Postal Service Negotiates Tentative Contract with Major Union
• According to audits conducted by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the USPS 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 this 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.
About the U.S. Postal Service
A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 150 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com, the Postal Service has annual revenue of more than $67 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 29th in the 2010 Fortune 500. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency six consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.