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Post Office, Letter Carriers Talk

December 18, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Postal officials and the National Association of Letter Carriers will resume contract talks on Jan. 5, the union announced Friday.

Talks between the post office and the 241,303-member union broke off Nov. 20 when the two sides were unable to reach agreement before the old contract expired. There was no threat of strike, which would be illegal.

The Postal Service did reach an agreement with the two of its largest unions, the 361,253-member American Postal Workers Union and 61,083-member National Postal Mail Handlers Union.

However, leaders of the postal workers union have split over the deal, which reportedly gives their members raises of about 6.75 percent over two years. Union members are still voting on whether to ratify the contract.

In announcing that his union was returning to the bargaining table, Letter Carriers President Vince Sombrotto said he ``will not accept a collective bargaining agreement that does not have a significant wage increase for our members.″

The post office and the same three unions were unable to reach agreement in their last two rounds of bargaining, in 1990 and 1994. The matter finally had to be resolved through binding arbitration.

Current pay ranges from $27,011 to $37,623 a year for the postal workers and letter carriers and from $23,023 to $35,868 for the mail handlers.

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