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Union Plus Education Services

AFL-CIO Adopts Pro-Postal Resolution
Updated On: Sep 13, 2013

On the final day of the AFL-CIO convention, postal unions joined forces to win passage of a resolution favoring “Innovation and Growth, Not Downsizing and Decline” for the U.S. Postal Service. The resolution was adopted on Sept. 11 by acclamation.

APWU Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez urged the AFL-CIO convention to pass Resolution 40.

Speaking on behalf of the APWU, Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez urged passage of Resolution 40, which notes that the Postal Service’s financial crisis is the result of a bad law — the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA).  The 2006 law requires the USPS to set aside more than $5.5 billion annually to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees.

The resolution calls on the “AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions to help mobilize the entire labor movement and our allies in the progressive community to defeat the forces of austerity and anti-unionism in the debate over postal reform.” It was drafted jointly by the APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union prior to the convention.

Fully 80 percent of the USPS losses since 2007 result from the PAEA’s pre-funding mandate, the resolution points out. “At the same time, the PAEA set strict limits on the Postal Service’s ability to raise rates,” the resolution says. 

“The Congress of the United States created the crisis at the Postal Service and must now fix it,” the resolution says.

“Unfortunately, rather than reducing or repealing the pre-funding burden and relaxing unreasonable price controls, legislation now before Congress retains these burdens and calls for radical cuts in services and jobs to help pay for them.

“Bills in both the House and the Senate target the elimination of at least 100,000 jobs by: eliminating Saturday service; slowing mail delivery by drastically downsizing its mail processing network and phasing out door-to-door delivery for 30 million households and businesses; and closing or sharply limiting local post offices. These destructive bills (H.R. 2748 and S. 1486) also pose a dire threat to the pensions and health benefits of postal employees by interfering with the postal collective bargaining process that has worked so well for more than 40 years.”

Slashing service to pre-fund health benefits decades in advance makes no sense, the resolution declares, and will drive away business.

“The postal union affiliates of the AFL-CIO have worked to build broad public coalitions to resist more damaging austerity in the Postal Service and to build support for sensible reform.”

The resolution urges passage of the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013 (S. 316 in the Senate and H.R. 630 in the House). For information about the Postal Service Protection Act, click here.

In a related development, APWU President Cliff Guffey was re-elected vice president of the AFL-CIO Executive Council. The 55-member council guides the daily work of the federation

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