WASHINGTON — The Postal Service and two of its major unions have agreed to continue to extend separate labor contract negotiations. Although the contracts with the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO (NALC) and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, AFL-CIO (NPMHU) expired at m idnight Sunday, Nov. 20, the Postal Service and the two unions agreed to extend the negotiations deadline until midnight, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. All parties have now agreed to continue negotiations until midnight, Friday, December 16.
The NALC represents more than 195,000 employees who work as letter carriers delivering mail primarily in urban areas. The NPMHU represents more than 45,000 employees who work in mail processing plants and Post Offices. Respectively, wages and benefits for NALC- and NPMHU-represented employees exceeded $15.7 billion and $3.5 billion last year. Should negotiations fail, a process begins which could result in a third party deter m ining contract ter m s and work rules for approximately 240,000 employees.
Unlike the private sector, when negotiations come to an impasse, postal employees are not permitted to strike as Congress has designated the Postal Service as an essential service to the nation. An arbitrator determines the final outcome and is not legally required to consider the Postal Service’s financial obligations when rendering a decision.
For additional background information on labor negotiations visit this link.