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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/17/11

Postal Union Demands that Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe Resign Immediately

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Message Chuck Zlatkin
New York, NY, September 15, 2011 - In the face of the financial crisis that the United States Postal Service is facing, the New York Metro Area Postal Union, APWU, AFL-CIO, led by President Clarice Torrence, has called upon the Postmaster General and CEO of the United States Postal Service, Patrick R. Donahoe, to step down from his position immediately. If Postmaster General Donahoe refuses to resign, the union calls upon the Postal Board of Governors to fire him.

 Postmaster Donahoe took the oath of office as the 73rd Postmaster General of the United States on January 14, 2011 after having been appointed to the position by the Board of Governors on December 7, 2010. He had served as Deputy Postmaster General under Postmaster General Potter since 2005. In April of this year, Donahoe successfully negotiated a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with the American Postal Workers Union. Donahoe praised the agreement, "We worked together to negotiate a responsible agreement that is in the best interest of our customers, our employees and the future of the Postal Service."  He took credit for the agreement which he claimed would save the USPS $3.8 billion in labor costs. Less than three months after the agreement was signed, Donahoe called upon Congress to nullify part of the contract to allow him to layoff 120,000 postal workers.

 The New York Metro Area Postal Union concludes from his actions that Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is either a well-meaning incompetent or a duplicitous agent of forces who actively want to destroy the Postal Service and have it privatized.  Whichever case is true, Donahoe is violating his oath of office and failing to meet the requirements of his position to be responsible for the overall operation of the Postal Service. Donahoe has contracts remaining to be negotiated with the three remaining postal unions. NYMAPU questions how the other postal unions can bargain in good faith with Postmaster Donahoe after his actions following the contract with the APWU.

  New York Metro Area Postal Union is also calling for an independent investigation into the unprecedented sweetheart retirement package that was given to Donahoe's predecessor, former Postmaster John E. Potter. Potter stepped down on December 3, 2010. He was retiring with $3.1 million in pension benefits accumulated during his 32 year career. Potter was also able to use a separate pension established for him by the Postal Board of Governors in 2001 based on performance goals that was worth $1.35 million when it was frozen in 2007 in favor of direct performance incentives.  Potter's base salary in 2010 was $273,296 but he had already built up $881,000 in deferred compensation in awards and incentives that he could draw out in annual installments once retired.

If the Postal Service is in such dire straights, as is being reflected by Postmaster Donahoe's recent testimony, there needs to be an investigation into why former Postmaster Potter received such elaborate performance bonuses and awards in his retirement package while leaving the Postal Service on the brink of failure.   

 It is the position of the New York Metro Area Postal Union that the current financial crisis in the Postal Service is caused by mandates imposed by Congress in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act and the overpayments into the CSRS and FERS retirement plans that have been expropriated from the Postal Service by the Treasury.  H.R. 1351 introduced by Representative Stephen Lynch will correct those inequities and enable the Postal Service to carry out its functions without closing post offices, cutting back on delivery and eliminating hundreds of thousands of living wage jobs in the middle of a recession.


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Chuck Zlatkin is the Legislative and Political Director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union, APWU, AFL-CIO.
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