January 2013 Update
The waiting for a decision over the terms of the 2011 National Agreement should soon come to an end. Yet, as the month of January comes to a close hearings designed to accomplish this objective remain ongoing.
As I’m sure most of you are aware, a recent arbitration ruling was issued concerning the impasse between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers. With respect to economic issues, that ruling mostly followed the pattern set by the APWU and Rural Letter Carriers and provided for a two year wage freeze, one year of waived COLA, one year of deferred COLA, and a lower starting wage for new hires. Regarding wages, the ruling provides for general wage increases of 1% in November 2013, 1.5% in November 2014, and 1% in November 2015. There is also the potential for 7 cost of living adjustments during the term of the agreement which runs through May 20, 2016. A upside to the NALC ruling was retaining the no-layoff protection for employees who had completed 6 years of service; a downside was the decrease in employer contributions towards health insurance from 80% in 2012, to 78% in 2014, 77% in 2015, and to 76% in 2016. In addition, the ruling contained several work rule as well as workforce changes.
Many people are of the opinion that the economic pattern set by the APWU, Rural Carriers, and now the NALC, portend a similar result for our Union. In light of the times and all the relevant factors, I view the NALC decision as a victory; so, I hope this is the case for us as well.