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USPS Suspends Payments to Retirement System

June 24, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has informed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) of its intention to suspend its employer’s contributions for the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to conserve cash and preserve liquidity. The Postal Service estimates it has a FERS account surplus valued at $6.9 billion.

“We will continue to transmit to OPM employees’ contributions to FERS and also will continue to transmit employer automatic and matching contributions and employee contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan,” said Anthony Vegliante, chief human resources officer and executive vice president.

The Postal Service pays about $115 million every other week to OPM for the FERS annuity. Suspension of payments, effective June 24, will free about $800 million in the current fiscal year.

The Postal Service says it continues to cut costs significantly with initiatives to reduce the size of its labor force, the number of mail processing facilities and administrative overhead. Over the last four fiscal years, the USPS has reduced its size by 110,000 career positions and saved $12 billion in costs.

The Postal Service also is generating new revenue by opening new retail locations in places where people already shop, including grocery stores, drug stores and office supply stores, and introducing other new product and pricing initiatives.

Despite significant cost reductions in areas within its control, and even with this emergency action, the Postal Service contends that it needs Congress to enact legislation that would do the following to return the USPS to financial stability:

• Eliminate the current mandates requiring retiree health benefit prepayments.

• Allow the Postal Service to access Civil Service Retirement System and FERS overpayments.

• Give the Postal Service the authority to determine the frequency of mail delivery.
 

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