Monday, August 30, 2010

Are You 'Ready' for September? It's National Emergency Preparedness Month

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. It's observed to encourage all of us to prepare for emergencies in our homes, businesses, and communities.

Do you know how to prepare your house for a hurricane or flood? Do you have an emergency supply kit? Do you and your family members have a plan for contacting each other in case of an emergency?
Develop a plan to suit your family’s unique needs. To help get you started, use the tools at All employees are encouraged to follow three steps to prepare for potential emergencies at home:
-- Stock a supply kit with items needed to survive an emergency.

-- Make a family plan ahead of time to know what to do during an emergency.

-- Be informed about potential emergency situations that could occur.

Meanwhile, be assured that the Postal Service has an Emergency Action Plan at the local, area, and national levels.
If there is an emergency, including the threat/strike of a tropical storm or hurricane, remember to call the USPS National Emergency Hotline888-363-7462 — for the latest information on work reporting status and facility openings and closings.

Priority Mail: Back to School in a Box

If you’re a parent who has just paid that first semester’s tuition bill for the young adult in your family, you’ll be glad to know how to save some money. Look no further than the Post Office to ship those packages of essential items to your child who is in college.

For back-to-school mailings, it’s all in the box: the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. Everything you need for a student package will fit into one of four different sized boxes available — and will ship for one flat price no matter the weight or destination.

Home-baked goods and other snack foods, gift cards, school supplies, music CDs and even travel tickets to visit home make the perfect Back to School in a Box package for students arriving at college campuses across the country.

Priority Mail flat-rate packages arrive in an average of 2–3 days. Saturday and residential deliveries are included at no extra cost. The four box size configurations are the Priority Mail Flat Rate Small Box, about the size of three stacked DVDs; two sizes of Priority Mail Flat Rate Medium Boxes, one similar in size and shape to a shoe box and the other similar to a flat clothing box; and the Priority Mail Flat Rate Large Box, with 50 percent more space inside than the medium boxes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Important Phone Numbers for Emergencies

There are many types of emergencies. But there’s only one source of information on work schedule and reporting time changes, facility openings and closings, and other workplace announcements due to an emergency situation (including before, during, and after a tropical storm or a hurricane):

USPS National Employee Emergency Hotline

Deaf/hard-of-hearing employees who are seeking the above workplace information should call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 or the Florida Relay Service at 800-955-8771. Ask the operator to call the USPS National Employee Emergency Hotline, then relay the information to you.

ONLY in case of a natural disaster requiring you to leave your home, city, or state ... report your location, physical condition, and contact information:

USPS Emergency Notification Line

Nothing Delivers Like the Mail

In today’s wired world, mail delivers --- like nothing else can. No other medium does it all --- or does it as well. No other company provides the outstanding service to its customers as postal employees do.

Whoever you’re trying to reach, for whatever reason, mail does the job. Whether your audience is one in a million or millions at once, whether it’s your Generation X daughter or your retired grandfather ... Mail is the right solution.

Mail delivers emotion. It says you care. It tells that special someone that he or she is really special. It can be a card … a package … or just a quick note. It’s from you, personally. It’s a tangible expression that you’re thinking of someone when he or she laughs at your post card, cheers up with your get well wishes, or shares the pride in a young one’s graduation.

Mail delivers attention. Today’s families welcome mail into their homes and set aside a special time to look at it. It doesn’t interrupt dinner or a TV show. It’s an important part of every day, letting you reach who you want, when you want.

Mail delivers results. That’s why Direct Mail is the leading media choice of advertisers. It’s effective and measurable. People act on it – they take a flyer to the store, they buy online from a featured web site.

Mail delivers convenience. Packages are just one example. Businesses and retailers can mail packages to every household in America. That’s more than 14 million addresses with no residential surcharges. And households can ship packages from their doorstep, too --- to anywhere in the world using our enhanced package service offerings and tracking capabilities.

Mail delivers worldwide reach. We touch every address in the country and millions more around the globe. With more than 37,000 Post Offices, mail is supported by the nation’s largest retail network. And our popular web site,, transforms every computer in every home and every office, into a personal Post Office --- a gateway to the world.

Person to person. Business to business. Door to door. Hand to hand. That’s the power that mail delivers. There’s nothing else like it. And there’s nothing like the dedication and commitment of postal employees who understand their mission to connect family members, friends, and business associates in the community, across the country, and around the world.

BSN Salutes Robert LaTorre for His Partnership in Excellent Customer Service

The South Florida District Business Service Network is proud to announce the Quarter 3, FY 2010 Customer Service Team Member: Robert LaTorre!

Robert is a Data Collection Technician in the In Plant Support Department at the South Florida P&DC. He has been instrumental in assisting the BSN in successfully presenting business customers with positive resolutions leading to high levels of customer satisfaction ratings.

Robert, thanks for providing excellent customer service!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Team Hollywood: "Pay Attention to Dimension!"

Retail Associates at Hollywood's University Postal Store "Pay Attention to Dimension!" Pictured L to R: Julia Puerto, Yoshi DeLaPrida, Hoi Chow, Vicente Montejos, and Javier Guillen. Not pictured: Gary Morgenstein. Team Hollywood "measured up" to score 100 percent on a Retail Customer Experience (RCE), formerly known as a Mystery Shop.

What would happen if your paycheck were short? After all, you had earned that pay for a job well done. Surely you would take appropriate action to correct the situation.

Sometimes the Postal Service is short paid. It happens if customers are not correctly charged for packages that qualify for Dimensional Weight (or DIM Weight) pricing. USPS estimates that annually it falls short by about $24 million. Now more than ever, USPS needs its paycheck --- all of it --- to pay for the costs associated in accepting, sorting, transporting and delivering packages.

What exactly is DIM Weight pricing?

Ask the retail associates at the University Postal Store. Team Hollywood’s Hoi Chow, Yoshi DeLaPrida, Javier Guillen, Vicente Montejos, Gary Morgenstein and Julia Puerto scored a 100 percent on a Retail Customer Experience (formerly known as Mystery Shop) on a DIM Weight transaction.

DIM Weight is a computation that determines an item’s volume --- or the amount of space it actually occupies – in relation to its actual weight. DIM Weight pricing applies to Priority Mail shipments with a volume greater than one cubic foot (1,728 inches) travelling in Zones 5-8. (DIM Weight pricing does not apply if shipped in USPS Priority Mail boxes.)

Congratulations to Team Hollywood for capturing the revenue due the Postal Service! You sure "measure up!"

Priority Mail Option for Shipping Tobacco to Military Personnel is Smokin'!

The U.S. Postal Service is modifying mailing regulations of tobacco shipments from the United States to APO/FPO/DPO destinations by expanding shipping options to include Priority Mail service with Delivery Confirmation.

Beginning August 27, customers mailing these items to Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destinations where tobacco shipments are permissible will have Express Mail Military Service and Priority Mail service with Delivery Confirmation as shipping options.

The addition of Priority Mail service with Delivery Confirmation for the shipment of tobacco to APO/FPO/DPO destinations enables shipments of small amounts of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to service members in war zones and other destinations where Express Mail Military Service is unavailable.

The “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act” went into effect June 29, and subjects the mailing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to new mailing regulations. Today’s announcement modifies only tobacco shipments to APO/FPO/DPO destinations. All other restrictions of the PACT Act remain unchanged.

Comprehensive details on mailing regulations for cigarette and smokeless tobacco are at

Okeechobee PO Welcomes APC Addition

On Saturday, August 28, the Okeechobee Post Office will be make history. At 10 am, Postmaster Mark Pinson will introduce the Automated Postal Center (APC) to customers in the Post Office lobby at 1000 Hwy 70 East in Okeechobee.

“We appreciate our customers and want to provide another option for conducting their postal transactions with us,” said Pinson. “On Saturday, we’ll demonstrate that the APC is customer friendly and provides quick, easy, convenient access to our services.”

Just as an ATM is a virtual stand-alone bank, the APC is a virtual stand-alone Post Office. But unlike the ATM, there’s no transaction fee. The APC provides access to postal services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Using a credit or debit card, transactions may be conducted in English or Spanish.

Customers may use the APC to conduct 80% of the transactions available at the retail counter. Because the APC allows sales and services associates to focus on more complex transactions, the kiosks will help generate more revenue for the Postal Service.

GrowGlobal! Sales Team Delivers Shipping Solutions at Hispanic Business Expos

The Postal Service makes international shipping easier and more convenient for customers with family members and business associates in Latin America. And that’s the message our District Sales Team will deliver at two local business expositions:

Thursday, August 26, 2 pm – 9 pm, South Florida Business-to-Business Expo, Hilton Deerfield Beach/Boca Raton Hotel, 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach
Saturday, August 28, 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday, August 29, 11 am – 6 pm, 2010 Hispanic Business Expo/Festival (“Festival de la Hispanidad”), Doubletree Miami Mart/Airport, 711 NW 72 Ave, Miami

Our competitors --- UPS, DHL and FedEx --- have international shipping products and services. USPS also offers very competitive international shipping prices with Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, and Priority Mail International products.

Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is the premium international shipping option with international transportation and delivery by FedEx Express. GXG offers date-certain delivery in 1-3 business days to more than 190 countries worldwide. GXG is available online at and at thousands of participating retail locations throughout the United States.

Send documents and packages around the world for some of the lowest prices around with Express Mail International (EMI) service, with service guaranteed to select destinations.

Priority Mail International (PMI) provides customers with a reliable and economical means of sending correspondence and merchandise up to 70 pounds to over 190 countries and territories worldwide.

USPS continues to face serious financial challenges and must take steps now to cut costs and grow revenue. Everyone is a salesperson and can help USPS remain viable for future generations by identifying businesses that use our competitors. International Mail products present a great opportunity to increase revenue. Whether it’s on the job or at home, postal employees are in a unique situation to help the Postal Service lay the foundation for a more market-responsive organization that can thrive far into the future. If you spot an International Mail (or Domestic Mail) opportunity, get engaged in an Employee Engagement Program (Customer Connect, Business Connect, Rural Reach, Submit a Lead).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Send Your Love with 'Pansies in a Basket'

Did you know that more than half of the 7 billion greeting cards sold in the United States each year are sent through the mail?

Sending love through the mail is easy with the release of the “Pansies in a Basket” greeting cards, now available in select Post Offices nationwide. Created by Hallmark, the cards feature a white woven cart brimming with dark and light purple pansies and green foliage.

Introduced as a Mother’s Day card in 1939, Hallmark reissued the design as a friendship card in 1941. Since Hallmark began tracking sales in 1942, almost 30 million cards with the pansy cart design have been purchased — more than any card in history.

Each set — sold in packs containing five cards and envelopes — costs $4.95. The front of each card bears the inscription, “To Let You Know I’m Thinking Of You.”

The 2010 Love: Pansies in a Basket 44-cent First-Class Mail stamp, sold separately, was released last April. The stamp depicts an image from the Hallmark greeting card and complements the card.

The Postal Service is currently testing greeting card sales in about 1,500 Post Offices nationwide. The same 1,500 locations — and an additional 1,500 Post Offices — will carry the Pansies in a Basket cards until they sell out or the promotion ends in October, whichever comes first. Check with your local Post Office for availability in South Florida.

Postal Products Now Available at Office Depot

Customers at almost 1,100 Office Depot stores across the country --- including 47 South Florida locations --- now have another option for shipping services.

U.S. Postal Service shipping and mailing products now are available at 1,083 Office Depot stores across the country. Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, Priority Mail service, Express Mail service, Parcel Post, stamps, Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation now are available at those Office Depot stores.

Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping is one of the best options for small businesses and consumers alike. With Flat Rate Boxes, customers pay one, low rate to any state without worrying about weighing the package — and there are no surcharges when using Postal Service shipping products.

The partnership with Office Depot is one more example of how the Postal Service is adjusting products and services to better fit the changing needs of its customers, while finding creative solutions to generate much needed revenue. As an Approved Postal Provider, Office Depot is the first national retailer to offer Postal Service shipping products and services.

How to Ensure Health Coverage for Adult Children Up to Age 26

The new health law approved earlier this year will allow adult children up to age 26 to be covered family members under health insurance plans purchased by their parents or legal guardians, effective at the start of the next benefit plan year. For employees enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, that means January 1, 2011.

There are steps employees can take prior to January 1 to make sure dependent children who turn 22 — the age limit under existing rules — continue receiving FEHB coverage.

-- Dependent children who reach their 22nd birthday between now and January 1 are automatically covered for an additional 31 days.
-- Dependent children — or their parents or legal guardians — can continue receiving FEHB coverage beyond the 31-day period by electing Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) for up to 36 months. The child will receive “self-only” coverage.
-- TCC is not subject to underwriting or pre-existing condition exclusions.
-- USPS will not contribute to the TCC premium, which also includes a 2-percent administrative fee.
-- TCC-eligible children can discontinue TCC coverage once they become eligible under the increased age limits that take effect January 1, 2011.

An employee has 60 days from the child’s 22nd birthday to notify the Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSCC) that the child has turned 22. Or, the child may notify the HRSSC within 60 days and request TCC enrollment information. Contact HRSSC at 877-477-3273 (Option 5).

The 31-day extension of coverage and TCC do not apply to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Dependent children are eligible for FEDVIP coverage after they reach age 22 only if they’re incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental condition that existed before their 22nd birthday.

For additional information, go to

Miami GMF PS Passport Fair Set for August 25

Planning a vacation getaway? If you’ll need a passport, the first stop of your journey is the Passport Fair at the Miami GMF Postal Store located at 2200 NW 72 Avenue.

The Passport Fair will take place from 3 pm to 6 pm on Wednesday, August 25. Prior to that date, interested employees should schedule an appointment at 305-470-0386.

Passport fees are as follows:

Passport Book for Adult (age 16 and over) is $110.00.
Passport Book for Minor (under age 16) is $80.00.
Passport Card for Adult (age 16 and over) is $30.00.
Passport Card for Minor (under age 16) is $15.00.

(A passport card looks like a driver's license and allow you to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-call.)

In addition to the above fees, there’s a $25.00 passport acceptance fee --- cash or credit card (check or debit) --- payable to the Postal Service. These methods also may be used to pay for photos ($15.00). The Department of State requires a check, but employees may purchase a postal money order with cash or debit card for this purpose.

(Please note this is an off-the-clock activity.)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free Entrance to National Parks August 14-15

America’s Best Idea – the national parks – gets even better this year with several fee-free days in more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees*.

Mark your calendar for fee-free days remaining this year:

August 14-15, 2010

September 25, 2010 (Public Lands Day)

November 11, 2010 (Veterans' Day)

Many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors on this summer’s fee free weekends with the their own special offers. For a list of national parks, go to

*Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Safety Specialist/Songwriter 'Tunes' in to 'Heat'

John Zeigler is a voting member of the Grammy Recording Academy.
Producer Sam Hutchinson (L) and music enthusiast John Zeigler (R) shake
hands after writing what they hope will be the official Miami Heat theme song.

Safety Specialist John Zeigler monitors safety records during the day, but after hours and on weekends, a different record is on his mind.
In fact, as a freelance songwriter, John recorded a hit single --- "Lollipop --- for CBS Records in Europe. Sweet.
Most recently, John and local record producer Sam Hutchinson wrote what they hope to be the next official Miami Heat song.
"It's now in the hands of the Miami Heat organization," John said. "I'm very excited at the prospect of hearing the song at the games."

While working with Megabucks Recording Studio, various artists and producers --- Bone Thugs and Harmony, Mother's Finest, Cameo, John Legend, Will Downing, Betty Wright, Bobby Thomas of Weather Report, and Nicole Henry with Pyramid Records --- all have had the pleasure of meeting and working with John.
In addition to that calvacade of stars, John also has worked with Producer George "Chocolate" Perry who has played with Crosby,Stills and Nash and The Bee Gees, as well as produced the number one hit What You Won't Do for Love by Bobby Caldwell.
Good luck to Sam and John ... The Heat is On!
Message from John:
You can go to YouTube and type in "Narley Boys-GO HEAT" and see the video and hear the song. You can also go to any website and type in "Narley Boys GO HEAT" to see and hear Flo Rida's song ,"We Already Won," Dime Magazine and write your comments about the song we wrote GO Heat and Flo Rida's song, "We Already Won."

Scouting Gets 'Stamp of Approval'

The U.S. Postal Service has awarded scouting its “stamp of approval” to celebrate 100 years of the U.S. scouting movement. The 44-cent First-Class Scouting stamp, available nationwide, was dedicated at the National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, VA, where more than 30,000 scouts from around the nation set up camp for 10 days of premier scouting fun during the organization’s centennial anniversary.

The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary Feb. 8, 2010. To mark this milestone, the organization has undertaken celebration efforts nationwide that reintroduce the organization to today’s young people and families, reinforcing the value of scouting and reconnecting with the millions the organization has affected. For more information visit The Scouting stamp recognizes the contributions to society made by all U.S. scouting organizations.

Sunday Funnies Debut on Comic Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates five newspaper comic strips by dedicating the Sunday Funnies 44-cent First-Class stamps featuring Archie, Beetle Bailey, Dennis the Menace, Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes. The strips, as well as their characters, may have changed over the years, yet each remains an enduring classic.

The Archie stamp features Archie sharing a chocolate shake with brunette Veronica Lodge on his right and blonde Betty Cooper on his left. Offering an idealized portrait of American adolescence, Archie existed only in comic-book form before debuting in newspapers in 1946. A typical small-town teenager with a knack for goofing things up, 17-year-old Archie Andrews is often torn between haughty Veronica and sweet Betty.

The Beetle Bailey stamp features Beetle, smiling calmly while Sarge loses his cool. A military strip with universal appeal, Beetle Bailey first appeared in September 1950. Possibly the laziest man in the army, Private Beetle Bailey is an expert at sleeping and avoiding work. His chronic indolence antagonizes Sergeant Orville P. Snorkel, who is tough on his men but calls them “my boys.”

The Calvin and Hobbes stamp captures the precocious six-year-old and his tiger pal making scary — and ridiculous — faces. Calvin and Hobbes explores the fantasy life of six-year-old Calvin and his tiger, Hobbes. The inseparable friends ponder the mysteries of the world and test the fortitude of Calvin’s parents, who never know where their son’s imagination will take him. The strip ran from November 1985 to December 1995.

The Dennis the Menace stamp features five-year-old Dennis dressed in red coveralls and striped shirt running off to some new adventure. Dennis the Menace follows the antics of Dennis Mitchell, a good-hearted but mischievous little boy who is perpetually “five-ana-half” years old. His curiosity tests the patience of his loving parents and neighbors, guaranteeing that their lives are anything but dull. The comic debuted in March 1951 as a single-panel gag.

The Garfield stamp features the crabby tabby standing back to back with Odie, a carefree, energetic dog. Garfield first waddled onto the comics page in June 1978. Self-centered and cynical, Garfield hates Mondays and loves lasagna. He lives with Jon Arbuckle, a bumbling bachelor with a fatally flawed fashion sense, and Odie, a dopey-but-devoted dog.

USPS: One of 40 Best Companies for Diversity

The Postal Service has been named one of the 40 Best Companies for Diversity in the July issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

The results were based on a survey Black Enterprise sent to the top 1,000 publicly traded U.S. companies and the 50 leading global companies with U.S. operations. The survey focused on the multicultural workforce in these companies.

“The Postal Service recognizes the value and diversity of all of its employees and is proud to be recognized for it,” said Anthony Vegliante, chief human resources officer and executive vice president. “As one of the nation’s largest employers with nearly 590,000 career employees, we embrace diversity as a vital component to enriching our workplace while better serving our customers — now and in the future.”

“We view diversity as a winning business strategy and use it as a tool to deliver results,” said Susan LaChance, vice president, Employee Development and Diversity. “It makes good business sense.”

Forty percent of postal employees are minorities as compared to 32.8 percent in other federal agencies. Fifteen percent of executives are African-Americans. The Postal Service employs approximately 124,000 African-Americans, 52,000 Hispanics, 50,000 Asians, 1,300 native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders and nearly 4,000 American Indian/Alaska Natives.

Negro Leagues Baseball Stamps Hit Home Run

The baseball league that helped spark integration of American professional sports is being honored on a 44-cent U.S. postage stamp issued at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO.

At the dedication ceremony, Board of Governors Vice Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr. gave a special salute to Birmingham, AL postal employee Cleophus Brown, who played in the Negro Leagues for the Birmingham Black Barons and the Louisville Clippers. Brown, 76, has been a motor vehicle driver for the Postal Service for the past 30 years.
Joining Marshall and Brown to unveil the stamps were Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Gregory Baker, Stamp Artist Kadir Nelson, who designed the stamps, and former Negro leagues player Mamie “Peanut” Johnson.

The Negro Leagues Baseball stamps pay tribute to the all-black professional baseball leagues that operated from 1920 to about 1960. A second commemorative stamp features the league’s founder, Andrew “Rube” Foster, who is considered the “father” of Negro Leagues Baseball. In 1981, Foster was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the “foremost manager and executive” of Negro Leagues baseball.

Treasury to Discontinue Paper Savings Bonds via Payroll Deduction Effective Sept 30

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced that it will stop issuing paper savings bonds through federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, as of September 30.

The last opportunity you will have to purchase paper bonds through payroll deduction is in Pay Period 19 and will be reflected on your September 17 Earnings Statement. After that date, no further deductions will be taken from your earnings for the purchase of paper bonds. Your account will be closed; any unapplied funds will be returned to you.

Currently, the Treasury offers TreasuryDirect, a secure, web-based system to purchase, manage, and redeem electronic savings bonds online 24/7. First you will need to establish a TreasuryDirect account and then an allotment via PostalEase. You will need the following items to complete an online application:

-- Your Social Security Number (taxpayer identification number)
-- Your driver’s license number or state ID and expiration date
-- Your bank/credit union routing number and account number of the checking/savings account to be used
-- A valid E-Mail address
-- A web browser that supports the Treasury’s technical requirements

Once established, you will be provided bank account information to create an allotment through PostalEase. You can learn more and apply for a TreasuryDirect account at

If you need assistance in adding a PostalEase allotment, contact the Human Resources Shared Service Center at 1-877-477-3273. Deaf/hard-of-hearing employees may contact TDD/TTY 1-866-260-7507.

Need a Passport?

For the convenience of our employees and their families, the Miami GMF Postal Store will host a Passport Fair from 3 pm to 6 pm on Wednesday, August 25. The Miami GMF Postal Store is located at 2200 NW 72 Avenue. Prior to the Fair, you’ll need to schedule an appointment by calling 305-470-0386.

Passport fees are as follows:
Passport Book
Adult (age 16 and over) Minor (under age 16)
$110.00 $80.00
Passport Card
Adult (age 16 and over) Minor (under age 16)
$30.00 $15.00
(A passport card looks like a driver's license and allow you to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-call.)

In addition to the above fees, there’s a $25.00 passport acceptance fee --- cash or credit card (check or debit) --- payable to the Postal Service. These methods also may be used to pay for photos ($15.00). The Department of State requires a check, but employees may purchase a postal money order with cash or debit card for this purpose.

Bon Voyage!