Thomas Benson, President of Lake Geauga Area Local 1204, APWU (AFL-CIO)
Union members should be concerned about Congress’s veracity and character. Recently the USPS, the mailing industry and the 4 Postal Unions were working with lawmakers on H.R. 756. This bill has more bad in it than good. While Congress was working with the Unions, it would seem that Rep. Chaffetz was working both sides of the fence. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the postal reform bill’s sponsor and the chairman of the oversight committee, said he briefed the president about the need to overhaul the Postal Service during a February visit to the White House. The President then added “Postal Reform “to his 2018 Budget Proposal.
In President Trump’s proposal, wording concerning the USPS is essentially the same wording as H.R.756. The Trump Budget would “reduce mail delivery frequency where there is a business case for doing so,” which could include the elimination of Saturday delivery, even though the idea has been rejected repeatedly by lawmakers. Other changes include:
COLAs for current and future Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) retirees would be eliminated altogether.
COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees would be reduced by 0.5 percent each year from what it would have been otherwise.
Federal employees covered under FERS would see employee contributions to their annuities increased by 1 percent each year for the next six years, without any corresponding benefit increase. This will cost FERS employees $71.2 billion over the next 10 years, and more thereafter.
The FERS Annuity Supplement would be eliminated for new retirees starting in 2018.
Federal pensions would be based on the average of the highest five years of salary instead of the highest three.
I would like to remind you that the USPS is not funded by the taxpayer, yet has been added to the Trump Budget Proposal. The Budget is just another attack on Federal Employees. I urge each and every one of you to call your Congressional Representatives and implore them to work to remove wording that affects the USPS. The USPS operates at no cost to the U.S. Government or the taxpayer. Congress needs to be reminded of this.
Brothers and Sisters, are you as a proud union member paying attention to what is happening in Congress? Congress is betting that your attention is elsewhere. I would venture to say that yes, the majority of Union members across the country are paying more attention to the Trump Circus. There is no doubt that the Trump administration is pushed in our faces everywhere from radio, TV and Social Media. But while your attention is diverted, what is congress doing? They are introducing legislation that is anti-union and anti-middle class. The attacks on union workers continue, with no end in sight.
The most recent attack is on Air Traffic Controllers. The Trump Administration wants to privatize these workers. This is not a new concept. There have been past presidents both Democratic and Republican who have wanted to privatize the Air Traffic Controllers. Congress has stepped in and stopped those attempts in the past. I fear that with this anti-union administration and congress, privatization may happen this time. Here is something to ponder. If the taxpayer funded Air Traffic Controllers become privatized, how long before the non-taxpayer funded USPS goes down the same path?