The agency had 3,300 more CCAs in April than allowed in its labor contract with the National Association of Letter Carriers, a report USPS issued last week indicated.
The 2011 contract that created the non-career position capped the number of CCAs in each district at 15% of the total number of full-time career city carriers -- plus another 8,000 nationwide to allow "flexible windows which may be necessary to develop and provide new products and services."
The report shows that USPS had 164,582 City Carriers on its rolls in April. Adding 15% of that number plus another 8,000 yields an apparent cap of 32,687 CCAs. But the same report says the Postal Service had 36,074 CCAs.
It could be argued that the Postal Service is following the spirit of the labor agreement because career carriers are not being harmed. None have been laid off, and on average they are getting about as many overtime hours as they did four years ago (though some individual carriers have seen drastic changes in their overtime).
The average base pay for CCAs was recently reported as $15.80 per hour, versus $27.52 and much better benefits for full-time city carriers.
A key to new ventures
USPS is certainly capitalizing on the "flexible windows" and "new products and services" that the NALC contract envisioned. Relying on lower-paid CCAs has been a key to the Postal Service’s rapidly expanding Sunday deliveries for Amazon and its hopes of competing with private businesses on delivering a variety of "non-mail" items from groceries to fresh flowers.
The growing pool of CCAs has also helped USPS serve an increasing number of delivery points and grow its labor-intensive parcel business.
|Amazon grocery packages awaiting delivery by CCAs|
Accounts of 60-hour workweeks for bedraggled CCAs are already legion. Since October, CCAs have worked an average of one hour of overtime for every five hours of straight time, and at times during December the ratio was one to three.
The wage savings from using CCAs have also come with some costs. Turnover is high, straining the Postal Service’s ability to hire and train new CCAs. And the new hires are reportedly more prone to injuries and to missed deliveries than are long-time carriers who know their routes well.
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