By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent
The United States Postal Service has been freed from President Donald Trump’s freeze on government hiring.
The decision was disclosed in a Jan. 31 government memorandum that declared the Postal Service may continue hiring.
This was the exemption that postal officials sought from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management, citing the exemption the USPS had won from previous government-wide hiring freezes.
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“The Postal Service received guidance from the [Trump] Administration on January 31 which confirms our conclusion that the freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees directed by the president does not apply to the Postal Service,” said USPS spokesman David Partenheimer.
“The Postal Service provides an essential service to the people and businesses of the United States, and is a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure,” he said.
The removal was among several adjustments to the president’s Jan. 23 executive order freezing federal hiring, which exempted only military and public-safety hirings.
Postal officials were anxious for the exemption so the USPS can continue to hire tens of thousands of letter carrier assistants at lower pay than full-time carriers earn.
The National Association of Letter Carriers, a large postal union that represents city mail carriers, had agreed to the hirings.
The union is in the process of completing negotiations for a new contract that is likely to extend those hirings.
The initial Trump order did not affect existing labor agreements, but said ones completed after Jan. 23 would be affected, raising doubts if the USPS could continue the hires.
The hires are key elements in the Postal Service’s cost-cutting efforts.