Move over AIG. Make room for the Postal Service and HR 22

Postmaster General John E. Potter appeared on Capital Hill this week despite the recent discovery and media attention received over his $857,459 compensation package.

With a net loss of $2.8 billion, the Postal Service concluded another fiscal year in the red. With mail volume running 12 percent below 2008 levels, shipping service prices will increase an average of 5 percent. In May, a 1-ounce first-class mail stamp will increase from 42¢ to 44¢.

“Even with our aggressive cost-cutting measures, our situation is critical,” Potter said. He urged Congress to pass HR 22 and modify the method by which it is required to fund retirement health care benefits.

Potter, a Bronx native, who in 1978 began his career as a postal clerk in New York, outlined various strategy ideas to close the budget gap. Included was a revision of the Congressional six-day delivery service mandate of 1983 to be changed to a five-day delivery service. Cutting costs would include halting new construction of additional postal facilities, as well as reduced hours and overtime. Using web and video technology as an alternative would slash meetings and conference travel expenses.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) primarily represent the labor force. More than 85% of the career employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

HR 22 would allow the United States Postal Service to pay its share of contributions for annuitants’ health benefits out of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. Representative John M. McHugh introduced HR 22 for himself and Mr. Davis of Illinois.

Republican Representative John M. McHugh of New York was born in 1948. He was first elected to serve in the US House of Representatives in 1992. He is currently in his ninth term of office and has been in public service since 1971.

Democratic Representative Danny K. Davis of Illinois was born in 1941. He was first elected to serve in the US House of Representatives in 1996. Prior to that he served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners having been elected in November 1990 and reelected in 1994. Prior to 1990, he served for eleven years as a member of the Chicago City Council as Alderman.

Representatives of the House currently earn approximately $174,000 annually.

Although HR 22 was mentioned, other Postal Service legislation introduced in this 111th Congress was not and bears mentioning.

In the days to come, different legislation affecting the Postal Service will be covered. Next time in the ongoing expose’, how the “Cuba Reconciliation Act” will affect the Postal Service.

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