Monday, September 26, 2011

PERF Helps Employees in Need

The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization operated by the various management and union organizations of the U.S. Postal Service to benefit postal employees.

To make a donation, simply go to When you contribute this way, you not only make your donation go further, you also get credit for a charitable tax deduction.

Employees who are victims of disasters and who have significant monetary loss after insurance and other relief assistance, may apply for PERF at Print and fill out the application form, and then mail the form with supporting documentation to:

Postal Employees' Relief FundPO Box 7630 Woodbridge VA 22195

If you have any questions, call 202-408-1869 or email

USPS to Recognize Living Legends on Stamps

Beginning next year, the Postal Service’s stamp program will recognize acclaimed musicians, sports stars, writers, artists and other nationally-known figures on U.S. postage stamps — while they’re still alive.

USPS is ending its rule stating an individual must have been deceased for at least five years before becoming eligible to be honored with a stamp. Under the new guidelines, living or recently deceased individuals will be eligible for commemoration.

“This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor,” said PMG Patrick Donahoe. “These remarkable individuals — through their transformative achievements in their respective fields — have made enduring contributions to the United States of America. Honoring living individuals expands the interest in stamp topics and keeps our program timely, relevant and contemporary.”

USPS is inviting the public to use social media to submit their ideas for individuals to honor through Facebook and Twitter.

Each year, the Postmaster General’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) — composed of individuals whose backgrounds reflect a wide range of educational, artistic, historical and professional expertise — receives as many as 40,000 suggestions for stamp subjects.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saving Vanishing Species One Stamp at a Time

In a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, the Postal Service dedicated its latest semipostal stamp. The new stamp, the fourth semipostal issued by USPS, is called “Save Vanishing Species” and is aimed at helping preserve endangered species — specifically, tigers, African and Asian elephants, rhinos, great apes and marine turtles.

Five million sheets of stamps will be made available initially and will be reprinted based on customer demand. The stamps sell for 55 cents each — 11 cents more than an individual First-Class Mail stamp —and $11 per sheet of 20.

At an event held at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, USPS Vice President, Channel Access Kelly Sigmon was joined by Teiko Saito, assistant director, International Affairs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Joshua Ginsberg, senior vice president, Conservation Operations, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Ginette Hemley, senior vice president, Conservation Strategy & Sciences, World Wildlife Fund, and Dennis Kelly, director, Smithsonian National Zoo, to dedicate the new stamp and pay tribute to some of the world’s more prominent vanishing species.

The Multinational Species Coalition is an alliance of conservationists, zoos, veterinarians, animal welfare groups, circuses and sportsmen. The coalition was created to advocate for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds and is committed to bringing greater attention to this stamp and the funds it was designed to support. The funds will be divided among the African Elephant Conservation Fund, Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, Great Ape Conservation Fund, Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund and Marine Turtle Conservation Fund.

Net proceeds from sales of the “Save Vanishing Species” stamp will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.

Strength in the Face of Danger

For days, wildfires had ravaged the Rio Grande District — destroying nearly 1,400 homes as well as tens of thousands of acres of drought-parched land. The following is a first-person account by Postal Inspector Allen McHenry, who met with employees at the Bastrop, TX, Post Office.
“It was the first day that Highway 21 [the main highway] was open after the wildfires. On my way to Austin, I stopped by the Bastrop Post Office to check on its employees.
“The Bastrop County fires were destructive. Many employees, including the former Postmaster, lost their homes. They told me about a letter carrier who passed out in her house but was rescued before it burned down — yet she still came into work the following day.
“I found the Bastrop employees to be kind and happy to be working as USPS employees. Even though some of them had been through heart-wrenching terror, they were still busy and proud to be at work, helping their fellow employees. It was unreal. The destruction was overwhelming, yet their attitude was as strong as ever.”

Source: NewsLink

National PCC Day Comes to Hollywood

The award-winning Miami-Dade County PCC Executive Board members: (from top left) Adam Lopez, Cenveo & Industry Vice Co-Chair; Rick Suarez, Plant Manager & Postal Co-chair; Cathy Brewer, Liberty Mailing & Treasurer; Roosevelt Bruny, Zap Courier Logistics; Jennifer Rubi, Pitney Bowes; Lynn Hamilton, Oceania Cruises; Hal Paldrmann, Postmaster Miami Beach; Norman Kravitz, Phoenix Package Logistics. (from bottom left): Rose Castro, Customer Relations Coordinator & PCC Postal Administrator; Susan Reed, Florida Power & Light & Industry Co-chair; Robert Parker, & Secretary; Richard Fermo, Manager Post Office Operations & Postal Vice Co-Chair; Orlando De La Osa, Postmaster Hialeah.

Tashia Romano, CRC & PCC Postal Coordinator for the Broward PCC, Greg Dodig, Southeastern Printing & West Palm Beach Industry Co-chair, Robert Weiser, Postmaster West Palm Beach & Jennifer Rubi, Pitney Bowes & Miami-Dade County PCC Executive Board Member raffle off some prizes. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Paul Curry, Sun Sentinel & Broward PCC Industry Co-Chair, Al Gator, the Postage Saver- Miami-Dade County PCCs mascot & Susan Reed, Florida Power & Light & Industry Co-Chair for the Miami-Dade County PCC spend some quality time at the event. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Jennifer Rubi, Pitney Bowes & Executive Board Member for the Miami-Dade County PCC shares with the audience the prize for participating in the scavenger hunt. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Rick Suarez, Plant Manager Miami and Susan Reed, Florida Power & Light & Industry Co-Chair for the Miami-Dade County PCC welcomed everyone to PCC Day. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Rick Suarez, Plant Manager Miami, Cathy Brewer, Liberty Mailing & Treasurer for the Miami-Dade County PCC (standing), Jeffrey Becker, District Manager, Phyllis Reed, Postmaster Delray Beach, Richard Fermo, Manager Post Office Operations, Orlando De La Osa, Postmaster Hialeah. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe updated local customers on the Postal Service's current situation and thanked them for their business via satellite from National PCC Day in Tampa.

District Manager Jeffrey Becker provided an update on the Postal Service's financial condition and plan to study 252 processing plants for consolidation/closure in 2012.

Shipping Solutions Specialist Charlene Miles gave a presentation on new products to a standing-room only audience.

Postal Inspector Taylor Fernandez (L) and Inspection Service General Analyst Damaris Murphy (R) talked with customers about protecting themselves against mail fraud.

Postal Center International (PCI) was one of several vendors at the local PCC event.

In his annual state of the Postal Service address to the mailing industry and on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Postal Customer Council (PCC), Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Donahoe described the Postal Service’s new reality.

“We have reduced our annual costs by more than $12 billion and our workforce has been reduced by 110,000 career employees over the past four years, but we must do significantly more to return to profitability,” said Donahoe. “We must reduce our annual costs by $20 billion by 2015 to be profitable, and we do not currently have the flexibility in our business model to achieve these cost reductions.”

Donahoe praised postal employees for their hard work to bring about incredible cost savings while at the same time achieving record levels of service. He stated the Postal Service’s financial losses are due entirely to an overly restrictive business model and should not be interpreted as an indictment of the value of mail.

The Postal Service has advanced a comprehensive package of proposals that will allow it to operate more like a business, and without several large financial mandates, including giving the Postal Service the authority to transition to a national five-day per week delivery schedule; and resolving the retiree health benefit prepayment requirement.

The Postal Service continues to make progress with reforms it can pursue without the help of Congress, including plans to study 252 mail processing facilities for potential consolidation, review 3,600 low-activity Post Offices for potential closure, consolidation or contracting, enhance and expand alternate access sites, including Village Post Offices and, modify delivery routes and service standards, and make it easier to do business with the Postal Service with new, innovative products.

Magazine Features District Artist's Masterpieces

Tina Corbett and her artwork are featured on the cover of High Springs FL magazine.

Tina Corbett's biggest fan, Mom Rose Lanza (L), proudly shows magazine cover featuring her daughter, while posing with District Illustrator Barry Artiz (R) who also appreciates Tina's talents.

Tina Corbett is on the cover of a High Springs Florida magazine!

Readers will remember Tina as an illustrator in the South Florida District. A few years ago Tina and husband, Jay (former T-1 expeditor at the South Florida P&DC), moved with their sons to northern Florida. Daughter Heather remained in South Florida to pursue her marketing career.

Studying art since a young teenager, Tina is working her way to becoming a full time artist, pursuing her first love, Fine Art Oil Painting. Her work is on display at several Florida art galleries.

Northern Florida has inspired Tina's creativity with its “artsy” spirit and its wonderful array of springs, beautiful ranches, farms and historic “Old Florida," says the artist. Tina also paints figurative and animal paintings with her favorite models, her pet Great Danes. Recently, her landscape subjects touched on the her birthplace, New York. In addition to original landscapes she specializes in commission work primarily in Pet Portraits.

Tina is a member of the Gainesville Fine Arts Association and 2011 Chairperson of the High Springs Art Coop Gallery. To visit Tina's masterpieces, go to

USPS Joins Hispanic Chamber, Business Expo

(L to R) Business Development Specialist Ellen Uptgrow, Inclusive & Diversity Analyst Maricela Garcia Rivas, and Business Solutions Specialist promote international products to customers. Photo: Rose M. Castro

Business Solutions Specialist Edwin Vivas, Customer Relations Coordinator Rose M. Castro, and Business Solutions Specialist Jorge Perez take a break to pose for the camera.

Business Solutions Specialist Edwin Vivas promotes postal products to customers at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Convention & Business Expo. Photo: Rose M. Castro

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) held its 32nd Annual National Convention & Business Expo at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach September 18-21.
The event brought together thousands of Hispanic entrepreneurs, corporate executives, procurement and supplier-diversity professionals from the private and public sectors, as well as Latina leaders, key officials from President Obama’s Administration and Hispanic chamber leaders from throughout the nation. The South Florida District also participated.

Priority Mail: A Simpler Way to Return

E-commerce shipping is an increasingly busy two-way street. In addition to its delivery strengths, the Postal Service is making sure USPS is the preferred shipper for packages traveling the returns lane as well.

This month the Postal Service launches a new suite of shipping choices under the umbrella of USPS Returns. The new options, including Web-based label printing, enhanced tracking and streamlined payment, will speed start-up and make it easier for online retailers to use the Postal Service for returns.

“With e-commerce sales expected to continue to grow 10 percent annually over the next few years, we’re offering online merchants an easier way to return,” says Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Postal Service to grow our package business. We’re building on the shipping products customers already are familiar with, and adding new features for increased ease and convenience for both consumers and merchants.”

The Postal Service will offer three returns options: Priority Mail Return Service, Ground Return Service and First-Class Package Return Service.

For e-commerce businesses, USPS is introducing a simple, easy-to-install label printing application that can be offered by e-tailers to their customers. This tool will enable label printing through a merchant’s website, or customers can call the merchant’s call center to request a returns label be emailed to them. The labels will include the Intelligent Mail package barcode. There will be enhancements at retail outlets and as well.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." According to the 2010 Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from the 2000 Census, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population. Source: Monster Facts

Barbara Jordan Joins Black Heritage Series

The Postal Service is recognizing Barbara Jordan — one of America’s most respected and influential politicians — as the 34th honoree in the popular Black Heritage stamp series. The First-Day-Of-Issue ceremony was held on the campus of Texas Southern University in Houston TX.

The “Barbara Jordan” Forever stamp is available at Post Offices nationwide, online at, and by phone at 800-782-6724.

“Staunchly determined to help extend social justice and federal protection of equal rights to all American citizens, Barbara Jordan dedicated her life to working for the benefit of others,” said Ellis Burgoyne, Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President. “At the Postal Service, we are proud to share her legacy with all Americans through the issuance of this new commemorative Forever stamp.”

Joining Burgoyne to dedicate the stamp was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Dr. John Rudley, President, Texas Southern University; Karen Hauser, President, Houston Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; and Barbara Jordan’s sister, Rose Mary McGowan.

Jordan was the first African-American woman elected from the South to the U.S. Congress. She gained national acclaim in 1976 when she became the first woman and the first African-American to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. She served three terms, sponsoring and supporting numerous pieces of legislation extending federal protection of civil rights.

President Backs "Bold Action" for USPS

The plan to reduce the federal deficit submitted today by the Obama Administration to a congressional “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” includes provisions to provide USPS up to $20 billion in savings over the next several years.

“Bold action is needed to ensure that USPS can continue to operate in the short run and achieve viability in the long run,” said the President in his message to the committee. “The Administration recognizes the enormous value of the Postal Service to the nation’s commerce and communications, as well as the urgent need to reform to ensure its future viability.”

The President’s plan includes the following provisions:
-- Restructure the Retiree Health Benefit Fund’s pre-funding requirement to reduce USPS payments.
-- Provide USPS over a two-year period a refund of the $6.9 billion in surplus funds it has contributed to the Federal Employee Retirement System.
-- Reduce the Postal Service’s operating costs by granting authority to reduce mail delivery from six to five days per week.
-- Allow USPS to offer non-postal products and increase collaboration with state and local governments.
-- Give USPS the ability to better align the costs of postage with the costs of mail delivery.

“I would like to thank the President for acknowledging the enormous value of the United States Postal Service to the nation’s commerce and communications,” he said. “The President has offered helpful recommendations to stabilize the Postal Service’s financial crisis. We are looking forward to reviewing the plan in more detail and continuing to work with the White House and the Joint Select Committee on specific proposals that involve the Postal Service.”

The President’s provisions are in addition to an earlier proposal to delay by 90 days the Sept. 30 deadline for the USPS payment to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund. Legislation authorizing the 90-day extension is pending consideration in the House of Representatives.

Saving Vanishing Species

With the dedication of its latest semipostal stamp this week, the Postal Service is helping to save vanishing species 11 cents at a time.

On Tuesday, September 20, the dedication ceremony was held at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Net proceeds from sales of the new “Save Vanishing Species” stamp will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.

“This stamp marks the fourth semipostal issued by the Postal Service,” said Kelly Sigmon, Vice President, Channel Access. “These types of stamps provide an extremely convenient way for the American public to contribute to help protect threatened and vanishing species.”

Five million sheets of stamps will be made available initially, to be reprinted based on customer demand. Stamps sell for 55 cents each, 11 cents more than an individual First-Class stamp, and each sheet of 20 costs $11.

The semipostal stamp features an illustration of a tiger cub by artist Nancy Stahl. The artwork on the full sheet of 20 stamps includes silhouettes of a rhino, tiger, great apes, African and Asian elephants, and marine turtles.

Preparing for Retirement?

Also the LiteBlue website has an employee self-service application, eRetire, for employees considering retirement. With this app, employees within 5 years of retirement can view annuity estimates online. The app also lets retirement-eligible, full-time employees immediately view three different annuity estimates. Employees need their Employee ID and USPS PIN to log onto LiteBlue.

160 PCCs Celebrate Golden Anniversary

Today in Tampa FL, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe will salute more than 80,000 members of the Postal Customer Council (PCC) on the organization’s golden anniversary. The PCC was formed 50 years ago to help build cooperation and communication between the Postal Service and business mailers.

At 12 noon ET, more than 160 PCC organizations across the country will host local events to hear Donahoe’s remarks — live by satellite. Participants also will hear about new postal products and services and the revamped Postal Service website — all designed to make it easier for customers to do business with USPS.

From 9 am to 1 pm, the Miami-Dade County PCC, PCC of Broward County and the PCC of the Palm Beaches membership will join together at Dave & Busters located at 3000 Oakwood Blvd in Hollywood. South Florida businesses are invited to register in person (if not advance registration) to listen to the Postmaster General’s presentation, participate in round table discussions with local postal officials and industry professionals, meet their local Postmaster and the PCC Board of Directors, and network and share best practices with other business mailers and enjoy lunch!

Throughout the year, each PCC provides a forum for mailers to discuss and resolve mailing issues and to exchange ideas and offer suggestions on new postal products and services. It’s an opportunity to meet face to face in a friendly, informal setting to learn firsthand about the latest postal and industry news that may impact your business.

A highlight of the annual event will be the awards presentation, which will recognize outstanding achievements of PCCs around the country in categories including Industry Member of the Year, Education Program Excellence and the new Business Partner of the Year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CFC Kicks Off at South Florida L&DC

District Manager Jeffrey Becker cuts the ribbon at the official CFC kick off at the South Florida Logistics and Distribution Center. Photo: Jennifer Thonus

South Florida L&DC employees were thrilled to have their location as the site for the CFC kick off. Photo: Jennifer Thonus

The Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with more than 200 campaigns throughout the country and internationally to help to raise millions of dollars each year.

Thanks to postal employees’ generous contributions, the South Florida District won the Traveling Trophy Award for the 2010 Atlantic Coast Combined Federal Campaign. The Traveling Trophy, also known as the CFC’s “Stanley Cup,” is the premier award. This trophy travels from federal agency to federal agency based on award criteria that includes the winning agency exceeding its goal, the dollar amount increased from the previous year, and the increase in participation. The District is hoping to capture this honor again this year!

The Postal Service is part of the fabric of every American community, and our contributions to the Combined Federal Campaign demonstrate good corporate citizenship. During these difficult times, CFC is counting on the long-standing generosity to help meet and surpass this year's goal. Beginning this month, CFC key workers will be visiting your work location. The CFC is all about helping people. Consider what your pledge can buy:
-- $2 a pay period provides transportation to the hospital for dialysis treatment.
-- $4 a month buys 145 pounds of food for a food bank.
-- $10 a month pays for a complete platelet count for two children undergoing cancer treatment. -- $12 a month pays five month’s salary for an adult literacy teacher.
-- $15 a month purchases 150 trees planted by volunteers to offset the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the average family of four.
-- $35 a month buys clothing for three homeless children.

How much you give and whether you wish to designate your support to a specific charity is your decision. Most employees elect to pledge an amount to be withheld regularly from their paycheck while others give a one-time gift during the campaign. Your gift will help shape the lives of thousands of people in our local community, across the country, and around the world.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

National POW-MIA Day is Fri, Sept 16

Postal facilities should fly the POW-MIA flag Friday, September 16. National POW-MIA Recognition Day is observed the third Friday of September and also is one of six days each year USPS is required to fly the POW-MIA flag. The flag and its display at postal facilities honor the sacrifices made by members of the U.S. Armed Services held as Prisoners Of War or listed as Missing In Action. The POW-MIA flag must fly below the U.S. flag.

Fort Lauderdale & South Florida Plants in Study

The U.S. Postal Service plans to conduct a study at the South Florida Processing and Distribution Center in Pembroke Pines FL and at the Fort Lauderdale Processing and Distribution Center in Fort Lauderdale FL to examine the feasibility of consolidating its operations into the Miami Processing Distribution Center in Miami FL. A feasibility study also will be conducting on consolidating operations from Fort Myers P&DC into the West Palm Beach P&DC.

This Area Mail Processing study involves a review of the mail processing and transportation operations to determine capacity needs within the postal network in order to increase efficiency and improve productivity.

The study, which is expected to be completed in early 2012, comes as the Postal Service faces one of the most difficult challenges in its history.

Annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past 5 years and is continuing to decline. Total First-Class Mail has dropped 25 percent and single piece First-Class Mail — letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 36 percent in the same timeframe.

Even when the economy fully recovers, the Postal Service does not expect mail volume to return to previous peak levels, and is projecting annual deficits for the foreseeable future. Because the decline has created substantial excess mail processing capacity, the Postal Service is initiating studies to look at reducing the size of its mail processing network nationwide.

If the feasibility study reveals an opportunity to consolidate mail processing operations, the Postal Service will hold a public meeting to explain the proposed operational changes and potential impacts on service, and to solicit public feedback which will then be considered before a final decision is made.

National PCC Day is Going Hollywood Sept 21

National Postal Customer Council (PCC) Day, the premier Fall event for the mailing industry, is going Hollywood. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe will host a national satellite broadcast from Tampa FL to postal customers and partners in Hollywood FL and across the country.

On Wednesday, September 21, from 9 am to 1 pm, the Miami-Dade County PCC and the PCC of Broward County members will join together at Dave & Busters located at 3000 Oakwood Blvd in Hollywood. South Florida businesses are invited to register in advance to listen to the Postmaster General’s presentation, participate in round table discussions with local postal officials and industry professionals, meet their local Postmaster and the PCC Board of Directors, and network and share best practices with other business mailers --- and enjoy lunch!

Throughout the year, each PCC provides a forum for mailers to discuss and resolve mailing issues and to exchange ideas and offer suggestions on new postal products and services. It’s an opportunity to meet face to face in a friendly, informal setting to learn firsthand about the latest postal and industry news that may impact your business.

South Florida businesses can be part of this educational extravaganza and enjoy a networking luncheon for only $35 per person. To register, go to

Cat's Meow: Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes

Galileo the cat likes Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes.

Greer, SC, customer Ann Sage, an active duty Army Officer currently deployed in Baghdad, Iraq, sent a letter to Senior Public Relations Representative Patricia Licata about USPS package products.
“You can’t beat the Postal Service’s Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate Box for sending care packages to deployed service members,” she wrote. “And my cats absolutely love them!”
Sage’s parents have been caring for her cats while she and her husband, also on active duty, are away from home. “My folks are often at the Greer Post Office,” she wrote. “They occasionally bring home a large flat-rate box or two to use for the next care package that they plan to send us.” First they’ll need to remove the cats.

Source: NewsLink

Workplace Security: A Postal Priority

The success of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Safe and Secure Initiative has prompted USPS officials to continue the program.

Launched in August 2010, the nationwide initiative involves Postal Inspectors visiting employees to discuss steps they can take to avoid becoming victims of workplace violence. The centerpieces of the presentation are a video and brochures with tips on how to deal with acts of violence.

“Postal Inspectors visited 4,000 postal facilities and met with more than 26,000 employees in FY 2011,” says Postal Inspector Ron Baraga, Program Manager, Safe and Secure Initiative.

Employee response to the Postal Inspectors’ presentations was overwhelmingly positive.”

The initiative supports the Postal Service’s zero-tolerance policy for any type of workforce violence — from assaults on carriers working their routes to postal employee threats against co-workers and an abusive customer’s treatment toward retail associates.

“Workplace violence deserves our undivided attention,” says Baraga. “The initiative reminds everyone to treat threatening remarks and other signs of aggression seriously to prevent any escalation to violence.”

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to help employees threatened by violence in the workplace. EAP provides crisis counseling, referral and short-term counseling. Postal employees and their families can call EAP 24 hours a day at 800-327-4968. For TTY, call 877-492-7341.

New Reality: Network Optimization

In his last “State of the Business” video to employees, PMG Pat Donahoe said USPS was planning network consolidation to address the decline of First-Class Mail volume.

In his latest all-employee video, Donahoe reports there are bright spots in the Postal Service’s business outlook, including Standard Mail, the package business, and past cost reductions. But he says more needs to be done.

“Long term, our financial problems are not going to go away,” he says. “We’ve got to do more, and we have to do it faster.”

Donahoe says the network that was designed to handle the high volume of mail processed in past years is too big and costly to support today’s lower volume.

“For the first time in our history, we need to reduce network capacity,” he says.

That’s why USPS is studying whether to lower the number of plants from more than 500 to fewer than 200 beginning next March. Reduced network capacity — which will result in cost savings of $3 billion annually — also will lead to changes in some service standards, said Donahoe.

The PMG says if the mail is to have an important role in the nation’s future, “we must shore up our foundation now and make these difficult, but necessary changes.” He says employees can help this process by focusing on providing excellent customer service and “doing your job the best way possible.”

Click here to view the PMG’s video.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fires, Flooding, and Finances

Employees contended with fires and flooding last week as harsh conditions affected the Northeast and South Central segments of the nation.

In Central Texas, wildfires along the I-35 corridor affected Rio Grande District Postal operations, especially east of Austin in Bastrop County, where nearly 1,400 homes and tens of thousands of acres of drought-parched land were destroyed.

Mail delivery services were suspended, and the Postal Service advised customers to receive mail at their local Post Offices.

Bastrop Post Office employees added 300 P.O. Boxes to accommodate local residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by fire. An additional 700 boxes were available if needed.

No Postal facilities in the Rio Grande District have been damaged by the wildfires. But at least 14 Rio Grande District employees lost their homes, and the homes of several other employees were damaged. No employees were injured.

Meanwhile, steady rain seriously impacted service in parts of New York and Pennsylvania. In Binghamton, NY, the Surface Transfer Center was closed while mail was redirected to alternate surface transfer sites. By Thursday, flooding threatened many area of Northeast Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre where a state of emergency was declared.

Hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, and fires cause more than physical damage — they disrupt the lives of everyone affected by them. That’s one of the reasons the USPS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available. To help employees and family members cope with life-changing situations like the ones brought on by Mother Nature. For information or assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 800-EAP-4-YOU, (800-327-4968). TTY assistance is available at 877-492-7341. The EAP website is:

The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund (PERF) offers assistance to active and retired employees affected by natural disasters. Employees or retirees who are victims of a natural disaster and have experienced a significant monetary loss after insurance and other relief assistance should review PERF eligibility criteria and mail a completed application with supporting documentation to Postal Employees’ Relief Fund, PO Box 7630, Woodbridge VA 22195-7630.

You can always contribute to PERF at by clicking the “Donate Now” button online and using your credit card, or sending a check or money order payable to PERF, PO Box 34422, Washington DC 20043-4422. Or you can donate to PERF through the upcoming Combined Federal Campaign.

Staying Connected in an Emergency

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. To check your work schedule and/or status of your facility in an emergency (including before, during, and after a tropical storm or a hurricane), call the USPS National Employee Emergency Hot Line at 1-888-363-7462.
Please note that media will advise you to call the hot line; information on work schedules and facility status will not be provided through media reports.
If you are a deaf or hard-of-hearing employee and have a mobile phone with a relay app such as Sorenson, Sprint, Purple, etc., call the voice hot line number through your phone’s relay service or contact us online via the Federal IP Relay at If you use TDD, call the Federal Relay at 1-800-877-8339.

Op Ed on USPS Financial Situation

The following Op Ed piece was sent to South Florida media:

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…..will stay us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds.”

For more than 235 years, the U.S. Postal Service has adhered to this unofficial creed. But now, the agency that is responsible for delivering mail to every resident of the nation at affordable rates is facing a financial crisis. Absent Congressional action this year, the Postal Service will experience a cash shortfall and be forced to default on a payment to the federal government.

The increased use of the Internet, combined with an ongoing recession, has had a dramatic and unprecedented impact on our country’s mail volume — and on the Postal Service’s bottom-line. We have responded by pursuing every available option under our control to aggressively cut costs and raise revenues, including slashing annual operating expenses by more than $12 billion and reducing our size by 110,000 career positions during the past four years.

We also continue to consolidate our processing facilities to reduce personnel and transportation costs and right-size our expansive retail network by conducting studies of approximately 3,700 retail offices for possible closure. At the same time, the Postal Service is continuing to work with local retailers to offer products and services at more convenient locations — places were people already shop, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers. This includes the introduction of the Village Post Office, an alternate access option that offers popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging. — and opportunities for local businesses in communities nationwide.

These aggressive efforts, however, are insufficient to close projected budget deficits and ensure the survival of the Postal Service beyond our current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30. The Postal Service needs Congress to enact legislation by this September that would eliminate the current mandate requiring retiree health benefit pre-payments, which costs the Postal Service $5.5 billion annually. Legislation also is needed to return a $6.9 billion overpayment into the Federal Employees Retirement System to the Postal Service. If it were not for the unique health benefit pre-funding requirement, the Postal Service would have recorded a cumulative profit of $1 billion from 2007 to 2010.

We also are exploring legislative proposals that would enable us to establish our own health benefits program, administer our own retirement system, and adjust the size of our workforce to match operational needs and the changing marketplace.

In addition, legislation is needed that will give us the authority to determine the frequency of mail delivery, which can save the Postal Service roughly $3 billion each year.

The Postal Service is not seeking tax subsidies. We receive no tax dollars for operating expenses, and rely on the sale of postage, products and services to fund our operations. Moreover, the Postal Service is not seeking additional borrowing authority. Indeed, the absolute last thing that the Postal Service wants or needs is to incur additional debt. What the Postal Service needs is access to the money we already have over-paid into our retirement fund.

The Postal Service delivers to more than 150 million addresses daily and the 167 billion pieces of mail delivered annually accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s mail. We deliver to America’s homes and businesses more efficiently and at a lower cost than any comparable post — all without the financial support of the American taxpayer. Even in an increasingly digital world, the Postal Service remains critical to the economy, supporting a mailing industry that represents more than 8 million jobs and more than $1 trillion in commercial activity annually.

Regardless of how many people use the Internet to pay their bills and send documents, the core function of the Postal Service and core need of its customers — the physical delivery of mail and packages to America’s homes and businesses — will always exist. And despite doom and gloom headlines, the Postal Service can have a bright future and be put on the road to profitability if given the flexibility from Congress to operate more like a business does.

It’s time for Congress to swiftly complete its rounds, and pass substantive legislation to transform the Postal Service business model — which will put it on a sound financial footing for generations to come.

Miami GMF Postal Store 'Leads' the Way

Our Sales Department got a promising lead from the "Sell on eBay/Ship with USPS" event in the lobby of the Miami GMF Postal Store.

The U.S. Postal Service is partnering with eBay to show online sellers how to ship with them and to do so quickly, easily, and affordably. Free, one-hour seminars, “Sell on eBay/Ship with USPS,” are scheduled at South Florida Post Offices.

eBay is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces with more than 94 million active users. The retailer has made the U.S. Postal Service its leading shipper of choice, integrating postal products with its shipping platform. Learn how to sell and list items on eBay, design a layout and prepare lighting for photo displays, and use online postal shipping solutions. Upcoming seminars:

Sept 13 10:00 am Tropical Reef Branch, 1950 NE 6 St, Pompano Beach
Sept 14 10:00 am Weston Branch, 1870 N Corporate Lakes Blvd, Weston
Sept 21 9:30 am Dave & Busters, 3000 Oakwood Blvd, Hollywood
Sept 23 10:30 am Palm Beach Gardens Branch, 3330 Fairchild Gardens Ave, Palm Beach Gardens
Sept 23 10:30 am Pompano Beach Main PO, 2351 W Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach Sept 27 10:00 am Father Felix Varela Postal Store, 14310 SW 8 St, Miami
Sept 27 11:00 am Everglades Branch, 6759 SW 196 Ave, Fort Lauderdale
Sept 28 1:00 pm Flagler Station, 500 NW 2 Ave, Miami
Sept 29 10:00 am Westside Branch, 11600 W State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale
Sept 29 1:00 pm Blue Lagoon Branch, 6200 NW 7 St, Miami
Visit to register and reserve a space.
If you have a story idea for the Southwest Area Update, please contact Communications Programs Specialist Debbie Fetterly at or call 954-436-4451.

Your PIN Pal in on Your Pay Stub

Knowing your USPS Personal Identification Number (PIN) is important when making changes or enrolling in employee benefit and pay programs. If you forget your PIN, there’s an easy and convenient way to reset it. Log on to LiteBlue and click on “Forgot Your PIN?” When prompted, enter your Employee ID number (it’s printed on all your pay stubs). Then follow directions to reset your PIN.

Margate Chef Sends Dream via Express Mail

Chef Tommy prepares to ship his "shooting star" via Express Mail from the Margate Post Office.

New York, NY, Midtown Station Letter Carrier Eddie Rodriquez, right, delivers Tommy Valdes’ Express Mail package to Food Network employees.

Tommy Valdes, known as “Chef Tommy,” runs a restaurant in Margate, FL, and also aspires to be in this season’s Food Network competition. Wanting his application to be noticed by the reality TV series, Valdes created a cardboard star and chose Express Mail to ship his creation on its 1,200-mile journey to New York.

“It was one of the most important packages I have ever mailed in my life,” said Valdes. “I always send everything through the Postal Service. I know postal employees always do a good job.”

New York’s Midtown Station Letter Carrier Eddie Rodriguez delivered Valdes’ star to the Food Network.

“Words can’t describe how postal employees went out of their way to take care of my personal needs,” said Valdes. “It made me feel as if the package belonged to them as well.”

Special thanks to South Florida’s special ingredients who added outstanding service to this recipe for success --- Margate Manager, Customer Services Tammy Hearn, Business Solutions Specialist Lamont “DJ” DeJarnett, and a host of employees who processed and dispatched this “shooting star” in a timely manner.

If you want to taste Chef Tommy's cuisine, go to Trattoria Blla Cibo, 5801 Margate Blvd in Margate.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Passport Day in the USA is Sat, Sept 17

Do you need a passport for an upcoming vacation? A trip to the Post Office is the first stop of your journey. On Saturday, September 17, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of State will promote “Passport Day in the USA.” Along with regional passport offices, Post Offices nationwide, including four South Florida locations, will host Passport Fairs:

8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Fort Lauderdale Main Office, 1900 W Oakland Park Blvd, Ft Lauderdale
Hallandale Post Office, 500 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
West Palm Beach Main Office, 3200 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach

10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Deerfield Beach Main Office, 212 E. Hillsboro Blvd, Deerfield Beach

Employees are reminded that their participation is an off-the-clock activity. Please contact the respective Post Office for an appointment.

Currently, all U.S. citizens must show proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the countries of the Caribbean by land and sea. In 2009, the U.S. government implemented new rules requiring U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea and land ports of entry to have a passport or passport card. A passport card is similar to a state-issued driver’s license in appearance, but will grant individuals easy entrance back into the United States from the countries mentioned above.

Passports are valid for 10 years and are normally pro­cessed within 4 to 6 weeks. It is recommended that cus­tomers apply for passports at least 2 months prior to the planned date of departure in order to avoid extra charges to expedite applications.

Here’s what you’ll need:
-- Proof of American citizenship or naturalization (a state-issued certified birth certificate, a previous offi­cial passport, or a naturalization certificate if you are foreign-born);
-- One officially acceptable state or government photo ID (a driver’s license or military ID);
-- One recent photograph that meets specific passport requirements (available at participating Post Offices for $15); and
-- Passport application, which can be downloaded and should be completed prior to visiting the Post Office (available at But please do not sign the form ahead of time!

Information on the cost and how to apply for a passport book and/or passport card can be found at U.S. citizens also may obtain passport information by phone, in English and Spanish, by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.

Anniversary Cards Commemorate 9/11

People are remembering and reflecting upon the anniversary of 9/11, a day which forever changed America.

In New York and Triboro Districts, employees had a say in how they could honor those fallen on a 9/11 commemorative card. Each district had a commemorative card contest to choose the words which would appear on their respective 10th anniversary cards. The two winning submissions:

“Projecting through these beacons of lights are the memories of loved ones shinning bright” — Triboro District Retail Associate Renee Flowers.
“The Content of Her Character and the Sacrifices of its Citizens, America Lives On” — Morgan P&DC Schemes & Schedule Clerk Mamie Grimes, New York District.

Each commemorative card costs $4. The keepsake souvenir card can be ordered by customers nationwide, while supplies last. To order by mail, send a check or money order, payable to Postmaster New York, to: Special Events, J.A.F. Bldg Rm. 3113, New York, NY, 10199. Indicate quantity and the quote selection from above.

National PCC Day is Going Hollywood!

National Postal Customer Council (PCC) Day, the premier Fall event for the mailing industry, is going Hollywood. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe will host a national satellite broadcast from Tampa FL to postal customers and partners in Hollywood FL and across the country.

On Wednesday, September 21, from 9 am to 1 pm, the Miami-Dade County PCC and the PCC of Broward County members will join together at Dave & Busters located at 3000 Oakwood Blvd in Hollywood. South Florida businesses are invited to register in advance to listen to the Postmaster General’s presentation, participate in round table discussions with local postal officials and industry professionals, meet their local Postmaster and the PCC Board of Directors, and network and share best practices with other business mailers --- and enjoy lunch!

Throughout the year, each PCC provides a forum for mailers to discuss and resolve mailing issues and to exchange ideas and offer suggestions on new postal products and services. It’s an opportunity to meet face to face in a friendly, informal setting to learn firsthand about the latest postal and industry news that may impact your business.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Employees Are Our Best Security Force

The best security force for our facilities is the people who work there. You know if there are problem areas in your building. You know how to get in and out. You know how to compromise security, and you may even know a few people who do that. That’s why YOU are the best security guard. Each of us seriously must take this responsibility if we are to keep secure ourselves and our facility.

Sometimes it’s easier to leave open a door because it’s closer to the swing room or the credit union, or because it makes it easier to get to the parking lot. But we can’t sacrifice security for convenience. And you are sacrificing the security of ALL employees if you keep a door propped open when it should be closed.

It only takes one open door to compromise the security of the entire building. When a door that should be locked is left open, a breach in our security perimeter occurs. Unfortunately, there are unauthorized people with criminal intent who are waiting for just such an opportunity to get inside your building.

We can’t compromise safety and security. Locking facility doors and vehicles are our first line of defense. Remember these security measures:

-- We know that doors must be opened to let employees and the mail in and out. But at all other times, they must be closed and locked.
-- Make sure that all doors close and that all locks properly function.
-- We also must make sure this “closed door” policy doesn’t compromise safety. If people quickly have to get out because of fire, for example, they must have a clear path.
-- Only authorized personnel are allowed in our facilities.
-- Wear your Postal ID badge that authorizes you to be in your facility.
-- Anyone without an ID badge must wait outside until cleared for entrance by a supervisor.
-- Each time you inspect your vehicle, visually verify that any government license plates (USPS or GSA) still are affixed.
-- Designated employees must complete a daily vehicle inventory and document the results. A PS Form 4569 or local worksheet can be used, as long as all vehicles assigned to the operation are identified. When a vehicle is overnight at a service station or dealer’s facility, you must contact the vendor daily to ensure that the vehicle is still at that site.
-- IMMEDIATELY report anything missing.
-- Remove keys from the vehicle when not in use, and keep all doors locked. If you are delivering, collecting, or transporting mail, you must secure your vehicle at all times. If you cannot maintain the vehicle in your direct, full sight and be absolutely sure that neither the vehicle’s interior or its contents are tampered with, then the vehicle must be locked.

PMG on 9/11; Flags at Half-Staff Sunday

Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe’s video message to employees highlights the U.S. Postal Service’s observance of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The U.S. Postal Service will mark the tenth anniversary of the attacks on Sunday by lowering the flags at postal facilities to half-staff to honor the memories of those who lost their lives during the attacks.

According to ASM 472.22, "When employees are on duty in a postal facility, the flag must be displayed, except in severe weather as noted in 472.14. It is raised as soon after sunrise as practicable and lowered at the time of closing or no later than sunset." That means there is no requirement to fly the flag if no one is scheduled to be in your building. No other days are designated for flags at half-staff, if your facility is unoccupied on Sunday, September 11.

In his video, Donahoe recalls the September 11 tragedy with an expression of gratitude to those who responded to the attacks in New York City and Washington DC, as well as the heroic actions of the airline passengers who sacrificed their lives near Shanksville PA, and prevented a third attack.

Donahoe also recalls the efforts of postal employees who, he said, responded to the attacks by “working hard to restore mail service” in New York and Washington DC as quickly as possible. He said the sight of employees collecting and delivering mail had a “calming effect that we would somehow return to normal.”

The PMG said the country will never forget the life-changing events of September 11. He added that Americans also will remember that postal employees “knew what to do when our country needed assurance and a friendly reminder of more peaceful times.”

Click here to see the PMG’s video.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CFC to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

This month the Postal Service joins other federal agencies in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This year's theme is "The Magic of Life is Giving ... Together Our Star Shines Brighter." Despite economic conditions, CFC organizers know that traditionally, postal employees have been generous in their contributions. You'll be hearing more about the CFC in your work location in coming weeks.