William Burrus, former president of the agency's largest labor union and long a vocal critic of USPS management, urged fellow APWU members not to hold out for a better offer than the $15,000 incentive announced this week.
"If you intend to retire my advice is to 'take the money and run,' there is zero possibility that the amount will be increased," Burrus wrote in his blog today. "And for those who hope that a similar offer will be made in the future, I suggest that the odds are heavily against another incentive any time soon."
For the Postal Service, the time has never been better to offer clerks, mechanics, drivers and other APWU-represented employees an early-out bonus, the retired labor leader wrote, because "consolidations and service standard changes will make it possible to process a changing mix of mail with fewer employees."
And even if some retirees have to be replaced by new hires, he said, "postal costs are reduced by 50% when a retiree with 35 years of service is replaced by a new employee." Such a wide pay gap between new and veteran employees will not occur again, Burrus added, which means USPS will never have more incentive to downsize than it does today.
How about 35,000?
Postal officials expect 15,000 to 20,000 APWU-represented employees to take the buyout. Not Burrus:
"My best estimate is that of the 115,000 APWU represented eligibles there will be somewhere in the range of 35,000 who will take the money and run. If I am in the ball park, this will be the last and final retirement incentive in the next 50 years."
That may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Knowing that Burrus is wily in the ways of Washington and not averse to speaking out against USPS management or current APWU leadership, many eligible employees may be swayed by his words.
- Burrus Responds: Not Giving Up on 6-Day Delivery
- The Reinterpretation of William Burrus
- Mathematically Challenged: Burrus Proposal Doesn’t Add Up for USPS