Boy, some people in Washington really don’t want to give postal employees and retirees the benefits they’ve worked all their lives to accrue and are rightfully theirs.
As we know, Congress has tried to essentially destroy the postal service by requiring the deficit-ridden institution to pay at least $5.8 billion a year to cover the healthcare costs of future retirees. This burden is already helping ruin the USPS as we know it.
Now the USPS itself apparently wants to enable these malevolent insensitive forces by cutting healthcare benefits to existing employees. By the way, that also includes access to Medicare.
In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office took issue with a new USPS plan to try and have postal employees foot the bill themselves. This would represent quite a giveback from what has existed for decades
The postal service would accomplish this by withdrawing from the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program which covers most federal employees and replace it with one designed just for postal workers.
Among other things, pulling out of the FEHBP could save the postal service as much as $7.8 billion in the first year and as much as 3.2 billion in subsequent years.
But this new catch is that postal worker pensions would to market forces and workers could possibly lose money since they could be invested in riskier instruments than U.S. Treasury bonds. And this proposal could also imperil postal worker access to Medicare coverage. Also, taking postal employees off the FEHBP may also financially weaken it for other federal employees in other agencies, the GAO found.
Maybe this USPS thinks its proposal could really help get it out of its financial hole, which isn’t getting any better. For the quarter ended April 30, the USPS lost $3.9 billion http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_063.htm
Naturally, postal employee unions such as the American Postal Workers Union, National Association of Letter Carriers don’t like this one bit and are likely to fight this to the death and the USPS knows this full well.
Maybe postal management is listening too much to those who want to end all government pension-type programs for everybody.
If this goes anywhere, maybe the USPS plan could serve as a trial run for privatizing Social Security for everybody. After all, if thousands of postal workers could accept something as despicable as this, maybe the general population won’t lag too far behind.
Or so some of those in power might think.