America’s postal unions have joined together to organise a “day of action” across the country to push Congress to rescue the US Postal Service.
The American Postal Workers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association said they will rally in every congressional district in the country on September 27.
The day of action will not take the form of strike action, since US postal workers are not legally allowed to strike.
But unions and their allies will seek to push Congress to support postal reforms put forward by Democrat Representative Stephen Lynch earlier this year, which would provide a multi-billion dollar rebate of USPS pension overpayments to help it pay off future retiree heathcare liabilities.
The APWU said supporting the Lynch bill would mean preventing the financial collapse of USPS without resorting to the closure of thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail processing plants and loss of 120,000 jobs.
The Postal Service is set to run out of cash later this year as its recurring $8bn annual losses push up against its legally-set $15bn government borrowing limit. Congress is currently debating what action to take, while the White House is also expected to come up with its own plan in the next few weeks.
“With the USPS’s dire financial situation making headlines, and a battle raging in Congress over what to do about it, postal workers must take action now,” said APWU President Cliff Guffey.
The unions are supporting the Lynch bill while also actively opposing a rival bill put forward by House Republicans, which would not attempt to reform USPS pension and healthcare arrangements, but instead would set the terms for a form of receivership to force management action to make major cutbacks in order to balance the USPS books.
APWU said the bill from California Congressman Darrell Issa would mean wage cuts and abolished benefits for USPS workers and the closure of $2bn worth of post offices within two years.
The union accused Issa, who chairs the powerful Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives, of blocking Congressional consideration of the Lynch bill.
The rallies set to be staged around the United States later this month will see union members and allies calling for their Congressmen to sign on as co-sponsors for the Lynch bill, while the 193 lawmakers who are already co-sponsors will be thanked and urged to push for the bill’s passage in Congress.