The Postal Service and two unions are struggling to reach new contracts as the groups battle over the pay and benefits of current and future Postal Service employees.

The American Postal Workers Union said the main block on a new deal was Postal Service demands for a new lower pay scale and reduced benefits for future employees, as well as cuts to current employee pay and benefits.

But the Postal Service and the APWU agreed to extend negotiations past the May 20 expiration of the current contract. The new deadline is May 27. During that time, the original contract will remain in effect.

"We were unable to reach a negotiated settlement tonight," said APWU President Mark Dimondstein in a statement. "We were too far apart on wages and benefits. But we are going to work hard over the course of the next week to see if we can narrow the differences."

Dimondstein said the union will keep fighting against reduced pay and benefits, which will undermine both future workers and current employees.

In a statement to its members, the NRLCA said it had appeared that the union and the Postal Service were making progress on a deal, but contract talks stalled over wages, cost-of-living increases and the maintenance of benefits.

The Postal Service and the NRLCA will keep following the current contract until a new contract is reached through the dispute resolution process, according to the Postal Service.

The NRLCA said it would meet soon with the Postal Service to discuss the next steps in the process.

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