Department & Division News

First Time in More than a Decade: Clerk Craft Grows

(This article first appeared in the January-February 2016 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

For the first time in many years, the number of employees in the Clerk Craft has increased. The total number of Clerk Craft employees on Sept. 20, 2013, was 140,841. On Sept. 18, 2015, the number was 151,055 – an increase of 6.76 percent in just two years.

This job growth is all the more remarkable given that the Clerk Craft saw a decrease of approximately 8.95 percent over the previous two-year period and a loss of nearly 40 percent in the period from 2005-2015.

The job growth continues: More than 1,000 jobs were added between mid-September and late October 2015.

The reasons for the increase include the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Filling Residual Vacancies, the POStPlan MOU, the Postal Support Employee (PSE) Cap settlement, and the “global settlement” of grievances protesting postmasters and supervisors performing craft work in small offices.

There are other ways to protect Clerk Craft jobs: The fight against efforts to subcontract our work to Staples is one example.

Another is by fighting management’s attempts to reduce staffing to such an extent that workers’ health and safety is placed at risk. The Postal Service’s ongoing attempt to staff Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCSs) with just one person is a case in point. Filing PS Form 1767, Report of Hazard, Unsafe Condition or Practice, initiating grievances, and filing OSHA complaints can make our workplace safer and preserve jobs.

We owe many thanks to the dedicated individuals at all levels of the union who have fought to enforce the contract in the areas mentioned above. This hard work is essential to creating jobs, improving working conditions, and enhancing service to our communities.

The number of Full-Time Regulars (FTRs) declined slightly. However, this decrease is significantly less than any period in the last 10 years. It is mostly due to the retirement of full-time regulars and the subsequent hiring of PSEs and Part Time Flexibles (PTFs) to replace them, and the creation of Non-Traditional Full-Time assignments (NTFTs) to replace traditional full-time positions.

Settlement Collection Procedures

In the event eligible individuals were overlooked in the first payout of the $56 million settlement for grievances protesting postmasters and supervisors performing Clerk Craft work in small offices, the Clerk Division has created a Payment Request Form and instructions on how to complete the form, titled Payment Request Form Submission Protocol.

Individuals (active or retired) who believe they were eligible but who didn’t receive payment must complete the top portion of the form and provide supporting evidence to their local or state organizations, which will assist. The completed form will then be sent to the National Business Agent (NBA) to verify the amount. The form and instructions have been provided to NBAs and local and state presidents, and are available at

According to the USPS, most payments should have occurred before Christmas.

Street Heat for a Fair Contract

As this magazine goes to press, the APWU is heading to arbitration for a new contract. However, this does not mean that union members and their families should sit back and become spectators. It is vital that APWU members stand behind their union and their bargaining team as we work to achieve a fair contract.

First, there is still a possibility we will reach a settlement with the Postal Service prior to arbitration. Members advocating for a fair contract increase the chances.

In addition, if we enter into arbitration, the arbitrator will be looking to balance the interests of the APWU and the USPS. It is imperative that we communicate to the arbitrator and to the Postal Service that our members demand a fair contract. Furthermore, we must show that postal workers and our allies will not allow management to dismantle the Postal Service and rob our communities and our nation of essential family-wage jobs. This is our opportunity to create good jobs and better working conditions for current and future postal workers. We must not pass off our responsibility.

Postal workers, our families, friends, and allies can advocate for a fair contract by working with their Contract Actions Teams. The more employees who are active in educating the public and putting pressure on the Postal Service, the greater likelihood we have of getting a fair contract and of ensuring it will be followed by the USPS once an agreement has been reached.

It was and still is the declared policy of the United States, as expressed in the National Labor Relations Act, to encourage workers to engage in collective action in order to bring balance to an otherwise unequal power relationship.

It was the courage and collective action of postal workers in the past that made the difference in acquiring what APWU members enjoy today. This national contract will have a major impact on postal worker families now and in the future.

This is our opportunity to take action so that we can proudly tell future generations what we did when we had the opportunity to make a difference.

The Number of Clerk Craft Employees - 2005-2015

















































Source: USPS Active Employee Statistical Summary
Available at