About 26,500 U.S. Postal Service clerks, drivers and other career employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union took the agency’s latest early-out offer, according to figures released Wednesday.
The total represents 14 percent of the roughly 189,200 employees in that workforce who were eligible for the deal. It exceeds the 20,000, “plus or minus a few thousand,” USPS human resources chief Tony Vegliante said in October he was hoping would accept the offer.
The offer, which coupled a $15,000 buyout with an early retirement package for older employees, was one in a series launched last year to encourage USPS workers to leave as the Postal Service seeks to shed payroll.
While full-time workers had to accept by Dec. 3, the deadline for part-time employees was last Friday. Because the latter group can back out before their final Feb. 28 departure date, the final number of takers could still change, although any difference is likely to be small. Part-time workers can get a pro-rated share of the $15,000 buyout based on the number of hours worked in the last year.
The money will be paid in separate installments this May and May 2014.
Of the total number accepting the offer, 20,230 were already eligible for retirement, 5,917 took advantage of relaxed age and service requirements to retire early, and 352 resigned, according to the Postal Service.