The 25-cent first-class stamp expected to debut next spring may not be around for very long if predictions of mail-watchers are correct. The authoritative Business Mailers Review newsletter has warned subscribers that the wage-fringe settlement between the Postal Service and its 584,000 workers under union contract would most likely move the price of a first-class stamp, currently 22 cents, to 30 cents in the next three years.
Postal officials asked that the first-class stamp be raised to 25 cents even before they began bargaining talks with unions. That increase is expected to be approved by the Postal Rate Commission and go into effect early next year.
Members of the American Postal Workers Union and the National Association of Letter Carriers are now voting by mail on the multibillion-dollar contract. It calls for 13 raises during the next 40 months: six flat raises plus seven pegged to inflation.
Given the lower, slower pace of white-collar federal raises, the contract would soon push the average salary of letter carriers and postal clerks -- currently $27,401 -- past the average $27,747 pay for white-collar federal workers. White-collar government workers are due a raise of about 3 percent in January. But that annual increase will not provide any cost-of-living protection.
The postal agreement calls for annual raises ranging from $525 to about $850, but the big salary boost is expected to come in the partial catch-ups with inflation.
White-collar federal workers depend on Congress and the White House for pay raises. Last year, they didn't get an across-the-board raise while postal workers, once the salary stepchildren of the civil service, got both regular and cost-of-living adjustments.Meetings
The National Association of Retired Federal Employees Hyattsville chapter meets at 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at the First United Methodist Church in Hyattsville. Martin Wish, president of NARFE's Maryland State Federation, will speak. Combined Federal Campaign
Office of Personnel Management Director Constance Horner appointed a task force to do a three-month study of the Combined Federal Campaign, one of the nation's biggest charitable fund raisers. It could recommend trimming some groups from the lucrative fund drive, which last year got $140 million in pledges from civil servants. Most of the money is collected via payroll deductions. In areas such as Washington it can be the biggest source of revenue for national and local charities, and social action groups.
Once limited to standard charitable and service organizations, the CFC, under court order, is taking in many organizations that raise money for, or provide legal services to, advocacy groups.
In launching the task force, Horner said, "Each year we are distracted from the charitable intentions of the CFC drive by a growing chorus of special interests." The task force is supposed to come up with ideas on how government workers and "responsible charities" can be heard "above the din of political posturing and self-serving rhetoric."