Already facing billions of dollars in losses, the United States Postal Service was ordered earlier this year to pay $75 million in lost overtime to nearly 1,500 Pittsburgh-area union employees.
The arbitration award was paid out in the form of checks two months ago, but at the time, neither side would discuss it. However, the postal service released the details of the award after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
The money is to cover the overtime pay full- and part-time employees lost between 1994 and 2004 when the Pittsburgh Processing and Distribution Center hired casual clerks instead.
Arbitrator Elliott Newman held three hearings on the matter in 2006 and determined that the postal service had violated the national union contract. He issued his decision in April 2007 and ordered the postal service to calculate the value of the award.
On July 20, 2007, the postal service sent a letter to the president of the Pittsburgh Metro Area Postal Workers Union informing him that the agency had calculated the amount due at $26.9 million.
Charles Pugar, the union president, disagreed.
Both sides spent another two years fighting the issue in court, but ultimately, it went back to Mr. Newman who set the damages at $75 million -- to be prorated among 1,471 effected employees.
The largest amount paid to any single person, according to the postal service, was $85,568. The smallest amount was $314.59.
Earlier this month, the postal service announced that it had sustained a net loss of $3.8 billion this year, despite cost-cutting efforts that resulted in $6 billion in savings.
Among the reductions were $4 billion in retiree health benefit payments, as well as a reduction in the work force of 40,000 employees.
According to a statement from the postal service, the agency was disappointed in both the finding of liability and the amount of damages awarded.
Mr. Pugar could not be reached for comment.
Paula Reed Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.