Recently, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been rolling out its Rural Route Evaluation Compensation System (RRECS).
The system came about after a disagreement between the USPS and rural post office workers about how much they should be paid for mail volume. RRECS was the resolution developed by the two parties and an arbitrator, with much of the language surrounding its rollout focused on its intent to “modernize” the postal system.
In practice, however, it has frequently meant less pay for rural USPS employees. One user on Reddit claimed that their pay went from “$65,000 to $47,000.” Others have claimed substantial increases in the amount of work needed accompanied by a salary loss of almost $8,000.
Now, a postal worker and user on TikTok is sounding the alarm about the new payment system, saying that many co-workers have walked off their jobs.
“We just got told … a lot of us are losing money with our new pay system,” TikTok user Kellman (@kellman9) explains in a video that’s amassed nearly 4 million views. “I’m losing about $12,000 per year, guaranteed.”
@kellman9 We 95% of us at my office just got a big paycut. This is nationwide#usps #payrollcut #outrage #help #congress ♬ original sound – Kellman Kirkconnell
“A lot of you may not be getting mail today,” Kellman continues. “We’ve had some people walk out, and other people lost way more than I did.”
“And I have to work an extra day now per pay period,” he adds. “Instead of 10 days, I have to work 11…Welcome to the post office.”
“95% of us at my office just got a big paycut. This is nationwide,” he states in the caption.
Kellman notes in subsequent follow-up videos that he is not losing as much as he initially thought (he is actually losing $10,250, which he notes is “still a lot”) while working more days and losing out on the potential for overtime.
For context, over the past few years, the United States Post Office has faced criticism from the right for its perceived lack of profitability.
However, Columbia University professor Richard R. John cites the historical record to note in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post that “the Postal Service was a public service, whose rationale was civic rather than commercial. As a New York journalist put it in 1854: The Postal Service’s ‘benefit to mankind’ far outweighed the ‘pecuniary consideration’ of any financial shortfall.”
“In 1958, a federal law made this even clearer: The Postal Service was ‘clearly not a business enterprise conducted for profit,’” the article reads.
Despite this, it appears the U.S. government has gone through great pains to strip funds from the service. For example, in 2015, Congress rolled back stamp price increases. It also imposed significant burdens on the service, such as requiring it to pre-fund its healthcare obligations (something “no other company has to do,” per Barron’s).
For many users in comments, this change in payment represents a further dismantling of USPS—in particular, services for rural customers for whom mail delivery is notoriously costlier for USPS.
“I worked at the post office in Jacksonville and the supervisors harassed employees and we had to constantly fight for our jobs through our Union. Smh,” wrote one user.
“Thats crazy,” added another. “Mail carrier is one of the hardest jobs out there and so many people depend on them…”
“45k to 43[k],” shared an additional TikToker and postal worker. “It’s devastating!”
In response, Kellman wished the user good luck and encouraged them to “go for city side.”
Update 6:50am CT, April 5: In an email to Daily Dot, a USPS spokesperson shared the following: “The compensation system for rural letter carriers is a nationally negotiated pay system codified in the parties’ National Agreement. The current modifications to the compensation system were the result of a previous interest arbitration proceeding and mandated by an interest arbitrator. The parties worked jointly for years to implement these new provisions and will continue to share data and information throughout the implementation process.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Kellman via Instagram direct message.