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Postal unions, USPS reach bargaining impasse

The U.S. Postal Service on Jan. 20 announced that ongoing contract negotiations with two postal unions have come to an impasse.

The U.S. Postal Service on Jan. 20 announced that ongoing contract negotiations with two postal unions have come to an impasse.

Labor contracts with the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union expired on Nov. 20, 2011. The Postal Service and the unions had extended negotiations twice—first to Dec. 16, and then until Jan. 20—both times without coming to agreement.

Under statutory procedures, now that negotiations have failed to produce agreements, the parties engage in 60 days of mediation and, if that fails, go to final binding arbitration.

According to NALC, USPS declined to extend negotiations for a third time.

“I am disappointed by the Postal Service’s decision,” NALC President Fredric Rolando, said in a statement issued Jan. 20. “We have been making steady progress in negotiations, right up through this afternoon.”

Rolando said the union will “pursue a negotiated agreement through mediation and prepare to vigorously defend our members in interest arbitration, if it reaches that step.”

NALC represents about 196,000 letter carriers, primarily in urban areas, and NPMHU represents about 46,000 mail processing and post office workers.

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