NTEU, NARFE, and AFGE are asking Congress to reject provisions in pending legislation that they say would undercut the federal employee health care and workers’ compensation programs.
The legislation in question is S. 1486, the Postal Reform Act of 2013. The groups say that the legislation would allow the Postal Service “to cherry-pick the largest areas of cost savings from the (Federal Employees Health Benefits Program), which will destabilize the FEHBP and raise costs for federal employees, retirees and their families.”
The groups noted the Office of Personnel Management has estimated that one provision in S. 1486, (Section 105) would increase premiums for employees and retirees remaining covered under FEHBP by two percent across-the-board, and could be as high as 35 percent for some plans.
The letter the groups sent to Congress also took issue with a section of the pending bill which would amend the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) to reduce benefits when they reach their Social Security retirement age. At present, an employee injured in the course of his or her duties receives FECA payments equal to 67 or 75 percent of their wages at the time of the injury.
Under the postal reform bill, that payment would be reduced to 50 percent of their former wages. The bill also contains other harmful FECA changes.
“Forcing a worker at retirement age to give up regular FECA benefits earned as a result of an on-the-job injury,” the groups wrote, “would cause grave economic hardship to many disabled workers.” They noted a Government Accountability Office report earlier this year showed these cuts would hurt particularly lower-wage workers and those injured early in their work lives.