Burrus: Postal Employees Would Be Best Served By Postponing Early-Out Decisions

Burrus Update

In light of the announcement that the Postal Service has received approval to offer Voluntary Early Retirement to employees in the Clerk Craft and the Mail Handler Craft, as well as to some supervisory employees, many APWU members are beginning to wonder about their options.

As employees who meet the eligibility criteria (still to be determined) think about their choices, I ask that they forgo making a quick decision. There are compelling reasons for taking a wait-and-see attitude, including that the economy is in (or is approaching) a recession, and the opportunities for even part-time employment have diminished. In addition, energy and medical costs are escalating, which will make it extremely difficult to survive on a fixed income.

Meanwhile, economic stagnation has had a serious impact on mail volume: The union has been informed that the Postal Service expects a deficit of approximately $1.4 billion in the current fiscal year. We also can expect that if a sufficient number of employees do not accept the early-out offer, the Postal Service will still face a significant deficit, and will still be forced to find ways to reduce the workforce.

In light of these factors, it would be foolish for employees to retire early without achieving all of their personal objectives.

The union will continue to discuss the details of the early-out offer and will report the results of those discussions. Among the subjects to be addressed are whether all APWU-represented employees will be included and whether eligible employees will receive an incentive bonus for retiring.

I ask that eligible employees delay making a final decision on early retirement until the union concludes discussions at the national level. If we are not successful, we will announce that we have reached an impasse, and individual decisions can then be made.

In the interim, help us help you by delaying your decision.

Please note: The Postal Service has told us it plans to make additional requests to the Office of Personnel Management for approval to offer early-outs to other categories of employees, including some members of the Maintenance Craft, Letter Carriers, and Rural Letter Carriers.

William Burrus