The Union membership.


Not sure if most of you know this, but I usually stay on the union “bad” list for the information I share.  I am accused of letting non members have information only meant for union members.  I have heard this accusation since the beginning of this website.  Yes, I do share information that is shared at State Conventions, National Conventions, etc…   I come by this information honestly.   A rural carrier usually sends me the information.  The problems come in when I share it on my website. That is when the accusations begin that I am giving non members free information only meant for dues paying members.

Ok, so, I will agree that basically this is true.  Non members can come to my website and get this information.  I will add the argument that “most” (not all) non members are not going to be actively seeking out “free” information.  Most of them probably do not care either way.  Some are non members because they do not believe in unions ( I do not understand this one, but ok), some were previously members and became upset with some actions of the union, some say they cannot afford the dues, and the rest probably fall under the category of they just do not care.  They just do the job and go home..

I have also heard over the years that things presented or testimony given at a convention is super secret and cannot be shared with the union membership at large because someone at the USPS might read it or a non-member might read it.  Time and time again, rural carriers have sent me information presented at the conventions that has never been shared with the membership at large. It is not shared in the union magazine or the union website. This is information that EVERY dues paying member of the union would like to have and I believe every union member deserves this information.


So, lets look at the numbers of union vs non-union rural carriers.

This is the latest information from the NRLCA on union membership..

So from this chart we take this information:

Regular Carrier union members: 55205

Relief Carrier union members:     27484

For these calculation purposes I have left out the retired members.

This gives us a total of  82,689 active rural carriers who are members of the NRLCA.


Now let’s look at Rural Carriers on the USPS payroll

(On roll employees PP 09/2013)

Regular carrier on rolls:  66005

Relief Carrier on rolls:      45674

That gives us a total of 111,679 rural carriers on the employment rolls of the Postal Service.


So using those figures

111,679 rural carriers on the rolls


82,689  active rural carriers that are union members.


28,990 rural carriers who are not union members.

That means approximately 74% percent of rural carriers are members of the NRLCA and roughly 26% are not members.


I am going to make an unscientific guestimation and say that maybe 10,000 rural carriers attend the conventions nationwide every year where the coveted information gets shared.  That is probably a generous guess, but I will go with it.

So using my guestimation, that would leave roughly 72,000 rural carriers who pay dues every paycheck who do not get that information.  I am not going to go into the “Why don’t you go?” argument.  This has been argued for years and years.  Yes, there is apathy.. A lot of it..  That is why union membership nationwide continues to decline year after year.

The questions I am asking are these: – Do ALL dues paying members deserve the same information or should it be a requirement to go to the conventions to get it?  We all pay dues.  When each and every one of us signed up for the union, the only requirement for membership was to pay dues.  Should the fact that a non-member might get some information stop the NRLCA from sharing this information with those 72,000 members at large?

I guess you all know my answer to those questions.  I am still here sharing every bit of information I come across because I believe ALL dues paying members deserve ALL available information.  I just thank goodness that there are some rural carriers out there that feel the same or we would all be left in the dark. Information is made to be shared.  Knowledge really is POWER..  The 74% should not be slighted because the 26% might get a bit of information.  Maybe that one shred of information a non-member might come across might make them rethink their membership.  You never know.  Information can NOT be stopped.  It will get out and it will be shared. I have been called a fraud, an anti union scab. I have been accused of hurting union membership and have had the NRLCA send my State Steward on a mission to try to get me to take down information. And, I am still here.. (By the way, I have been a union member for over 15 years, just in case anyone was wondering)

I often hear people ask why rural carriers are so divided.. There are a lot of reasons, but the withholding of information is surely one of those. A union seeking solidarity cannot divide the membership between the haves and have-nots when it comes to information. This creates a rift in the membership. If you want to unite the membership, give everyone the information they pay for and deserve and forget about that 26%. You cannot keep information away from the 26% without hurting the 74%. In this scenario, informing the 74% is absolutely more important.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

How do we ditch the NRLCA and get a union that actually represents its members.

I agree whole heartly with the article on presenting info to all. The one statistic I did not see was how many people who access this web site are Union members? As stated most of the people who are not Union members are that way because they "just don't care" so they probably dont care enough to access this info either! If I were to guess, the people access this info are over 99% Union members!

I go to the area steward because our inhouse steward only takes care of his buddies. If I wasn't there( I am the district President) our subs would sit home on Saturday and we would have mandatory work often. At least the area people know something.

You are all right! What makes me mad is the fact that most of them forget where they came from!! Mailmom, that's the way they are! They cheat for some carries, buddies, and then jump all over you for well, "its only a couple a seconds!! This one carrier was just one minute into being a 40k route!! ONE MINUTE!!! And they tell us its only a second! Well them seconds add up!!!!! If she didn't have that one minute that don't mean anything, she would have been a J route!! So it does matter!! If management would let us… Read more »

Daniel, I feel the same way. How hard is it to get a straight answer on anything? Got to say, returned phone calls are getting better. Still feel like I'm in the dark as info is not readily given to us.

absolutely agree!

or how about those who have been union members since day one and when I do have a grievable issue I am told by the steward I do not understand, are you coming to booster? really? 17 yr rural carrier and belonged to unions before I started working with po and this is the first time I would just like to quit and save my money, though I am not an idiot and they might save our jobs if it comes down to it, but for a 1 person issue? forget it, I dont get paid for unlocking dock doors… Read more »

If paying dues for all craft members were required – this problem wouldn't be….

You make an excellent point jsimek21. It isn't only offense taken about paying dues and being kept in the dark, but it makes the NRLCA less effective. Before the NRLCA obsesses about mgmt or non-members listening in, they really need to obsess about doing their jobs in representing the rank and file. Because they are a colassal failure at this. And they isolate themselves from the very sources that they need to understand this.

I resigned from the Union nearly 3 years ago. I was a member for 25 years but felt my only purpose was to pay dues and read about delegates going on vacation/convention. The final straw was when our State convention was held in another state. I knew it was time to get out. Now I keep my mouth and attitude to myself and listen to all the discontent rural carriers bitching/complaining about management. Retirement isn't far off so there is a light at the end of the work tunnel. Good luck to all

Hey, you keep on posting things on here!! I have been a union member since I was hired back in 1995 and if it weren't for this site here, I would NOT know what the heck is going on!! I am tired of paying out all this money and never knowing what is going on!!! The NRLCA website is never updated and all the information is old. I cant even get a copy of our contract which I think all members should have!! If I am paying out almost 300 dollars a year in dues then I should have access… Read more »

When you go regular and you were a veteran you have the right to buy that military time for retirement purposes. If you do it immediately there is no interest charged, after 30 days I think, interest is due and payable. One must contact their branch of service and request their gross pay for their time served. Once that is sent to you a formula is applied that determines how much you must contribute to your annuity to claim those years upon retiring. If you wait until you retire it can cost thousands because of the interest charges., or in… Read more »

I have been a member since beginning work in 1988. I was raised in a union family. My husband is the president of his union and steward for years. There is no comparison between his union and the NRLCA, In our area we have an area steward who back management and accepts their badmouthing the carriers. I was the steward for years but it is not helpful if the one above you is a figurehead. I am not the only steward in this area who has problems with the area steward. Of course, National accepts her work as gospel. Our… Read more »

I argued passionately against making the website password protected. History teaches many lessons to those who care to learn. China was a great country prior to the "Great Wall" that turned out not to be so great. The advances that had been generated were slowly but surely lost to the people as they were cut off from other cultures and knowledge. I personally don't care if you are a union member or not and neither should anyone else. Non members have to be represented the same as members. Like the author I take GREAT offense in being denied information since… Read more »

Your comment regarding "AN EXTRA TWO YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE FOR RETIREMENT PURPOSES" has peaked my interest. Please tell us HOW former military personnel can go about learning about using their military time for retirement purposes. Is this something that is automatically credited to a carrier's retirement account? OR, is there some process that must be followed?



I concur with the author. The information from the NRLCA should be available to all Rural Craft members. One of the constant complaints I used to get (I'm now retired) was "We never have anything worth joining for."

I do agree with your commentary, but have mixed emotions. It's like a catch 22! The Union is for all paying or non paying members….(so they say). HOWEVER, I highly resent non members bragging how they don't have to join because they get the same representation as members. So, all for one & one for all? Is if fair to think the Union will go the extra mile for me because I am a member? Knowledge is power. Yes, information should be shared. To all? How would you/Union make that decision? A Union is a brotherhood of individuals for a… Read more »

I have been a rural carrier and a union member for 24 years and will enjoy an extra two years of military service for retirement purposes. Where would we be without the union? — working for a much, much lower wage. In these trying times we must stick together — we must be a union and show it.Those that want to hurt us smile every time we argue — so if you need to argue, please don't make it public. We need information to survive and I love this website and visit it many times each day. It does a… Read more »

Our state has several count seminars available to all carriers, as we have managers as well as union stewards presenting the info. As for the online training for managers, our district did away with it last time because they realized what our people told them was true, that many of the managers weren't paying attention but doing payroll, paperwork, etc. But even when we have mail count training, only a handful %-wise show up, even when it's only a short drive. The excuses range from "it won't make any difference" to "I ain't got time". As the old saying goes,… Read more »

I was thinking that local stewards should have their own "count" meeting a week or so prior to the office pre-count conference….this meeting would go over what new information we need – andgo over what the local office "did last time", since each office seems to have different "standards"….

It always hacked me off that the only way to get information on how to count properly was to drive across the state to the ONE count meeting the union offered. Management is offered both local and online courses to do their side of count, why aren't the carriers offered the same opportunities?