Delivery;
H.Res-54 ... Keep Six-day Mail Delivery;
H.Res-60 ... Restoring Service Standard;
H.Res-33 ... Opposing Privatization of the Postal Service;
S.Res-99 ... Opposing Privatization of the Postal Service.
All these resolutions reached a bi-partisan majority of co-sponsors in the previous Congress (115th) and currently are building their co-sponsors.

H.Res-33 Anti Privatization of the Postal Service already has bi-partisan support with 221 co-sponsors. 218 votes is a majority in the House.

Congress finally passed the 2019 fiscal budget that ends 9/30/20 and the White House released the Proposal Budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins 10/01/2019. The proposed budget once again attacks workers, calls for deep cuts to salaries, cuts current and future health and retirement benefits. It also follows the White House Postal Task Force Report of December 2018 that calls for the elimination of Union Collective Bargaining Rights over pay, creating a postal employee pay scale as per the Federal workforce, which changes to the Postal Service’s model. All those changes and more are currently on the table and being discussed during the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Letter carriers need to stay alert as the NALC fights against those harmful proposals. I will keep you updated as we move along.

We will be faced with some turbulent times along the journey. We will need to be vigilant and pay close attention to the upcoming legislation on postal issues. When you are called upon by the NALC Legislation to call your Representatives or Senators to vote on a bill or to reject a bill, do so! Your voice counts.

Please continue to contribute to LCPF (Letter Carrier Political Fund) our fight is not over; we can make it through this together.

Happy and Healthy Holiday Season to You and your Families!

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