USPS Fails to Reach Agreement with Unions on Labor Contracts

• Survey data reflects that the public favors 5-day delivery over using taxpayer funds and other alternatives. Adjusting delivery days to better reflect current mail volumes and customer trends can save the Postal Service $3.1 billion annually. The Postal Regulatory Commission is expected to announce its recommendation within the next month. Congress has yet to consider this concept.

• 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 $5.6 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 an audit conducted by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Postal Service has been overcharged $75 billion to its Civil Service Retirement System pension fund.

The APWU represents 209,000 employees who work as clerks, mechanics, vehicle drivers, custodians and in some administrative positions. Employees represented by the NRLCA primarily deliver mail in 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.

Two other unions represent most other postal employees. More than 205,000 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.