House Committee Passes Two Postal Reform Bills

NPMHU_logoThe NPMHU applauds Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which on July 12, 2016 passed the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016 (H.R. 5714) by a voice vote.

“The NPMHU appreciates the hard work done by both parties in moving forward this bi-partisan piece of legislation, but changes still are needed for the NPMHU to support this bill,” said National President Paul Hogrogian.

There are several positive items included in the Postal Service Reform Act, including relief from the unjustified obligations for the Retiree Health Benefits Fund, integration of postal retirees into Medicare, and restoration, in part, of the exigent rate increase.  The biggest drawback in the passed bill are unnecessary and detrimental changes to both residential and business door delivery.

The NPMHU, other postal unions, the Postal Service, and various mailers who have formed a coalition to encourage the enactment of postal reform in this Congress will continue to work together to make changes in the bill that are needed so the NPMHU and its allies can fully support this vital legislation.

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In related news, the Postal Service Financial Improvement Act of 2016 (H.R. 5707), cosponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA), also passed the House Committee.  If enacted, this bill would create a Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund Investment Committee and permit the Secretary of the Treasury to invest a portion of the Fund in index funds, among other investments.  The NPMHU strongly supports these investment options, which would allow the USPS to obtain better returns on the investment of these assets.  Currently, the Fund contains more than $50 billion, but investments are limited to low-interest notes and bonds issued by the Federal Government.

source: National Postal Mail Handlers Union ( NPMHU)

5 thoughts on “House Committee Passes Two Postal Reform Bills

  1. Remember, the DUCK is quacking, while walking, now what you think this is? Its about taking money for Slush-Hush funds for Congress and their Cohorts. Yes, I said it and Darn tired of lame brained employees thinking Management loves them.

  2. Because. They want you in the union Heath care plans after your rates go sky high ,two years after this bill passes.

  3. The news that the U.S.P.S. sees an advantage to being relieved of retirees health benefits by enrolling us on Medicare and at the same time exploring the possibility of speculative investments in index funds in the financial markets seems just about right from an organization that is severely out of touch with reality. If you have dug yourself into a hole stop digging! The analogy that comes to mind is taking the rent and food money and going to the track to play the horses. You just know you’ll get it right this time,only to lose it all and go home hungry to find your furniture on the street! Let’s start with pay cuts at the top,from managers that sit in offices and collect bonuses for running this organization into the ground.

    • Pat is on target. The NPMHU may want to rethink their glowing support of the Postal Service Health Benefits Program (PSHBP) as it is not as sound a solution as it is being sold. Eliminating the absurd prefunding requirement that currently exists is what is needed to fix the real problem. Look at the following:

      Postal management has sold Congress that this program will save the USPS over $40 billion in the near term. Reality is that forcing 76,000 retirees into Medicare Part A & B will only save the USPS about $450 million annually. Part D may have some additional savings (USPS says as high as $550 million annually). However, OPM is working on a prescription drug program for all FEHBP participants so any savings from prescription drug coverage is likely to happen anyway. There is no way (other than double or triple counting the same savings) that that the level of savings being sold by management is available from a Postal Service Health Benefits Program which forces 76,000 retirees into Medicare and costs them $111 million annually.

      Postal management and now some members of Congress are stating the USPS employees and retirees have paid over $29 billion for Medicare coverage they are not using. Reality is that much of this money was to prepay for Medicare Part A and many (about 25% of) retirees in FEHBP do not want or need Medicare Part B as their FEHBP health insurance provides sufficient coverage for their health care needs without being burdened with the additional Medicare Part B premium which is a minimum of $121 monthly. All FEHBP plans have prescription drug coverage equal or better than Medicare Part D so there very little use of Part D by FEHBP participants. Part A coverage which is free to all Medicare eligible federal retirees.

      A PSHBP that separates postal from the rest of the federal government is very risky. The three most significant cautions are: In the long term number of plans available in this pool will likely be fewer than what is available in FEHBP; the cost of plans in this program will likely grow over time as the USPS will have fewer new hires (healthy young people) in the program and more older participants who need more healthcare, and; being in a unique pool makes the potential to being treated different (probably not good) than other FEHBP participants in the future.

      In my opinion any changes to our health benefits belongs on the bargaining table at negotiations and not in congressional legislation. This is simply managements grab at the brass ring to circumvent their health care obligation to retirees and bypass the bargaining table. What I can’t understand is why some of the unions including the NPMHU are falling into the trap.

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