November 14, 2013
By Stephanie West
An agreement between the Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers now provides for unfilled vacancies to be offered to part-time workers. In the two months since the agreement took effect, between 1,500 and 2,000 part-time employees have been converted to full-time status, according to NALC.
The memorandum of understanding gives full-time letter carriers without a current duty assignment first crack at a new job posting. If no such employee makes a bid, the position is then opened up to part-time workers interested in becoming career employees.
NALC is hopeful that all part-time workers it represents — about 35,000 — will be converted to full-time personnel by the end of its current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after 2016. However, finding 35,000 openings for the part-time workers could prove difficult for the union, as the Postal Service continues to reduce its workforce.
The U.S. Postal Service in recent years has hired more part-time workers to meet its staffing needs, allowing the agency to substantially cut pay and benefits expenditures.
The American Postal Workers Union also has provisions in its collective bargaining agreement to transition part-time workers — known as postal support employees — into full-time employees. More than 1,000 have made the switch since the agreement was ratified in 2011.
Through attrition measures such as buyouts and early retirement incentives, USPS has eliminated about 200,000 posittionmjobs over the past several years. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has said it will need to trim an additional 100,000. The Postal Service currently employs about 500,000 workers — in order to regain sound fiscal footing.