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Letter carriers get raises, layoff protection in new contract

Jan. 11, 2013 - 05:08PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
Some 175,000 career letter carriers will get across-the-board pay increases totaling 3 percent from this year through 2015, but will pay more for health insurance, under the terms of a new contract set by a three-member arbitration aboard.
Some 175,000 career letter carriers will get across-the-board pay increases totaling 3 percent from this year through 2015, but will pay more for health insurance, under the terms of a new contract set by a three-member arbitration aboard. (GETTY IMAGES)

Some 175,000 career letter carriers will get across-the-board pay increases totaling 3½ percent from this year through 2015, but will pay more for health insurance, under the terms of a new contract set by a three-member arbitration aboard.

The board’s decision, dated Thursday, covers U.S. Postal Service employees represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers and runs until May 2016. It provides for a 1 percent increase in November, 1.5 percent next year and 1 percent in 2015. Between now and 2016, it also allows for seven cost-of-living adjustments, although the two COLAs for 2013 will be deferred until next year.

The share that current employees pay for health coverage will creep up from 20 percent to 24 percent by 2016. That proportion will still be less than the 28 percent than most federal employees pay.

The contract also creates a new class of non-career employees known as “city carrier assistants” who will earn less than career workers.

USPS spokesman Mark Saunders in a statement called the cost-saving measures in the agreement “important,” but expressed disappointment that the arbitration board opted to continue contracting restrictions and “limited no layoff protection” for career employees.

In a news release, NALC President Fredric Rolando said the new contract met “both sides’ key concerns while laying the groundwork for a productively innovative Postal Service in the years to come.”

The new agreement takes the place of a contract that formally expired in November 2011.

With the board’s decision, the Postal Service now has contracts in place with three of its four unions. A separate arbitration proceeding with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union is underway, with a decision expected later this year, Saunders said.

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