APWU & USPS Reach New Agreements for Postal Worker’s Benefits

The American Postal Workers Union and the U.S. Postal Service have reached a tentative three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which was announced this week by APWU President and Lead Negotiator Mark Dimondstein.  

Over 200,000 U.S. Postal Service employees would receive a pay increase of 4% over the next three years, as well as an additional paid holiday and also protections against layoffs as part of the 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 alternatively would receive 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 important victory for the union, representing clerks, mechanics, drivers, custodians and other USPS workers, the Postal Service’s share of health care premiums will maintain stability. In prior contracts, management had won the battle to decrease its portion of the payments.  

Since the USPS and APWU leadership agreed to the contract last week, The union’s executive board has not only given its approval, with the agreement heading to APWU members for finalization, its leaders are holding 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 back above water. 

“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 Postal Service has named a new chairman to its Board of Governors, a move that will likely ensure Postmaster General Louis DeJoy stays on as the agency’s chief executive. 

This new chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, Republican Roman Martinez IV, was voted in on Wednesday unanimously. 

Martinez will replace former Democratic chairman Ron Bloom, whose term expired in December. 

Martinez has applauded the rollout of a 10-year reform plan formed last year, praising DeJoy saying, “The best team needs a leader, and I believe that Postmaster General DeJoy is that person to carry out the restructure that is needed”. 

The new agreement is set to change all non-career staff in good standing to career jobs after 24 months. Part-time employees will be given 40 hours of paid leave per year and will also be promised 24 hours of work per pay period, which is an increase from the current minimum of just two hours. The wage increases in the contract would be slightly better than the previous build, in which employees saw only an increase of 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. USPS remained open while the rest of the federal workforce had the day off for the first time in 2021. 

The agreement would maintain the union’s role in the Postal Service’s Election Mail Task Force, which it launched in 2020. Reuters says Congress is currently considering a bipartisan plan that would give $46 million in relief to the United States Postal Service in the next 10 years. It would also eliminate the pre-funding of health benefits for 75 years. DeJoy has been tasked with making USPS more sustainable financially. His plan to slow down certain deliveries of first-class mail went into effect in October.  

The following is a summary of that tentative agreement. The APWU is preparing the complete Tentative Agreement to be sent to members with their ratification ballot.  

Contract Time Period 

  • Three-year contract: September 21, 2021 through September 20, 2024  

General Annual Wage Increases and Cost of Living Allowances (COLA)   

  • 1.3% November 20, 2021 (Will be Retroactive)  
  • 1.3% November 19, 2022  
  • 1.3% November 18, 2023  
  • Six (6) Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) for career employees (March and September of each year) with no change to the current formula based on the July 2021 CPI-W. (After the fourth month of the six-month measuring period, the COLA increase is at $0.39 per hour and will be based on the January 2022 CPI-W Index)  
  • PSEs receive the general wage increases and an additional 1% increase each year in lieu of COLA (i.e. 2.3% each November)  
  • $0.50/hour additional increase for PSEs effective the first pay period of the second full month after the Agreement is ratified  

Job Security  

  • Protection from layoff for career employees with six years of service remains in effect 
  • Any current career employee on the rolls as of September 20, 2021, with less than six years of service will be included in the no layoff protections for the life of the National Agreement, providing an additional 72,000 career employees protection from layoffs.  
  • 50-mile limit on excessing of employees 
  • The current moratorium on subcontracting of Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) work will continue in its present form during life of the Agreement 

Holiday Pay  

  • Juneteenth added to the holidays for career employees for a total of 11 paid holidays per year  
  • PTF pay rate will be increased effective January 1, 2022 to reflect 11 holidays each year 

Health Insurance  

  • No change to the Postal Service contribution to premiums for those participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program 
  • 95% Postal Service contribution to premiums of the APWU Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP)  
  • PSEs converted to career will receive credit for time they were enrolled in a FEHBP plan towards the 1-year qualifying period for the 95% Postal Service contribution to CDHP premiums 

Details on the ratification vote will be announced in the near future. Please visit apwu.org/townhall for more information. 

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