Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-R), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, today announced a full committee hearing on United States Postal Service (USPS) pay and benefits on April 5th. The Committee expects to hear from the Postal Service on their tentative agreement offered to their largest union, the American Postal Worker Union (APWU), last week. The agreement has yet to be signed.
Issa expressed serious doubt that the APWU contract agreement would improve the fiscal situation that threatens USPS' future.
"Eighty percent of the Postal Service's operating expenses are workforce-related. Costs must be reduced to align them with falling mail volume and declining revenue projections. The union contract renewals are the best chance to find new savings," said Issa. "Unfortunately, this looks like a missed opportunity. The Postal Service must show Congress and the American people that it can pay its own way, because the numbers do not seem to add up."
Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-R), chairman of the Postal Service Subcommittee, expressed serious concerns about postal service pay.
"The Postal Service cannot afford to continue to pay, as their own numbers have estimated, a 34.2% wage premium over comparable private sector labor," said Ross, referring to information presented by economist Michael Wachter in 2003 testimony to the President's Commission on the Postal Service. USPS has hired Wachter to study pay and benefits multiple times since 1980, but USPS does not release the reports citing propriety information concerns.
Issa continued: "This hearing will establish an important baseline for Congress' upcoming work on the Postal Service's structure, fiscal health and self-governance."