Retro Pay and Our Union Contract

Charlie Cash

November 7, 2022

Share this article

Finally! The retroactive payments owed under the 2021-2022 National Agreement (union contract) have been processed. The payment, commonly known as “retro pay” or “backpay” was included in paychecks dated Oct. 28, 2022 - eight months after the 2021-2024 National Agreement was ratified.

I am pleased that you have finally received the payments owed, but the length of time it took to process those payments was unacceptable. When a new contract is established, it takes significant reprogramming of software systems to implement the new parts of the contract. Our latest union contract included ground-breaking changes that required more programming than any contract in recent memory. When Postal Service management scheduled the programming changes, they placed the processing of retroactive payments at the back of the line. The payments were originally scheduled for 2023. We demanded that the processing of these payments be moved up and filed a national dispute. The Postal Service ultimately moved the payments up and active employees received them via direct deposit or paper check on Oct. 28, 2022.

No single employee’s retroactive payment will be the same nor can they be calculated easily. Payments are based on the number of paid hours (work or paid leave) an employee had during the retroactive “periods.” The periods are defined as:

  • Nov. 20, 2021 through June 3, 2022
    • 1.3% General increase for all employees
    • 1.0% Additional increase for Postal Support Employees (PSEs)
  • Feb. 26, 2022 through June 3, 2022
    • $0.63 per hour COLA for career employees
  • April 9, 2022 through July 29, 2022
    • Extra $0.50 per hour for PSEs
  • Sept. 25, 2021 through June 3, 2022
    • Pay Changes to Grade 11 employees

Former employees who had paid hours during the retro periods will also receive a payment. If an employee retired, resigned, or separated for any other reason, they will receive a payment in the form of a paper check that is typically sent to the last installation they worked at. These former employees should reach out to that installation to arrange receiving their check.

Questions about the retroactive payment should be addressed to your state or local officers and stewards. If necessary, state or local officers can then escalate the question to the Industrial Relations Department.

I want to express my appreciation to our APWU family members whose work and dedication is invaluable to us all. The employees in the Information Technology/Accounting Services (IT/AS) unit did all the work behind the scenes that lead to these payments. Without their work none of us would receive a paycheck from the Postal Service. They, too, are owed a retroactive payment. It will be processed in Pay Period 26 and appear in their Dec. 23, 2022 paychecks.

Many of the changes that were agreed to in the union contract have also now been implemented. Two more went into effect on Sept. 24, 2022 (Pay Period 21-2022). including:

  • 40 Hours of Advanced Leave to Part Time Flexible (PTF) Employees and PSEs
  • Preferred rate for the APWU Health Plan Consumer Driven Option (CDHP). Time spent in an FEHB plan as a PSE will now count towards receiving the preferred rate. It is possible some APWU members may be owed refunds. The Industrial Relations Department is currently working with the Postal Service to identify these members.

There are still some changes to the contract that are being programmed and have yet to be implemented. These include the uniform/work clothes allowance rollover and the additional one hour of annual leave for PSEs who work in RMPOs. An announcement will be made when these changes are implemented.

Negotiating a contract is always a huge undertaking. But the work doesn’t stop with ratification. Implementation also takes extensive work and the Industrial Relations Department is working everyday towards full implementation.


Stay in touch with your union

Subscribe to receive important information from your union.