Bargaining between the National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO and the U.S. Postal Service for a new national agreement began yesterday in Washington.
Direct mailers are watching the negotiations closely because 80 percent of all postal costs are labor-related.
The 241,000-member NALC's three-year contract expires Nov. 20. The union represents city letter carriers nationwide. Contract negotiations are expected to focus on wages, benefits and work rules.
In opening his first negotiations since becoming postmaster general in June, Jack Potter said the USPS was committed to obtaining a negotiated contract that was fiscally responsible for the organization while benefiting customers and employees.
The last time a national agreement was resolved at the bargaining table between the NALC and the postal service was in 1987. Three subsequent talks went to impasse, and each new contract was set by an arbitration board under terms of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970.
NALC president Vincent R. Sombrotto emphasized that the union's bargaining committee is determined to work toward achieving a negotiated agreement that can be sent out for rank-and-file ratification, instead of having the terms decided by an outside arbitrator.