USPS, mail handlers union reach buyout terms

Steven Senne/AP

The U.S. Postal Service and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union have reached a new agreement to send off more employees.

The deal, announced Thursday, offers voluntary early retirement opportunities to 45,000 bargaining mail handlers, according to USPS spokesman Mark Saunders. All career employee mail handlers will be eligible for the incentives. Full-time employees will receive $15,000, while part-time employees will receive prorated amounts if they accept the offer, Saunders said. Employees who meet certain requirements will be eligible for the same deal, but under early retirement rather than buyout terms.

NPMHU places the total number of employees it represents at 47,000, but USPS says that figure includes 2,000 casual employees who happen to perform mail handler jobs; they will not be offered buyouts because they are not career employees. Mail handlers "load, unload, prepare, sort and containerize mail for delivery,” the union explained.

Calls to NPMHU for comment were not returned. Both parties signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday.

Employees must notify USPS of their intent to separate by July 2 (or July 16 for part-time employees), and must separate by Aug. 31. The incentive payment will be distributed in two increments of $7,500, minus withholdings and required deductions, with the first payout arriving on or around Dec. 21, 2012, and the second arriving on or around Dec. 20, 2013.

The payout for part-time mail handlers will be based on the number of hours the employee worked the previous year, Saunders said. Those who worked less than 520 hours will receive 25 percent of the buyout; between 520 hours and less than 1,020 hours will receive 50 percent; between 1,020 hours and less than 1,520 hours will receive 75 percent; and more than 1,520 hours worked will receive the full payout, even though USPS classifies a full year of work as 2,080 hours.

There are eligibility exceptions. Buyouts will not be offered to mail handlers in probationary status, those who have received notice of removal, those who are leaving under disability or those who are transferring to another federal agency, he said.

Saunders would not speculate on how many employees might accept the early retirement offer. “It’s a very personal decision that each employee needs to think about,” he said. “Employees need to discuss this with their families. It’s an important decision to leave the Postal Service.”

Though these buyouts will result in a reduced mail handler workforce just before the 2012 election mailings season begins, Saunders said customer service would not be affected by the cuts, adding USPS has had a pay freeze in place for several years in anticipation.

“We’re very cognizant of the need to have the right staffing in place at the right time and this initiative is part of that strategy,” he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.