On today's airing of the Fox News show The Five (more info), the hosts will discuss what led a dozen postal strikers to go on a four-day hunger strike last week.
ReasonTV caught up with the famished real-world Newmans and Cliff Klavins as they were about to enter the halls of Congress to plead their case to be let out of a 2006 arrangement. That law, The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, says that the Postal Service must fully fund its health and retirement accounts to the tune of more than $5 billion a year until 2017, which understandably cuts into the post office's declining cash flow. The law also made various changes to how postal rates are set and a variety of other lesser issues.
What the postal workers and their supporters typically fail to acknowledge is that the law also relieved the Postal Service of paying some $27 billion in pension benefits that were attributable to employees' military service. And that the bill passed the Senate unaminously on a voice vote and with 410 votes in the House of Representatives. This wasn't partisan legislation, that's for sure, but an attempt to clean up the bad finances of a major operation. For more on how the changes affected government spending, go here.
Here's the original writeup for the ReasonTV vid, "Gandhi, Mandela, and…Mailmen?":
Almost a dozen current and retired Postal Service workers (out of a current workforce of more than 550,000) are staging a four-day hunger strike – just one day longer than the average First Class letter takes to be delivered across the country – to call attention to what they say is a plot to destroy the United States Postal Service.
From June 25 through June 28, the strikers were in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress to change a 2006 law that forces the Post Office to "pre-fund" health-care and retirement by billions of dollars a year. Despite a 21-percent decline in mail volume over the past four years and labor costs that are far higher than competitors such as UPS and FEDEX, the strikers say it's the mandate, not a hidebound way of doing business, that's stamping out the Postal Service's future.
ReasonTV caught up with the hunger strikers on the steps of the Cannon Building in Washington.
Approximately 3 minutes.
Produced by Jim Epstein and Nick Gillespie.