The tentative contract for more than half a million letter carriers and postal clerks calls for 13 pay raises in a 40-month period and is likely to push the salary of the typical postal worker above that of the typical white-collar federal civil servant for the first time in decades.

Under terms of the agreement, postal employes would get six across-the-board pay increases plus seven cost-of-living adjustments during a period when their white-collar colleagues will be lucky to get three raises.

The agreement, estimated to cost $4 billion to $5 billion, provides for a 2 percent pay raise retroactive to July 12 for the 584,000 employes covered by the pact, plus a full COLA in September.

Clerks and carriers now average $27,401.

White-collar federal workers, who average $27,747, may get a raise of about 3 percent in January, but they will not get any additional COLA or other raise until 1989.

Unlike white-collar workers, whose pay and fringe benefits are determined by Congress and the White House, postal employes bargain for pay and fringes via their unions.

Thanks to earlier agreements, they now pay about 25 percent less than other federal workers for the same health insurance plans.

If members of the National Association of Letter Carriers and the American Postal Workers Union approve, employes will get a 2 percent raise this month, $250 per year more next July and again in January 1989, a $300 raise in July 1989, $300 in January 1990, and an additional $300 in July 1990.

In addition, they will get full COLAs this September, and again in March and September through 1990.

In July 1990, they will get their seventh and final COLA of the contract.

Union officials say that if the inflation rate during that period ranges from 4 to 5 percent, it would mean cost-of-living raises of from $2,200 to $2,700 during that period in addition to regularly scheduled increases.

Scholarships

The Public Employees Roundtable will have its college scholarship presentation awards at 6 this evening in the House Caucus Room. Tickets are available at the door.

People

Congressional Research Service's Charles H. Levine has been named distinguished professor of government-public administration at American University. He will join AU's staff next month to work on its federal executive development program.

Melvin Lerner, Customs Service's director of technical service, is retiring Friday after 46 years with the bureau. He's won the Senior Executive Services top performance award and the president's meritorious executive rank award.

Job Mart

Navy's Cruise Missile Project wants a GS 6 secretary. Call Christopher DiPetto at 692-6896.

General Services Administration needs GM (merit pay) 13 communications specialist. Call Karen Wilson at 566-1805.

Commerce in Rockville is looking for two electronics engineers, GM 13. Call Jay Steckman at 443-8208.

Federal Maritime Commission wants GS 9/11 economist. Call Jeremiah Hospital at 523-5790.