Charles Krupa / AP

New Contract for 200K Postal Employees Would Boost Pay, Add Layoff Protections

Part-time and non-career staff would also score wins under agreement.

More than 200,000 U.S. Postal Service employees would receive a pay increase of 4% over the next three years, an additional paid holiday and protections against layoffs as part of a tentative collective bargaining agreement between the mailing agency and one of its major unions. 

In addition to three consecutive years of 1.3% wage increases, retroactive to Nov. 20, 2021, career USPS employees in the American Postal Workers Union would receive six cost-of-living adjustments by 2023. Non-career staff would instead get an additional 1% pay increase annually, as well as additional opportunities to convert to career positions. An additional 72,000 newer career workers would be protected from layoffs, joining their colleagues with at least six years of experience. 

In another significant victory for the union, which represents clerks, mechanics, drivers, custodians and other USPS workers, the Postal Service’s share of health care premiums will remain steady. In previous contracts, management successfully fought to decrease its portion of the payments. 

USPS and APWU leadership agreed to the contract last week. The union’s executive board has given its approval and the agreement will go to APWU members for final approval. Its leaders will hold a series of town hall meetings this week to go over the details. 

“This is great news,” said Mark Dimondstein, APWU’s president. “We have reached an agreement that protects the rights and interests of our members.”

Doug Tulino, USPS’ deputy postmaster general and chief human resources officer, said the contract would help the agency deliver on Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to bring the agency out of the red. 

“This is a fair and responsible agreement that serves the best interest of our employees, our customers and the future of the Postal Service,” Tulino said. 

The negotiations this time around went smoother than the previous bargaining session, which began in 2018 and went on for a year before the two sides abandoned the talks in favor of interest arbitration. APWU had fought back against management efforts to provide a lump-sum stipend instead of wage increases, no cost-of-living adjustments and significantly less robust layoff protections. The union did not sign its contract until March 2020—though it was retroactive to 2018—and generally favored APWU’s positions.   

The new agreement would convert all non-career staff in good standing to career jobs after 24 months. Part-time employees will receive 40 hours of paid leave per year and will be guaranteed 24 hours of work per pay period, up from the current minimum of just two hours. 

The wage increases in the contract would be slightly better than the previous iteration, when employees saw an increase of just 3.4% over three years. In addition to the layoff protections, the agreement would maintain a 50-mile limit for mandatory employee relocations. In another win for employees, they will now receive Juneteenth as a paid federal holiday. The rest of the federal workforce had the day off for the first time in 2021, but USPS remained open. 

The agreement would maintain the union’s role in the Postal Service’s Election Mail Task Force, which it launched in 2020.