Letter Carriers to Vote on New Contract with Postal Service

WASHINGTON—The 213,000 members of the Letter Carriers will vote this summer on a proposed new 40-month contract with the Postal Service, featuring two raises and a pay upgrade for each carrier and for city carrier assistants, a narrower pay gap between CCAs and career carriers, and more opportunities for CCAs to become career carriers.

On May 12, the union’s executive board unanimously recommended members approve the pact, NALC President Fredric Rolando said. If they do so, NALC will avoid binding interest arbitration. Several postal unions were forced to use that in recent contracts. The recommended NALC pact is retroactive to last May 21 and runs through Sept. 21, 2019.

“I’d like to thank all the officers and staff who worked so hard to help reach this tentative national agreement,” Rolando said. “Most importantly, I want to thank our members for their patience and steadfast solidarity during the long bargaining process.

“The strength and unity of our union has always been our most important asset in collective bargaining. Although we were fully prepared, if necessary, to fight for our interests in binding interest arbitration, I am very happy tour members will have a chance to make the final decision about this contract through the ratification process outlined in our constitution.”

The contract is important because NALC members deliver the mail nationwide, except in rural areas, which the Rural Letter Carriers handle. The Postal Workers and the Mail Handlers/Laborers take care of other USPS tasks.

NALC’s Executive Council said the new pact “rewards all letter carriers for their contributions to the Postal Service’s extraordinary comeback following the Great Recession.”

Besides the narrower CCA-carrier pay gap the pact preserves regular general raises, annual cost-of-living adjustments, protections against outsourcing and layoffs and “other contractual elements that define our standard of living.” And it creates “a formal mechanism to address problems that undermined the workplace culture of the Postal Service for much of its history” — a common theme in comments from NALC locals. Key provisions included:

• The pact’s first raise, of 1.2 percent effective Nov. 26, 2016, will be paid retroactively. The second raise, 1.3 percent, kicks in this coming Nov. 25. A year afterwards, all Grade 1 Letter Carriers – the lowest grade – will jump a grade, thus getting a 2.1 percent hike. CCA’s each get raises of 1 percent more than career letter carriers on the three dates, but they don’t get cost-of-living hikes.

• Career carriers get seven COLAs during the life of the pact.  The first two are retroactive: $21 annually effective last Sept. 3, and $333 annually effective March 4, 2017.

• The Postal Service will pick up 76 percent of health care premiums in the first year of the pact, declining by 1 percent a year over the next months.

Source: PAI