Rural Carriers have a New contract

The outcome of the binding arbitration process between USPS and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association has resulted in a contract.

The agreement is effective July 3, 2012 and lasts through May 20, 2015.

The Postal Service is facing a critical financial situation that requires both substantial cost savings from within, as well as substantive legislative reforms from Congress. The arbitrator’s decision includes important cost-savings provisions that will benefit the Postal Service over the life of the contract. However, it does not go as far as the Postal Service believes is necessary to address its financial challenges.

The results of the Interest Arbitration Award include the following provisions:

  • A 2-year wage freeze, followed by modest increases
  • A lower wage scale for new career employees (more than 10 percent lower)
  • Lower wages for new non-career employees (more than 20 percent lower)
  • An increase in the employee share of health insurance premiums (the same phased-in schedule as the American Postal Workers Union agreement)
  • An agreement to reopen health insurance negotiations if Congress or another union acts on a proposal for new health insurance package other than the Federal Employees Health Benefit plan.
  • Work standard changes that will improve productivity and lower costs


The following is a summary of highlights of the new National Agreement between the United States Postal Service and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association resulting from the July 3, 2012 Interest Arbitration Award. The Award and the separate opinion and dissent of Interest Arbitration Board Member Joey C. Johnson are available in their entirety on the NRLCA’s website.

-The term of the new Agreement is November 21, 2010 through May 20, 2015′

Salaries and COLA
-General Wage Increases Totaling 3.5%:

November 17, 2012: 1.0% increase (COLA deferred to 2013)

November 16, 2013: 1.5% increase plus COLA

November 15, 2014: 1.0% increase plus COLA

-New wage schedule for new regular carriers hired after November 20, 2010
-New hourly rate for RCAs hired on or after August 11, 2012. These RCAs will receive a 7.0% general wage increase over the term of the Agreement, but no COLA.
-The Step progression for those career rural carriers hired on or after November 21, 2010 will be 52 weeks for each Step between Steps 1-12 of the new Rural Carrier Evaluated Schedule

-COLA for RCAs/RCRs on the rolls prior to August 11, 2012 will be rolled into hourly rates during the first full pay period of August 2015

Health Benefits -Adjusted USPS Health Benefits Contribution
2012: 81%
2013: 79%
2014: 78%
2015: 77%
2016: 76%

(Employees hired on or after the effective date of this agreement will start at 77% upon conversion to regular)
-MOU to consider separate Postal Service health benefits plan in future, contingent on Congressional action or agreement of other Postal unions.

-MOU to consider separate Postal Service health benefits plan in future, contingent on Congressional action or agreement of other Postal unions

Mail Counts

-2013:   18-day count (February 9 – March 2)
-2014:   12-day count (February 22 – March 7)
-2015:   18-day count (February 7 – February 28)
-2016:   12-day count (March 12 – March 25) (unless parties agree otherwise)

-All routes will be counted unless the regular carrier and management agree in
writing not to count

-National mail counts will be effective at the beginning of the fourth full pay
period following the count

Equipment Maintenance Allowance

-2013:   increase EMA base rate by 0.5¢ (46.5¢ per mile)
-2014:   increase EMA base rate by 0.5¢ (47¢ per mile)

High Option Election

-A regular carrier must have a minimum of ten years of service from his/her retirement computation date to be eligible to elect the high option


-DPS Letter standard for LLV routes: 43 pieces per minute

-Prepaid Parcels Accepted: 90 seconds per event and 9 seconds per parcel

-Dismount Distance (Walking Speed) standard: 0.00429 minutes per foot (2.647 miles per hour)

-Industrial engineering study of time standards, to be completed and implemented by May 20, 2015

-Moratorium on Article 34 time standard changes, except for new work functions

Route Conversions

-Auxiliary routes will be converted to regular routes within 30 days of increasing to 42 weekly standard hours. If increase is a result of a mail count, then the conversion will be effective with the mail count.

-Regular rural routes may be converted to auxiliary status if they decrease to less than 35 weekly standard hours

Route Consolidations

-Encumbered regular routes may be consolidated and the excessing and/or reassignment provisions of
Article 12 will be applied when the route evaluation decreases to less than 37 weekly standard hours

See Arbitration Award

11 thoughts on “Rural Carriers have a New contract

  1. I think there should be an inspection on carriers and if they are not working up to standard or taking to many breaks. Leaving mail behind they should have to step it up or retire. That way there will be plenty of jobs for the carriers that do there jobs.

  2. How do you get out of the union? Tired of being used as a bargaining chip to increase regulars pay? Going to use dues to offset pay cut. Also regulars who don’t have ten years cannot choose high option, someone please elaborate.

  3. There is no mention of TRC’s.Does this mean that when a TRC reaches his/her anniversary date and are “fired”, then they will be hired back at 20% less pay??Seems very unfair as we have a great worker who has been with us for over 12 years! What a way to thank someone for good service…we’ll probably lose him…


  5. nini
    It is true…. if a rural route is evaluated at say 9 hrs and the carrier carries it in 8 they still get paid for 9 … but let me remind you that they also get paid for 9 hrs if they carry it in 10 or 11 hours… AND YES THAT HAPPENS!!! .. They only get paid overtime during the Christmas period (or for working their day off in some instances) and management does everything they can to make sure the rural carriers don’t have any of that!!! It amazes me that each craft always thinks another craft is getting more than or has it easier than they do, They all have their pros and cons..

    My suggestion over the last year has been… anyone able to retire.. do it… the land of the already retired is the place to be …

  6. finally going to work on nrlc’s work standard. bout time. as for city carriers and clerks pay scale we have to clock in and out every day. you on the other hand work 6 or 7 hours and get paid for 9. do the math and you will see you are making way more per hour for actual worked hours. work standards to improve productivity. like i said its about time. while i am working there is always someone watching me and pushing me to do more, more , more. Percent not great, they count our mail and then notebook in hand they even write time do to go to restroom. we will have about 5 that will probably retire with this new contract. thats 5 out of 9 rural carriers. cant wait to see what happen

  7. I would not worry about the no layoff clause unless You are APWU, OR if they go to 5 day (or less) delivery.

  8. The ONLY employees (employees as the PO has no ‘workers’) that should have been left alone. The APwU and nalc wages and benefits along with the number of employees should be cutback drastically.

  9. uh oh……no mention of the “no layoff” clause. But how could they agree to that when they were (still are?) demanding a reversion of the clause from Congress with the APWU?

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