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Pay Information
Aug 16, 2022

Second COLA Increase Announced

August 10, 2022 

In accordance with the 2021-2024 Collective Bar­gaining Agreement, career employees represented by the APWU will receive a $1.18 per hour cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective August 27, 2022.

The increase is the result of a rise in the Consum­er Price Index (CPI-W). It will appear in paychecks dated September 16, 2022 (Pay Period 19-2022). The value of the COLA for full-time employees in each step and grade will increase by $2,455.00 annually, and the hourly rates for part-time employ­ees will be adjusted accordingly.

The COLAs are in addition to general wage increases. This is the second cost-of-living increase under the 2021 contract. The first, effective in February, amounted to $0.63 per hour or $1,310 annually. The COLAs received so far during the 2021-2024 National Agreement total $3,765.00 this year.

In light of the fact that Postal Support Employees (PSEs) do not receive cost-of-living increases, they have received several additional increases beyond the general wage increases for all employees in the APWU bargaining unit under the 2021 contract.

Rising inflation underscores just how important the continuation of our negotiated Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is in our outstanding new union contract. The COLA is our best protection against inflation. Postal Workers are some of the few U.S. workers who receive COLA increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only postal union that has maintained full COLA in our union contract.

“At times of high inflation, our union-won COLA is invaluable to ourselves and our families,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “It pays to be union! It’s always a struggle to keep these COLA provisions and every postal worker should be proud we fought hard and prevailed to keep full COLA in our latest contract.”

Go to apwu.org/pay-information to view pay scales.


Aug 16, 2022

After Pressure, Management Sets Retroactive Pay Date!

August 5, 2022 

Last week we announced the APWU was preparing collective actions in response to the unacceptable delay in retroactive payments won in the 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Today, after concerted struggles with postal management, management has finally provided the union with firm dates the payments will be received by postal workers in APWU-represented crafts.

The retroactive payments will be processed on October 11, 2022. They will appear as a pay adjustment on paychecks received October 28, 2022.

“Those in management responsible for overseeing these payroll changes had so little respect for postal workers that they apparently thought a May 2023 date for the retroactive payments would somehow be acceptable. This was outrageous,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “Postal workers earned this pay, we deserve it, and we’re not in the business of giving management interest-free loans on the back of our labor. While we’re still unsatisfied with the delay, we sent a message and have gotten firm dates months in advance of management’s plan.”

“This delay in retroactive payments was unacceptable to everyone in our union,” said APWU Director of Industrial Relations Charlie Cash. “While we’re glad to have dates to look forward to, we will still file a national-level grievance seeking an appropriate remedy for all affected postal employees.”

The CBA included the following pay adjustments:

  • Effective November 20, 2021: General wage increases of 1.3 percent
  • Effective Nov. 20, 2021: Additional 1 percent pay raise for PSEs (who do not receive COLA)
  • Effective September 25, 2021: New pay scale for Grade 11
  • Effective Feb 26, 2022: Sixty-three cents/hour COLA, for career employees
  • Effective April 9, 2022: Fifty cents/hour increase for the PSEs effective

Each of the above adjustments were programmed and included in our wages on June 4, 2022, with the exception of the 50 cents/hour due to the PSEs. That management error was corrected and included in pay from July 30, 2022.

The retroactive payments due to workers consists of the above adjustments on hours worked from June 4, 2022 going back to their respective effective dates, and between April 9 and July 30 for the PSE fifty-cent increase.

We will keep members updated on the grievance process regarding this unacceptable delay. 


Aug 16, 2022

The Battle for Retroactive Pay is On!

July 29, 2022 

This is an important update on our retroactive pay from the 2021-24 contract and a call to action on securing your hard-earned pay at the earliest possible date.

The terms of the new 2021-2024 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union were ratified by the APWU members on February 28, 2022.

The new contract included a number of important changes to our wages and pay structure. The payroll changes are a two-fold process.

First Stage: All the new wage and pay changes need to be programmed, calculated.

These included, but were not limited to, the:

  • November 20, 2021 wage increases of 1.3 percent
  • Sixty-three cents/hour COLA, effective Feb 26, 2022
  • Additional 1 percent pay raise for PSEs (who do not receive COLA) effective Nov. 20, 2021
  • Fifty cents/hour increase for the PSEs effective April 9 2022
  • New pay scale for Grade 11 effective September 25, 2021

Second Stage: Calculate the retroactive pay back due to eligible employees and properly distribute to the employees.

  • The large-scale payroll system changes must be made and placed into effect before the retroactive payments can be properly calculated and distributed.
  • The above payroll changes were made effective June 4, 2022 with the exception of the extra fifty cents/hour due the PSEs. That management error has now been corrected.

The implementation of these changes was approximately 90 days after the new contract was ratified. This is in line with the time it has taken in the past following effective dates of new Collective Bargaining Agreements.

What is not acceptable is that management has not yet produced a firm date on when the retroactive pay will be distributed in our pay checks.

“We have made it crystal clear to management that this is money that has been earned by and belongs to the workers,” shared APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We will not accept any management excuses and delays.”

“With no firm and reasonable date provided by management, every APWU member, from the national President to the newest hire, is prepared to secure what is owed to the workers,” said Industrial Relations Director Charlie Cash. “We have been in almost daily contact with management and, if this issue is not quickly resolved, the APWU is prepared to file all necessary grievances, demand interest, cash advances, explore legal remedies and invoke collective actions.”

Be assured that the lack of a firm date for when you will receive your retroactive pay lies squarely on the managers and executives of the US Postal Service.

It is the APWU’s position that the programming and payment of retroactive pay should be the number one programming priority -- And it must be all hands on deck until completed!

The APWU will continue to update everyone on the next steps we are taking and if a date for the retroactive pay has been established.


Aug 16, 2022

COLA and You

Mark Dimondstein

July 20, 2022 

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Soaring inflation is hurting working people worldwide with rising prices on basic necessities including gasoline, food, transportation and housing. Inflation is largely being driven by an economy concentrated in the hands of a few powerful and greedy corporate monopolies that have the power to raise prices, with little fear of competition. In 2021 consumer prices rose 6.7 percent yet corporate profits rose 25 percent - a record high. In the first quarter of 2022, the five major oil companies tripled their profits to $35 billion. Monopoly power and price gouging may be good for corporate profits and Wall Street, but they are disastrous for workers. Clearly, over the long run we have to replace corporate domination and power with more workers’ power.

Rising inflation underscores just how important the continuation of our negotiated Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is in our outstanding new union contract. COLA is our best protection against inflation. We are some of the few U.S. workers who receive COLA increases. Even in the postal world, we are the only union that has maintained full COLA in our union contract. We should never take our union won gains for granted. Management puts COLA on the chopping block during every round of negotiations and we have to fight to preserve those hard-won provisions.

Let’s examine the “COLA Difference:” (The APWU has negotiated a number of union contracts/collective bargaining agreements. The figures below apply to the main agreement covering 200,000 postal workers.)

  • As inflation started to dramatically rise in 2021, the union-negotiated COLA increases for that year amounted to $1.14/hour or $2,371 annually for fulltime career employees.
  • The first COLA (March 2022) under the newly negotiated and ratified union contract was sixty-three cents/hour or $1,310 annually.
  • The second COLA, due this August, currently stands at a whopping eighty-seven cents/hour or $1,809 annually. With two months left until the second COLA is set, (while the final allowance may fluctuate), we believe it could top $1.00/hour.
  • At this point in time, the first two COLAs in the new contract amount to $3,120 annually.
  • The 2021 and 2022 COLAs combined will exceed $5,500 annually. COLA becomes part of our regular wages and thus carries over year-after-year.
  • In addition to COLA, the annual wage increases due each November under the new union contract amount to an average of $800/year for career employees. Those not yet at the top step of the pay scale continue to receive step increases of approximately $1,000 every thirty-six weeks, in addition to COLA.
  • If prices decrease, with fuel for example, we still keep our COLA increases. Those gains are locked in and become part of our base salary going forward.
  • While PSEs do not receive COLA, upon conversion they are slotted into the proper pay scale that includes all these COLA increases.

Over the years of contract negotiations, it has not been uncommon to lose COLA increases, either through an arbitration award or voluntarily absorbing an increase(s).
For example, the 1994 interest arbitration award eliminated two COLA increases. In 2010, the APWU voluntarily gave up two COLAs. Once we skip COLA increases, they are gone forever. Just think what would have happened if we went to interest arbitration and lost the first two COLAs of the new CBA! Postal workers would have lost over $3,000 a year or approximately $100,000 over a typical postal career.

I am proud that as your lead negotiator in the last three contract negotiations of 2015, 2018 and 2021, we maintained all our COLA increases. And you should be union proud as well -- every member is the strong foundation on which we build our union rights and build a better future for all postal workers and our families – including COLA!




Page Last Updated: Aug 16, 2022 (13:13:58)
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