Monday, November 29, 2010

Yes, Virginia ... There is a Santa Letter Program

Yes, Virginia … There is a Santa Claus. And yes, there is a Santa Letter Program in South Florida.

As with every holiday season, Santa Claus remains committed to reading the contents of every child’s wish list. But due to the economy, the workload of Santa and his elves has increased beyond one’s imagination. Stationed at the North Pole, Santa’s holiday crew is working at a feverish pace building toys to meet the wishes of good (and some not-so-good) girls and boys who send him a holiday letter.

There’s no time for cookie and milk breaks for this holiday crew! Santa has asked South Florida postal employees to help address the postcard he sends children in response to their letters. After all, postal employees are the experts on proper addressing to ensure that the mail gets delivered to its destination!

All Santa letters should be forwarded to the Marketing Department at the South Florida District as soon as they are received in plants and Post Offices.

Top 10 Shipping Bargains

10. Unlike other shipping companies, USPS does not charge extra for Saturday delivery or add a fuel charge. The price you see is the price you pay.

9. Send holiday cheer to our men and women in uniform serving abroad at APO/FPO addresses using the Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box and receive a $2 discount.

8. Just 44 cents from Washington DC to Washington State and every neighborhood in between. New Evergreens Forever stamps and holiday stamps recognizing the Madonna and Child, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Eid, are available.

7. Going away for the holidays? Premium Forwarding Service sends your mail to your temporary location. Most mail is forwarded once a week by Priority Mail. The enrollment fee is $15 and weekly reshipment fees are $13.95. Go to

6. Skip the trip and save fuel this Yule using to save your own green this season.

5. Get free Delivery Confirmation for Priority Mail when you ship online at
4. Express Mail --- Under the tree in a under a day. Santa isn't the only one working on Christmas. USPS will deliver Express Mail in most major cities on December 24 and 25. The mailing deadline is December 22 to most locations.

3. Save 3-11 percent when you ship online at

2. Free package pickup is available from your home office at regardless of the number of packages you have.

1. Priority Mail Flat boxes, only from USPS, start at just $4.95 and are the ultimate gift box!

2010 Open Season December Deadlines

Do you know your USPS Employee Identification Number (EIN) and USPS Personal Identification Number (PIN)? You’ll need these numbers to make benefit elections during Open Season.

The Postal Service has improved and streamlined its system of employee self-service transactions. Employees must use their EIN and USPS PIN to access PostalEASE, which is the convenient, secure system for making changes to, or enrolling in, Flexible Spending Accounts, Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and the Annual Leave Exchange Program (among other personnel actions). Savings Your EIN is printed on the top line, directly to the right of your name, on your earnings statement.

There are a couple of ways to immediately reset your PIN if you’ve forgotten or need to reset it. You can go to and click on “Forget your PIN?” or go to Blue on an ACE computer or at an employee self-service kiosk. Click on “Employee Self-Service,” then PostalEASE and follow the instructions.

If you can’t get to a computer, call 877-477-3273 and press 1. When prompted, enter your Employee ID. When prompted for your USPS PIN, pause and then press 2. Your USPS PIN will be mailed to your address of record the next business day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Operation Santa" is Coming to Town!

Postal employees and the general public will be able to fulfill the wishes of needy children in the South Florida community through “Operation Santa” this holiday season.

On Friday, December 3, Santa’s postal elves will be stationed in the Post Office Box lobbies of the Fort Lauderdale Main Office, South Florida Retail Unit, and West Palm Beach Main Office from 10 am to 1 pm, and at the Miami GMF Postal Store from 1 pm to 3 pm. These are four of only 30 participating Post Offices across the country.

Employees and customers may complete an application to select a child’s Santa letter, which will become available at a later date. They also may sign up for a Santa letter Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, in the retail lobbies at the following locations:

Coordinator: Tashia Romano-Kravitz
Phone: 954-527-3281

2200 NW 72 AVE, MIAMI
Coordinator: Rose Castro
Phone: 305-470-0386

Coordinator: Rose Mesenger-Mannisto
Phone: 954-443-6527

Coordinator: JoAnn Goodrich
Phone: 561-697-2145

To protect children and their privacy, volunteers will receive a photocopy, instead of the original letter. The photocopy will have personal information, including name and address, blackened out. Volunteers will purchase their gifts and bring them back to one of the above locations to pay for the postage to have items shipped to the recipient. Holiday packages must be returned to one of the above designated locations on or before 5 pm on Wednesday, December 22.

In keeping with tradition, Santa remains committed to reading every child’s holiday letter. Stationed at the North Pole, Santa and his elves are building toys at a feverish pace to fulfill the wishes of good girls and boys. Santa has asked some South Florida postal employees to help address the postcard that he sends to children in response to their letters. After all, postal employees are the experts on proper addressing to ensure that the mail gets delivered to the correct destination!

Hey, There's a Snowman on My Mail!

Letters and cards processed at plants throughout the nation December 1 - 31 will be canceled with a "Happy Holidays" postmark. The only exception is the North Pole, which will have its own special postmark.

Toys for Tots Campaign to Brighten Holidays

Employees may brighten the holidays for less fortunate children in the community. The South Florida District is participating in the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive through December 17.

Each donated toy should cost at least $10 and should not include any chemicals or have a military theme (i.e. plastic guns).

This year the district is sponsoring a contest to determine the plant and Post Office whose employees donate the most toys in the designated container at their work unit. Each participating location must ensure that the designated red placard is used to identify hampers of toys dispatched to their respective plants. Finance units should identify their parent station on the placard to ensure proper credit. Marines will visit winning facilities to present a plaque to employees.

Toys for Tots promotional posters have been distributed to all plants and Post Offices. Cardboard collection boxes should be decorated with the posters and holiday wrapping paper, and then placed in employee work areas only, not in Post Office lobbies.

Any questions about the campaign may be directed to Damaris Agrait, Manager, Learning Development and Diversity, at (305) 470-0881 or (786) 493-5119.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Delivering the Holidays

Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep the Postal Service from doing what it does best — delivering the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Postal Service will deliver 15.8 billion cards, letters, and packages across the country and around the world. This holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is encouraging customers to relax a little and take the stress out of holiday shipping by going online to to order Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, print shipping labels with postage using Click-N-Ship service, and schedule free Package Pickup.

Because Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year, the Postal Service will experience two peak volume mailing days and two peak volume delivery days.

Peak Mailing Day: Monday, December 20 will be the busiest mailing day, with an expected 801 million cards, letters, and packages being processed. December 13 is expected to be nearly as busy.

Peak Delivery Day: Wednesday, December 22 will be the busiest delivery day. December 15 is expected to be nearly as busy.

'Let It Snow' in South Florida!

A Simpler Way to … Listen to Holiday Songs CD for Sale in Retail — "Let it Snow" $12.99 each, or $10.99 when purchased with Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box postage.

Holiday Stamps, Cards, and Postmarks Oh My!

Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night will keep the Postal Service from doing what it does best — delivering the holidays. “A Simpler Way to Holiday.” That’s the postal theme for this year’s holiday season.

If you're unable to visit your local Post Office, buy your stamps by ordering them from The Postal Store at,ordering by telephone by calling 800-STAMP24; or by purchasing them from Automated Postal Centers (APCs, ATMs, or local retail outlets in your neighborhood (grocery stores or drug stores).

Say “Happy Holidays” with boxed holiday greeting cards (40 designs) from $2.50 to $3.95 (check availability at Post Offices). All locations offer the Evergreens Holiday Cards Set of five cards with envelopes for $4.95.

Now add a special touch. It’s easy to have your greeting cards postmarked from the North Pole. Simply place postage stamps on personalized, sealed, and addressed greeting cards and place them into a larger envelope or box addressed to:

ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998

Your large envelope or box containing the greeting cards should be mailed to Anchorage no later than December 10. Follow the same guidelines used for the North Pole cancellation. Stamped and addressed greeting cards should be sent in a larger envelope addressed to "Postmaster" and include city, state and ZIP Code. Here’s a link to participating cities:

Advent WV 25231
Angeles PR 00611
Angels Camp CA 95222
Antler ND 58711
Antlers OK 74523
Bell CA 90201
Bell FL 32619
Bethlehem CT 06751
Bethlehem GA 30620
Bethlehem IN 47104
Bethlehem KY 40007
Bethlehem MD 21609
Bethlehem NH 03574
Bethlehem PA 18016
Blessing TX 77419
Chestnut IL 62518
Christmas FL 32709
Christmas MI 49862 (community Post Office of Munising)
Evergreen AL 36401
Evergreen CO 80439
Evergreen LA 71333
Evergreen MT 59901 (branch of Kalilspell Post Office)
Evergreen NC 28438
Evergreen VA 23939
Faith NC 28041
Faith SD 57626
Frost MN 56033
Frost TX 76641
Garland ME 04939
Garland NE 68360
Garland NC 28441
Garland PA 16416
Garland TX 75040
Garland UT 84312
Holly CO 81047
Holly MI 48442
Hope AK 99605
Hope AR 71801
Hope ID 83836
Hope IN 47246
Hope KS 67451
Hope KY 40334
Hope MI 48628
Hope MN 56046
Hope NJ 07844
Hope NM 88250
Hope ND 58046
Hope RI 02831
Joseph OR 97846
Joseph City AZ 86032
Joy IL 61260
Nazareth KY 40048
Nazareth MI 49074
Nazareth PA 18064
Nazareth TX 79063
Noel MO 64854
North Pole NY 12997 (community Post Office of Wilmington)
Partridge KS 67566
Partridge KY 40862
Rudolph OH 43462
Rudolph WI 54475
Saint Joseph IL 61873
Saint Joseph LA 71366
Saint Joseph MI 49085
Saint Joseph MN 56374
Saint Joseph MO 64501
Saint Joseph TN 38481
Saint Mary KY 40063
Saint Mary MO 63673
Saint Mary MT 59417 (community Post Office of Browning)
Saint Marys AK 99658
Saint Marys GA 31558
Saint Marys IN 46556 (branch of Notre Dame Post Office)
Saint Marys IA 50241
Saint Marys KS 66536
Saint Marys OH 45885
Saint Marys PA 15857
Saint Marys WV 26170
Santa ID 83866
Santa Claus IN 47579
Shepherd MI 48883
Shepherd MT 59079
Shepherd TX 77371
Snow OK 74567
Snowflake AZ 85937
Snow Shoe PA 16874
Spruce MI 48762
Star ID 83669
Star MS 39167
Star NC 27356
Star TX 76880
Starlight PA 18461
Wiseman AR 72587

Has the Grinch Visited Your Post Office?

WANTED: Wire containers a.k.a. crab cages, flower pots, wires.

As we approach the holiday season, there’s a serious shortage of wire containers. The South Florida Holiday Command Center has received some anonymous tips that the Grinch is hoarding this equipment at several postal facilities.

As you may recall from the popular holiday classic, the Grinch is a bitter, green creature with a heart two sizes too small. From his beach condo rooftop, the Grinch spies happy postal employees preparing to deliver the holidays. He descends on local Post Offices to hoard equipment in hopes of bringing the holiday season to a grinding halt. Or something like that.

The Grinch is not interested in postal policy, which states that all classes of mail must be containerized whenever and wherever possible. He doesn’t care that containerization increases operational efficiency, reduces damage to the mail, and minimizes employee injuries. Or that excess Mail Transport Equipment (MTE), including wire containers, must not be stored at facilities. He doesn’t understand that containers produce cost savings when they are properly used, and if they are available, when and where they are needed.

REWARD: Customer satisfaction. The Grinch has no friends, except his dog, Max, and is envious of the long-standing working relationship among South Florida employees. The safe return of empty wire containers will ensure that working together, our employees will deliver this holiday season.

Therefore, the moral to this story is: Don’t let the Grinch steal the holidays at your Post Office. Ensure all MTE, including wire containers, is being utilized for its intended purpose and return all empty equipment on the next available trip to your respective plant.

Congressman Makes Holidays His 'Priority'

Congressman Ron Klein (L) shares holiday sentiments in cards with members of local veterans associations.
Fort Lauderdale SSA Alice Hughes accepts and processes several Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Boxes filled with holiday cards.
Photo Credits: Tashia Romano-Kravitz, Customer Relations Coordinator, Fort Lauderdale

On Tuesday, November 23, Congressman Ron Klein and local veterans gathered at the Fort Lauderdale Main Office to read samples of the several thousands of holiday cards being shipped via Priority Mail to service men and women stationed in Iraq. School students created the cards as part of the Congressman’s third annual “Holiday Hugs from Home” Program.

A quick, easy, and convenient way for you to ship Priority Mail packages to military personnel serving overseas, the Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box features predetermined rates regardless of weight (domestically) or destination. Some key benefits:

-- Only $12.50 when used to send to APO/FPO addresses; $2.00 less than our domestic pricing.

-- Box features the “America Supports You” logo and APO/FPO addressing block.

-- Commercial Base prices are available for postage paid through Click-N-Ship service at, authorized PC Postage vendors, and other authorized postage payment methods. The APO/FPO price is $11.95.

-- Free Package Pickup from your home or office at a time and place convenient for you. To schedule Package Pickup and for other pickup options and availability, visit

The Postal Service continues to show support to those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces by offering free Military Care Kits, designed specifically for military families sending packages overseas. The mailing kits can be ordered by phone by calling 1-800-610-8734 and asking for the Military Care Kit. Each kit includes two “America Supports You” large Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes. Postage is required.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Season's Greenings with USPS

The Postal Service is the top choice for customers who want to go green and save green this holiday season. Here are five ways USPS helps customers reduce their carbon footprints:
Green Packaging — USPS offers Priority Mail and Express Mail supplies, a majority of ReadyPost boxes, envelopes and labels — all Cradle to Cradle Certified. Priority Mail and Express Mail supplies are available at Post Offices or may be delivered at no charge by ordering at
Green Postage — All products, including stamps, personalized envelopes and stamped postal cards, are now Cradle to Cradle Certified. Festive holiday stamps and a large assortment of custom holiday cards can be found in the Postal Store at
Green Shipping — Save fuel this Yule by going to to order free shipping supplies, print shipping labels and pay for postage. Skip the trip and save time, money and fuel.
Green Delivery — USPS has the largest civilian fleet in the world — 216,000 vehicles. These include three-wheeled electric vehicles, 30 large all-electric trucks in Manhattan and alternative fuel-capable vehicles that can operate on compressed natural gas, propane, ethanol, and fuel cell.
Recycling — Secure recycle bins in more than 10,000 Post Office lobbies make it easy for customers to read, respond and recycle their PO Box mail. The Postal Service last year recycled 225,000 tons of paper, plastics and other waste which avoided more than 700,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information about the Postal Service’s green efforts, go to and the green newsroom.

NPR's 'American Life' Features Local Carrier

National Public Radio (NPR) Host Ira Glass Host talked to Paul Gereffi, a Fort Lauderdale/Oakland Park letter carrier who helped save the life of a stabbing victim who saw Gereffi's mail truck and flagged him down. The strange thing, says Gereffi, is how many people saw the victim grappling with his assailant in a parking lot but did nothing to help him. This incident occurred two years ago and Paul was recognized by the Postal Service and NALC 2550 for his efforts.

This past weekend, the radio segment aired on NPR’s “This American Life” with Ira Glass. Go to and click on "play episode.” It might take a few seconds to download. The segment with Oakland Park Letter Carrier Paul Gereffi is in the first seven minutes.

Paul, thanks for making us proud!

Open Season: Time to Enroll/Change/Cancel

It’s Open Season — the time of year when employees can sign up for benefit programs, change enrollments, or cancel their participation.

FEHB and FEDVIP plans have changed significantly. Employees are asked to note that even if they keep the same FEHB plans and coverage automatically continues, their premiums may change.

Employees with FEHB plans that are no longer offered must select a new plan or their health insurance coverage will end. Affected employees received a letter from the plan and from the Postal Service. Employees whose plan’s service area has changed also were notified.

FSA — which can save money on taxes for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses — also has changed. The Health Care FSA has added restrictions on coverage for over-the-counter drugs and medicines. Also, children who are not dependents on your taxes may now be covered under your Health Care FSA until December 31 of the year before they turn age 27. Employees who want an FSA for 2011 need to re-enroll as FSA coverage does not continue from year to year.

You can make FEHB and FSA selections by accessing PostalEASE via the telephone, the PostalEASE website from kiosks in some facilities or the Blue page. You’ll need your Employee Identification Number (EIN) and your USPS Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the website. If you have any problems using this online system or have questions, contact the Human Resources Shared Service Center (HRSSC) at 1-877-477-3273. To reach HRSSC using TTY, call 1-866-260-7507.

For FEDVIP elections, go to or call the Customer Service Center at 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337). Using TTY, call 1-877-889-5680. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 7 pm EST.

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Now through 12/14/2010 at 5:00 PM CST
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Now through 12/26/2010 at 5:00 PM CST
Federal Employees Dental/Vision Program (FEDVIP) Now through 12/13/2010 at 11:59 PM EST
Annual Leave Exchange (ALE) Now through 12/15/2010 at 11:59 PM CST

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Miami Team Offers Shipping Solutions

Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Rose M. Castro promoted international products, including Express Mail International, to NHLI conference attendees.
Miami Business Solutions Specialist Edwin Vivas reminded his customers about holiday deadlines to ship Express Mail to international destinations.
Photo Credits: Rose M. Castro, Edwin Vivas

National Hispana Leadership Institute’s 2010 Executive Leadership Training Conference brought together Latinas and NHLI’s accomplished alumnae for two days of cutting-edge leadership and professional development, networking, educational and inspirational keynotes and workshops facilitated by top-level Latinas from across the country.

Conference attendees included nearly 600 local and national leaders in corporate America, nonprofits, government, media, higher education, as well as entrepreneurs, students, artists, authors and others.

Miami's Customer Relations Coordinator Rose M. Castro and Business Solutions Specialist Edwin Vivas set up booths to promote postal products and services. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to hear and learn first-hand, about the cost savings available to postal customers.

Rudolph 'Nose' All About Priority Mail

This holiday season, the Postal Service makes it easy to wrap up the magic of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

DVDs of the holiday classic, the longest-running TV holiday special of all time, are available at select Post Offices nationwide.

And just as Santa counted on Rudolph’s bright red nose to make deliveries, customers can rely on the Postal Service to make shipping the DVD convenient and affordable.

The Postal Service is offering a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box adorned with two of the animated movie’s most beloved characters, Rudolph and aspiring dentist Herbie the elf. Customers who purchase both the DVD and Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box postage save $2 off the DVD price.

The DVDs, each available for $14.99, and Rudolph-themed Priority Mail Flat Rate Box are part of the Postal Service’s A Simpler Way to Holiday campaign.

MDCPCC Workshops: How to Save Money

Manager, Post Office Operations and Miami-Dade County PCC USPS Vice-Chair Ray Oberle provides an overview on USPS financial conditions to the PCC membership.
FPL Billing Supervisor/Miami-Dade County PCC Industry Co-Chair Susan Reed encouraged members to get a mailing tune up as a cost-cutting measure.
A/Retail Specialist Juan Nadal addressed the PCC membership on how Direct Mail can help their businesses in today's economy.
Photo Credits: Rose M. Castro

Recently the Miami-Dade County Postal Customer Council (MDCPCC) presented workshops that informed members how postal products and services could assist them in saving money. Workshop topics included:
- How to use Direct Mail in today's economy
- Online shipping and package options for the holidays
- Benefits of a Mailing tune up
Manager, Post Office Operations/MDCPCC USPS Vice-Chair Raymond Oberle gave an overview of the Postal Service's current financial conditions and "Action Plan for the Future." Florida Power and Light Billing Supervisor/MDCPCC Industry Co-Chair encouraged the membership to take advantage of a mailing tune up as part of their budget plan.
The Postal Service is basic to the growth and success of all businesses. Miami-Dade County PCC members enjoy the opportunity to network and share best practices with South Florida business mailers and postal managers. PCC membership is a way to meet local mailers face to face in a friendly, informal setting to discuss mailing issues, address mailing needs, and learn more about postal products and services. More information is available at

Julia De Burgos Stamp Presentation Highlights National Conference of Puerto Rican Women

Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Rose M. Castro presented the Julia De Burgos stamp enlargement to Lucy Del Valle-Noriega, Miami Chapter President, National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, and Vivian Ortiz, President, National Conference of Puerto Rican Women.

The National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW), including membership from 13 chapters, celebrated its 37th annual convention in Miami last week. Miami Customer Relations Coordinator Rose M. Castro presented an enlargement of the Julia De Burgos stamp as part of the celebration.

"Fostering Leadership: Engaging the Next Generation of Women Leaders" was this year's theme, and approximately 150 women leaders from around the country participated. Conference organizers bought the Julia De Burgos stamps as a commemorative item for all attendees.

Contributor: Rose M. Castro

USPS Offers 'A Simpler Way to Holiday'

The November 18th issue of Postal Bulletin includes a “Publicity Kit: The Holidays Made Simple,” to encourage customers to order Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, print shipping labels with postage using Click-N-Ship service, and schedule free package pickup.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. Take the guesswork out of shipping with Priority Mail flat-rate items. Whatever fits in the box or envelope ships for one low price any­where in the United States. There’s no weighing or cal­culating involved if the package weighs less than 70 pounds:

Click-N-Ship. Skip the trip to the Post Office by printing mailing labels with postage right from the convenience of your home or office. Customers get a discount on postage for domestic packages: Express Mail — 5 percent savings; Priority Mail — up to 14 percent savings:

Free Package Pickup. The Postal Service will pick up packages from homes and offices across the country. The service is free, regardless of the number of packages being sent. A letter carrier will pick up the packages during regular mail delivery service:

For info on "A Simpler Way to Holiday" Campaign:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Continuing His Commitment to Serve

Jose Cardona is committed to serve.
By Jodi Ladrido-McDermott
Supervisor, Transportation, Miami Plant

Many employees have served their country in our Armed Forces, and Miami Plant Tractor Trailer Operator Jose Cardona is no different.

Though Jose served in the US Army from 1991-2000, throughout which he had multiple deployments to war-impacted countries, he felt compelled to re-enlist with the National Guard in March 2007 to help fight the war on terrorism. Jose was called to active duty in July 2009 and deployed to Iraq for over 1 year, where he served as a Staff Sergeant and was responsible for the lives of 25 soldiers.

“The biggest asset a soldier has is his family and friends. If the support is strong, the soldier will be strong and focused on the mission. I was fortunate to have the support, not only from my family, but from my co-workers. My co-workers sent many care packages for our unit throughout my deployment and even helped my wife move on short notice. It is times like this, that you realize how grateful you are to be a part of the Postal Service family,” said Jose.

(Editor's Note: Thank you, Jose, for your service to our country and to the Postal Service.)

Customizing Cards, Personalizing Postage

Want to add a personal touch to postage on your holiday cards and letters, and dazzle family and friends? It’s quick and easy at, where customers can turn their digital photos into customized greeting cards and personalized postage stamps with a simple click of the mouse.

At CardStore, you can create greeting cards using personal photos or choose from more than 50 card designs, including traditional, religious, multicultural and nondenominational images. Ordering online takes only minutes and the cards are printed and shipped the next business day — either to the customer or directly to recipients, whichever the sender chooses. Prices start at just 79 cents per card.
Other online options for holiday greetings include Click2Mail and Premium Postcards.
Click2Mail makes sending end-of-year holiday letters easy. Customers can select First-Class Mail or Standard Mail rates.
Premium Postcards can be created in black and white or full color to announce new holiday products or discounts, to send a personal greeting, say Happy New Year, or to thank customers for their support throughout the year.

Customized postage allows customers to create postage using digital photos or images — a family vacation photo, a warm holiday scene, or a favorite pet playing in the snow. It can be used on First-Class Mail, Priority Mail and Express Mail.

Holiday Freebies

According to — the leading provider of USPS postage online — free shipping is the most effective sales promotion heading into the holiday season. In its latest survey on e-commerce shipping practices, found that 64 percent of respondents reported free shipping, with or without minimum spend, is the most effective promotion they can offer during the holiday season. Fifty-three percent of those responding will be offering free shipping on more products this year compared to last holiday season.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sun Rises on Sunset Veterans

Dan Lopez, Manager, Customer Services at Miami's Sunset Branch, honored two SSAs who are veterans in front of customers in the lobby.

Dan read the letter signed by Postmaster Robert Carr and Miami Plant Manager Rick Suarez, thanking each SSA for their military service as part of a Veterans Day recognition. Customers applauded and both Martin Mattarran and Will Marti appreciated the recognition.

"Customers were shaking my hand and thanking me," said Will. "This is the first time I have been recognized in this manner."

Martin echoed Will's feedback.

Congratulations, Will and Martin ... Thank you for your military service, as well as the service you provide to our customers at the retail counter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ACE: Always Contributing Excellence

Susan LaChance (R), Vice President, Employee Development and Diversity, presents framed artwork of Hispanic stamps to South Florida District Hispanic Program Specialist Jacinto Acebal (L). "Ace" was recognized for his many accomplishments during his 45-year postal career while attending the HOPE (Hispanic Organization of Postal Employees) Conference in San Antonio.

Ace joined the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier in 1968 and advanced into managerial positions including Supervisor, Customer Services, EEO Counselor/Investigator, Human Resources Specialist, and Hispanic Program Specialist.

Print, radio, and television reporters have interviewed Ace who is quick to promote our products and services to Hispanic (and English) media. He coordinated a “Mailing to Cuba” promotion that increased revenue by $1.7 million compared to the previous year. Ace has appeared on national news programs that have aired in Hispanic markets across the country. Several members of the USPS Executive Committee presented Ace with a special recognition award for his media relations/revenue generation efforts.

Ace is an active member of the South Florida community. The City of Miami Commission appointed him to the Miami Community Relations Board, composed of ten prominent members for the City of Miami to enhance the relations of all ethnic groups in the community. Ace is a member of the Spanish American League Against Discrimination, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Viet Nam Veterans of America, and Cuban American Veterans Association. He also has served on the Greater Miami Hispanic Council and the United Way of Dade County Subcommittee.

Among his many awards are the Diversity Vice President Partnership, Dot Sharpe Lifetime Achievement, and Federal Employee of the Year in the Professional category.

Ace, congratulations on your HOPE award and thank you for your ongoing contributions to the Postal Service. ACE: Always Contributing Excellence.

Sending Holiday Greets Just Got Easier

Sending greetings this holiday season just got easier with the introduction of the holiday Evergreens notecard and greeting card sets.

The notecard set features artwork from the 44-cent Evergreens Forever stamps, depicting the foliage and cones of four different conifers: ponderosa pine, eastern red cedar, blue spruce and balsam fir.

Each notecard set costs $11.95 and includes eight custom-designed envelopes and Evergreens Forever stamps. There are two notecards for each stamp design, with descriptive text about the featured evergreen printed on the back of each card. The inside of each card is blank, making it perfect for any occasion.

The Evergreens greeting card set is another festive way to kick off the holiday season. Featuring artwork that complements the Evergreens Forever stamps, each set includes five cards with envelopes and costs $4.95. “Season Greetings” is printed on the front of each card with a short message inside. The Evergreens Forever stamps are sold separately.

Customers can order the notecard set online at the Postal Store at or by telephone at 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724). The greeting card set is available only at select Post Offices nationwide.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Honoring Veterans on November 11

Veterans Day, the annual observance honoring Americans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, is Thursday, November 11.

The Postal Service employs more than 145,000 veterans, about 24 percent of the workforce and more than any other employer in the nation. Many employees have been called to active duty, often serving six or more months.

Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, many Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day. Some Americans don't know why we commemorate veterans on November 11 so here’s the history so that we can properly honor our former service members:

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress --- at the urging of the veterans service organizations --- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed, with much confusion, on October 25, 1971.

Finally, on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law, which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on November 11.

Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or because of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans also are remembered on Veterans Day, but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military --- in wartime or peacetime.

Stamps by Phone, Lola Style

"Yes, Grandpa. This is a new kind of Stamps by Phone order. I need a book of the Holiday Evergreens Forever stamps to send my letters to Santa. If there's a line at the retail counter, use the Automated Postal Center. I think you call it the APC. You need to use your credit or debit card. Don't forget now."

Baby Lola is the granddaughter of Hialeah Officer-In-Charge Ernie Cintado.

Delivering Compassion

Thanksgiving Day, celebrated the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863.

When planning your Thanksgiving holiday, take a moment to reflect upon the comfortable lifestyle that our paychecks allow us to enjoy. Then think about individuals who are less fortunate than we are and consider what you could do to help them to a better life. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and the South Florida District’s Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive come to mind.

Your CFC donation will benefit individuals and families who truly are in need and who are represented by more than 20,000 nonprofit charitable organizations worldwide. The CFC is the nation’s largest workplace fundraising campaign, and this year’s theme is “The Compassion of Individuals, the Power of Community.” CFC canvassers continue to visit Post Offices to collect pledges from employees. Many employees are choosing payroll deduction.

Also, if you want to make a difference in your community, there’s the Thanksgiving Food Drive underway through Friday, November 19. Employees may deposit non-perishable food and canned goods in the designated Thanksgiving Food Drive containers set up at their facility. For additional information, contact Pat Nolan, Learning, Development and Diversity Office, at 305-470-0250.

A Halloween Special Delivery in Marathon

The Postal Service has a bright future. Here's Young Trevor, better known as TJ to family and friends, walking along his park and loop route (see the carriage?) on Halloween. He takes a break from delivering fun and collecting candy to pose in his carrier uniform. Parents Trevor and Paige Wofsey are both city carriers in Marathon and give TJ a helping hand on his route. Trevor's mother, Karen Smith, is a letter carrier in Key West.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ad Hoc Positions Open in OPS

Are you looking to broaden your postal horizons? Here’s an opportunity to learn more about the Operations Programs Support Department. Currently, there are 13 --- Yes, you read that right --- 13 Ad Hoc positions (not to exceed one year) available to South Florida District employees who meet position requirements.

Customer Service Analyst (5 positions): Conduct functional reviews, provide program support to delivery and retail units, improve service and determine staffing needs throughout the district.

Route Examiner/Adjuster (8 positions): Conduct route inspections and perform adjustments, including providing support to the local units throughout the district with all aspects of the adjustment process.

Check your bulletin board for postings that include information on eligibility requirements, salary range, work schedule, and duties and responsibilities. If you’re interested, submit your e-Career profile and a letter of interest stating your qualifications and how you will benefit the team.

For the Customer Service Analyst position, send this information, by mail, to:

Mike Mersel, A/Manager, Delivery Programs
PO Box 829631
Pembroke Pines FL 33082-9631

For the Route Examiner/Adjuster position, submit your information, by mail, to:

Holly Lamberti, A/Route Examination/Adjustment Team Leader
PO Box 829614
Pembroke Pines FL 33082-9614

Deadline for all ad hoc position applications is COB, Wednesday, November 17.

USPS Offers "A Simpler Way to Holiday"

Post Offices across the country today are showing signs of the season. Building on its successful A Simpler Way to Ship advertising campaign — which touts flat-rate shipping — the Postal Service this season offers customers "A Simpler Way to Holiday."

“We know our customers want more time with their friends and families during the holidays and less time shipping gifts,” said Tim Healy, Vice President, Retail Products and Services. “We are highlighting the products and services that make holidays less stressful, less hectic — and yes, simpler — for our customers.”

Along with festive seasonal signs promoting flat-rate shipping, free package pickup and the new holiday Evergreens Forever stamps, select Post Offices and are carrying a wide variety of products for holiday gift giving, gift wrapping, gift sending, including:

Holiday greeting cards — sold individually or in packs of 5 and 20.

Evergreens notecard set — includes eight blank cards, envelopes and eight Evergreens Forever stamps.

ReadyPost holiday mailing boxes and bubble mailers — for shipping or wrapping.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — classic holiday special. Customers who purchase both the DVD and Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box postage save $2 off the DVD price.

Let it Snow — CD features 11 holiday classics from well-known artists including Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles. Customers who purchase both the CD and Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box postage save $2 off the CD price.

2010 Stamp Yearbook — 64-page, hardcover book includes colorful stamp images, illustrations and photographs, plus 65 collectible stamps.

The Postal Service Guide to U.S. Stamps, 37th Edition — fully illustrated, four-color guide provides comprehensive information about every U.S. stamp issued from 1847 to 2010.

FEHB Open Season Opens November 8

It’s Open Season — the time of year when employees can sign up for benefit programs, change enrollments, or cancel their participation.

Open Season for three benefits programs — Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) — begins Monday, November 8.

FEHB and FEDVIP plans have changed significantly. For example, the 2010 Affordable Care Act changed FEHB eligibility requirements allowing children up to age 26 as eligible dependents for Self and Family coverage. Employees are asked to note that even if they keep the same FEHB plans and coverage automatically continues, their premiums may change. It’s also recommended that employees check their insurance coverage for details that could save them money. For example, if you’re enrolled in a family plan but no one else is covered by that plan, changing to the “Self Only” option will reduce your premiums.

Employees with FEHB plans that no longer will be offered must select a new plan or their health insurance coverage will end. Affected employees will receive a letter from the plan and from the Postal Service. Employees whose plan’s service area is changing also will be notified.

FSA — which can save money on taxes for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses — also has changed. The Health Care FSA has added restrictions on coverage for over-the-counter drugs and medicines. Also, children who are not dependents on your taxes may now be covered under your Health Care FSA until December 31 of the year before they turn age 27. Employees who want an FSA for 2011 need to re-enroll — FSA coverage does not continue from year to year. FSA brochures with more details now are being mailed to all employees.

You can make FEHB and FSA selections on PostalEASE. For FEDVIP elections, go to

Open Season for the Annual Leave Exchange (ALE) begins Monday, November 15. Employees eligible to make an ALE election will receive a letter.

FEHB, FSA and FEDVIP booklets will be arriving in the mail. Look for the information and save it when it arrives. Additional Open Season information is in today’s edition of the Postal Bulletin.

You also can go to the “My HR” section on LiteBlue for more details.

You will need your Employee Identification Number (EIN) and USPS Personal Identification Number (PIN) to enter PostalEASE or LiteBlue.

Meet Your NALC/USPS Joint Task Force Team

Meet South Florida’s NALC/USPS Joint Task Force Team. Front Row (L to R): Joan Collins, Ros Bell-Mosley, Mel Roxroth, Cal Collins. Back Row (L to R): Ed Coppola, Eddrest Young Carlos Rodon, Jalaine Lee, and Barbara Crowley. Photo Credit: Pat Nolan

Meet South Florida’s NALC/USPS Joint Task Force Team. Members will be coming to your Post Office to bring a new level of safety awareness to all employees. They’ll be observing office and street performance, identifying and correcting safety issues, and seeking your input to ensure a safe workplace for all employees.

The South Florida District is the first in the Southeast Area to participate in this national pilot program. The program is an avenue to report unsafe acts and practices. There will be no disciplinary action for safety infractions.

“Our employees are our most valuable resource,” said Pompano Beach Postmaster/USPS Co-Chair Ed Coppola. “We want to increase safety awareness throughout the district to ensure the safe return of our employees to their families every day.”

Team members include Ros Bell-Mosley, Postmaster, Hallandale; Letter Carrier/Shop Steward (NALC Branch 1071) Cal Collins, North Miami Branch, Miami; Letter Carrier/Shop Steward (NALC Branch 2550) Joan Collins, Southside Station, Fort Lauderdale; Ed Coppola, Postmaster, Pompano Beach; Barbara Crowley, Acting Manager, Safety and Health, South Florida District; Jalaine Lee, Postmaster, Palm City; Carlos Rodon, Officer-In-Charge, Delray Beach; Letter Carrier/Shop Steward (NALC Branch 1690) Mel Roxroth, Palms West Annex, West Palm Beach; and Letter Carrier/Shop Steward (NALC Branch 1071) Eddrest Young, County Line Annex, Miami. Ed Coppola is the USPS Co-Chair and Mel Rexroth is the NALC Co-Chair.

Monday, November 1, 2010

CFC Collects $212,705.51 to Date

The South Florida District already has achieved 28% of its goal, obtaining donations totaling $212,705.61. CONGRATULATIONS to the following areas:
South Florida L&DC with $19,906.80 at 69%
Miami Customer Service with $69,386.26 at 62%
Hollywood Customer Service with $19,179.90 at 64%
Ft. Lauderdale Customer Service with $21,600.95 at 42%
CFC canvassers have not visited all facilities yet, but the campaign is moving forward to exceed our district goal of $764.388.00.