Unions and Employee Organizations

Chapter 12: Section 2

The large majority of postal employees belong either to a labor union or a management or supervisory organization. The 1970 Postal Reorganization Act authorized collective bargaining on wages and working conditions generally under laws applying to the private sector and provided for binding arbitration if an impasse persists 180 days after the start of bargaining. 

The ability of many postal employees to bargain over their pay rates, as well as over the employer contribution to health and life insurance, is a right not enjoyed by most other federal employees. However, postal workers, like other federal employees, are barred from striking.

The largest unions are:

• American Postal Workers Union (APWU), AFL-CIO, representing workers primarily in the clerk, maintenance, and motor vehicle crafts. 

• National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), AFL-CIO, representing primarily city delivery letter carriers. 

• National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), representing carriers who deliver mail to residences and businesses on rural delivery routes.

• National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), AFL-CIO, representing employees engaged in bulk transfer, loading and unloading of mail.

In addition, there are smaller unions representing postal police officers and nurses. 

The 1970 law also requires USPS to consult, although not bargain, with associations of supervisory and managerial employees and postmasters prior to making final decisions concerning changes to pay, benefits and working conditions for such employees. The major management associations are the National Association of Postal Supervisors and the United Postmasters and Managers of America. 


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