House committee takes aim at postal pay


The news keeps coming on that newly unveiled American Postal Workers Union contract. But the latest installment will likely not be welcome to members of any of the Postal Service’s four unions.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has just scheduled an April 5 hearing on postal pay and benefits and it looks like the tentative APWU deal will be the start of a longer conversation on USPS workforce costs. With those costs comprising about 80 percent of USPS operating expenses, “the union contract renewals are the best chance to find new savings,” committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a news release. “Unfortunately, this looks like a missed opportunity.”

“The Postal Service cannot afford to continue to pay, as their own numbers have estimated, a 34.2 percent wage premium over comparable private sector labor,” added Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who chairs a Postal Service subcommittee. Ross said he was referring to 2003 figures presented by economist Michael Wachter to a presidential commission.

No witness list is out yet, but presumably someone pretty high up at the Postal Service will be on the hot seat. In announcing the proposed contract last week, U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe called it reasonable and added that it “will help lay a foundation that is fair to our employees and stakeholders.” So far, however, the agency has not released a public reckoning of the potential effects on its balance sheet.

The proposed 4-1/2-year contract still needs approval from the APWU’s rank-and-file; after sending out ballots next month, the union plans to count the votes May 11.

Although the agreement would create a two-tier wage structure—with new hires making less in some cases than existing postal employees—it does contain several small across-the-board salary increases and cost-of-living adjustments, according to the APWU. None would take effect this year. It’s hard to remember the last time—if ever–Congress got directly involved in critiquing a USPS labor contract. Then again, when was the last time the nation’s leading mail carrier was at risk of going broke?

And don’t forget, the Postal Service is still trying to hash out an accord with the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association to replace the contract that expired in November. Contracts with the agency’s two remaining unions–the National Association of Letter Carriers and the  National Postal Mail Handlers Union–are up for renewal this November.  If lawmakers want a place at the table, too, a tough job may have just gotten a whole lot tougher.


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  1. Maybe if the government gave back the money the Postal Service has over paid into possible future retiree funds, we would once again be the only government agency operating in the black as we have for a long time. Perhaps they don’t want to give us our money back so that they can try to force us to use tax dollars, something we haven’t done since the 1970’s, and take back total control.

  2. compare us to the private sector? UPS makes our contracts look like , well you know! THEY MAKE MORE IN HOURLY AND THEIR HEALTH PLAN IS 100% Paid by the company I’LL compare to them any time but for me I am tired of carrying all the clip board holders on my back!!!!!!!!!!GIVE US TEAMSTERS instead of a playtoy union!!!

  3. People like Issa think the $75 BILLION that was OVERPAID to the retirement fund should not be re-paid because that would be a government bailout. This guy and others like him have a very screwy way of thinking. I wonder if I owed him money would he think that if I paid him back that would be classified as having bailed him out? NO I don’t think so either!

  4. Here it is again an attempt to destroy middle class America. Let people in congress work for my salary and see if it is still to much.
    Illegals in our country are bringing wages down for most blue collar work. It starts at the bottom and works up. But congress seems to have no control on this issue.
    The more the middle and lower classes get squezed the better for the big dogs to take advantage of us. Do I think our senators and congressmen work to hard, or have no perks, do a good job,do not game the system? You decide.
    So I should be happy they are reviewing my wages. I work hard pay my bills my taxes save to retire and my neighhbor on welfare drives a much nicer car than me. Thanks for fixing everything!

  5. If its an overpayment, sounds very simple to me. Return the funds to its source. What’s the problem with that? If it was not originally marked for the retirement fund, it should be returned. Is someone dipping into those funds like Christie Whitman did in New Jersey. That is what should be looked into and investigated. Some politicians only look out for themselves and the heck with the rest. Its time we open up the can of worms in our government staff and other politicians with respect to congress’s budget, their respective retirement package, sick leave policies, annual leave, medical coverage, salaries etc. etc. et……………….Use common sense in all your approaches to the situation.

  6. OK Looks like I hit them where it hurts. Was told it won’t be published. This person handling these issues must also be part of this crew. I have so much information and “Proof” of all the atrocities going on in our local, state and federal government. On top of that. Do you want to find Bin Laden? Come ask me.

  7. Totally agree …the 75 BILLION we have overpaid should be returned then they won’t have to worry about the USPS for a long time

  8. as always postal employees will leave comments with their talking points. i delivered mail from 1996 to 2006 and was steward of the rlca for 6 of those years. the pay was great far above the private sector, but the gravy train is over. this is a dieing enterprise the kids text, e-mail, twitter, blog, message in fact it offers me over 300 ways to share this article not one is snail mail. people over 60 use the mail which has a future?

  9. Issa is a dumb ass! I’m SO fed up with Congress!!! Why don’t they set examples & agree to have their pay & bennies reduced before they start slashing ours?!?!


  10. Vote Tea Party out on

    Vote the Tea Party out next election. What is going on with this country??? They want to destroy all blue collar jobs. Gov. Walker started this crap and it is spreading. They need to be voted out.

  11. Show me a company (private or public) that can peel $5.5 billion out of their bottom line every year and still survive. You can not. This entire process is a circus; a rouse to divert attention away from real “reform”. Either redefine the Postal Service’s mission (universal service at a universal cost) or remove the statutory constraints that hold the Postal Service down. Quick Note: During the worst economic enviroment since the Great Depression, the Postal Service has turned a net operating profit. How’s Issa like those apples?

  12. The Truth Hurts on

    Well our friend Russ is another phony that says he was a Rural Letter Carrier. The real truth is he couldn’t carry a virus. The pay was NEVER more than the private sector. These studies make me laugh, the fact is during good time NO ONE wants the USPS job. Only now during lean times we get people that want the job. The fact people dont quit the USPS is mostly the reason they endure the corrosive work atmosphere and stay. That is SECURITY. People that work for USPS are willing to trade the lure of higher paying jobs for the security. The job is not desirable for most people. Have a clue before you speak next time.

  13. I can't believe it's not butta on

    These ignorant twits. Why can’t they see their own laws put the PO in this predicament? Why don’t they acknowledge their laws ripped off the PO of 82 Billion Dollars and why don’t they see that NOBODY in congress is addressing this issue in a serious manner. I retired at age 56 and can’t even get a COLA until 62. My body is broke because of my job, and I was overpaid? Those ignorant twits.

  14. I have believed for a long time that we get overpaid.Not by much but still overpaid.We need a wage freeze with no chance of back pay.The unions are great but- You can;t keep giving out money that is not there.The volume doesn’t back up these increases. The unions can make or break us.In this case it is breaking us.The more we make-the more they make.That’s all they think about.

  15. I agree that there are a lot of Postal Workers that are overpaid and have to many fringe benefits, BUT they are not the ones that are covered under any of the three Union contracts. Management is overpaid, overbenefited, and underloved. I have three supervisors telling me how to fix a machine every night and another trying to figure out what is broke.
    Just like the CEO’s they are bilking the P.O. getting out what they can before they go under. Put me in charge, I would get rid of 50 % of them and make the others do their job, whatever it is.
    Done Venting

  16. I only hope that Union members who voted Tea party/Republican have learned a lesson – and this should go for every clock punching, hard working, middle class worker in America – leave the social issiues out of the next election

  17. foreverptf – Since you feel that you are overpaid,you might want to try to give the Postal Service eight hours of WORK, then you want feel so guilty accepting your pay check, I give them eight hours of work for eight hours of pay and have a clear conscience for the pay I receive

  18. You know if the postal service had the power to vote themselves to be paid full salary and benefits in retirement like the representatives and senators, or their surviving spouses, there might be something to complain about. Will we ever see that change; we won’t. Create fair for all government employees or back off.

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