The U.S. Postal Service is seeking to fill hundreds of new $15-an-hour letter carrier jobs in Northern Ohio.
David Van Allen, a USPS regional spokesman, said there are roughly 950 openings across the agency’s Northern Ohio District in the new job category “city carrier assistant.”
Positions include paid vacation days but no retirement benefits. The new workers would be eligible for health-care benefits after the first year, or as required by the new federal health-care law.
The job openings come after an arbitration panel earlier this month resolved a deadlock between the USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers.
The financially strapped postal service is reducing its overall work force and making other cuts to slash operating costs. The agency lost $15.9 billion last year.
“We’ve had a lot of retirements, attrition,” Van Allen said Tuesday. “We also have been holding openings, and we still have to get the mail delivered. We’re still going to every house, every day.”
Van Allen said the post office is abolishing the category of “transitional employees” and that as many as half — roughly 425 — of the approximately 950 openings could be filled by those existing workers in the Northern Ohio District being reassigned.
The district is roughly the top third of the state, and runs, more or less, between the Pennsylvania and Indiana lines.
Van Allen said most of the openings will be in the greater Cleveland and Akron areas.
It is unclear how many “transitional” workers will seek to move to the new category, he said. Some might choose to quit.
That’s because the $15 hourly wage for the new job category is less than what they are earning. Additionally, “transitional employees” must pass a test to move into the new classification.
The resolution of the contract with the letter carriers union established the new job category of city carrier assistants and made them “non-career” jobs. This means they are not eligible for retirement benefits.
The workers will enjoy greater rights for advancement than employees had in the old “transitional” category, however.
The new jobs carry with them “a path to possible future employment as a letter carrier,” a prepared statement from the Northern Ohio District said.
To qualify for one of the new jobs, an applicant must pass a test, hold a valid state driver’s license, pass a pre-employment drug screening and “demonstrate and maintain” a safe driving record.
Anyone who has been convicted of drunken driving and related offenses in the past five years would not be hired, the postal service said.
Applicants must create a profile at http://usps.com/employment, fill out the online applications and follow the instructions to take Postal Examination 473.
Meanwhile, the Akron mail processing center on Wolf Ledges, near Interstates 76/77, remains on a list of centers to be closed nationwide.
Last year, the postal service spared the 400-employee Akron center from the initial round of closings. It is slated to remain open at least through this year.
The 400 workers are represented by the American Postal Service Workers Union and several other unions.
Plans call for the 200-employee postal service center in Canton to shut down this year.
Effective Sunday, it will cost a penny more to mail a first-class letter. The rate increase, approved last year, raises the price of a first-class domestic stamp to 46 cents.
The price of a postcard stamp will rise from 32 cents to 33 cents, and customers can use a new global “Forever Stamp” to mail letters anywhere in the world for a set price of $1.10.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.