September/October 2021LEARN MORE
Welcome to the September edition of From the President’s Desk.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week we had a very successful Legislative Summit here in the Washington, DC area. Over 200 of our members gathered for training on Monday to get them prepared to take our message regarding Postal Reform and the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Office (GPO) bills to the members of the US House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In addition to the training, we had the opportunity to hear from the top leaders of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Ranking Member, Jim Comer. The message they delivered was very much the same. They talked about how they have worked hard to craft a bill that would provide the items needed by the Postal Service to go forward for years to come and that should not be too controversial for the members of Congress to get behind. The Chairwoman and the Ranking Member and their staffs worked very hard to prepare HR 3076 and it passed unanimously on a voice vote out of the committee. Currently, the bill is waiting to be reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee and with all the current focus on the spending bills, etc. that are being looked at in the House, HR 3076 has not been considered by the full committee at this time. That did not dampen our enthusiasm to rally members of both houses of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of this legislation. We are hopeful that Ways and Means will take up the bill in the near future and once they approve the bill, we have the commitment of the leadership in the House that they will bring it to the floor for a vote. The plan right now is that that will happen before the end of October. Once the House passes the bill then the Senate will most likely take up their identical version of the bill which is, S. 1720. We are fortunate in the Senate in that we have very good bipartisan support, and we should be able to get the bill passed there, as well. Once all of that happens, we are confident that the bill will be signed into law by the President. We will keep you informed as the legislation moves forward.
We also had other special guests that were able to join us. We had the opportunity for the first time to hear from Peter Pastre, who is the Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the United States Postal Service. Peter gave us an excellent overview of the work that he and his team at Headquarters have been focusing on to help move HR 3076 forward and provided us with some additional information that we could use to try to get as many members of Congress on board as possible. In the afternoon, in addition to Representatives Comer and Maloney we heard from Representatives Garrett Graves from Louisiana, Andy Levin from Michigan, and Anthony Brown from Maryland. Representative Graves is one of the key leaders in our efforts to get the WEP/GPO bills that have been introduced in both the House and the Senate passed. Representatives Levin and Brown both spoke of their support for both Postal Reform and WEP/GPO and made a commitment to help us move the bills forward. I very much appreciate the time that these individuals took to be with us for this year’s Summit.
While a great many of the meetings that we were able to have with the members of Congress, or their aides, were done virtually, we were very pleased at the number of in person meetings we were able to have up on Capitol Hill. In some cases, our Legislative and PAC Chairs will be looking to set up meetings back home in the districts with those individuals we could not meet with here in DC.
I want to say a big thank you to our Government Relations Team, Chris McCannell, Brian McLaughlin, Joel Riethmiller and Blair Hancock for their help in lining up our speakers for the Summit, as well as thanking our National Legislative Chair Edmund Carley, and National PAC Chair Jim Dunlap for their efforts to make the event a success.
The materials that we used to share our message are available on our national website, unitedpma.org, if you wish to check it out and if you have the opportunity to make a visit close to your home. If you need any assistance, you can reach out to us here at UPMA Headquarters or reach out to your chapter’s Legislative and PAC Chairs for assistance. With a very concerted effort we are confident we will be able to bring the Postal Reform bill across the finish line!!
Just so you know, it is not too early to begin making plans to attend our 2022 Legislative Summit. The Summit will be held from February 13-16, 2022. We will once again be back at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel, and they will continue to offer free shuttle service from Reagan Airport which is a short 5–10-minute ride from the airport. Please watch the website and the UPMA Leader for the registration form and the information on making your hotel reservations. We realize the Summit is not only going to be taking place over Valentine’s Day, but it is also going to Super Bowl Sunday. We will be looking at some options to have a large Super Bowl party for those that join us.
I continue to work with Postal Service Headquarters to get some of the work teams that were called for in our Pay Package, as well as commitments made at the National Convention. As soon as the teams are up and running, we will do our best to keep you informed of the progress that we are making and changes that may be coming.
Even though we just entered the fall season and even though I heard it was supposed to be 86 degrees in Minnesota yesterday (yes, 86 on the 28th of September), I want to remind you all, especially those in the northern parts of the country to make sure you have the supplies on hand for your carriers and clerks to deliver the mail and pull the boxes. Make sure that you have ice grippers on hand, and you have ordered in enough ice melt to keep your sidewalks and parking lots safe for your employees and your customers. I know that it seemed this was something that always snuck up on me if I wasn’t careful. It is far better to be prepared than to be scrambling when the time comes.
As a reminder, we will be having two more Chapter Member Representative Academies in October. On October 16th we will be in Boise, Idaho and on October 23rd we will be in Omaha, Nebraska. If you want more information, or if you want to get signed up, please contact your chapter president because it is up to them to authorize your attendance and then to make your reservations with the National Office. The two academies we have had thus far have been very well received and I believe everyone has left with a good amount of new information. Representation is one of the most important things that we do as an organization and the stronger our representation program is, the better for all of us, whether we need that assistance, or not.
My prayers go out to the families of our members that have lost loved ones in the recent months. It is very sad to hear about the passing of people that have been very active in our organization and valuable to Postal Service. We cling to the memories we have and appreciate the time we had together.
Thank you very much for watching this month, and I look forward to addressing you again in October.
Take care and stay safe, always!