David Dayen, The American Prospect: A new payment system that is estimated to reduce base pay for most rural letter carriers, for some by thousands of dollars, has led to widespread threats of quitting and concern about whether the mail will get delivered in rural America.
The U.S. Postal Service intended to begin implementing the new system, known as the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System, or RRECS, on Saturday, despite a grievance filed by the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association union (NRLCA) seeking a 60-day delay and a release of the data that went into it. “We know and the USPS knows that there are errors that need to be corrected,” the NRLCA stated last week in a message to members. “The USPS’s position is to implement and correct the errors later” (emphasis in original).
The effective date for RRECS, which has been in the making for more than a decade, was recently delayed to April 8 and then to April 22. There are rumors that it has been delayed again for one more pay period, but since it was established by a binding arbitration ruling, at some point RRECS will govern rural letter carrier pay. Schedules were posted in some post offices with the new changes this week.
A preliminary review of the new system from the NRLCA found that two-thirds of all rural letter carriers are on track to lose at least one hour per week, and 44 percent will lose four hours or more. About 14 percent of carriers would gain hours. The changes can add to days worked while reducing hours on those days, which can reduce opportunities for overtime.