September 2nd, 2006, the top pay for a U.S. Postal Service letter
carrier is $23.66 per hour. Not bad! That's $49,218 a year, not
including overtime and benefits (see
pay chart). Yet, on average, United Parcel Service (UPS)
drivers receiving top pay make about $3 to $4 per hour more than
their government-sector counterparts. Though there is no
definitive pay chart for UPS drivers, research indicates that most
full-time UPS drivers make about $27 to $28 per hour. The pay gap
is even greater for newer postal employees. UPS drivers reach top
pay after only 30 months. After 30 months service, USPS letter
carriers earn about $20 per hour, resulting in a pay gap of about
$7 to $8 per hour at 30 months. This pay gap may be important in
current wage negotiations between the U.S. Postal Service and NALC,
the union that represents the Postal Service's letter carriers.
UPS driver pay has been cited in past contract negotiations
between the USPS and NALC because UPS drivers have a
private-sector job most closely resembling government-sector
letter carrier jobs. Before the last USPS/NALC contract, UPS
driver pay and USPS letter carrier pay was closer. However, the
USPS and NALC came to terms on a modest pay increase for letter
carriers covering the period 2001 to 2006. However, months after
the USPS/NALC agreement, UPS drivers, represented by the
Teamsters, secured a more dramatic pay increase. By the end of
their current contract, UPS drivers in the top pay bracket
(reached after only 30 months in service) will be making more than
$28 per hour.
benchmark of UPS driver pay in comparison to letter carriers' pay
is important because it is an indication of what government letter
carriers could be able to negotiate in the open, free-market.
Letter carriers do not have the option to strike, like their
private-sector UPS counterparts. If the USPS and NALC are unable
to reach a contract agreement an arbitrator may use the pay
comparison to help decide new pay rates for letter carriers.
favorable pay that UPS drivers receive, UPS continues to be
profitable despite operating in a more competitive environment and
incurring some operating costs the USPS doesn't have, including
taxes and other regulatory expenses. The UPS must directly compete
with other companies, including FedEx, DHL and others, whereas the
USPS has a virtual monopoly on its core service (letters and
flats). UPS stock remains healthy and UPS CEO Michael Eskew
received $1.2 million in pay for 2005, according to Yahoo Finance.
Recently, UPS pilots "hit
the jackpot" with their new contract.
the USPS will be pushing for another "modest" pay increase for its
letter carriers. As in years past, the USPS will cite financial
pressures and other considerations to try to suppress wage
increases. They will enlist the support of major mailers to plead
their cause, and you'll see more of Sam Ryan and other
commentator/pundits who will instead compare letter carriers to
pizza delivery drivers.
five years since the USPS and NALC negotiated over wages. During
that time period the jobs of letter carriers have gotten even more
difficult. Carriers are delivering more bulk volume. Automation
has reduced the time letter carriers spend sorting mail in the
office. As a result, letter carriers are spending more time on the
street delivering mail, which is harder than sorting. Overall,
routes are longer and the mail load is heavier, a trend that will
only increase during the next contract term.
The USPS has earned billions in profits during the course of the
current contract and has eliminated its entire outstanding debt.
It's time for letter carriers to be rewarded for their hard work
and contributions to the Postal Service in a manner that is
consistent and fair with the private-sector pay that their UPS
contract was negotiated in the shadow of the 9/11 and anthrax
attacks of 2001. NALC, fearful of the economic situation, may have
been less inclined to push for larger wage increases. This year,
however, there is no shadow looming over negotiations. NALC should
be more forceful and confident in negotiating a more favorable
contract for its letter carriers and close the pay gap that has
resulted from the last contract.
UPS' pay, perks make it a destination job for many
"Thirty months into the job, the company's U.S. drivers
earn top union scale wages - up to $70,000 or more a year. Senior
drivers get up to nine weeks paid annual leave. While most
workers' medical insurance premium costs are rising, UPS picks up
100% of drivers' premiums. Pensions are also generous; drivers
retiring after 25 years get up to $30,000 a year. High pay and
deep-pocket perks are largely why UPS drivers average 16.2 years
on the job, four times longer than the typical American worker.
They're mostly why turnover is 1.8% a year. And they're why UPS
ranks are swelling with white-collar workers embarking on new
careers and an increasingly educated workforce. More than 5,100
UPS drivers are college graduates or hold advanced degrees."
Driver Discusses Pay
"There isn't any pay chart available that I know of, but here is
the next best thing.
http://www.tdu.org/UPS/UPS This is a copy of the 2006-2008
contract and in Art. 41, you will see what the raises are. Now
those are raises to your existing wage. My wage today is
$27.17/hr., so on Aug. 1, 2007 with my raise of $1, I will go to
$28.17. All of the wages across the country are a little
different (by less than a dollar an hour) because we used to be on
separate contracts. They make a little more on the East coast then
we do here. Then they consolidated them all into one National
agreement and they set the raises, but it does not make the pay
the same for everyone because we weren't all making the same when
they went National. But it's real close for everyone. Everyone
after 30 months in progression goes to top pay. You can see what
progression pay is in the contract also, under Art. 41 ,sec. 2(3).
Section 3 is full time inside jobs which we forced UPS to make by
combining part time jobs into full time. The part timers don't
fair so well. They start at $8.50 an hour and participate in the
annual raises. Everyone gets a ballot to vote on the contract but
only the full timers seem to cast their votes. The company knows
this and pitches the wages to the full timers. The part timers
have taken it in the shorts contract after contract even though
60% of the hourlies are part timers. This is the Master agreement
and then we all have regional supplements which address issues not
covered in the Master. That's why some regions have sick days and
some don't. We have an extra week of vacation called our option
week but no sick days."