Wages: A Two-Tier Sword

One week after negotiations broke down on a new contract with unions representing 600,000 postal workers, the U.S. Postal Service last week imposed a two-tier wage system to reduce costs. Under the plan, which Morris Biller, president of the American Postal Workers Union, denounced as a "provocative, union-busting tactic," newly hired workers will be paid about 20% less than those already on the job. Letter carriers, for instance, will start at $17,352, compared with $21,511 for workers hired earlier. The U.S.P.S. takes on about 40,000 workers every year.

Employers see such plans, which are being increasingly proposed in contract negotiations,...

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