" Remember to take pride in the work you perform and give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay."
Laurie Duarte - Branch 193 President
New Branch 193 Members - 2013/2014
Carrying the Mail
A Career in Public Service
What is a letter carrier?
A letter carrier is a worker employed by the
United States Postal Service (USPS), a U.S. government-owned
corporation. A letter carrier is thus a government worker, serving the
public directly, and enjoying the recognition, appreciation and trust of
the citizens whose mail they carry.
Letter carriers are ambassadors of the federal
government—for many Americans, the face of their letter carrier
is the face of government. Unlike many other government
employees, the letter carrier’s job brings them into personal contact
daily with members of the community. How the carrier acts helps
determine how citizens view the Postal Service.
Free communication—the freedom to easily exchange
ideas and information—is a central foundation of our democracy. Every
day, the mail links individuals and organizations throughout the
country, binding our large and diverse nation together. Letter carriers
fulfill a crucial function by safely and efficiently moving that mail.
What are a carrier's duties?
Most letter carriers
engaged in city delivery sort, bundle and then deliver mail addressed to
homes and businesses on an assigned route. The average city carrier
arrives at the post office at about 7 a.m. They must deal with the day’s
mail, which has already been divided for each letter carrier route. The
mail consists of letters, circulars, magazines, catalogs and small
packages. The carrier’s first task is to "case" any mail that has not
arrived at the post office already arranged in delivery sequence—putting
it into slots in a sorting case arranged by address.
After casing the mail, the carrier either
places it in trays in delivery order or bundles it with rubber bands.
Then the carrier can begin their route, delivering and collecting mail.
Most carriers deliver mail from Postal Service vehicles and carry all of
the day’s mail with them. Other city carriers deliver on foot. Their
bundles of mail are transported by truck to relay boxes along the route.
A letter carrier carries a maximum of 35 pounds in a shoulder satchel,
delivering one load of mail and then picking up more at the relay box,
until the entire route is delivered. Some carriers roll satchel carts to
deliver the mail; they can handle more weight at one time.
Except for a half-hour lunch break and two 10-minute
rest breaks, the carrier works steadily until all of the mail is
delivered. While out on the route, the carrier works independently,
without direct supervision. The average route has over 500 delivery
stops, although this figure varies widely depending on the route’s
location and volume of mail. Routes in small towns, for example, would
have fewer stops than those in an area with many large buildings. City
carriers delivering on routes whose customers regularly receive large
amounts of mail would not have as many stops as those working on routes
with a low volume of mail.
Click on Pic for guide
While out on the route, the carrier must do more than
simply put mail in mailboxes. Some types of mail require special
handling. For example, carriers must get signatures to confirm delivery
of such items as registered, certified and insured mail. The carrier
also collects postage-due and cash-on-delivery (COD) fees. If a customer
is not at home, the carrier leaves a notice indicating where the special
mail or parcel can be picked up.
When all the mail is delivered, the carrier returns
tothe post office to turn in the mail collected from street letter
boxes, homes and businesses, along with any receipts and money. Once
they have punched out on the post office time clock, the working day is
over. Letter carrier routes should be set up so that office work and
mail delivery can be completed in eight hours—usually split between two
to three hours of office time and five to six hours of delivery time.
Many mail carrier routes, however, frequently require overtime work.
Not every city letter carrier delivers mail
door-to-door. Some have specialized jobs such as delivering parcels
exclusively or only collecting mail from letter boxes. Others are
routers, and case mail all day in the post office. Relay drivers take
sorted mail out to relay boxes, where other carriers pick it up and
deliver to the appropriate address.
What are the wages and benefits?
wages and benefits have been achieved through collective bargaining by
their union, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). All
city carriers are free to become members of the NALC, and more than nine
out of ten choose to join.
The NALC negotiates a
on behalf of all letter carriers that guarantees
their wages, benefits, working conditions, and rights on the job. The
Agreement contains job security provisions, a grievance procedure to
ensure fair treatment, holiday and leave benefits, and many other worker
All letter carriers begin their employment with
the postal service as part-time flexible (PTF) employees, working a
variable schedule. Some PTFs work fewer than 40 hours per week; others
may work lots of overtime. Normally, after a few years, carriers become
full-time regulars with a fixed 40-hour-per-week schedule. How long
someone remains a PTF varies tremendously depending on the community the
carrier serves—some become full-time workers after a few weeks, others
wait 10 years or more. Because the mail is delivered six days a week,
some carriers have to work on Saturday. These carriers have another day
off during the week.
Due to NALC’s collective bargaining achievements, a
newly-hired letter carrier earned $17.66 per hour as of November 26,
2005. The National Agreement also provides a regular schedule of salary
increases. In approximately 12½ years, a carrier reaches the top of the
salary schedule, which stood at $23.05 per hour as of November 26, 2005.
Cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments help protect carrier earnings from
inflation. All carriers earn time-and-one-half for overtime work (in
some circumstances, double-time), and full-time regulars earn premium
pay for work performed on holidays.
Letter carriers enjoy secure retirement plans
administered by the U.S. government, along with health benefits and life
The job of a rural letter carrier job is organized
differently than that of a city carrier. A different union, the
National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, has negotiated a
contract for rural carriers. Anyone wishing more information about
working as a rural carrier should contact:
In order to become a letter carrier, you must
be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident
alien status, and possess a current driver’s license. Every candidate
must pass a physical examination and take a standardized test (USPS Exam
473) which evaluates reading and memory skills. A sample clerk-carrier
test can be found in most public libraries. USPS publication 60-A,
Test 473 - Orientation Guide for Major Entry Level Jobs includes
sample test questions.
Carriers must be honest and reliable because they are
responsible for the safe passage of the mail. Good interpersonal skills
are needed, as the job demands constant interaction with the public.
Carriers answer questions, handle complaints and explain Postal Service
products and services to their customers. They must be able to cope with
the stress caused by a high volume of work.
Letter carriers must enjoy working outside. They need
to be generally healthy, with considerable endurance. An average carrier
spends five to six hours every day working in the open, often walking
several miles under extreme weather conditions. They should also have
the strength to load and unload parcels weighing up to 70 pounds.
How do you apply?
Each local post office is responsible for
hiring its letter carriers and other postal employees; there is no
central location for applications.
To apply, contact your local post office to find out
the date and time of the next written test in your area. The
USPS website provides additional information about the employment
process, including a schedule of exams by state.
After taking the test and receiving a score, you will
be placed on a register of eligible applicants. The register is ranked
according to test scores, so the better your score, the greater your
chances of being hired. If you are not satisfied with your test result,
you may retake the test. Only your highest score will be placed on the
If a letter carrier position becomes open, the local
postmaster picks the successful applicant from the top three scores on
the register. Before being hired, the selected candidate then must pass
a physical examination.
In recent years, the demand for letter carrier jobs
has far exceeded the number of openings—especially in larger
metropolitan areas. Competition is keen. Interested applicants must be
prepared to wait at least one to two years before being offered a
position as a letter carrier. Because of the high demand, the average
age of a newly-hired letter carrier is over 30. Your local post office
can advise you of the prospects of obtaining a letter carrier job in
HOW YOU CAN GET
Requests for one or more free copies of the pamphlet, Carrying
the Mail, should be sent to the following address:
100 Indiana Ave. NW
Washington DC 20001-2144
Additional information about being a letter carrier, and other
careers in the postal service, can be found in most public and
school libraries, and through state employment offices.
As a letter carrier, there are many physical duties and requirements. After the
carriers tour of duty begins he/she must inspect their postal vehicle and then
retrieve letter and flat mail from the mail distribution case. This mail may
weigh from mere ounces to 10 or more pounds. This mail must be lifted and
transported by the carrier to their route case for sorting. At the carriers case there are trays and tubs of mail that have been
distributed to their route by a distribution clerk. The carriers day begins by
loading their case ledge with as much mail as possible. In order to do this the
carrier must bend and lift trays and/or tubs of mail off of the floor
surrounding their case and place same on their case ledge for sorting as needed.
These tubs or trays of mail can weigh 30 or more pounds. The carrier then begins
casing this mail into their "U" shaped route case, which is setup in route
delivery sequence. On average days this may take from approximately 1.5 to 2.5
hours of continuous standing, twisting, turning, and reaching above the
The USPS handbook entitled City Delivery Carriers'--Duties and
Responsibilities, states that "the accurate and speedy routing of mail is one of
the most important duties of a carrier; you must be proficient at this task". After casing all available mail for their route the carrier must retrieve
their parcel hamper which is a wheeled container filled with large and small
parcels that may weigh up to 70 lbs. The carrier rolls this hamper to their case
where the carrier then pulls the route down in delivery sequence and places this
mail into trays or tubs and then into their parcel hamper. After this has been
completed the carrier must clock onto street time, roll their hamper of mail
outside, pick up their DPS Letter trays & proceed to their postal truck and load this mail into their truck or vehicle
for street delivery. All mail tubs, trays, and parcels must be lifted by the
carrier from their parcel hamper and placed in their vehicle. Loaded mail trays
and tubs can weigh as much as 35 pounds or more. All of these duties requires
continuous twisting, turning, bending, lifting, and stooping.
STREET and/or DELIVERY
After completing their office duties and loading their vehicle the carriers
street duties begin which may last up 6 hours or much longer. The vast majority
of mail routes are park and loop routes, which consists of parking and "looping"
mail delivery up one side of the street and then back down the other side
carrying their mail in their hands and via a satchel normally hanging over their
shoulder filled with up to 35 lbs. of additional mail and parcels. The carrier returns to their vehicle when completing each park and loop. He
then moves the vehicle to the next park and loop point. These "park and
can subject the carrier to all types of terrain from concrete to sand to mud,
from hilly to flat grounds, rugged rock filled paths, or normal downtown street
sidewalks. Naturally, the carrier performs all of these street duties in all
types of weather. Their park and loops may expose them to walking on snow or ice
covered terrain, as well as rain soaked ground cover.
The carrier is required to be able to lift up to 70 pounds - in the office or
while on the street. Street duties require constant bending, twisting, stooping,
lifting and climbing of stairs or hills in all types of weather. All of these
duties exposes the carriers body to constant pressure upon feet and knees and
upper and lower body.
The National Association of Letter Carriers is the
sole representative of city delivery letter carriers in the United
States. Since it was founded in 1889, the union has defended the rights of
letter carriers before abusive supervisors, unfair administrations and
indifferent Congresses. The NALC is the only force fighting to protect
your interests as a city delivery letter carrier. But most of all, the NALC
is hundreds of thousands of letter carriers like you, united to protect the
quality of their jobs and the integrity of the United States Postal
Since 1889, the NALC has helped win
every pay increase and improvement in benefits letter carriers have
gained. Before 1970, the union had to persuade Congress to pass a law
to raise letter carriers' pay. But with passage of the Postal
Reorganization Act in that year, the NALC won letter carriers the right to
bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions. Since then, the
average letter carrier's pay has gone from $8,000 a year to $45,094.
The Postal Service can be an impersonal and sometimes
hostile bureaucracy. Yet because of the NALC, letter carriers can
fight unwarranted discipline, discrimination and other abuses. When
you have a grievance, the NALC will represent you every step of the way.
On the local level, the NALC stewards iron out day-to-day problems and
keep an eye on safety and health conditions in the station.
and branch officers provide strong support when you file a grievance
procedure— including third party arbitration if necessary.
On the national level, a computerized arbitration index assists NALC
representatives in preparing your grievance. In addition, the union
takes disputes with the Postal Service over the interpretation of the
contract to Arbitration. The NALC has helped thousands of letter
carriers win reinstatement, back pay, unpaid overtime and seniority
The NALC is one of the most democratic unions in the
United States. Members vote directly for local and national officers
and on proposed contracts. The convention, held every two years, is
the supreme body of the union, where members elected to serve as
delegates chart the course of the union and set NALC policy. Today,
NALC is more that 300,000 active and retired letter carriers in 2,561
branches across the country. National headquarters officers in
Washington, D.C. keep an eye on congress and the USPS. Fifteen
National Business Agents coordinate activities within their postal
regions; state associations promote grassroots legislative campaigns.
Union members can speak out at branch meetings, vote in local and
national union elections, run for office and work for policies and
programs they support.
What does the NALC and Branch 193 do
8 hour day
Overtime Pay (time & a half)
Penalty Pay (double time)
General Wage Increases
Cost Of Living Adjustments
Family Medical Leave
Safe Working Conditions
Work Shop/Rap Sessions
Annual Holiday Safeway Gift Certificate, $50.00
Annual Family Picnic
Annual Family Christmas Dinner, FREE
Annual Branch Steak/Chicken BBQ
Amusement Park Discounts,
Education and Training in Contract and Legislative Issues
Branch, State and National Scholarships
MDA and Second Harvest Food Bank Fundraisers And most importantly, YOUR voice and vote on Contractual Issues and Ratification.
* We also OWN our office building
and lease office space. This helps build and strengthen our branch funds.
How much are the dues?
NO initiation fees!
Active member: $20.37
Retiree: $7.68 Yearly
How do I join?
To join the union, talk to your NALC Shop Steward in
your station. He or she will give you a PS Form 1187 to fill out for
NALC membership. If you don't know how to reach your station shop
steward, call the branch office at 408-288-8138 or you can simply print
one by clicking on this link, fill out the form and give it to your shop
Dues Withholding -- Regular Member
Three members of the California State
Association of Letter Carriers displayed their opposition to Proposition 75.
NALC members helped deliver that message to California Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger in the November 8, 2005 election when voters soundly rejected his anti-union, anti-worker agenda. The Union Members are Mike Poblano, CSALC Vice President Harold Kelso and CSALC President John
Become a SUPER DELEGATE and receive
TWO FREE T-Shirts! Sign up for
for COLCPE, "E-Activist" &
You can sign up
below for ALL three!
Just click on
TAKE ACTION NOW!
BE POLITICALLY ACTIVE AND HELP PROTECT YOUR JOB!
This is a sample email you will receive after
signing up for e-Activist. Very EASY to do!
More than 16,000 of your fellow letter
carriers have already done their part to send this message
as part of the AFL-CIO’s Million Member Mobilization:
"To: The New President and Congress
I urge you to enact the Employee Free Choice Act
immediately. This crucial legislation will protect workers’
freedom to choose a union and bargain, without management
intimidation. Allowing more workers to freely join unions
and bargain with their employers will help rebuild the
middle class by expanding health care, improving
retirement security and raising the standard of living for
America’s working families."
But we still need YOU to add your voice.
I want at least 25,000 letter carriers to lend their names
to this cause before the end of September. Thank you if
you have already filled out a post card or filed a
petition on line—and please pass this e-mail on to other
carriers in your office. We need them to act today.
If you haven’t signed up for the Million Member
Mobilization, take a few moments right now to do
Our goal is to put the Employee Free Choice Act at the
top of the agenda in 2009 by making the need to rebuild
the labor movement a key economic issue in the November
election. The law would provide for card-check union
recognition and first-contract arbitration. A healthy and
growing middle class and a stronger labor market for
workers is essential to the NALC’s continued success at
the bargaining table. We have to once again make "union
pay and benefits" the rule, not the exception.
With the names and photos of a million Americans, we
can show Congress that Employee Free Choice has massive
and genuine support. Your letter, petition and photo will
put real names and faces on the demands of working
people—people who have been invisible for too long.
So please, go
to fill out the petition, attach a personal photo
of yourself if you have one (under 1Mb), and hit the
submit button. If you have already sent in the Million
Member Mobilization postcard from the Postal Record
magazine, you can add your photo to your signature
It’s that easy to do your part to start rebuilding the
middle class. Be one in a million.
William H. Young
Click the link below to go to the
Democratic National Committee website!
It Matters How You
Personal consumer spending on
everyday items like clothes, toothpaste, food, etc.
accounts for 68 percent of all the wealth created annually
in the United States. (That’s $6.8 trillion a year!)
Source: U.S. Department of the
Every Job Counts (maybe more
than you think)!
When a worker is hired, nearly five
additional jobs are created somewhere else in the economy.
And every time someone is laid off in the U.S., nearly
five more people lose their jobs. Wages buy groceries,
gasoline, clothing and other goods and services that keep
other people working. When companies hire, they order more
supplies and raw materials, creating additional jobs for
vendors. When companies downsize and lay off, spending and
wages are slashed and jobs vanish throughout the economy.
It’s Economics 101: The fight for good jobs is everyone’s
When You Shop, “Vote
with Your Dollars” for Good Jobs.
It is up to you, alone. Your shopping
dollars can support products made by people earning good
pay and benefits. Or your dollars can support products
made by -- who knows? Political prisoners in China? Child
laborers in Haiti? Terrorized factory workers in a Mexican
It really is simple: Buy union and take responsibility for
what your dollars do.
“Support Good Jobs. Shop Union!”
Look at the
Price of Unjust, Unfair Trade
At $100 a minute, you would need
9,151 years to pay off the current U.S. trade deficit. The
U.S. owes foreign nations a whopping $481,000,000,000
(That’s $481 billion!) That’s the price of importing more
than we export; of outsourcing to exploit cheap repressed
labor overseas; of trade deals that ignore worker rights
and the environment. That’s why we say: “Shop Union!
Invest in good jobs for your community.” [Do the math:
1,440 minutes/day = 525,600 minutes/year. 525,600 min/yr x
$100/min. = $52.56 million/yr. Dividing $481,000,000,000
by $52,560,000/year = 9,151 years.]
Union Jobs =
Good Jobs = Strong Communities
The average union worker earns $760
a week, compared to $599 a week for non-union workers in
the same occupations. That 27 percent difference in wages
and salaries means more dignity and independence for
working families. It also means more wages spent within
the community, a stronger tax base and less drain on
social services. “Support Good Jobs. Shop Union!”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor
Union Jobs are
“Ladder Up” for Poorest Workers
Unions provide a sure path out of poverty
for the poorest workers. African Americans earn 35 percent
more in wages and salaries when they unionize ($665 a
week, compared to $491 a week for those without a union).
Latino and Latina union members earn a whopping 51 percent
more ($632 a week versus $419 a week) and wages for women
of all races were 33 higher for union members ($696 a week
compared to $522 a week).
“Support Good Jobs. Shop Union!”
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor
Unions Key to
Health Care and Secure Retirement
Did you know 73 percent of union
workers enjoy medical care benefits, compared with only 51
percent of nonunion workers? And 79 percent of union
workers are covered by a pension plan versus only 44
percent of nonunion workers.
The quality of benefits is also far higher for
union-represented employees. For example, 70 percent of
union workers have defined-benefit pension plans (which
provide guaranteed minimum benefit payments) compared to
16 percent of nonunion employees.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor
Promotes Stable, Full-time Jobs
Fully 50 percent of union employees
have worked at least 10 years for the same employer,
compared to only 22 percent of nonunion employees. Not
only are union members more satisfied with their jobs, pay
and benefits; they also have contracts with grievance
procedures to protect against unjust firings. (Nonunion
workers are "employees at will" who can be fired at any
time for any reason—or for no reason.) Full-time workers
are also twice as likely to be represented by a union.
Involuntary part-time employment (common among non-union
workers) is a major cause of poverty.
Source: U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics -
“Support Good Jobs.
What products are still American-made?
If you're tired of poisoning your kids with lead-painted toys
from China or killing your pets with melamine-laced Chinese pet food, you may be
wondering what you can buy that's made in America.
To its credit, China is trying to fix its reputation. According to
CBS News, China's product safety chief Li Changjiang offered
assurances that toys made in China would be "safer, better and more appealing.
Before Christmas, we will certainly provide children safer, better and more
appealing toys. They will certainly like them." To bolster that claim, on
September 11th, China signed an agreement to prohibit the use of lead paint on
toys exported to the United States.
posted in July, 2007, we expect that there could be a business opportunity to
sell products to U.S. consumers that are made anywhere but China. Then we cited
examples of an upscale New York grocery with no Chinese seafood and a New
Jersey-based natural producer of premium dog food blended from meat and
vegetables. However, we have not seen much in the way of new developments in
the last few months.
So what are the choices for those who want to buy products made in the
It's surprisingly difficult to find companies that actually make their
products in America. For instance, you might think that
Anheuser Busch Companies (NYSE:
BUD) brews its beer in the U.S. However, while it has many plants in the
U.S., it also brews in Japan, China and Germany.
Hasbro Inc. (NYSE:
makes its Monopoly board game in Waterford, Ireland, not in the U.S. And
Wrangler jeans for the U.S. market are manufactured in Central America and
We started off looking at companies on the
Made in America
site -- a show on the Travel Channel. This led us to a
long list of companies.
While many of the names on this list are
headquartered in the U.S., many make some if not all of their products in
other countries (to find out, simply do a Google search on 'where is
[product name] manufactured,' which usually leads to relevant information on the
topic). We decided to strike those names from the list we would write about and
focus only on those companies that were fairly well-known brands which as far
as we could tell actually made their products in the USA.
With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching
in a few months, here's a list of 22
products which are made in America:
While this video is funny, it is however
In this cartoon, an honest factory worker
learns the truth about his favorite department store: that
there's a very high cost for everyday low prices. Namely,
outsourcing to foreign countries and unemployment!
This website is offered to all Branch 193 Letter Carriers as a "Resource"
and "Reference" Guide only. DO NOT always rely on what you read as things can easily be
misinterpreted or mislead you into thinking differently.
DO NOT take
matters into your own hands to resolve issues. ALWAYS contact your Union
Steward, President or Vice President to handle contract disputes or other
issues. Use this information to help you work smarter not harder and to
become more knowledgeable on your job functions and rights as a Letter
Carrier. Branch 193, it's Web Designers or Web Maintenance Personnel hold no liability
for mis-information on this website or it's links. Website information is linked to the NALC
website, Branch 193 Bulletin as well as other websites. We are not liable nor condone questionable material or
information posted on other websites. As with any Internet site, websites can be hacked
into and information changed or modified. ALL security measures have been taken to the best of our
abilities with Yahoo and PSG Web Services. ANYONE with questions regarding
information posted on this website are encouraged to contact the local
branch office. All photos and information on this website are property of
Branch 193, National and other Union websites. Any Branch or Union member
wishing to copy photos or information may do so as long as credit is given
to Branch 193 as well as obtaining permission without
violating copyright laws.