House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) — when he’s not busy trying to protect the nation’s biggest banks from consumer protection regulations — has issued legislation to “reform” the US Postal Service. “Congress can’t keep kicking the can down the road on out of control labor costs and excess infrastructure of USPS,” Issa has said.
But it seems like Issa is far more interested in attacking the Postal Service’s workers than he is in actually fixing USPS’ fiscal problems. As the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s David Madland and Zane Farr found, Issa’s bill includes a provision that would allow a “Solvency Authority” to unilaterally void USPS’ collective bargaining agreements (much like the “emergency managers” empowered by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to nullify labor contracts):
Rep. Issa’s proposed Postal Reform Act isn’t the frontal assault on collective bargaining being pushed by Govs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio but instead closely adheres to the strategy of Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to empower “emergency” managers to unilaterally modify collective bargaining agreements. Such powers effectively end any real ability for workers to bargain collectively.
Rep. Issa’s bill would create a Solvency Authority that can “after meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative … reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms or conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.” That’s virtually identical language to the Michigan law that allows the emergency manager to “after meeting and conferring with the appropriate bargaining representative … reject, modify, or terminate 1 or more terms and conditions of an existing collective bargaining agreement.”
Issa has expressed admiration for the union-busting efforts of Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), saying Walker’s “actions to cut spending and address over-compensation of public employees are putting his state government in a stronger financial position.” Making it quite clear that Issa is more interested in busting labor than solving USPS’ problems, he “rejected the approach of the other prominent Republican bill on this topic — introduced in February by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) — that addresses the Postal Service’s underlying financial issues without giving emergency managers the power to overturn collective bargaining.”