Wisconsin letter carrier to testify at Senate Hearing on political campaigning by postal workers

7/19/17 Timm Kopp is a letter carrier from Marshfield and a whistle-blower who will take center stage Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a hearing on political campaigning by postal workers.

Kopp’s complained that certain postal workers were taking leave without pay to work for union political campaigns and that the absences caused operational problems. That prompted an investigation by the U.S Office of Special Counsel.

The counsel concluded that the U.S. Postal Service was in violation of the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity of federal employees while on the job. The investigation found that the Postal Service did not take political sides but sought to maintain good relations with the union.

“I didn’t expect it to get to this point,” Kopp told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “All I wanted was an explanation on a few things. This needs to be fixed and needs to be taken care of so the Post Office does not look biased.”

 Kopp will testify to the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

The counsel’s investigation found the Postal Service and National Association of Letter Carriers had a long-standing practice of letting workers take “union official” leave without pay. source

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As submitted for the record by Chairman  Senator Ron Johnson R (WI)

Good morning.  In October of last year, one of my constituents, Timm Kopp, a letter carrier from Wisconsin, came forward to my office with concerns about leave practices he was experiencing and witnessing related to the upcoming election.  In response, I referred the matter to the Postal Service Inspector General and to the Office of Special Counsel.

I appreciate Mr. Kopp’s willingness to come forward and to testify here today.  Both the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel have now completed their audits and investigations, and representatives are here today to present their findings.  I also appreciate the appearance of the Postmaster General today to respond to these findings.

Our committee has jurisdiction over both the Postal Service and the Office of Special Counsel, and it is our responsibility to conduct oversight of this matter.  The Hatch Act exists to ensure that federal agencies administer programs without regard to politics.

The Office of Special Counsel’s report in this matter found a systemic violation of the Hatch Act dating back to the 1990s.  It noted that Postal Service leadership “took official actions with the intent of enabling” the campaign activity of its union, and “with a clear understanding of what that activity involved.”  Based on these findings, it is legitimate to wonder why no one will be held accountable, how Postal Service leadership allowed this systemic violation of the Hatch Act to go on for twenty years, and is this occurring in other federal agencies?

In the grand scheme of things, the data identified by the investigations—97 employees out of work and a sampled overtime cost of $90,000—do not seem like large numbers, especially here in Washington.  But there were unquantified consequences of this practice.  One Postmaster in Wisconsin noted ten operational concerns stemming from this practice, including “penalty overtime, late trips to the plant, and safety issues.”  The practice also put non-union employees, or union employees who supported other candidates, at a disadvantage.  If those employees sought unpaid leave for several weeks for campaign activity, they would not have received the same treatment.  Thus, the Office of Special Counsel found “an institutional bias” in favor union-endorsed candidates, all of whom belonged to one political party.

I thank the witnesses for appearing today and look forward to your testimony.

Witnesses

7 thoughts on “Wisconsin letter carrier to testify at Senate Hearing on political campaigning by postal workers

  1. How much you wanna bet this toolbag will become
    a supervisor or better within the next six months. Muffin
    Meghen will take care of this toolbag who is probably a scab
    anyway.

  2. I would love to testify at a Senate hearing. I was a diligent letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for 22 years. My troubles started after I reported my manager, Kenneth J. Benaquista, for extorting $700 in cash from William Tinger, a young co-worker who had his wife at home with their infant. I also advised the postal inspectors in Newark, NJ that Benaquista was stealing money from the USPS. Benaquista was immediatley removed from our facility; however, he was fraudulently able to collect a pension of $3,400 a month, The criminal should have been fired! In brief, Benaquista’s successor, Carmen J. Fede and supervisors and spouses, Deborah Fortunato and Stephen Sholander,–all of Nutley, NJ, cost the USPS about $50,000 awarded to me for back pay by arbitrator Sherrie Rose Talmadge when they tried to first fire me. Fede then falsified documents to terminate my employment and wipe out my pension. Fede was recently sworn in as the postmaster in Newark, NJ. His dad’s best friend, Joseph Benucci, was the postmaster there about 40 years ago. Crazy things happen in the USPS that the Senate should know about. I’d testify tomorrow.

  3. I doubt if Mr. Kopp would have complained if our union had endorsed Donald Dump. Everything would have been perfectly alright. Mr. Kopp will be very happy when the Ratpublicans finish off unions. He will then live in a business paradise! He will be able to work almost for free, and be treated like a king.

  4. Dear Mr.Timm Kopp, 10 years ago is when my USMC/USPS Spouse died, due to the political attack on the USPS that had been ongoing since 1980, and in 2000, the Koch oil brothers funded GOP Bush in to office, whom made postal letter carriers pay in extra to retirement systems not for retirement but for payment to the Iraq oil war so Koch brothers who want to destroy the USPS for their ‘freedom” thinking of private markets to take over, could profit. My husband whom deserved staffing under the fair labor standard law legally for postal workers, did not get staffing illegally for over 11 months and eventually did manage it due to a Union grievance procedure, but had staff once again illegally removed for his last action as NALC steward, and died after removal. You were not even employed then until his death as a Letter carrier, and obviously have limited understanding of the move by the GOP Koch oil owned , to take down the USPS and thus have an impact on postal letter carrier lives. The basic issue was the election in 2016 is over, and yet you are nit picking on letter carriers who are short staffed due to the actions of the attack on the USPS by the non partisan GOP to take it down, and yet complain that Union members are getting politically involved and support the democrat party due to their support of Unions. Can you name all the illegal actions done by the GOP to the USPS, from 1980 onward at all, I just wondered, if you would like to transfer and be the only letter carrier due to politics on the USPS and be worked to death and not be able to vote in the 2016 election since you are deceased due to those actions, 10 years ago when you were newly employed. By the way I am sure the PMG and the NALC Union appreciated your efforts working with the Wisconsin Senator oversight Senator Ron Johnson, who is a Koch affiliate and wants to take down the USPS also. Thank you for your wonderful support in making sure things remain honest for letter carriers everywhere, I am sure it will be duly noted for the USPS to be profitable for Ups and FedEx to take over as ALEC board members paid for by Koch oil , so you may be eventually to transfer and maybe work for those firms instead. Maybe they would appreciate your efforts for your foresight on all things postal as well.

    Val Nostdahl ps:http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/…/alliance-us…

  5. Inquiring minds has a need to know from the Author of this story or anyone in Opposition to the same.
    1. How are the USPS losing money when the Union pays for the LWOP hours.
    2. The USPS get the same work and more done for half the hourly pay rate. Overtime pay is Time and a Half per hour, Where’s the lost?
    3. Most Unions have a Political Action Committee, whereby supporters of Issues in favor of the employees, regardless of party affiliation receive support from the members of the said Union. Its the Unions members dollars, whats illegal about it?

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