This vote was on an amendment that would have required the U.S. Postal Service to consult senior employees when making changes to employee pay or benefits.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill that would allow the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service to take cost-saving measures. Sen. Akaka’s amendment was intended to make clear that top Postal Service officials must consult with post office managers and other supervisory employees whenever they intend to make changes to pay and fringe benefits. While a similar law was already in effect, the Postal Service had interpreted it as requiring consultations only when pay and benefits were set to increase, Sen. Akaka said.
Supporters of Sen. Akaka’s amendment argued that his amendment would have helped foster goodwill and high morale among the Postal Service’s top employees.
“All (Sen. Akaka’s amendment) is trying to do is strengthen a provision that is in current law that asks for the Postmaster General to consult with the postmasters and the other supervisory organizations when there are changes made in work schedules or benefits,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said. “They should have the right to have their views heard. It does not give them a veto. It does not authorize collective bargaining or contract negotiations in any way.”
Although no senators spoke out against Sen. Akaka’s amendment, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) objected to a motion to pass it unanimously. This objection forced the Senate to hold a formal roll call vote on the amendment. Supporters of the bill noted that there had been “misinformation” spreading that the amendment would give new collective bargaining rights to Postal Service supervisors.
Even though Sen. Akaka’s amendment received 57 “yea” votes and only 42 voted “nay,” the amendment failed because it was brought up under Senate rules that require 60 votes for passage. Voting “yea” were 53 Democrats and 4 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 42 Republicans. As a result, the Senate defeated the effort to require the U.S. Postal Service to consult senior employees when making changes to pay or benefits.