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Arbitration ahead for Postal Service and National Association of Letter Carriers

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Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a month after National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said the union was “committed” to reaching agreement on a new labor contract through mediation, it’s now headed to binding arbitration with the U.S. Postal Service, according to a release posted on a USPS site. The arbitration process will wrap up later this year, the Postal Service said.

A NALC spokesman had no immediate comment this morning.

The news comes three months after impasses were declared in the Postal Service’s negotiations with both the NALC and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union. Although the unions’ previous contracts officially expired in November, the terms remain in effect until new agreements are reached. After an impasse, the next step is normally mediation, followed by arbitration. Talks with the mail handlers union remain in mediation, according to the Postal Service.

Although both USPS and union negotiators are typically tight-lipped about the status of contract talks, there’s no question that the latest round has been exceptionally difficult. The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and the Postal Service are already in arbitration. Although the Postal Service clinched a new contract last year with the American Postal Workers Union, the final deal created a two-tier wage system that means new hires will make 10.2 percent less on average.

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