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Big early-out offer coming at USPS

Sep. 4, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
U.S. Postal Service Reports Yearly Loss Of 15.9 Bi
A sign for the United States Post Office hangs on a wall in Miami. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Anothe round of early retirement offers is in the works for thousands of U.S. Postal Service executives, postmasters, and other managers, according to an organization representing a large chunk of that workforce.

In a website notice last week, NAPS said the offer will apply to all eligible members of the Postal Career Executive Service and all field employees paid under the agency’s Executive and Administrative Schedule (EAS), with the exception of headquarters staff. Among NAPS’ approximately 25,000 active members, more than half could qualify for an early-out, Louis Atkins, the association’s president, said in an interview.

Notification of eligible employees will begin Sept. 16, the association said, with the application period starting Sept. 20. Civil Service Retirement System participants who take the offer would have to leave by Dec. 31; Federal Employees Retirement System applicants would need to retire by Jan. 31, according to NAPS.

This would be at least the third early-out offer since 2011 targeting USPS managers. In an email, Postal Service spokeswoman Darlene Casey said that the NAPS account contains “a number of inaccuracies,” but by press time had provided no specifics or further comment. Leaders of the National League of Postmasters and the National Association of Postmasters of the United States did not return phone calls.

The Postal Service, plagued by huge losses in recent years, has repeatedly resorted to various types of early-out incentives to cut labor costs without layoffs. The effectiveness of those efforts has varied. Two years ago, for example, 1,800 postmasters, administrators and front-line supervisors left in return for $20,000 buyouts. Last year, a similar offer prompted almost 4,200 postmasters to resign or retire. But when the agencylater aimed an early retirement offer — without a buyout — almost 3,600 EAS employees it got only 186 takers, according to official figures released last November. While NAPS has urged Postal Service officials to add a cash buyout to its upcoming offer, “They have said it was not on the table,” Atkins said.

Under the standard federal package, employees can retire early if they are at least 50 years old with a minimum of 20 years’ service or at any age with at least 25 years’ service.

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