The proposal supported by a small bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Delaware’s Senator Tom Carper, is designed to put the Postal Service on more steady financial footing.
The plan would use the money the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has paid into one of its pension funds, and use it to offer buyouts or retirement incentives to reduce its workforce by 100,000 employees or more. USPS estimates indicate that the loss of those jobs would save the service $8 billion annually.
“This is a big problem,” said Senator Carper. He says the challenge of rescuing the Postal Service is really a question of whether lawmakers can still govern. “This is a problem that we can fix, and we believe that the blueprint that we laid out here today is a great road map to that solution.”
The plan would also overhaul the workers’ compensation benefits now being paid out to thousands of USPS employees. Some of those employees are way over the retirement age, and even though they’ll likely never return to work, they’re still getting workers’ comp. The measure also delays elimination of Saturday service for at least two years.
Carper says one of the best ways Congress can help the Postal Service is by not micromanaging the agency. “One of the ways we help the most is by choosing not to be a 535 member board of directors of the Postal Service.”
The Postal Service has also been tyring to raise more revenue in recent months. Starting January 22, the price of a first class stamp will go up a penny to 45 cents. Postcard stamps will go up 3 cents to 32 cents, while the cost of sending a letter to Mexico or Canada will be 5 cents higher to 85 cents.
The Senate proposal would also require the USPS to complete a study before closing big processing facilities, an idea that had been in the works. That study would be required to evaluate the option of downsizing the facility rather than just closing it. One of those processing facilities on the chopping block is the Quigley Boulevard facility in Wilmington.