The U.S. Postal Service has asked the federal Office of Personnel Management for authority to offer early retirement to employees represented by the American Postal Workers Union.
It would be offered from April 1 to Sept. 30. APWU is the largest postal union with 366,000 clerks, maintenance workers, drivers and other workers who do not process or deliver mail.
The request is in accordance with the terms of the contract extension ratified by APWU members last month.
In a Jan. 23 letter to OPM, USPS chief operating officer Patrick F. Donahoe said that more than 16,000 positions held by APWU workers would not be needed by Sept. 30. He said 8,000 of the positions would be eliminated through normal attrition but that early retirement would be needed to reduce the rest. The USPS has said that automation made these job cuts possible.
The agency will not offer an incentive to workers to take early retirement. Members who are 50 or older and have at least 20 years with the USPS are eligible. About 58,000 APWU members qualify, Donahoe said, and he expects 3,000 to opt for early retirement.