A new labor contract has formally been agreed to this week that will give more than 200,000 Postal employees a raise. However, those same employees will see a decrease in benefits as well.
The National Association of Letter Carriers, representing 213,000 city mailmen across the country, ratified an agreement it struck with USPS management, to avoid binding arbitration. NALC members voted 94 percent to 6 percent to accept the contract.
This agreement takes effect retroactively on May 21, 2016, continuing through to September 20, 2019. All city carriers will receive a 1.2 percent pay raise retroactive to November 26, 2016, and 1.3 percent increase effective November 25, 2017. Those on the second level of the 2-grade pay scale will receive a 2.1 percent raise in 2018.
Employees will also receive a series of seven cost of living adjustments throughout the life of the contract.
The non-career employees represented by NALC will see a boost as well. The substitute carriers will receive payments adding up to a dollar per hour over the course of their first year at the Postal Service. They will also earn more generous wage increase than their career counterparts.
The USPS will also start converting non-career employees for at least 30 months to career positions. Those working as letter carriers for at least six years are now exempt from any potential layoffs during the duration of the contract, which also means their work can’t be outsourced.
There is, however, a setback in this agreement; health care plans. The USPS is lowering its contribution toward employee health care plans by three percent through 2019. Even with this, the USPS will pay a maximum of 76 percent of any given plan, while the top contribution of other agencies caps at 75 percent.
A Postal Service spokeswoman called this agreement a win for all parties. It “addresses important financial and operational considerations of the Postal Service, serves interests of the American public, and is fair to our employees,” she said.