What is Congressman Issa waiting for? After being informed that the USPS may run out of cash in October of this year he continues to dally with legislation that would stabilize postal finances. It is obvious that Republican members on the committee object to key pieces of the proposed legislation, but there is too much at stake to hold out for a political agenda. Union efforts to substitute H.R. 630 as the vehicle for postal reform are a wistful long shot so to continue as a viable institution it is essential that some form of legislation is adopted and soon. The question before the major stakeholders is whether each will accept undesirable provisions to save the Postal Service and there is a laundry list of them.
For the unions, they want to avoid at all costs modification to collective bargaining; accelerated consolidations; 5-day delivery; release of retirement overfunding; major subcontracting, but eliminate the health care prefunding.
The Republican agenda seeks to continue the health care payment in some form, accelerate consolidations, reduce the retirement overpayment and lay the foundation for privatization.
Within these conflicting agendas and unflinching adversaries there is a possibility of legislation that does not satisfy the politicians or the unions but saves the Postal Service. If one begins with the goal of an economically stable Postal Service as the primary objective, the legislative negatives while unacceptable become palatable. The clock is ticking and the USPS’ financial position will not improve without major intervention. Neither camp will achieve their objectives in the current political climate, but at some point the question must be asked: postal reform or what?