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Postal Closings of Area Mail Processing Facilities and post offices, stations and branches postponed until May 2012
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The closings are postponed, albeit just for a short time, in the hopes that the resistance to a financial rescue of the Postal Service will lessen in the halls of Congress if the delay is put in place.
The bi-partisan Senate bill that is more favorable to the Postal Service as far as restructuring costs, allowing for employee buyouts and expanded products and services has advanced to its last stages in the Senate. However, the bill is being blocked from going to the floor of the House of Representatives where the Issa/Ross bill that is much less favorable to the Postal Service is being pushed. This bill would void labor contracts, deny any funds or restructuring, set up outside control boards and lay off around 100,000 employees.
A compromise measure is needed and it doesn't look like anything will happen until early 2012.
The Senate Bill in summary would:
Restructure the $5.4 billion retiree benefits payment to spread over more years at a lesser cost
Refund more than $11 billion in acknowledged overpayments to FERS to use to buyout employees at or near the retirement age to reduce the workforce
Allow for a more flexible workforce
Provide the means to expand product lines and services
End Saturday delivery after a 2-year study commencing in 2013
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The House Bill in summary would:
Not restructure or change the amount owed annually on retiree benefits
Not refund legitimate money owed to the Postal Service for use
Void existing labor contracts
Allow for layoffs of 100,000 plus employees
Establish independent (read - no postal experience) control boards to manage finances
End Saturday delivery as early as possible
Allow some product expansion
The Postal Service is facing a debt in fiscal year 2012 of more than $14 billion that includes this year's $5.4 billion payout for future retiree health benefits. This payout was deferred from September 30th to November 18th and again, subsequently to December 16th. No one knows if it will be deferred again. One thing is certain, USPS does not have the money to pay the amount due on December 16th. The Postal service only has a dwindling 3-day cash reserve that will shrink to just a half-day reserve by the end of FY 2012.
Much needs to be done in Washington before this crisis deepens any more.