Friday, November 4, 2011

Summer Stamp Sales Skyrocket

On the heels of improving sales numbers during the summer, Post Office stamp sales for September showed an increase over this time last year.
September 2011 stamp sales increased more than 3.2 percent compared to those in September 2010. The top selling stamps were the “Lady Liberty and U.S. Flag” coil of 100, with 322 million stamps sold. Customers purchased 213 million “Liberty Bell” book stamps.
Commemorative stamps also were popular and continued to drive overall stamp sales. Commemorative stamp revenue for the month comprised 9.2 percent of total sales, a half-point percent increase over the ratio reported for August.
Top commemorative sellers were:
“Send a Hello”: 14 million stamps
“Owney the Postal Dog”: 9.2 million stamps
“Edward Hopper”: 7.3 million stamps
“U.S. Merchant Marine”: 5.7 million stamps
“Go Green”: 5.2 million stamps
“Send a Hello” Forever stamps feature characters from Disney•Pixar Animation Studios movies and include, Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story”, Lightning McQueen and Mater from “Cars”, and the robot Wall•E from “Wall•E”.
Most best-selling commemoratives, along with the month’s top selling stamps, reflect continuing customer interest in Americana, patriotic and animal themes. “Owney the Postal Dog” is proving popular. Available since July 27, the stamp honoring the mail train-riding pooch sold over 11 million copies in its first month and more than 20 million stamps to date.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Telemarketers Masquerading as USPS Workers

The Postal Inspection Service is warning postal customers to avoid a telemarketing scam targeting personal information such as birth dates and Social Security numbers.

Fraudsters masquerading as USPS employees are phoning residents and requesting birth dates and Social Security numbers as requirements for package delivery. While the Postal Service may require proof of age to sign for certain items, it never asks for Social Security numbers.

The Postal Service recently introduced an Adult Signature Required service for shipping ― including Express Mail service, Priority Mail and certain Parcel Select services.

Recipients must show government-issued photo identification that includes a date of birth. This verification must be made in person and never will be requested by phone. Adult Signature Required mailpieces cannot be left at an address without first obtaining the signature of an adult who is 21 years of age or older.

The Postal Inspection Service says safeguarding personal information is crucial to financial well-being. Employees and customers never should provide Social Security numbers or birth dates over the phone if they didn’t initiate contact.

November is Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the historical and cultural contributions of Native Americans. More than 4,500 USPS employees trace their origins to either American Indian or Alaskan Native roots.
Native American culture has been reflected on U.S. postage since 1898 with the issuance of a 4-cent stamp known as “Indian Hunting Buffalo.” Since then, nearly 60 stamps have portrayed Native American themes.
Click here for a look at more Native American-themed stamps in a National Postal Museum online exhibit.

The Benefits of Technology in Bad Weather

Consider the benefits of technology in a weather event. Here are some helpful tips for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry and Smart Phones users:

·Download flashlight APPs on smart phones. When Japan experienced the tsunami, flashlight apps were the #1 download at that time. This feature will come in handy during a power outage.

·From the ABC newsroom, Hurricane HD lets you track storms with moving radar and satellite imagery from the National Hurricane Center. It provides tropical bulletins, forecasts, and advisories. You can watch video updates for current storms and find data on major storms of the past.

·The Weather Channel has fully customizable weather maps, animated radar maps, detailed weather conditions and forecasts, severe weather alerts, and a notification bar with the current temperature and severe weather alert indicator. It allows you to get weather forecasts for your location or search by city, ZIP Code, street address, or landmark. The app also includes interactive maps that are fully customizable and feature the functionality of Google Maps. You can decide to display layers such as radar, clouds, UV index, rainfall and more.

·Global Alert Network delivers hands-free national traffic and weather alerts. See iTunes for Apple devices or go to BlackBerry for a download. The Global Alert Network is a location-aware network platform that automatically broadcasts audible hands-free alerts to mobile devices. You can choose to subscribe to weather or traffic alerts, which are geo-targeted to your location.

One last reminder: Make sure to have your electronic device fully charged before the hurricane.

It's Almost Employee Benefits Open Season

It’s getting to look a lot like open season. In the next several weeks, employees will have opportunities to sign up, make changes to their employee benefits — or consider a new program.

Open Season for the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) program begins Monday, November 7, while Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) begin Monday, November 14.

Employees should note that the 2010 Affordable Care Act changed FEHB eligibility requirements allowing children up to age 26 as eligible dependents for Self and Family coverage. Employees also should check their insurance coverage for details that could save them money.
Employees can make FEHB and FSA selections on PostalEASE. For FEDVIP elections, go to or call 877-888-FEDS (877-888-3337) or TTY 877-889-5680.

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

FEHB, FSA and FEDVIP booklets also will be arriving in the mail. Look for the information and save it when it arrives or go to the “My HR” section on LiteBlue for more details.

Employees will need their employee identification numbers (EIN) and USPS personal identification numbers (PIN) to enter PostalEASE or LiteBlue.

Enrollment changes and new enrollments made during the 2011 FEHB Open Season will become effective January 14, 2012 (Pay Period 03-12). New premium payments will be reflected in paychecks dated February 3, 2012.

New enrollments made during the 2011 FEDVIP and Flexible Spending Accounts Open Season will be effective January 1, 2012.

SFL P&DC AMP Meeting is Thurs, Nov 17

The U.S. Postal Service will conduct a public meeting to discuss its proposal to relocate mail processing operations from the South Florida Processing and Distribution Center, 16000 Pines Blvd in Pembroke Pines, to the Miami Processing and Distribution Center, 2200 NW 72 Avenue in Miami.

The meeting will take place from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday, November 17, at Florida Technical College, 12520 Pines Blvd in Pembroke Pines.

With the deep decline in mail volume due to current economic conditions and continuing electronic diversion, the Postal Service has an excess of employees and equipment in some mail processing operations. A study was begun on September 15, 2011 at the South Florida Processing and Distribution Center to determine the feasibility of consolidating redundant operations to see if any efficiencies and cost savings would be achieved.

Initial study results support consolidating mail processing operations that are currently being performed at the South Florida Processing and Distribution Center by taking advantage of available processing capacity at the Miami Processing and Distribution Center in order to increase efficiency and improve productivity.

While no final decision has been reached, Postal Service managers will give an overview of the reasons for the proposal and its possible outcomes, and will listen to community input and concerns. A summary of the proposal and presentation materials will be made available on one week before the meeting date.

Anyone who wishes to submit comments in writing can send them to Manager, Consumer and Industry Contact, South Florida District, 2200 NW 72 Ave, Rm 225, Miami FL 33152-9631. Public comments will be accepted through December 2, 2011.