With the U.S. Postal Service on a steady slide toward insolvency, labor and management are double-teaming the White House in a bid for help.
In a joint letter to President Obama this week, the Postal Service’s four unions, as well as organizations representing postmasters and postal supervisors, asked the administration to override the Office of Personnel Management’s position on allocation of pension costs.
If that subject sounds like a snoozer, some see it as a magic bullet for the Postal Service’s many ills.
Over the years, the Postal Service has overpaid between $50 billion to $75 billion into the Civil Service Retirement System and another $6 billion or so into the Federal Employees Retirement System, according to outside studies. Although the Postal Service would love to have that money back, OPM has stuck to its stance that Congress must authorize any change in actuarial methods, even though some lawmakers say the personnel office could do the job on its own.
“Since OPM refuses to exercise this authority, we urge you to use your authority as President to do so,” the letter states.
A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The Postal Service, which suffered record losses last year, expects to run out of money in September if it has to make a legally required $5.5 billion payment for retiree health care.