Cumberland Times-News

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January 31, 2013

25,000 postal clerks take buyout, early retirement

CUMBERLAND — Thursday was the last day of work for about 25,000 U.S. Postal Service clerks, including five from the Cumberland area, who accepted buyouts of $15,000 each as a part of early retirement packages.

“We have the five from the 215 and 267 (zip code) post offices,” said Cumberland Postmaster Sean O’Donnell on Thursday. The service area O’Donnell administers has 113 clerks, he said.

The zip codes beginning with 215 are in Maryland and those starting with 267 are in Mineral County, W.Va.

This past fall, employees 50 or older with at least 20 years service were offered the buyout. Those with a minimum service of 25 years could also accept the buyout, no matter their ages.

Only employees of the American Postal Workers Union were eligible. Mail carriers and mail handlers (dock workers) have separate unions, O’Donnell said.

The retirements will not affect service in the Cumberland area, according to the postmaster.

The APWU represents about 188,000 members across the country.

The Postal Service lost about $16 billion during FY 2012 and announced its intent to shed 150,000 workers by 2015.

The Federal Times reported recently that a similar offer was made in 2009 and included the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, but only 18,000 employees accepted.

Former APWU National President William Burrus told the Federal Times this week that interest in the buyout likely increased because of the Postal Service’s plans to close or consolidate more than 200 mail processing plants during the next two years.

The Postal Service still has more than 500,000 career employees.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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