Today, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union saw a positive step forward on making substantive reforms that, if enacted, would provide sound financial footing to the United States Postal Service. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform passed the bipartisan Postal Reform Act of 2021 (H.R. 3076). This bill would repeal the 2006 mandate requiring the USPS to prefund its retiree healthcare benefits; require future retirees and their annuitants to enroll in Medicare when eligible; provide agreements with state, local and tribal governments to provide non-commercial services; and, call upon the Postal Service to conduct studies on service standards and create a public facing dashboard, informing postal customers on delays.
By eliminating the prefunding mandate and calling for prospective integration into Medicare, the Postal Service would save $4.4 billion annually. No other private business or public agency prefunds their retiree healthcare, and postal employees have contributed over $35 billion to Medicare over the past four decades, while not fully taking advantage of its benefits. This is a commonsense solution that is supported by labor, management, Republicans, and Democrats alike.
Additionally, the bill allows for agreements with state, local, or tribal governments to provide property and services on behalf of such agencies for non-commercial products and services, such as providing fishing and hunting licenses, as a means of growth. This has been a long-standing item on NPMHU’s legislative agenda, and we are glad to see it was included in this bill.
Last summer, Mail Handlers and customers grappled with changes to service standards and delivery times. Recognizing the problem, H.R. 3076 would create a dashboard on the USPS website that would inform customers of delays and issues with services. This is the kind of transparency Americans deserve from the Postal Service.
We look forward to seeing this bill move through the House, and the NPHMU is working with its friends in the Senate to ensure the bill gains support in that chamber so it will eventually become law. On behalf of NPMHU members, I would like to thank Chairwoman Maloney and Ranking Member Comer on their tireless work on H.R. 3076. As Mail Handlers know, the Postal Service and the work of its employees are essential to Americans across the country. This bill provides the first steps to much needed financial stability. The NPMHU looks forward to our continued work with the entire Committee on Oversight and Reform.
After approving H.R. 3076, the House Committee passed along partisan lines the Postal Service Improvement Act of 2021 (H.R. 3077). This bill includes language that would provide tracking for mail-in ballots for future federal elections, as well as a provision that provides twelve weeks of paid leave to postal employees for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. During today’s committee business meeting, additional amendments were added to the bill that included modernizing the postal fleet with electric vehicles; utilizing letter carriers in the 2030 census; requiring financial disclosures from the Postmaster General and the Deputy Postmaster General before they assume duties; ensuring members of Congress cannot be denied access to postal facilities for basic oversight observations; and restoring service standards to those in effect as of January 1, 2020.
Thank you to the Committee for its work and continued support of the Postal Service and its dedicated workforce.