Mail handlers are being offered a total of $15,000 to leave, in installments this December and a year later in 2013. Almost all career employees covered by the Postal Service’s contract with the National Postal Mail Handlers Union are eligible, postal officials said.
The agreement with the mail handlers comes a week after postal officials announced plans to proceed with consolidating and closing 48 mail processing plants this summer. The plant network will shrink by half in the next three years, eliminating 28,000 jobs through attrition and buyouts.
In an announcement on its Web site, the mail handlers union wrote, “The agreement with the Postal Service is intended to provide a financial cushion, an added peace of mind, for mail handlers who might be prepared to move on to the next chapter of their lives by leaving the Postal Service – a decision that could be particularly trying during these difficult economic times.”
The postal service also announced plans this month to cut hours at 13,000 rural post offices, some drastically, in an effort to keep open thousands of retail operations it had planned to shutter. Postal officials are offering buyouts to about 21,000 postmasters.
The financially troubled agency is expected to lose $14 billion this year.