U.S. Postal Service employees will see a wage boost when Dec. 11 pay checks are distributed, as the latest in a series of raises took effect on Nov. 21.
The increase is part of a 2006 agreement with unions, which also includes cost-of-living adjustments subject to economic conditions. Employees represented by the American Postal Workers and National Postal Mail Handlers unions will receive a 1.2 percent pay raise. Members of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association and the National Association of Letter Carriers will see 1.5 percent and 1.9 percent raises, respectively. Due to the recession, there will be no COLAs.
This is the final increase under the APWU and NRLCA contracts, which are set to expire Nov. 20, 2010. NALC and NPMHU members, whose agreements extend to Nov. 20, 2011, will receive their last pay raise in November 2010.
"At a time when the Postal Service is experiencing severe financial difficulties, the contractual commitment must be honored, and the required 1.2 percent pay increase must be paid," said APWU President William Burrus in a statement.
The Postal Service early last week reported a $3.8 billion loss for fiscal 2009 despite several cost-cutting measures. Most notably, the agency reduced work hours by 115 million, the equivalent of 65,000 full-time employees, and cut $4 billion in retiree health benefit payments. Officials in 2010 expect a net loss of $7.8 billion and plan to cut an additional 93 million work hours, equal to 53,000 full-time employees, through attrition and reassignment of personnel.
The Postal Service during the next year also will consider reducing delivery days and changing retiree health benefits' pre-funding requirements, said Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett. Going to five-day delivery is "not enough in and of itself to right the ship," he said. "We need at least two changes in order to get back on track."
According to Postal Service officials, the pay raise was reflected in the budgeting process and will have no additional bearing on the agency's financial situation.
USPS on Nov. 20 announced that 241 stations and branches remain under consideration for consolidation or closure, though no final decisions have been made.