USPS Is Converting Part-Time Workers Into Full-Time Employees

David Goldman/AP File Photo

This story has been updated with additional information from the union.

To reduce labor costs, the U.S. Postal Service in recent years has hired more part-time workers to meet its staffing needs, allowing the agency to substantially cut pay and benefits expenditures.

That trend is shifting, however, as USPS has begun rewarding some part timers by offering them career positions.

Thanks in large part to an agreement between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers, unfilled vacancies must now go to non-career workers. In the two months since the agreement took effect, between 1,500 and 2,000 part-time employees have been converted to full-time status, according to NALC. The memorandum of understanding gives full-time letter carriers without a current duty assignment first crack at a new job posting. If no such employee makes a bid, the position is then opened up to part-time workers interested in becoming career employees. Through these measures, NALC hopes to convert most of the non-career workers it represents -- about 35,000 -- into full-time status by the end of its current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after 2016.

The American Postal Workers Union also has provisions in its collective bargaining agreement to transition part-time workers -- known as postal support employees -- into full-time employees. More than 1,000 have made the switch since the agreement was ratified in 2011, according to union spokeswoman Sally Davidow, 400 of whom did so within the last few months.

Lew Drass, NALC’s city delivery director, called on his members to report any residual vacancies to national offices to facilitate the process.

Prior to their conversions, the newly full-time letter carriers served in the non-career position of “city carrier assistant.” Many of them had previously served as “transitional employees” as well, according to NALC.

Finding NALC’s goal of about 20,000 openings for the non-career workers could prove difficult for the union, as the Postal Service continues to reduce its workforce. Through attrition measures such as buyouts and early retirement incentives, USPS has shed about 200,000 jobs over the past several years. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said it will need to trim an additional 100,000 -- the Postal Service currently employs about 500,000 workers -- in order to regain sound fiscal footing.

Donahoe has announced plans to achieve those cuts without layoffs by 2017, at which point the agency would resume hiring.  

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
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)

  • 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.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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