December 5, 2018
In April of this year, the Trump Administration issued Executive Order 13829 creating a task force charged with evaluating the operations and finances of the U.S. Postal Service, covering topics like pricing, USPS policies, and workforce costs. The report entitled United States Postal Service: A Sustainable Path Forward, was completed on August 10, 2018, but was not released until December 4, 2018.
The Task Force had the opportunity to recommend changes that would truly provide the Postal Service with a sustainable path forward. Notably, the Task Force did address the Postal Service’s obligation to fund retiree health benefits when writing that “[t]he Task Force believes that the obligation, including the $43 billion in pre-funding payments that the USPS failed to pay into the PSRHBF and the unfunded actuarial liability, must be restructured with the payments re-amortized with a new actuarial calculation based on the population of employees at or near retirement age.”
Unfortunately, the Task Force also issued some very detrimental recommendations which, if implemented, would cut services to the American public, raise postal rates to major mailers, and reduce the wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights of all postal employees. The Task Force’s recommendations include the following:
- Redefining and reducing the Postal Service’s Universal Service Obligation
- Reducing the number and density of Post Offices
- Reducing delivery frequencies
- Reducing door to door delivery
- Lowering Service Standards
- Raising rates for major e-commerce mailers
- Increasing subcontracting of mail processing operations
- Eliminating collective bargaining over the wages of postal employees
- Reducing the wages of postal employees
- Reducing pension or workers compensation benefits of postal employees
Some of these proposals could be implemented through administrative action, while others would require legislation.
The NPMHU believes that many of the Task Force’s recommendations would adversely affect the Postal Service, postal customers, postal employees, and the American public. Service would deteriorate, causing further decline in mail volume and creating a death spiral. This would set the stage for privatizing the Postal Service.
The NPMHU will continue to work with all stakeholders, including the other postal unions, USPS management, major mailers, Congress, and the White House, to find solutions that will truly put the USPS on a sustainable path forward.
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