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Senate debates postal service’s best route forward



Published: Sat, April 21, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The end of the moratorium on post-office closings is May 15, and legislators continue to banter about bills to save the financially struggling U.S. Postal Service.

The Senate this week debated the 21st Century Postal Reform Act, but that doesn’t mean the bill is close to receiving enough support to pass.

The bill would give the post office a quick infusion of cash, delay the closings of some post offices and eliminate Saturday delivery, though the last would not happen for two years.

It also would halve the number of processing and distribution centers slated for closure, from 252 to 125.

The Youngstown processing and distribution facility, home to about 500 employees, is one site slated for closure.

The Senate proposal also calls for the agency to transfer $11 billion in overpayments to its robust retiree health-care benefits fund.

Congress, which oversees the postal service’s public-private hybrid business model, approved the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act in 2006. It requires the postal service to fund retiree health-care benefits 75 years in advance.

Every year, the postal service starts with a deficit of $5.5 billion to cover future retiree health-care benefits for employees who may not be alive, in addition to $7 billion for current benefits.

But there still are other legislative options on the table. One is the Postal Service Protection Act, which is preferred by legislators such as U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon.

“Sen. Brown, who is continuing to evaluate the 21st Century Postal Reform Act, is a co-sponsor of the Postal Service Protection Act, which preserves Saturday mail delivery, restricts the closure of rural and urban post offices and protects mail-processing facilities to ensure maintenance of timely service,” said Allison Preiss, Brown’s press secretary.

“The legislation would also address the most immediate financial problem facing the USPS by eliminating the unique requirement that the postal service pre-fund 75 years’ worth of future retiree health benefits in just 10 years,” Preiss added.

Dominic Corso, president of the American Postal Workers’ Union Local 443, said he also isn’t sold on the latest bill.

“Some members of Congress are using this as an opportunity to privatize the post office and kill unions,” he said. “It doesn’t address the pre-funding. It continues that massive burden.”


Comments

1glbtactivist(255 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It's a shame the Republicans were able to nearly destroy the one part of the government that really delivered a great service, the post office. First they gave away the profitable box delivery business to their rich business controlers. Now they are trying to destroy the letter carrier part. Greed is a terrible thing.

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21loaf(100 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure it was the republicans. After all they started by being responsable for the crusafiction and just kept on doing every bad thing that happened since. Of course if the fearless leader of the democrats gets another term we can all pillage the castles and everyone will have the same amount of everything. That should work well since democrats are such
sharing folks. Equal shares for everyone and we'll all be happy till some one wants an extra share and then we'll have to call out a republican sheriff to keep the foxes we let into our henhouse under control!

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31loaf(100 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

My senator has a good idea. Lets remove mandatory funding of the pension plan and then we can kick that can down the road with the rest of government underfunded plans. Sounds great to me. Then some one else will feel what the Packard workers Mr Obama sold out feel. Is anyone suprised that a union boss objects to losing the funds he buys politicians with?

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4republicanRick(1169 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Greed was indeed the problem with the post office -- the greed of the union workers who lavish themselves with high pay and exorbitant pensions and benefits.

The internet and iPads will do to the post office what the Model T Ford did to the horse and buggy.

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