Organized labor may be hurting, but it would be hard to tell from the amount of money that the four big postal unions are spending on this year’s presidential and congressional races.
According to their most recent disclosure reports filed earlier this month, the four–through their political action committees–had shoveled about $9.6 million into the 2012 election cycle, already ahead of the $8.9 million total for 2010, a non-presidential election year, according to data compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Accounting for more than half of the 2012 sum was the National Association of Letter Carriers, followed by the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.
The stepped-up giving comes as Congress is struggling to find a fix for the U.S. Postal Service’s myriad problems that could have far-reaching consequences for rank-and-file employees, particularly if lawmakers agree to the agency’s plan to end most Saturday mail delivery.
In regard to campaign contributions, the bulk of union giving has been directed to Democratic candidates and party organizations, although an occasional Republican does turn up as a recipient. Most notably, the rural letter carriers’ PAC gave $8,500 to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman who wants to eliminate layoff protections from future Postal Service labor contracts.
Here’s the spending breakdown for 2012 and 2010:
Union 2012 2010
NALC: $5,751,165 $5,407,918
APWU: $2,136,855 $2,070,352
NRLCA: $1,258,708 $1,255, 141
NPMHU: $429,575 $198,359
TOTAL: $9,576,303 $8,931,740
Tags: American Postal Workers Union, APWU, Darrell Issa. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, NALC, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Postal Mail Handers Union, National Rural Letter Carriers Association, NPMHU, NRLCA
There’s an interesting discrepancy between the House and Senate bills that would provide the Postal Service with short-term relief from some of its retiree health care obligations (background here if you’re not familiar with the issue).
On the House side is HR 22, one of the simplest pieces of legislation I’ve ever read. It gives the Postal Service three years of relief from its current retiree health benefit obligations — period.
On the Senate side, there’s S 1507. It calls for a similar change in the Postal Service’s health care payment schedule. But it also includes an amendment that changes the way arbitrators handle negotiations over postal contracts.
We’ll have more about this in Monday’s edition of Federal Times, but it’s an odd enough story that I think it merits a blog post tonight.
The major postal unions — APWU, NALC, NRLCA and NPMHU — sent a letter on Tuesday to Jim Messina, the White House deputy chief of staff. They requested a meeting to discuss the Postal Service’s “deepening crisis.” They want the White House to intervene with Congress and reduce the Postal Service’s contributions to its retiree health care trust fund. Without that change, the Postal Service is going to run out of cash this year.
The letter was posted on at least one of their Web sites (APWU) earlier today; it has since been removed. I printed it out earlier this afternoon, and we’ve posted a scanned copy (pdf) here — I guess hard copies are still useful sometimes, huh?