Postal Service Negotiates Tentative Contract with Major Union

Contract Requires Union Membership Ratification

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union AFL-CIO (APWU), reached a tentative four-and-a-half-year contract today. Upon ratification by union membership, which is expected to take place within two months, the agreement will run through May 20, 2015, and affect approximately 205,000 employees.

“This is a responsible agreement that is in the best interest of our employees, our customers and the future of the Postal Service,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe. “The contract will help lay a foundation that is fair to our employees and stakeholders.”

Terms of the new APWU contract set the stage for a more flexible and cost-effective workforce to accommodate America’s changing mailing trends. While requiring union ratification, key components include:

§         Economic provisions that address critical Postal Service needs to control labor costs; and,

§         Enhanced workforce flexibility to match workforce with workload.

Reasonable wages and benefits are critical to helping the Postal Service fully meet its financial obligations and remain strong in the future.

The drop in the economy, coupled with the shift to digital communications, has dramatically reduced mail volume. Mail volume peaked at 213 billion pieces in 2006 and plummeted to 170.6 billion in the fiscal year (FY) ended Sept. 30, 2010. Revenues shrank from $72.6 billion in FY2006 to $67.1 billion. The FY2010 net loss was $8.5 billion.

The Postal Service deals with the challenges of competing with the private sector while continuing to operate under federal regulations and congressional oversight.

Other issues challenge the Postal Service’s future:

§         Created in 2006 under stronger economic conditions, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act requires the Postal Service, unlike the private or public sector, to prefund retiree health benefits. This equates to an average of $5.5 billion in cash flow every year through 2016, in addition to the $2 billion it annually pays for current retirees. The Postal Service has asked Congress to restructure retiree health benefits payments to “pay-as-you-go,” comparable to what is used by the rest of the federal government and the majority of the private sector.

§         According to audits conducted by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Postal Service has been overcharged to its Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement Benefit pension funds by $75 billion and $6.9 billion, respectively.

Negotiations with the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA) came to an impasse upon the contract’s Nov. 20, 2010, expiration. Absent a negotiated resolution, the parties will continue to follow the current agreement until a third-party determines the outcome of a new contract. Unlike in the private sector, when negotiations come to an impasse, federal employees are not permitted to strike. An arbitrator determines the final outcome and is not legally required to consider the Postal Service’s financial obligations when rendering a decision.

The APWU represents 205,000 employees who work as clerks, mechanics, vehicle drivers, custodians and in some administrative positions. Employees represented by the NRLCA deliver mail in primarily rural and suburban areas. The NRLCA represents 67,000 career employees and 48,000 non-career employees who substitute for career employees on their days off. Employees represented by both unions received more than $20 billion in wages and benefits last year.

Two other unions represent most other postal employees. More than 203,000 employees represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO (NALC) deliver mail in metropolitan areas and 48,000 employees represented by the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, AFL-CIO (NPMHU) work in mail processing plants and Post Offices.

The NALC and NPMHU begin negotiations next year approximately 90 days prior to the midnight       Nov. 20, 2011 contract expiration date. For additional background information on labor negotiations and the Postal Service’s workforce, please click on these links:  Labor Negotiations and Workforce.

14 thoughts on “Postal Service Negotiates Tentative Contract with Major Union

  1. well george
    you need to do some more reading the work they want to give back was already won in arbitration about three or four years ago which we never got back and is being grieved currently and the excessing outside of 50 miles has been in the last four contracts and while we are at it no raises for two years wow union really helped on this contract i might have to become a scab so i can afford to come to work already and ex steward my choice
    did you know you`re supv. is getting a 3 percent raise this year and a bonus and 3 percent next year and 3 percent last year that is double what they offered us for five years and they got it in three so go ahead and believe what the union and management tell you we are now in collective begging like the 70`s

  2. All you scabs, give back your raises and COLAs as we don’t need you. Look at what we do have, limitations on 204bs, disappearances of Casuals, the gaining of “special” (for want of a bette term) clerk, at Level 7, in offices without a supervisor in them, among other gains. Sure there were losses, but as in all cases sometimes you have to give a little in order to gain a lot; and this is especially for you brooklyn and scabtobe, get out and make room for people of integrity and honesty becauses if this is the only constructive thing you have to say, then we don’t need you scabs. The Union did the best job they could do under the circumstances, or did you bother to even read the proposed changes, assuming that you can read.

  3. i will vote no we know all they need to fool is the east coast and west coast which should be easy

  4. Vote NO, Vote NO, Vote No. We get nothing till Nov 2012 folks thats nothing for two years, plus we have had no raises for a year and a half. While even lower management has been getting 5% a yr raises or more for the last five years.
    Vote NO.

  5. this contract was a slap in the face. lets pay more for health care yay a few bucks a pay and we will give you a few bucks for a raise yay so u get nothing and we lose more i will be voting NO
    and if we transfer are we now a temp then part time employee also we already had a 50 mile rule and they still sent people over 200 miles so ask you`re self what did we gain more smoke and mirrors

  6. Nothing for the past year and a half and another NOTHING for another year WAY to go union Glad I am out u boys SUCK

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