USPS Isn’t Paying 45,000 Rural Postal Workers This Week

A United States Postal Service (USPS) mail delivery vehicle outside a post office in Louisville, Kentucky, US, on Sunday, July 3, 2022.

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has failed to pay over 45,000 rural postal workers due to a catastrophic payroll error. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), the union representing rural workers, has negotiated a workaround for the Postal Service to provide salary advances via money order. The incident comes as these same workers attempt to decertify the union to form a new representative body.

According to Vice, the USPS identified and resolved the programming issue within its payroll system that caused tens of thousands to go unpaid. However, the issue wasn’t fixed soon enough for paychecks to be sent out in time. The workaround for workers to still be paid for their work is less than ideal, especially going into a holiday weekend. The union laid out the temporary solution in a statement:

“The NRLCA has learned about an egregious payroll error this pay period affecting more than 45,000 rural carriers. We have had multiple discussions with the USPS yesterday and into the night. All affected carriers will be entitled to salary advances on Friday. The proper amounts of what carriers should be paid will be sent to the offices so local managers will not have to attempt to calculate it; they simply need to process the salary advance on a money order, so rural carriers get paid on Friday.”

The money order will be 65 percent of their gross pay as if taxes and other deductions were withheld. Then, the amount will be deducted from the next paycheck which would include the missed payment. With the money order being sent to offices, the rural workers would have to pick up their money order in person. This could be a serious problem if someone is out sick or away on vacation for the Labor Day weekend.

This isn’t the first time that rural workers have been let down by their union. After years of negotiations with the Postal Service, the NRLCA agreed to implement a new algorithm-based pay evaluation system called the Rural Route Evaluated Compensation System (RRECS). The new system resulted in over two-thirds of rural postal workers receiving massive pay cuts. Some workers have had to work extra days and pick up second jobs as their annual pay dropped by up to $15,000. Now, many rural postal workers want better representation.