on Sep 8th, 2009 in Labor | 7 comments
Source: BLS Metropolitan Area Wage Estimates May 2008
(Occupation Codes: 25-2031, 43-5052, and 47-2061)

Thanks for the great response to last week's blog. Last week, we asked about pay comparability, and 23 percent of those polled voted that the goal for postal compensation should be to match the prevailing private sector compensation. However, 35 percent voted that Postal Service compensation should exceed private sector pay, and the largest group of voters (40 percent) said that Postal Service pay should be set at levels necessary to get good, qualified employees.

In reality, matching private sector pay is virtually impossible with a uniform pay structure. Why? The uniform postal wage may be much higher than the prevailing wages in a low cost-of-living area and much lower than private sector pay in high-cost areas. A letter carrier working in New York makes the same as the letter carrier working in Dubuque, Iowa. So this week, we’re seeking your opinions and comments on wage uniformity. Regardless of how you feel about the need to match the private sector in general, should postal wages vary by area? The federal government currently has 31 locality pay areas for General Schedule (GS) employees, and the federal “blue collar” schedule called the Federal Wage System has 257 wage grade areas. Should postal wages vary in a similar manner by locality?

What are some of the consequences of having uniform wages? Does it make it harder to find qualified workers in urban areas? Are workers more reluctant to relocate to high-wage areas? What do you think?

To limit the effect on effect on current employees, a two-tier system could be introduced that applies geographic-based pay to new employees only. What do you think about a two-tier system?

Are there other alternatives for introducing geographic-based pay?

This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC).


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Another alternative is to use a formula based on national wage averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (e.g. 75th percentile for Salary for locality * full employment rate of locality) Also you may want to average the past three years for smoothing. Also, you may want to guarantee that a person's salary will not decrease.

Quit screwing with a system that is not broke!!!!

Wages should increase based on the current COLA formula, along with longevity increases. Additionally, there should be a Locality Pay that is uniform across the board for GS, WG, SES, PS, MH, and all other Federal pay scales.

Those in low cost areas love the current system while those in high cost areas are being mistreated. The bottom line is that in any sensible organization, wages vary based on the local cost of living.

Ben Franklin says the system is not broke; Ben Franklin is wrong. Think of a lean, productive, effective organization, like many that are state-of-the art today. Whether a Postal Service like such an organization could survive in the long term is questionable. But it is not questionable whether the Postal Service of today is such an organization. The gap is large!

Does anyone know how much a new TRC is paid? I was just hired and forgot to ask at the interview. Before I accept the position I would like to know the pay.

Um.. what prevailing private sector wage should be the basis for USPS mail carrier compensation?

The closest private sector job is pizza delivery.