On January 17, 1962, President John F Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988. This granted Federal Employees, for the first time, the right to collective bargaining.
This action led to inspire many states and localities to follow suit, allowing their own workers to organize. This triggered a huge wave of unionization in the public sector that saw firefighters, teachers, janitors, social workers and many others form unions in the 1960s and '70s.
Now all this is under attack. The nation's postal unions, whose employees combine to be the largest Federal union in the nation, are being attacked through proposed legislation in the United States Senate.
As early as next week, S. 1789, the so-called 21st Century Postal Service Act, is moving forward for a floor vote in the Senate. This bill, reported out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security by Senator Lieberman, would do the following:
- Cuts mail delivery from six days a week down to five days in two years' time if the Postal Service is not turning a profit, but fails to give the Postal Service any flexibility to achieve that profit.
- Phases out door-to-door delivery for consumers in favor of curbside and centralized delivery.
- Includes an anti-labor provision that would direct arbitrators to take into special consideration the financial condition of the Postal Service before rendering a decision. A direct attack on collective bargaining.
- Unfairly attacks injured postal workers by removing them from the OWCP rolls and forcing them into retirement without implementing a formula that would make these people whole. The reduction in compensation would be severe.
If Congress succeeds in this attack against the postal unions, it will shift its focus to the rest of the unionized federal workforce, including our newly certified brothers and sisters who are employed by TSA.
We need your help to stop this attack. Please call Sen. Dianne Feinstein at (202) 224-3841 and Sen. Barbara Boxer at (202) 224-3553 and ask them both to oppose S. 1789 in its current form. The legislation is deeply flawed and needs significant changes before the Senate should consider passage of this bill.
Changes to the bill should include provisions from S. 1853, which actually does take the necessary steps by addressing the issues laid out above to strengthen the Postal Service while maintaining the excellent level of service Americans have come to expect, preserving middle-class jobs and creating new opportunities for the Postal Service moving forward.