|Outlook March / April 2017|
Postal Reform Act of 2017 Moves Forward
|The postal service has been dragged down by the weight of the Pre-Funding mandate and has struggled financially in its operation since the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) - H.R.6407, signed by President Bush on December 20, 2006.
On January 30, 2017, two new postal reforms were introduced, the Postal Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 756) and the Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 760). These bills are intended to fully integrate employee health insurance coverage (FEHBP) with Medicare Parts A, B, and D, which would decrease the unfunded liability and improve the finances of the USPS. The bill would also allow the Postal Service to modestly raise postage rates immediately, which would generate roughly an additional one billion dollars in annual revenue. Those two bills were marked up in the House Oversight Committee for amendment and the bills were approved by the committee on March 16, 2017.
The bills will be referred to the Congressional Budget Office for review of its impact on the federal budget. The bills will also be sent to the two House Committees that share jurisdiction over the Medicare programs, the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, before going to the House Floor for debate and vote. This whole process will have to be repeated in the Senate. Those bills are a good compromise of legislative measures that we can support. Hopefully those bills can make their way through Congress without too many changes. That will be our goal in the upcoming months. The NALC along with our Letter Carrier Activists across the country are building up bipartisan support on various House Resolutions, H.Res 15, 28 and 31, which are our line of defense on postal reform. Another House Resolution - The Social Security Fairness Act of 2015 was reintroduced (H.R. 1205) on 2/21/2017. This bill would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) titles of the Social Security Act. Members and especially veterans are encouraged to call their representatives in Congress and ask for support of this bill. You can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave a message with your representative regarding support of this bill. Congress still needs to act on the Fiscal Year (FY 2017) government budget that will expire on 4/28/2017. We may face other legislative challenges and attacks on our pensions and health benefits in the never-ending quest to balance the budget. We need to be vigilant and ready to request a response from our Legislative Department in Washington in order for our voices to be heard.
I wish you and your families a happy, healthy Easter and Passover Holiday Season
|Outlook January / February 2017|
|Looking Ahead to 2017|
|The 115th Congress (2017-2018) reconvened in Washington D.C. before being sworn in on January 3, 2017, while President Elect Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017.
The next two years in Congress will be tough ones with the House and Senate under republican majority. In addition, attacks are imminent on the principles that we hold near and dear, such as equality, mutual respect and dignity.
This Presidential Election has caused a great divide in our nation and although the election is over, voices are still ringing out loud and clear, and great frustration is being expressed everywhere. It is obvious many people are fed up with the hate generated by politicians, by the number of protests, taking place across the country and around the world. For this reason, it is more important than ever to stand up and fight for what’s right. As Trump announced his picks for key Cabinet and White House positions, many believed his choices were mainly, rich billionaires with special interests, who will not serve the best interests of the American working class people; only time will tell.
It’s clear the GOP Party (Republicans) is moving towards waging a war with Federal and Civil Service Employees by attacking unions with ongoing threats of shrinking the federal workforce, shifting the contribution benefits to its workers, and attacking retirement security. We must first determine what effects will be felt by postal workers and react from there
As we brace ourselves for a lot of activity on Capitol Hill, the NALC is looking forward towards building a relationship with the new Members of Congress and in supporting Bipartisan Members who support postal issues.
The 114th Congress House Resolutions, which are our line of defense when it comes to voting on postal reform, have all expired and new ones have been reintroduced in the 115th Congress. Our members must call our Representatives in the House and ask for their support in co-sponsoring these bills:
Our major postal reform (HR-5714 and S-2051) did not pass in the last Congress and has since expired. The NALC is looking forward to new bills being introduced and the hope of reaching a strong and fair postal reform.
The NALC will need to deal with old and new committee assignments in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Chairman is Rep. Jason Chaffaz (R-UT). In the Senate, the Chairman of Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). Both committees have oversight on postal issues, as well as the power to bring or hold a bill for a vote on the floor. With the Senate leadership unchanged, we will need to ensure nominees to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors to fill these vacancies, who are supporters of a strong, public postal service.
The NALC is as always looking out for any bill that may affect the postal service and/or its letter carriers. It is critical that we increase our participation in the legislative process by increasing our E-Activist Members and by calling Members of Congress regarding important postal issues. We urge all employees to get involved and to support the NALC Political PAC Contribution Fund. Our goal, as always, is to support those who support postal issues and oppose those who seek to destroy our jobs. Together our voices will be strong!
|Outlook November / December 2016|
|2016 Election - The Candidate of Change|
|After a long, two-year presidential campaign, the American people have spoken and elected Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. Mr. Trump will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
The total number of electors in the Electoral College is 538, with each state being assigned electors equal to its representation in the House and Senate combined. Electors are expected to vote for their state’s popular line vote winner.
Trump received 306 electoral votes versus Clinton’s 232; despite receiving more than 2 million more popular votes than Trump.
The latest election results show Republicans retained the House of Representatives majority, R-239 and D-194. Republicans retained the Senate Majority: R-51/52 and D-46. With two independent seats, Senator Charles Schumer was re-elected to a six-year term to 2022. In the race for Congress, representing the 27 districts of the state of New York, democrats have maintained 18 seats while Republicans maintained 9 seats. In District 13, newly elected Adriano Espaillat will replace retired Representative Charles Rangel, a longtime friend and supporter of the Postal Service and letter carriers... hip, hip, hooray!
After Trump’s stunning upset over the heavily favored Clinton, transition to power will be Trump’s main focus. As an outsider, this president elect will bring along with him a change of climate as promised to D.C. Nevertheless, as our president, we owe him an open mind and must give him a chance to lead.
Congress returned to Washington after the election to the “Lame Duck” session, with much work to finish in a short period of time, before recessing for the holidays. Congress needs to act on the fiscal year (FY 2017) government budget that expires on December 9, 2016. They may also vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and we can see that the support for it is not there. We hope that Congress will still take action on Postal Reform with House Bill (HR- 5714) and Senate Bill (S-2051). If no action will be taken, those bills will expire and we will have to start all over again in the upcoming 115th Congress.
NALC will keep you informed in the future and will use the E-Activist Network to call Congress over any upcoming bills. If you are not an E-Activist, please go to NALC.org and sign up. We all need to get involved in our future. Our voices count.
This has been an election cycle for the history books. I thank all those who supported and voted for candidates who support the Postal Service issues. We need to look forward and increase our part in the Letter Carrier Political Fund for the next cycle of elections in 2018 (mid-term elections) and continue to support candidates who support postal issues
I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday season.
|Outlook September / October 2016|
|The 2016 Election|
|By the time you read this article, Congress will be back home, ready to campaign for the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. During three weeks in September, Congress had to pass the Spending Bill for FY 2017 before the September 30, 2017 deadline. Otherwise, lawmakers would have to work out a short term Spending Bill Continuing Resolution (CR) and keep the government open. Also on the agenda is Zika funding.
I just returned from the NALC’s 70th Biennial Convention in Los Angeles, which was all about Solidarity in Action. We heard from other unions’ business allies and partners, who stood together and let their voices be heard in support of the Postal Service. The unions all stood together to protect middle class jobs and common sense postal reform in this ever growing economy.
Some unfinished Congress agenda will finish after the election, during the Lame-Duck Session until the next Congress is sworn in, in 2017. President Obama is looking to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with the 12 Nation Free Trade Deal, which can affect American jobs and Postal Service Operations. The prospect for Congressional approval is extremely dim with both presidential candidates standing opposed.
On July 12, 2016, the House released their Postal Service Reform Act of 2016 (HR 5714) after the Senate released their version of the bill (S 2051) in 2015. This House Bill proposes shifting Postal Primary Health Care from FEHBP to Medicare, the proposed impact on both postal retirees and taxpayers could be substantial. Postal retirees would be forced to enroll in Medicare Part A and B, while continuing premium payments to the FEHBP, if they want to maintain any benefits of choice among FEHBP Plans. Paying two premiums instead of one would reduce their retirement income. Congress needs to consider a wider and more sensible range of options to deal with postal financial problems while reducing, rather than increasing cost. The bill authorized USPS to provide non-commercial, non-postal service to state, local and federal agencies to improve finances. The bill mandates the conversion of 5.5 million identified businesses addressed within 5 years to curbside or centralized delivery. This consideration of slashing door delivery to business is not supported by NALC, which will fight to maintain this important service and look to increase the co-sponsors of door to door delivery.
Bill HR 28 currently has 210 co-sponsors in the House. NALC will inform you on any efforts to advance Postal Reform Legislation in the House in the current form and make sure your voices are heard.
We are in the midst of a close presidential race that started over a year ago and will end with the election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The deadline to register to vote is October 14, 2016. There is a lot at stake in this upcoming election and every vote will count. As we face the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and his Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, the picture we pieced together shows how divided we have become. Trump has no political knowledge, he is a businessman. I feel we will gain more under a Democratic regime. Trump is unqualified to be a Commander in Chief. In America, we all want the same thing: freedom and security to pursue possibilities. Our country must be united, not divided. You can watch the upcoming Presidential Debates on Sunday, October 9, 2016 and Wednesday, October 19, 2016. You can also watch the Vice Presidential Debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.
On November 8, 2016 all 435 members of the House of Representatives will be up for re-election, the current seats in the House are Republicans - 247, Democrats - 188. 218 seats are needed for majority control of the House. Democrats need to gain 32 seats to get the majority. It’s a difficult task, but it can be done with work on the ground in close races to close the gap.
In the Senate, 34 seats of 100 will be contested. The current seats are R-54, D-44 with 2 Independent seats. There will be 10-D and 24-R up for re-election for 6-year terms. The Democrats need 5 seats to take over the Senate. Senator Chuck Schumer (D) from NY State, a big friend of the letter carriers, is up for re-election.
We are hopeful that with a Democratic President, and House and Senate, the middle class and working families will gain.
Go out and exercise your right to vote on November 8, 2016; get involved.
TOGETHER, WE ARE STRONGER!
|Outlook July / August 2016|
|House Draft Postal Reform|
|Congress will reconvene on September 5, 2016. Upon their return to the Hill, there will be another four weeks of work before the upcoming General Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
The deadline to register to vote is October 14, 2016. It is important for each and every member to vote, in order to protect our future as letter carriers.
I am sure by now that you have watched both the Republican Convention in Cleveland (July 18-21) and the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia (July 25-28), as both parties picked their presidential nominees and choice of running mate. The NALC has announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President.
The House has voted to approve a $21.7 billion Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Services and General Government (H.R.5485) Spending Package. This measure preserved the longstanding language of continuing six-day mail delivery.
During Floor considerations, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz raised the point of removing an amendment (unanimously adopted by the House Committee on Appropriation on June 15, 2016) that would restore USPS Service Standards back to those which were in effect on July 1, 2012. Since that language is NOT contained in the House-passed Bill or in the Senate Bill (S.3067), the Service Standards will not be addressed through the appropriation process this fiscal year.
Congress still needs to pass the rest of the twelve appropriations by the end of September, 2016. With such a short time to meet this deadline, there has been some discussion on Capitol Hill about passing a six-month continuing resolution (CR), which would last until March, 2017 and effectively end the appropriation process for the year.
On June 28, 2016, primaries were held in NY State for Congressional House Representatives. Most of the incumbents won the primaries. In District 13, State Senator Adriano Espaillat won a close race in the Democratic Primary and will replace Representative Charles Rangel, who will retire at the end of the year.
On a local note, NY State primaries will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 for Senate and City Council Members. The deadline to register to vote is August 19, 2016.
After several months of unions’ legislative meetings with key Capitol Hill legislators, a bipartisan group of lawmakers released a draft bill, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016. The latest piece of legislation is expected to make its way to the House Floor by mid-July and the Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill (S.2051) later this year.
The greatest challenge to the finances of the USPS has been the requirement to prefund retirees’ health care. The new legislation would push retirees to enroll in Medicare parts A and B, while phasing out the premiums paid by the Postal Service. An emergency price hike will be allowed to partially stand, and the bill will not change postal delivery from six days to five days a week
Some have argued this would save the Postal Service billions of dollars each year. If the reform passes, it can also be expected that USPS will begin offering consumer products and services outside of mail delivery. This Bipartisan Legislation solution provides the opportunity for the postal service to return to solvency and continue to provide universal mail delivery to all Americans. Another change made by the House Bill would be to reduce the USPS Board of Directors to just five members down from nine.
The House Committee is consulting stakeholders on the draft measure and will inform our members on the draft postal reform. Please stay tuned and get involved.
TOGETHER WE STAND. HAVE A NICE SUMMER.
|Outlook May / June 2016|
|Let’s Get Involved|
|The 2016 Presidential primaries and caucuses to select the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees are officially scheduled to end on June 7, 2016. It is possible that neither candidate will have enough pledged delegates to ensure a majority at their conventions. It is obvious that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have both benefited from the support of voters who are frustrated with Washington and angry with the so-called establishment of the two major parties
The magic number for the Republican nominee is 1237 delegates, while the magic number for the Democratic nominee is 2383 delelgates.
The Republican convention will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18th through July 21st, 2016. The Democratic convention will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from July 25th through July 28th, 2016.
The Postal Service reported operating profits from the first half of the fiscal year 2016 (10/1/15-4/1/16). This marks the fourth year in a row that USPS is in the black; excluding, of course, the mandate that requires the agency to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees.
We also saw shipping and packaging volume up by 11.4% and mail volume at an increase of 1.4%, as compared to last year. These results prove that it’s time to expand the service that we provide, not scale back; in order for the USPS to continue on its upward course. Congress must pass Postal Reform Legislation and eliminate the 2006 mandate to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees.
On May 11, 2016, NALC President Fredric Rolando testified before a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on postal service reform. He urged the committee to consider provisions that other union and stakeholders agreed upon regarding reform principles. Examples included: allowing the postal service to have their own health plan, which would integrate fully with Medicare, and allowing the postal service to offer non-postal services; which, in turn, would bring much needed stability to the postal service. It is our great hope that Postal Reform Legislation will be introduced by the House and released during the current 114th Congress. The Senate had their postal reform S-2051 (Post-Improve Postal Operation on Service and Transparency Act) released in 2015. Congress has about 10 weeks of work left before the General Election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, and they have loads of work to do.
Currently the House and Senate are looking to pass bills for the 12 Appropriations Committees to fund the FY2017 budget, beginning October 1, 2016, for government agencies and departments in order to prevent a shutdown. You can read in detail more about current postal issues in the May edition of the Postal Record.
On June 28, 2016, NY State will hold primaries for the House of Representatives in some of the 27 NY State districts. You need to be registered by June 3, 2016, in order to be eligible to vote in those elections. You should be notified by the Board of Elections on the upcoming primaries in your district.
Our battle is far from over; we need to continue to fight for a viable, effective postal service. So it’s up to each and every one of us to ensure that Congress does not ignore the voices of the American people and letter carriers. Let’s join and grow the Letter Carrier E-Activist network by responding in a timely manner to e-mails and text messages sent by NALC on issues affecting letter carriers, and also continue to support the Letter Carrier Political Fund (COLCPE) with contributions.
Have a happy and healthy summertime and Independence Day!
|Outlook March / April 2016|
|The United States Postal Service has reported $1.3 billion in profit for the fiscal year 2016, first quarter (October 1, 2015 -December 31, 2015) with predictions of a steady growth in revenue, increased package volume and a quest for new products and innovation. Some help is needed from Congress with Postal Reform Legislation. The USPS financial situation is serious and any legislative reform that comes from Congress needs to solve the congresionally mandated expense of $5.5 billion each to prefund retiree health benefits.
We need to continue this fight. We have a duty to continue to build alliances with men and women on both sides of the aisle. We also need to use our network of activists to proactively find champions for our causes. A clear way to do this is to continue contacting our representatives in Congress and to ask them to cosponsor House Resolution Bills that help postal issues that are introduced in the 114th Congress. Bills such as: H.R. 12, 28, 54, 784, and 973 are all non-binding bills and are our line of defense when it comes to Postal Reform. NALC activist across the country must continue to do their annual lobby visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional Representatives regarding issues of importance to letter carriers and the NALC. We can take in the atmosphere of the Presidential Primary process as the Republican and Democratic Party for nominations unfolds. The Republican voters are looking for an “Outsider” to lead them and the Democratic voters want an “Experienced” candidate.
It is important to remember that all 435 House Members and 34 Senators are up for reelection this year. The NALC is looking to support members from either side of the aisle who are willing to support letter carriers and postal issues. We implore all letter carriers to become involved in the Legislative Arena.
Important dates to remember include:
You must be registered to vote in these elections. We have a long fight in front of us; however, together we are strong and we will prevail.
At this time, I would like to offer my congratulations to Branch 36 officers, for being elected by acclamation to another three-year term. These leaders all deserve our vote and I am very much looking forward to working with them all.
|Outlook January / February 2016|
|2016 Legislation Outlook|
|The second session of the 114th Congress is now underway and we are faced with the all too familiar challenges of working with a Republican majority in Congress.
On January 21, 2016, the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee conducted a hearing to discuss the “Reality of the Postal Service.” NALC President Fredric Rolando spoke on behalf of all four postal unions, the postal service, many major companies and business mailers and their support of reform measures, which were outlined in his speech.
We currently have a Senate bill (S-2051)-IPOST, which was introduced in September 2015, and at present, we are seeking a House bill on postal reform. On December 18, 2015, Congress approved an Appropriations bill, which funds the government throughout 2016, but at the same time it failed to include a measure that would restore Postal Service standards to their pre-January 2015 levels. Therefore, the damage has been done and ultimately Congress has the authority and responsibility to ensure prompt, reliable mail service to all Americans. We currently have a non-binding resolution, HR 54, which demands prompt service with a bipartisan congressional majority (229 co-sponsors).
NALC continues to gain co-sponsors on various non-binding bills, which can be a line of defense in postal reform such as: HR 12, HR 28, HR 784, and HR 973.
One significant way for retirees to remain active in this fight would be to call their district Congressman/woman and ask for support in co-sponsoring the HR 973-Social Security Fairness Act of 2015. To date, we have 136 co-sponsors in the House and 10 out of 27 districts in New York State.
2016 is an election year with a total of four elections: the Presidential Primary on April 19th; Federal and State Primaries in June and September; and the General Election on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. Voters will cast ballots for all 436 House members. The House is currently made up of 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats. The election will be held for 34 Senators (24 Republicans and 10 democrats.) At present, the Senate has 54 Republicans and 44 Democrats with 2 independents. The Democratic Party needs to gain 5 seats in 2016 to regain control of the Senate and in the House they must reduce the majority of GOP.
Members of the NALC need to be ready for the upcoming 2016 events by signing up and becoming an E-Activist. In doing so, members will receive up-to-date information from our Legislative Department in Washington, D.C. regarding postal issues. Members must also contact their congressmen and women and voice their opinions and concerns on the issues. Members along with their families need to register to vote and remember to cast their votes on Election Day. A major form of support is to fund the Letter Carrier Political Fund aka COLCPE. We need to support our Members in Congress who support postal issues. 2016 is going to be a challenge, the Democratic Party must regain control of the House and the Senate, but with your continued support of the NALC we can get those results.
Remember to keep yourselves updated on postal issues, visit NALC.org, read the Postal Record and the branch Outlook newspaper. Knowledge is power; together we can make a difference!
|Outlook November / December 2015|
|The Letter Carrier Political Fund|
|During the 2015 Rap Session in Houston, Texas, our PAC (Political Action Committee) was renamed to the Letter Carrier Political Action Fund. The NALC changed the name from COLCPE (Committee on Letter Carrier Political Education) to make it more understandable and to help boost member participation.
Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power “to establish post offices and post roads.”
Our jobs depend on Congress, which proposes legislation that can have an effect on our jobs and benefits. Established in 1975, the Political Fund goes hand-in-hand with grassroots activity by NALC members under the 1993 HATCH Act reform to reinforce the message of letter carriers in Washington, D.C.
Political campaigns are expensive and contributions go to Congressional Candidates. Democrats and Republicans who value letter carriers issues protect the hard fought for benefits of both active and retired letter carriers. Contributions help re-elect our friends in Congress and look to defeat members who oppose letter carrier issues. This Political Fund is NALC’s voice in Washington, D. C. You can learn how this money is allocated to Congress by visiting the websites: www.opensecrets.org or www.Fec.gov (Federal Election Commission).
The Political Fund is administered by a committee of NALC members and distributions are reported regularly to the Federal Election Commission. Contributions are voluntary and cannot be acquired from general dues funds. You can make regular contributions to the Political Fund in the manner listed below.
In order to protect our rights and to remain strong, we need to remain politically active by becoming an E-Activist, registering to vote and voting on Election Day.
In order to protect our rights and to remain strong, we need to remain politically active by becoming an E-Activist, registering to vote and voting on Election Day.
|Outlook September / October 2015|
|Keep Up the Momentum|
|Over the summer I attended a national Rap Session and a New York State Convention; at both events we received an in-depth presentation by our national president, Mr. Fredric Rolando. The main focal points were current NALC issues and the current political climate.
Congress, now back from summer recess, has much work on the agenda before the start of the new fiscal year 2016, which begins October 1, 2015.
In the political arena, gaining momentum is critical to getting legislation passed into law, and the ultimate authority over postal operations rests with Congress.
On June 17, 2015, the House Committee on Appropriations Financial Services voted on a bill to restore Overnight Mail Delivery. The bill was voted on and adopted with an amendment. This was a dramatic step in the right direction; putting good postal service back into the equation, but more steps are still needed to be taken. Poor service standards had virtually eliminated Overnight Mail Delivery and therefore, resulted in dramatic delays to America’s mail. The next step is for the full House of Representatives to consider this bill. Currently, there are 205 members of Congress in support of this bipartisan measure.
There are some other bills being introduced, which also defend postal delivery and the future of the postal service. As anticipated, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, introduced the Improving Postal Operations, Service and Transparency Act on September 17, 2015. This bill is comprehensive and many of its provisions come from legislation in the Postal Reform Act of 2013 (S.1486) in the 113th Congress. The NALC Legislative Department has put together an analysis of the bill. You can find information on the bill at www.NALC.org website.
Hopefully, as you read this article, a government shutdown was averted and the new fiscal year 2016 budget was signed by the President, or perhaps a short term continuing resolution (CR) was considered to keep the government open past September 30, 2015.
On September 25, 2015, John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House, announced that he will resign from Congress after 25 years of service at the end of October, 2015. Boehner stood against a spending bill in the hopes of stripping funding from Planned Parenthood. It is another attempt by the GOP to achieve a legislative goal by shutting down the government. We hope that his resignation opens the way for a “clean bill” for government funding to pass.
On a local note, the State of New York will hold a General Election on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, for district leaders and civil court judges. Exercise your right, go out and VOTE! Look for more information on the legislative process in the Postal Record and www.NALC.org. Be sure to sign up and become an E- Activist to get all of the latest legislative news as it becomes available at www.NALC.org. Become a part of the future of postal reform’s progress and help build the NALC momentum towards a secure future.
Enjoy the upcoming holidays.
|Outlook July / August 2015|
|Together We Stand|
|While Congress heads out for summer break (from August, 2015 through September 8, 2015) there is still work waiting to be finished such as: The Highway Trust Fund, 12 Annual Appropriation Bills, and a government agency to fund for fiscal year 2016, which will begin on October 1, 2015, in order to avoid the risk of government shutdown.
In June, 2015, the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), which is one of the twelve Appropriations, advanced the annual funding to the floor. This bill relates to the Postal Service; the committee preserved the longstanding budget language that mandates USPS to maintain six-day delivery. NALC and other federal unions will watch the budget negotiation to preserve Federal Employee Benefits.
On June 29, 2015, the Obama Administration signed it into law, despite the fierce effort by unions, environmental and public interest groups to block Congress from fast-tracking secretive international trade deals negotiated by the President. “FAST TRACK”, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), will effectively bind the hands of Congress by preventing amendments, limiting debates and lowering the votes required for passage on bad deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
As for postal unions, TPP and other trade deals can now be fast tracked through Congress and have disastrous consequences for America’s Postal Service. Consequences would include competitive delivery services and restricting the postal service’s universal service obligations, while any acceptance of the Trade in Service Agreement (TISA) would promote the privatization of the Postal Service Institution.
In the coming months, Congress will review individual trade deals and then, vote them up or down. We hope our friends in Congress will not support a bad deal for American workers and reject trade deals that seek to dismantle the Postal Service. NALC and other unions are currently continuing to contact their Representatives in Congress for Co-sponsors of the House Resolutions that were introduced in the 114th Congress:
These bills are our line of defense. We will need them to stay vigilant and vocal, as new postal reforms get introduced in the coming weeks.
We need votes to support these legislation proposals. NALC is supporting Congress members who support letter carrier issues with money from the NALC Political Action Committee (PAC), which has now been renamed the Letter Carrier Political Fund, replacing COLCPE (Committee On Letter Carrier Political Education).
Members need to get involved in the Legislative process by becoming NALC E-Activists and contributing to our Letter Carrier Political Fund. Working in unison is part of the solution for a secure Postal Service.
Stay tuned and get involved.
|Outlook March / April 2015|
|Continued Support and Cooperation|
|On February 2, 2015 President Obama released his $4 trillion budget for fiscal year 2016, which begins on October 1, 2015. The White House proposal includes a number of postal provisions that resemble the FY 2015 budget. Two (2) postal provisions include the reduction of mail frequency from six (6) days to five (5) days, if mail volume should fall below 140 billion pieces for four (4) consecutive quarters. Another provision would permit the Postal Service to convert door delivery to curbside and centralized delivery. The White House Budget will be part of the Congressional Budget Reconciliation Act and the Appropriation Bills. It will need to be approved by the end of September 2015. NALC will again try to retain and preserve our longstanding appropriations language that mandates six-day mail delivery.
Just weeks into the 114th Congress, and a new Bipartisan House Resolution and one House Bill were introduced and the NALC is already getting the House Members to co-sponsor those bills. As this article goes to press, we currently have three (3) pro-postal resolutions. H.R. 12 (six-day delivery) introduced 1/6/15 has (149) co-sponsors, 17 of 27 from NY co-sponsors. H.R. 28 (door-to-door delivery) introduced 1/12/15 has (64) co-sponsors, 12 of 27 from NY co-sponsors.
H.R. 54 (restore delivery service standard) introduced 1/27/15 has (88) co-sponsors, 8 of 27 from NY co-sponsors. H.R. 784 (the Overnight Delivery Act) introduced 2/5/15 has (66) co-sponsors, 10 of 27 from NY.
As we keep the numbers growing on the resolutions, it will be our line of defense when Postal Service legislation is introduced and passes through Congress. Now is the time for us to act and gather our members in Congress to co-sponsor those bills. The U.S. Postal Service had a $1.1 billion operating profit in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. In addition, USPS cash balance grew from $7 billion, as of December 2015. We also see volume increase in standard mail and a large increase in package business. Providing fewer services for businesses and residential customers will only drive mail and revenue away. The Postal Service is a trusted institution and we need Congress to come up with a long term practical postal reform.
Ms. Megan Brennan was sworn in on March 6, 2015, as the first female and the 74th Postmaster General of the USPS. During her speech, she stated that the USPS will embrace change and pursue new business opportunities, which will provide employees with more flexibility and better tools to serve its customers. Only time will tell.
On a local note, Tuesday, May 5, 2015, was set for a special election in District 11 in NY, following the resignation of Rep. Michael Grimm on January 5, 2015. Keep in mind by contributing to COLCPE and signing up for E-activist, we become vigilant and proactive on Postal Legislation. Have a safe and happy upcoming holiday.
|Outlook January / February 2015|
|Looking Ahead to 2015|
|The 114th Congress (2015-2016) reconvened back in Washington, D.C. and was sworn in on January 5, 2015. The House and Senate are under Republican majority leadership with the House having 188 Democrats and 246 Republicans, with one vacancy following the resignation of Rep. Michael Grimm (R-11) on January 5, 2015. A special election will take place within the next two to three months. The Senate has 54 Republicans and 44 Democrats with two (2) Independents.
With the power shifting, NALC is looking to build relationships between the new Members of Congress and the NALC Legislative Department in Washington D.C. Educating Senators, Representatives and their staffs about postal issues and the continued support of the bipartisan COLCPE money is NALC’s top priority. With regard to USPS, all the major postal reform bills (H.R. 2748, H.R. 630, H.R. 30, H.R. 711, S-1486, S-316) did not pass during the 113th Congress. In 2015, we expect that the Postal Reforms Resolutions will be reintroduced and we expect our representatives to support and co-sponsor those bills.
With the new Congress in session, the NALC will naturally deal with new committee assignments. In the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the chairman is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). In the Senate, the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is Rep. Ron Johnson (R-WI). Both committees have oversight on postal issues and have the power to bring or hold a bill for a vote on the floor.
On January 7, 2015, 6-day Mail Delivery Resolution was reintroduced (H.R. 12) and the bill currently has 96 co-sponsors (this bill is identical to the previous congressional bill, H.R. 30, which had 218 co-sponsors). This bill urges the U.S. Postal Service to take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its six-day mail delivery service.
On January 12, 2015, Door to Door Delivery for all Business and Residential Customers (a resolution reintroduced by H.R. 28) currently has 3 co-sponsors. This bill is identical to the previous Congressional Bill, H.R. 711, which had 76 co-sponsors. The NALC supports these bills and we all need to ask our representatives to co-sponsor them. You can track the bills and the co-sponsors on THOMAS (Library of Congress). The results of the 2014 National Election were upsetting for labor and the middle class. We need to pay special attention to the legislative agenda of this Congress, which is looking to attack six-day delivery, door-to-door delivery, retirement pensions and job security.
It’s time to regroup and re-energize our membership to be informed about the issues facing the Postal Service and its letter carriers. We can start by signing up as E-Activist to receive NALC emails regarding issues affecting our jobs. We must contribute to COLCPE and attend branch meetings regularly to remain informed about the latest postal developments.
We have accomplished much over the years and together we will continue to strive to preserve the rights of all letter carriers. Stand up, get involved!
|Outlook November / December 2014|
|Midterm Elections and the Postal Service|
|The election was held on Nov. 4, 2014, and it was to date the most costly midterm election, totaling about 4 billion dollars when all was said and done. This election also had the lowest turnout at the polls: 36% nationally and 28% in NY State.
The Republican Party took over the Senate and gained more seats in the House. The upcoming 114th Congress (years 2015-2016) will have in the House: 178-D and 243- R. In the Senate: 44-D and 53-R with 1 senate run-off in Louisiana. New York State will be represented by 27 districts in the House and have 18-D and 9-R, with friends on both sides in support of postal issues.
A strong Republican governance of the House and Senate Agendas and Committees over the next two years will give the GOP a strong hand in staffing legislation and influencing policy. This will likely lead to more bills both good and bad landing on President Obama’s desk for signature or veto. There is a possibility it could include postal legislation, which in turn could shape federal pay and workforce benefits.
As the GOP takeover the 114th Congress, chairs on committees and subcommittees will change. In the House, the chair of the Oversight and Government Reform will be Rep. Jason Chaeffetz (R-UT). He will succeed Rep. Darrell Issa, due to term limits from Republican Chairman Rep. Stephen Lunch (D-MA), a committee ranking member. In the Senate, the Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affair will be Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) succeeding Sen. T. Coburn (R-OK) who is retiring. The Ranking Committee member will be Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). These two committees which oversee the Postal Service and the NALC will work together on future Postal Service legislation reform.
During the “Lame Duck” agenda, Congress needs to figure out the funds in order to prevent shutdown of the government beyond December 12, 2014, because the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on December 11, 2014.
On November 14, 2014, four postal unions held rallies across the country called “Day of Action” sending a clear message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors that they need to stop delaying America’s mail. The USPS has plans, set to begin in January 2015, to close and consolidate 82 mail processing plants in 37 states; if enforced, it would delay mail delivery across the country. It is our hope that Congress will prevent the closure of those 82 mail processing plants by passing a bill for an indefinite moratorium.
On November 14, 2014, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced his retirement slated for February 2015. Ms. Megan Brennan will become the 37th Postmaster General and the first female to hold this position.
Before Congress adjourns in December, the NALC is looking to their friends in Congress to co-sponsor the Door Delivery Resolution (HR 711). The expectation for this bill is to send a clear message to the next Congress that misguided cuts can only hurt, not fix the Postal Service. Currently, we have 68 co-sponsors.
Stay in touch with NALC by growing the e-Activist Network (go to NALC.ORG) and contributing to COLCPE. Together, we are strong.
HAVE A HEALTHY AND SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON,
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
|Outlook September / October 2014|
|A Wait and See Period|
|The United States Postal Service is incurring financial losses because of the Prefunding
mandate. Congress remains stalled on postal legislation, which would support this agency that is struggling to re-create itself in the fast paced Digital Age. A deal is yet to be made because of some heavy obstacles in the way. One of which includes: a required prepayment of 5.5 billion for future retiree healthcare benefits’ that has been defaulted on in recent years and now once again, in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2014. Another issue at hand is whether the Postal Sendee should deliver mail six days a week. Lawmakers on both sides worry how the postal service’s downsizing plans will affect their constituents.
The U.S. House and Senate approved in September, 2014, the short -term continuing
We continue to urge the House members to co-sponsor H.R. 711 (to guarantee continuation of door to door mail delivery). Currently, we have 51 co-sponsors and are hoping to have the majority of the House in support of this bill. Hopefully, in the same way, we received support for the Six-Day Resolution (H.R. 30), which had a majority of 228 cosponsors out of 435 House members.
Grand Central Post Office in New York City will be renamed the Vincent R. Sombrotto Post Office on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Special thanks to all members who helped make this possible in honor of our former NALC President, who died on January 10, 2013.
Congress is currently in recess and back home with their constituents preparing for the Mid-term election. There is only a slim chance that Democrats will take over the House. Analysts predict Democrats’ could lose control of the Senate in the Mid-Term Election. Republicans need merely six seats to take control; which we obviously, hope will not happen. The GOP is investing heavily in voter turnout efforts in some key races, which could help determine the control of the Senate.
Republican Super-PACs are spending a lot of money on television ads while Democrats are spending their time: registering new voters, publicizing absentee ballots and early voting options to insure that their supporters get to the polls on Election Day.
Boots on the Ground is a NALC effort to help candidates in close races by releasing carriers to labor campaigns in support of our endorsed congressional candidates. We will be informed shortly by the NALC, NY State AFL-CIO on their endorsements for the upcoming election on November 4, 2014.
Stand by, get involved, and most importantly, exercise your right to vote!
YOUR VOTE IS YOUR VOICE!
|Outlook July / August 2014|
|Confronting the Challenge|
|We just attended our NALC 69th Biennial Convention in Philadelphia in July and celebrated our union’s 125th anniversary. During the week-long convention, we reviewed the NALC’s past successes and presented delegates with future challenges regarding the NALC and Postal Service. We heard from leaders from other groups and unions promising to work together and stand shoulder to shoulder with letter carriers in the future.
My highlight for the week was listening to guest speakers, Ed Schultz, from MSNBC cable network, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT); both are great defenders of unions and friends of the letter carriers. Both men were met by enthusiastic, cheering delegates. Another highlight of the week was viewing the great Postal Strike video of 1970 along with actual letter carriers like Tom Germano from Branch 36. Tom, along with his fellow letter carriers, led that strike on that great day in postal history. I would personally like to thank all active and retired letter carriers who were a part of that historic day. It was their courage and strength of character that created this strong and unified union that we have today.
The House and Senate will be in recess until September 8, 2014 and will have to deal with some unfinished business in the month of September, before their Oct. recess, and returning home for the Midterm Election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
Saturday delivery continues to be under attack, the language mandating six-day mail delivery was intentionally left out of the draft version in the House Subcommittee on Financial Services for the fiscal year 2015 spending bill. The bill version was amended by Rep. Jose Serano (D-NY) to restore this language and was successfully reinserted into the bill. On July 16, 2014, the full House voted to preserve six-day mail delivery and passed bill H.R. 5016 for all General Government Appropriation for fiscal year 2015. It was a nice win, but we still need to fight on a yearly basis.
Another plan in June by House Republican members to finance the Highway Trust Fund by elimination of six-day mail delivery did not have much support, thanks to NALC E-Activists. On July 15, 2014, Congress passed a short-term fix for the Federal Highway Trust through May 2015, by providing $11 billion from the General Treasury Fund under bill H.R. 5021. The idea of using delivery cuts as a budget offset is not a solution; this country needs a long-term solution for funding our highway system.
Currently, on August 1, 2014, a bipartisan resolution (H.R. 711) was introduced which calls on Congress to take measures to ensure continuation of DOOR-to-DOOR mail delivery for all businesses and residential customers. We need to call our representatives to support and co-sponsor this bipartisan resolution.
On a good note, H.R. 2291, which was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on June 6, 2013, has passed the House and Senate and on August 8, 2014, was signed into law by President Obama. Grand Central Post Office in New York City is now designated the Vincent R. Sombrotto Post Office. What a great tribute to our long serving national president. Thanks to all who helped pass this bill.
On a local note, NY State and local Primary Elections will take place on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. The deadline for the Midterm election is October 10, 2014, with the election taking place on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
We need to get our members and their families to register and vote for candidates that support our postal issues. The union will inform us all on the candidates they endorse in the upcoming election
Our fight isn’t over - stay tuned, become an E-Activist! Go to NALC.ORG for INFO.
|Outlook May / June 2014|
|Stay E-Active This Summer|
|The fast changing pace of Legislative action in Congress can lead to an imminent vote on a bill at any time. Therefore, we need to respond in a timely manner to the upcoming vote. Congress has ten more weeks to act before they recess in October for the midterm elections on November 4, 2014.
Once again, it looks like the Republicans are taking on the Postal Service. On May 21, 2014, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed the latest Postal bill H.R.4670 by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Secure Delivery for America Act of 2014. This bill would end “door delivery” for 15 million postal customers and severely curtail service. This vote which passed along party line 18-13 occurred less than 48 hours after it was introduced. Stay tuned for the outcome.
On June 6, 2014, Congress began once again attacking the SIX-DAY mail delivery with two new threats to SATURDAY delivery. The first is the Highway Trust Fund, a self-funding general fund used to fix highway program-infrastructures. This fund is currently running low on revenue and requiring an additional transfer of funds to prevent a disruption of highway projects. The House Republican Leadership is developing a plan to end six-day delivery, in order to use this projected cost saving tactic to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. This is another way for Congress to use the self¬-funding agency (USPS) as a piggy bank. Another attack on the Postal Service is the APPROPRIATION bill; the committee is considering a bill that does not include the postal service SIX-DAY appropriation (running) language that Congress has specifically required Six-Day mail delivery since 1983. No time set to mark it up. It is clear Congress is focusing on service cuts to the Postal Service, rather than working on legislature to fix the crisis it created with the 2006 mandate H.R.6407 to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, which in turn would solve the USPS financial crisis and allow the Postal Service to thrive in the 21st Century.
On a positive note, bill H.R.2291, which calls to designate Grand Central Station in NYC as the Vincent Sombrotto Post Office, has full co-sponsorship of the entire NY delegation (27) and on May 21, 2014 the bill was taken out of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee by unanimous consent. The bill most likely will be attached to another bill in the House and Senate.
On a local note, the deadline to register for the New York State and Local Primary is August 15, 2014. Primary elections take place on September 9, 2014. The deadline for the general elections are October 10, 2014 with the midterm elections taking place on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
Postal Unions are united in opposition to the aforementioned bills and stand strong together against any efforts to diminish service to our customers or weaken our workers’ rights.
Along with the E-Activist Network, the NALC alerts members to take quickn action to safeguard how members of Congress vote. You will be among those who will receive up to the minute notice on votes, which get scheduled on Capitol Hill. Votes that could one day determine your pay, benefits and jobs.
Become an E-Activist. Go to NALC.ORG
|Outlook March / April 2014|
|Lets Get Involved|
|The year, 2014 has arrived, the Postal Service is still looking for Congress to come out with a solution to reform and restore financial stability to the USPS. In January, 2014, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has Postal Service oversight, introduced a new bill (HR-3801) which is another attack on the Postal Service. This bill has no support currently on the House floor.
The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in February, 2014, completed the mark-up of Carper-Coburn amended Bill S-1486 and approved it 9 to 1.This bill now waits to be scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor.
In March 2014, President Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2015 budget which calls for end of Saturday mail delivery and Saturday packages. Proposals that will directly affect the Postal Service, even though the Postal Service is not part of the budget, and NO TAX dollars go to the Postal Service. Cutting Jobs at the Service is not the answer. We need to maximize the value of our Universal Service Network, not dismantle it.
It is time to focus our collective energy on reinforcing the legislative gains made last year, and increase the involvement from our members in order to achieve more congressional support for our agenda. By now letter carriers across the country are aware of the direction the Postmaster wants this organization to go. The time to be proactive in our efforts at postal reform to protect our interest is NOW. Letter Carriers are strongly encouraged to sign up for the E-Activist network (go to NALC.ORG).
I also encourage shop stewards to update E-mail addresses and phone numbers from co-workers and, especially, new CCA’s. This will allow our members to get the latest information from our national leadership, and allow the members to respond when called for.
You can bring the updated lists to the union meeting, and we will give it to the National Legislature in the upcoming Washington D.C. lobbying trip toward the end of April. The E-Activists who participated in calling Congress when asked by the National were successful in keeping Saturday mail delivery in the 2014 Budget agreement.
We ask our members to get involved and keep informed of what you can do by participating in the E-Activist Network and giving to COLCPE. Look in the February 2014 Postal Record at the COLCPE list, and you’ll see it is long and impressive. Unfortunately it represents a very low percentage of our members. Also view the NALC.ORG website on a regular basis. A phone call or letter to your congressional office can make a difference. The Union is only as strong as its members.
Currently we are looking to get our House Representative to co-sponsor a bill (HR-2291) which calls to designate Grand Central Station in NY City as the VincentSombrotto Post Office.
Hip Hip Hooray to all of you.
|Outlook January / February 2014|
|New Year -New Challenges|
|In the month of December 2013, the House and the Senate Ok’d a two year budget plan in effect until October 2015, and President Barack Obama signed it into law. As part of the budget plan, on January 13, 2014 a bipartisan group reached accord on a trillion dollar spending bill that will finance the government through September 2014 avoiding the risk of another government shutdown. This bill preserves the language calling for SIX-DAY mail delivery service, and urges the postal service to halt sales of historic post office buildings.
In fiscal year 2013, Rep. Issa and Sen. Carper pushed their respective proposals, bills (H.R. 2748 and S. 1486) to reform the postal service. Those bills are harmful to the postal service. It will end Saturday delivery, end door-to-door delivery, and attack postal employee collective bargaining. The house bill wouldn’t have enough support in congress to come up for vote. As we start a new year, House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa unveiled on January 8, 2014, a new postal reforms plan (H.R.3801) which is more harmful than (H.R.2748). The new bill will target the package delivery business and letter mail delivery. Those bills don’t solve the pre- funding burden of 5.5 billion dollars to future retiree healthcare benefits mandated by congress in 2006 (H.R.6407). The NALC opposes those bills and calls on Congress to enact reform that will allow the postal service to innovate and grow without dismantling the delivery network.
Instead, the NALC fully supports postal bills (H.R. 630 and S. 316) - the solution to the postal service’s financial crisis.
Jerrold Nadler D-10 - 202-225-5635 - CDL Natan Sheyer
Carolyn Maloney -D-12 - 202-225-7994 - CDL-Carmen Flores
Charles Rangel - D-13 - 202-225-4365 - CDL- Donna Thompkins
Jose Serrano - D-15 - 202-225-4361 - CDL - Tony Ortiz
Elliot Engel - D-16 - 202-225-2464 - CDL Sheila Mitchell
Charles Schumer - 202-224-6542
Kirsten Gillibrand - 202-224-4451
|Please keep the names and phone numbers handy, so we can contact them through the E-activist network with any future postal issue.
On January 11, 2014 letter carriers and friends from across the country gathered in Manhattan to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of NALC President Emeritus Vincent Sombrotto by celebrating his life. Currently, we are looking to rename Grand Central Station in New York City, where Vince worked as a letter carrier to the Vincent Sombrotto post office with a bill (H.R. 2291) introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney on June 6, 2013. We need to call our representative to co-sponsor this bill.
As we are faced with new challenges in the upcoming year, NALC will fight for real postal reform that strengthens the postal service, and will look to defeat legislation that would dismantle it.
You can keep up with developments on Capitol Hill, by checking the NALC.org website and becoming an E-activist.
My personal thanks go out to all members (active and retirees) who are involved in the ongoing battle to protect the postal service.
TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT!
|Outlook November / December 2013|
|Time to Act|
|By the time you read this article, Congress will have convened for about two weeks before heading home for the holiday season recess.
As the Federal government shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, the debt ceiling was raised and Congress got to work on a federal budget with a deadline of January 15, 2014. The Postal Service is looking to Congress to help solve their financial crisis. Two Postal reform bills are currently in Congress. They are H.R.2748 and S.1486. If passed, those bills would be damaging to the U.S. Postal Service. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held two hearings on S.1486 in September, 2013 and a hearing is scheduled on November 20, 2013 to mark-up these postal reform bills.
The immediate financial burden facing the Postal Service is the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act bill (H.R.6407) that was passed on December 20, 2006. It contains the Congressional mandate, ordering the U.S. Postal Service to pre-fund decades of future retiree health care benefits, resulting in annual payments of $5.5 billion. The Postal Service defaulted on this payment for the last three years, and the U.S. Postal Service has reached its $15 billion debt limit which is a direct result of the pre-funding. The universal service obligation means the U.S. Postal Service must provide roughly the same level of service to about 150 million homes at the same price. That’s contrary to sensible business-like behavior. Congress is obligated to give orders, not determine how to implement them. The U.S. Congress created the crisis at the Postal Service when the bill passed in 2006, and it must now amend it. Also, those two reform bills would not solve the postal financial crisis.
The Postal Service ended the 2013 fiscal year, October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2013, with a net loss of $5 billion despite a profit of $600 million this fiscal year. Congress needs to pass legislation that improves the financial position of the Postal Service and gives it a more flexible business model to enrich its cash flow, and the NALC will continue to work with the Postal Service on the growing E-commerce market.
The E-activist network should stay alert on their e-mail and text from the NALC legislation when they let us know when to call our Representatives on Capitol Hill, and what our position should be as to how to vote on postal issues.
If you are not an E-activist, please sign up at NALC.ORG and be part of the network. Your voice can make a worthy difference.
With deep sadness I heard of the passing away of our past Branch 36 President Frank M. Orapello on Thursday, November 14, 2013. As president of Branch 36 he was a leading beneficial influence, during which time I worked with him in the position of shop steward and along with others, appeared with him at many national conventions. We will greatly miss him. May he rest in peace.
Happy and Healthy Holidays to all And a prosperous New Year, 2014
|Outlook September / October 2013|
|Postal Reform Proposals|
|As the 112th Congress came to an end on Jan. 3, 2013, a new Congress was sworn in, and the American voters sent their elected representative back to work in Washington.
With many of the elected members on Capitol Hill remaining the same, NALC was looking for new bills to be reintroduced in Congress to pass measures that preserve the U.S. Postal Service and our jobs as letter carriers.
Two new bills on Postal reform were introduced in the House and Senate. They are H.R.2748 by Darrell Issa (R-/CA) and Senate Bill S.1486 by Senators Tom Carper (D-/DE) and Tom Coburn (R-/AR). If passed, both bills would cause massive service cuts, eliminate Saturday mail delivery and remove door-to-door delivery to millions of American households. There is no mention in those bills of fixing the 2006 bill of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, which sets aside over $5.5 billion annually to pre-fund the health benefits for future retirees, concerning which the Postal Service has already put aside nearly $50 billion. Currently, this annual amount is a financial burden to the U.S. Postal Service. Without this mandate, the Postal Service would have reported year-to-date profits.
Two hearings on the Senate Postal Bill S.1486 were held in the month of September, 2013. You can read more on those topics on NALC.ORG, and in the Postal Record. To counteract the damage those two bills would bring about to the U.S. Postal Service, NALC supports reform bills which have been proposed in Congress, known as The Postal Protection Act of 2013, S.316 in the Senate, and H.R. 630 in the House. These will be the solution to the Postal Service financial crisis, and they have strong bi-partisan co-sponsorship.
During the AFL-CIO convention in September, 2013, a pro-Postal Resolution #40 was submitted by its affiliated unions to build support for Postal Reform. A step in the right direction could help save the Postal Service.
Legislative action in Congress can come at anytime, and news about imminent voting in Congress can come at anytime. NALC encourages all active, retired and the new CCA members to visit NALC.ORG web site and sign up for the e-activist network to receive e-mail alerts. This way we can contact our representatives and senators and let them know the NALC position on voting on these bills which affect your benefits, pay or job.
On a local note, the New York City general election will take place on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Be sure to go out and vote.
|Outlook July / August 2013|
|Politics And Major Political Structures|
|Politics is the social structure and method of managing a government or state. The political structure existing in the United States is a democracy by which the government is ruled through elected officials who represent the citizenry and others. The American system is clearly defined by basic documents. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the Constitution of 1789 form the foundation of the U.S. federal government. The U.S. Constitution is the shortest written constitution in the world with just seven (7) articles and 27 amendments. At the heart of the U.S. Constitution is the principle known as separation of powers. This means that the power to govern is spread between three institutions of the state, that is, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, and no sole institution has too much power and no individual can be a member of more than one branch of government.
The President must be at least 35 years old, a natural born citizen and a resident of the United States of America for at least 14 years. The President is limited to serving two (2) full consecutive four-year terms, elected by the Electoral College. There are a total of 538 electoral votes; each state is granted electoral votes based on the size of the state. The 538 electors are based on there being 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus the three (3) electors from the District of Columbia. Voters in each state and the District of Columbia elect electors who are pledged to vote for particular presidential candidates in order to win an election; 270 electoral votes are needed.
The House of Representatives is the lower chamber in the legislature known as Congress. It is made up of 435 members, all of whom must be at least 25 years of age, citizens of the United States for at least seven years and live in the state they represent. They serve for two years with no term limits. Seats are apportioned among the states by population according to each decennial census. Typically, a house constituency represents around 500,000 people.
The Senate is the upper chamber of the Congress, consisting of 100 members, two senators for each state who must be at least 30 years old, and citizens of the United States for at least nine years. Members serve for a six-year term; there are no term limits.
The Supreme Court consists of nine (9) Justices, the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices, all of whom have equal judicial weight when voting on a case. They are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They serve for life. Below the Supreme Court there is a system of jurisdiction known as the Appellate Court (Appeals Court) and below these courts, there are District Courts. Those three levels of courts represent the Federal Judicial System.
I would like to remind our members that the upcoming primaries for NYC mayoral and council candidates will take place on Tuesday, September 10, 2013. The voter registration deadline is August 16th. The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Exercise your rights by VOTING.
|Outlook May / June 2013|
|C.O.L.C.P.E. (Committee On Letter Carrier Political Education)|
|Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power "to establish post offices and post roads." Our jobs depend on Congress. Congress proposes legislation which can affect our jobs and benefits. The COLCPE fund is used to develop educational programs for letter carriers about carrier-related topics and to support candidates for federal office.
Established in 1975, COLCPE goes hand-in-hand with grassroots activity by NALC members under the 1993 Hatch Act reform to reinforce the message of letter carriers in Washington. Contributions go to congressional candidates who protect the hard fought for benefits of both active and retired letter carriers.
COLCPE is one of our most powerful tools used to counter the anti-worker groups who want to deny to us the benefits we enjoy and COLCPE is NALC's voice in Washington, D.C. You can learn how wwwwFEFEC.govthe money is allocated to Congress by checking the web sites: opensecrets.org or FEC.gov.
COLCPE supports both Democrats and Republican members. Contributions are voluntary and cannot be acquired from dues funds. Contributions are not tax-deductible.
You can make regular contributions to COLCPE automatically in the manner as set forth below:
1. Through payroll deduction using Postal Ease.
COLCPE is administered by a committee of NALC members and disbursements are reported regularly to the Federal Election Committee. In order to protect our rights and remain strong, we need to remain politically active. Become an E-Activist by contributing to COLCPE.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE BY SUPPORTING COLCPE
|Outlook March / April 2013|
|Delivering For America|
|Rallies for 6-day delivering were held nationwide on Sunday March 24, 2013. The New York City rally was joined by NALC members from Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and their families, alongside other unions, civic organizations, congressional member's from New York State, and city politicians taking part in a Day Of Action reminding our Representatives in Washington to maintain the six-day mail delivery language in the continuing budget resolution (CR), expected to be renewed by Congress on March 27, 2013.
For now six-day mail delivery seems to be preserved in the law through Sept. 30, 2013 (the end of the Postal Service's fiscal year). Postmaster Donahoe still plans to go ahead and drop Saturday mail delivery beginning in August, and we all need to be ready to fight back.
NALC is committed to working together with both political parties to stabilize the finances of the Postal Service and allow it to compete. These reforms will put the service on solid footing to compete in the 21st Century.
We currently have some legislation bills in congress that the NALC endorses, which if passed would ensure the continuation of 6-day-mail delivery service, and would help the Postal Service return to financial stability, and protect the service to Americans and their businesses.
The bill's are: H.R. 30, H.R. 630, H.R. 961, S. 316. You can look up those bills or future bills on the NALC.ORG website, and ask your House Member in your district, or your State Senators to co-sponsor those bills, or thank them for co-sponsoring those bills.
The names of the House members and their districts that Branch 36 works with, and the New York State Senators' Phone #'s are:
The Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery is an attack on the future of this great institution, on the customers who need it, and on the employees who support it.
The American people depend on Saturday delivery to keep us connected and to facilitate our business. A loss of six-day delivery would hit rural communities, small businesses and senior citizens the hardest.
The founding document is clear. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 7 gives Congress the power and the responsibility: "To establish post offices and post roads."
Congress must uphold the constitution to preserve this 237-year-old institution, the U.S. POSTAL SERVICE.
|Outlook November / December 2012|
|The Election: America Has Spoken|
|The November 6, 2012 election is now behind us.
America has spoken by reelecting President Barack H. Obama, still the 44th president of the United States of America.
Voters gave Obama a second chance to fulfill his promises to the American public, despite an unemployment rate of 7.8%, the lowest in four years and a weak economic recovery even though more people are working today than when Obama took office four years ago. The test of whether he will be successful includes having a second term in office in a divided political system. Another candidate could well feel drained of emotional and intellectual vitality, but our president has vigorous enthusiasm that is boundless, as well as youth.
Obama received 332 electoral votes vs. Romney's 206. Obama received more than 50% of the popular vote vs. Romney's 48%. Democrats retained the Senate: D-53, R-45 with 2 Independent seats. Republicans retained the House Of Representatives majority: D-193, R-242. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) was reelected to a six (6) year term 'til 2019.
In the race for Congress, representing the 27 districts of the state of New York, Democrats maintained 21 seats, while the number held by Republicans dropped to 6, from 8 seats.
As we move past this election, there is much to accomplish. We must continue the national economic recovery and support President Obama in passing common sense bills that help the middle class, safeguard Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits. As congressional representatives return to Washington after the election to the lame duck session with a lot of work to finish in a short time before they recess for the holidays. Lame duck means an elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor, as well as one whose position or term in office will soon end.
We sincerely hope that Congress will not take action on postal reform until 2013, with the trust that the current 112th Congress postal bills will expire and we will have a fresh start all over again to succeed in getting some form of quality postal reform passed. NALC is determined to fight for a brighter future for all American letter carriers.
NALC will keep you informed in the days and weeks ahead and use the E-Activist members to phone Congress regarding any upcoming bills. Your voice counts. If you are not an E-Activist go to NALC.ORG and sign up.
We need Congress to act on postal reform legislation that will bring about the secure future of the Postal Service so that it can thrive in the "Internet Age". It has been an election cycle for the history books and we should be proud. More union members than ever before volunteered to take part in campaigns across the country, knocked on doors, made phone calls and proved once again that together we can fight for the issues that matter to the hard working families and the middle class throughout the United States. The Super PAC groups spent money to try to buy the election and proved that money isn't everything. The working families are the winners in this general election.
I thank all those who supported and voted for candidates who support the Postal Service issues and who helped make this election a magnificent success. May God's blessings be with our winning candidates.
I wish you and your families a Happy and Healthy Holiday season.
|Outlook September / October 2012|
|The NALC 68th Biennial Convention has come and gone. So have the Republican and the Democratic conventions. In mid-September 'til the first week of October, the House and the Senate will be in Washington to work on continuing a resolution that will fund the government through the first six months of the coming fiscal year 2013, and work on some long awaited bills before heading back home to campaign for their reelection on November 6, 2012.
In a letter to President Obama, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) asked that Congress receive a proposed interim Postal Reform Bill that requests 5-day delivery and bans layoff protection. The Obama administration did not propose any such legislation and the president stood firm with the Union on this issue. In the meantime, the House and the Senate passed and adopted a continuing resolution that extends last year's appropriations laws for the first six months of fiscal year 2013. The bill maintains the federal appropriation language that preserves six-day delivery service, as it has been for the last thirty years. This bill will expire on March 31, 2013, causing us to fight once again for our jobs.
No postal relief provisions are likely to be added to the bill, including postponement of the September 30, 2012 pre-funding payment for the future retiree health benefits, and the Postal Service will likely default on the 5.6 billion dollar payment due. Looks like the House will use the post-election lame duck session to try to enact legislation to destroy the Postal Service. Congress can oversee the stabilization of the Postal Service or its destruction, and we need to get ready to continue the fight.
The race for the White House is getting more intense. Republicans in some battleground states pushed for various voter suppression schemes to toughen voter identification and access laws in states of Texas, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. We saw in the last week of August that Federal courts in those states have overturned laws that end restrictions on voters. Most of those restrictions are intended to prevent people from voting, which is their fundamental right! In those swing states, most of those people vote for Democrats.
The 2012 election may be turning into a class warfare battleground, as Republicans and Democrats have accused each other of pitting one group of Americans against the other for political gain, as separate videos of Mitt Romney and President Obama leaked to the media. The stakes are high for both men, who must perform well at the three (3) debates this fall to gain voter confidence before the November 6th election.
There are (3) presidential debates upcoming: Wednesday, October 3 in Denver; Tuesday October 16th at Hofstra University in Long Island; and Monday, October 22rd in Florida. There will also be a vice-presidential debate on Thursday, October 11th in Kentucky. As we move forward, we have a long fight before us. Our jobs and our future are on the line, but I know that together, we will prevail.
Many hands, Many Minds, One goal, we will prevail, STAY INVOLVED!
|Outlook July / August 2012|
|Let Our Voices Be Heard Loud and Clear|
|Letter Carriers from across the country traveled to Minneapolis for the 68th biennial convention. While in attendance they voted on resolutions and listened to speeches from national and international union leaders as they displayed their solidarity with the NALC. We can see that we're all facing the same difficult issues in the coming future, meaning a fight to protect our jobs, our benefits and workers' bargaining rights. We also need to use this opportunity to reach out to other American labor movements by building a powerful nationwide movement to save the Postal Service.
In the coming weeks and months carriers will face a rough ride because the future of the Postal Service is in the hands of Congress and we need to work in Washington, D.C. and across the country to stop our political enemies from dismantling the Postal Service, and thereafter be the driving force with regard to the 21st century Postal innovation.
Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his union-busting followers have run into a wall on H.R. 2309 known as the postal destruction bill. A Congressional mandate in 2006 to pay 5.5 billion to prefund health benefits for future retirees has manufactured a crisis that has caused extremist politicians to act in a manner that accelerates the crisis rather than solving it.
Currently we are lobbying Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 3591 (The Postal Service Protection Act) which has all the key provisions necessary to return the Postal Service to financial health in the short term as well as in the long term.
Currently we have 49 co-sponsors across the country. There are four members of Congress in our area. They are Carolyn Maloney, Charlie Rangel, Jose Serrano and Jerrold Nadler. Good job Branch 36 Congressional District Liaisons! Currently the House of Representatives in Washington is on summer vacation for five (5) weeks and has not yet taken up work on any postal reform bill. There is no plan to take up Postal Reform before the November 2012 election.
The results of the 2010 election should serve as a warning to us all. Political apathy carries a price. Doing all we can to elect those who are pro-workers and proletter carrier candidates is essential to achieve. Every letter carrier must grasp the union concept; contribute to COLCPE via payroll deduction. It is a must if you are looking to keep our friends in Washington, D.C. You can know where our COLCPE money goes by checking the websites FEC.GOV and OPENSCRETS.ORG. Also, become an E-Activist, register to vote and vote on Election Day. The last day to register for the November 6, 2012 election is October 12, 2012.
On a local level, N.Y. State will hold some local primaries on Thursday, September 13, 2012, so be ready to go out and vote for our friends in your District, and get ready for the NY Congressional election in the NEW-27-Congressional Districts on November 6, 2012. The union will inform us as to which candidates have been endorsed by the AFL-CIO.
As you receive this Outlook publication, the Republican National Convention will be held in Tempe, FL from 8/27/2012 to 8/30/2012. The Democratic Convention will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina from September 3, 2012 to September 6, 2012.
In attending the Convention we saw true solidarity between NALC and other large labor unions with a loud and clear voice. We are fighting for the soul of America so that we can retain the kind of quality public service that makes our country great.
United We Stand!
|Outlook May / June 2012|
|Save America's Postal Service|
|Despite tens of thousands of phone calls from NALC members around the country, voicing our opposition to the flawed Postal Reform bill S.1789, on April 25, 2012 the Senate passed an amended version of the 21st century Postal Service Act, by a vote of 62 to 37.
NALC is disappointed by the bill’s outcome, but determined to fight on; the legislative process is far from over. The legislative action on postal reform will now move to the House of Representatives.
Republican leaders in the House appear unable to get support for Congressman Darrell Issa's(R.-CA) Postal Reform bill H.R.2309. They are so far also unwilling to take up an alternative bill, S.1789, that the Senate passed with support from both parties.
Another bill, H.R.1351, which the NALC is supporting, has 229 co-sponsors which constitutes a majority of the House members. The bill cannot come up to the floor for a vote. Representative Darrell Issa, who is the chairperson of Oversight and Government Reform Committee, would not release the bill. Congress is a democratic body. The majority rules. The committees should be the same.
The House appears stalled and they will take action on a bill sometime in the month of June.
Currently there have been some other bills introduced in the House and Senate to address the Postal Service's financial condition. S.1853 and H.R.359l, which the NALC fully supports, currently have 28 co-sponsors. Congressman Issa is holding the USPS hostage so he can advance his own agenda and that's why we need to take over the House to control the important committees. We all need to register to vote and do so on Election Day.
This year all 435 members of the House are up for reelection on November 6, 2012, The deadline to register to vote is October 12, 2012. For more info, you can call the Board of Elections at: 212-487-5300 or go to their website, www.Vote.nyc.ny.us.
Currently, NY State is finalizing its work on redistricting the 27 state congressional districts and there will be some congressional primaries on June 26, 2012.
Branch 36 has four (4) Legislative Liaisons communicating with their respective representatives. The four district numbers have been changed due to territory change as follows:
As you hear, the Postal Service may begin to shut post offices and consolidate mail processing centers due to the declining mail vo1ume. We all need to join the fight to save America's Postal Service.
We need to use our tools to be involved, such as payroll deduction contributions to COLCPE, become E-Activists, register to vote, and do not fail to vote on Election Day.
The Legislative process is far from over. A bill that passes both Houses would not become law unless the President signs it
NALC will go out to each E-Activist to call his Congressman for action on a bill. We all will fight all attempts to destroy unions and dismantle the Postal Service.
NALC can do it with you - but cannot do it for you - United We Stand.
|Outlook Matrch / April 2012|
|If You Don't Know Your Past, You Don't Have A Future|
|The U.S. Constitution authorized Congress to "establish Post Offices and post roads." This led to today's U.S. Postal Service. The Post Office is one of the few institutions specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section B, Clause 7 and guaranteed by law, when the Postal Service was founded in 1775 and made it clear in the document that the Post Office is a service to the people. It is not supposed to be a moneymaker.
Before the 1970's carriers were working 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with minimum salary. Carriers worked two to three jobs to make ends meet and were qualified to be issued food stamps because families in big cities ranked near the poverty level. It was 42 years ago following a series of dramatic failures in communication and negotiation between letter carriers, Congress and the White House over a decent wage increase, that members of the NALC's New York City Branch 36, led by Vincent R. Sombrotto, voted on March 17, 1970 to go on strike. At 12:01 a.m. March 18, 1970 picket lines by Branch 36 went up at post offices throughout Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City.
The strike was a major challenge with members putting it all on the line. The illegal work stoppage spread quickly through the metropolitan area, thereafter to cities and towns throughout America. By March 23rd there were almost 250,000 postal employees on strike. The strike lasted for eight days. By April 2, 1970, NALC had achieved an agreement that included a pay raise and collective bargaining with binding arbitration.
Postal reorganizing became a reality on August 12, 1970 and gave the NALC and other postal unions the right to bargain collectively over wages, hours and working conditions. Today, 42 years later, after we saved our jobs and benefits, we need to fight to save the Postal Service. We are fighting to serve our country, as called for in the Constitution. We are also fighting for millions who rely on us. Our adversaries are fighting to destroy public service, for their political and financial gain.
The e-Activist network is one of the best ways to fight back and to remain up- to-date on all postal legislation, when an immediate action is needed. An alert from the NALC will go out to each e-Activist to call his congressman for action on a bill.
With all its strength, NALC will fight all attempts to destroy unions anddismantle the Postal Service.
We in Branch 36 work together with personnel who are four (4) members of the House of Representatives through CDL (Congressional District Liaison) by personal connection with their elected officials and their aides to get our message known and understood. Below you will find their names and addresses at which they can be contacted.
District 8 - Rep. Jerrold Nadler ... 202-225-5635, CDL - Natan Sheyer
Please keep these phone numbers handy. Currently in New York State, as a result of the decennial census in 2010, work is being done on redistricting of congressional districts for 27 congressional districts - we lost two (2) districts.
|Outlook January / February 2012|
|Taking an Active Role in our Future|
|Postal reform legislation could move quickly when Lawmakers return to work after recess.
HR 2309 and Senate bill S 1789 are pending before the 112th Congress. These two major bills are designed to dismantle the Postal Service.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA) who has demonstrated his lack of interest in working in a bipartisan way to help the USPS, and who has introduced his so-called postal reform measure, HR 2309. Being Committee Chairperson has allowed him to move his bill through the markup process, and bring it up to the House floor for vote early this year.
Also S 1789, a bipartisan reform measure introduced in the Senate in Nov 2011, contains language merely calling for reducing the unfair pre-funding, and sets up a two-year delay in the reduction of mail delivery days. It will do harm to the USPS.
Our battle is far from over, and we need to continue to fight for a viable, effective Postal Service. So it is up to us to ensure that Congress does not ignore the voices of the American people.
We all need to call our Congress Representatives and ask them to vote NO on HR 2309, and tell your Senators that S 1789 as it is written will cause harm to our nation's Postal Service.
Here is a toll-free number to the Congressional switchboard: 1-877-762- 8762. Tell the operator the name of your Member of Congress, and they will connect you to that person's office. Another number you can use to reach them is: 1-202-224-3121. Talk to the staffer for your Member of Congress (if you don't know the name of your Representative, go to www.nalc.org and click on the Legislative Dept, then enter your Zip Code).
We need HR 1351 - USPS Pension Obligation Re-Calculation and Restoration Act - which went right to the heart of the Postal Service's financial problems, to come up on the floor for a vote to ensure a stable and secure future USPS. We currently have 228 members from both parties as Co-Sponsors for HR 1351, and 217 members from both parties as Co-Sponsors for HR 137 (which ensures continuation of six-day mail delivery).
I urge carriers and their families to thank their Members of Congress for being Co-Sponsors of these bills.
We came out strong last year with rallies across the country in each Congressional District Office to educate the public on HR 1351, and by the end of the year NALC obtained more than 1 million signatures, processed and sent to Congress. Branch 36 exceeded its goal among the NALC branches by obtaining close to 50,000 signatures. Great job! Give yourself a hand.
In the coming year the Postal Service's future will be in the hands of Congress. As Postal employees we need to recognize our need to have many friends on Capitol Hill, and the ways that NALC makes and keeps friends on Capitol Hill. We all need to do the following: 1.) Register to vote and vote. 2.) Become NALC E-activists. 3.) Become a member of the Carrier Corps. 4.) Donate to COLCPE through payroll deduction.
You can keep yourself informed by visiting the various web sites: www.nalc.org, www.postalreporter.com, www.nalcactivist.com.
We need every member to keep an eye out for breaking developments and calls to action on a moment's notice via E-mail to the members of the NALC Eactivist Network.
Thanks for your dedication and determination in our campaign to save America's Postal Service.
|Outlook November / December 2010|
|There is an old expression in politics that says, "There is no Republican way or Democratic way to fix a pothole." I say to those who feel that because the NALC-friendly Democratic Congress no longer controls the majority, that we should take our ball and go home. Let's not forget that this Union has been around a very long time, and has survived time and time again, when a lot of critics said that the end was near.
The NALC has survived Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Regan, and George W. Bush, so we can certainly survive John Boehner and the new Republican-led Congress. We must also remember that the Democratic Party still controls the White House and the Senate; two out
|of three isn't bad. In order to show the Republican majority that we mean business, we must begin by writing or calling our representatives in Congress, whether they are Democrat or Republican and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 5746, which is the CSRS Obligation Modification Act of 2010. Our livelihood depends upon this.
For more information on how you can contact your Congressional representative, go to www.nalc.org.
|Outlook September / October 2010|
|My brothers and sisters, we as members of Branch 36 stand on the shoulders of Giants. I had the pleasure of conversing, with some of our fellow letter carriers who participated in the Wildcat Strike of 1970, on what is now the fortieth anniversary of that important part of our history. The heroes I had the opportunity of speaking with, were current First Vice President Treasurer Harold Hillard who worked in Manhattanville station, current Director of Retirees Jose Ramos who worked in Planetarium station, and retired member Cleveland Morgan who served this union in many capacities for a very long time, and worked in Grand Central station. I was moved by the conversations I had with these men, but also saddened.|
|I was touched by the fact that these men participated in an illegal strike for not only themselves and their families, but it was also a sacrifice for the next generation of letter carriers.They risked their jobs in order to secure a better standard of living for us all. When I heard about their struggle and what they had to overcome to accomplish their goal of securing better wages and benefits, I felt extremely blessed to be in their presence. What saddened me after the conversation was my own lack of gratitude. Now! we should all ask ourselves these questions. On how many occasions, have I taken for granted the benefits I receive as a direct result of the strike, and strikers of 1970 - for example: COLA, contractual raises, paid sick leave, paid annual leave, a pension, health benefits, the dispute resolution process, and more importantly the right to collective bargaining and not collective begging. Our brothers and sisters not only defied federal anti-strike laws, but they also defied the Nixon White House and the United States military, to partake in the first national strike by federal employees against the United States government, in order for us to be compensated fairly for the work that we do. In closing, as we continue to fight to maintain the benefits we now receive in a time where working families are under constant attack, we must not forget the example set by our brothers and sisters who fought the good fight in 1970.|
|Cleveland Morgan Interview (audio)|
|Harold Hillard Interview (audio)|
|Jose Ramos Interview (audio)|
|Outlook July / August 2010||by George Mangold,
President NYS Association of Letter Carriers AFL-CIO
|As I promised, I am following up with you regarding H.R. 5746. The Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia successfully marked up the legislation today and it will now be reported to the full Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Chair Lynch (D-MA) offered a substitute amendment which simply clarified a few areas of the bill that were not clear, including a section that now clearly states that this legislation will have no impact on any individual's benefits. This change was made to satisfy the concerns of the other federal employee organizations. The bill was marked up by a voice vote and was passed 8-1 on a roll call vote:|
|Chairman Lynch (D-MA) - Aye
Del. Holmes Norton (D-DC) - Aye
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) - Aye
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) - Aye
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) - Aye
Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) - Aye
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) - Aye
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) - Aye
Ranking Member Jason Chaffettz (R-UT) - No
Rep. Ahn "Joseph" Cao (R-LA) - Not present
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) - Not present
Now is the time for us to act quickly and gather our co-sponsors for the bill. We want to get as many as we can before it goes to full committee, possibly as early as next week.
When asking your Member of Congress to co-sponsor the legislation, please make sure to include the major points below:
Fairly recalculate the USPS surplus in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) using a methodology that uses fairness and equity by using an employee's high three salary when computing the annuity.
Would return assets paid for by RATEPAYER and EMPLOYEE contributions (not TAXPAYER funds) to the Postal Service's sub-account in the CSRS.
Once the accurate "postal surplus" is determined by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency would then have 90 days to write regulations with directions for how and when these funds will be transferred to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHBF).
This legislation does NOT repeal or in any way address the legally mandated prefunding payments into the PSRHBR; it simply fixes the massive over-funding to the Postal CSRS account and transfers it to the PSRHBF. Additional legislation would be necessary to repeal the scheduled pre-funding payments to the PSRHBF in the future.
The date of transfer for the overpayment is less important than the acknowledgment by Congress and the OPM that the USPS has sufficient assets to cover all their retirement obligations; the Postal Service already has $37 billion in its PSRHBF and can access that until which time they would need the transfer to occur.
Please keep your comments focused on these talking points and let me know if you have any further questions. NALC will be sending out an e-Activist at the end of the week asking for grassroots efforts to gain co-sponsors, but we wanted you all to make the first contact with your Congressional offices.
THANKS FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT AND COOPERATION.
|Feedback and Suggestions||Site MapLinks|