Postal Service to Add Thousands of Union Jobs in 2014
Bargaining unit employees will fill reduced-hour post offices in major labor victory.
The U.S. Postal Service will soon add thousands of union jobs to its rolls, a major postal labor group announced Monday.
Thanks to an independent arbitration ruling earlier this month, USPS will add or convert at least 9,000 jobs previously held by part-time, non-union employees to bargaining unit positions. At least 3,000 of those jobs will be filled by full-time, career employees, according to the American Postal Workers Union.
The positions will open at post offices across the country that reduced their hours as part of USPS’ POSt Plan. The revised schedules, which went into place in 2012, cut hours at lower traffic post offices to two, four or six hours per day and was created as a compromise after the Postal Service threatened to close the locations entirely.
Arbitrator Stephen Goldberg resolved a two-year dispute between APWU and postal management, ruling in favor of the union at post offices open four and six hours per day, but not those open only two hours daily. The four-hour post offices will hire 6,000 union-backed, part-time employees known as Postal Support Employees. PSEs often have the opportunity to be converted into full-time employees as the positions become available.
The six-hour post offices will hire at least 3,000 full-time, career employees, APWU said. The memorandum of understanding gives the Postal Service 90 days to fill the positions. Goldberg’s ruling allows USPS to continue to use non-union, part-time workers at two-hour post offices.
APWU filed its grievance claiming postal management violated its collective bargaining agreement by filling newly created or revised retail positions with non-clerk employees. Prior to the ruling, the 13,000 post offices with reduced hours employed just 350 clerks.
Union President Mark Dimondstein said he attempted to engage the Postal Service in direct negotiations to avoid the drawn out process that often accompanies arbitration, but ultimately had to turn to the third-party mediator. Still, Dimondstein was pleased with the result.
“The arbitration award he issued and the accompanying implementation memo mean thousands of jobs within 90 days, not years from now,” Dimondstein said.
The gains will help offset the 7,000 job cuts -- and thousands of additional relocations -- that will take place in 2015 due to processing plant closures.