Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'Grown Folks' Party Drives Toys

Safety Specialist John Zeigler (pictured squatting) poses with volunteers and recipients of his “Grown Folks Toy Drive Party.”  For the past eight years, Zeigler organizes this toy donation event to benefit less fortunate children in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

“My wife and I have been fortunate enough to have the support of our family and friends. Thousands of toys have been donated to several organizations in the community, and this year, also to an orphanage in Haiti,” said Zeigler. “There’s nothing like paying it forward.”

Miami Carriers Deliver the Holidays

Kendall Annex Letter Carrier Ulises Orozco organizes all the holiday packages in his postal vehicle.
Kendall Annex Letter Carrier Yilliam Orozco is a self-proclaimed “Santa Package Helper” during the holidays in Miami, FL.

Snapper Creek Branch Letter Carrier Edwin Dominguez organizes his parcels to deliver his Miami, FL, route on the busiest delivery day of the year. 

Kendall Annex Letter Carrier Bartolo “Burt” Ruiz is ready for the busiest delivery day of the year.
Snapper Creek Branch Letter Carrier Jerry Pruitt delivers holiday gifts sent in the Peanuts ReadyPost packaging to his Miami, FL, customer.

Kendall Annex Letter Carrier Elizabeth Ojeda (left) takes a holiday card from Manager, Customer Services Orencio “Larry” Suarez (right).

De Ona Poses with Peanuts Gang

Lead Retail Associate Frank De Ona decorated the Causeway Postal Store in Fort Lauderdale, FL. “I love to decorate the lobby,” said De Ona. “It brings a smile to the customers’ faces when they come into the office. The children especially like the decorations.” 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Good Grief! It's the Peanuts Gang!

Customers (in line from the rear) Sebastian, Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown visit the GMF Postal Store on Dec. 14 to send their loved ones presents using Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Retail Associate Evelyn Garcia provides 100% attention to her customer even with all the celebrities in her retail lobby. Photo: Mirtha Uriarte 

'Thinking Outside the Boxes'

Mail Handler Ricardo Obando moves packages at the Royal Palm Processing and Distribution Center in Opa-locka. 

W-2 Alert: USPS Does Not Forward

Did you know…the US Postal Service does not forward Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statements.

Validating the Postal Service has your current mailing address will ensure timely receipt of your 2015 Form W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,”.  Employees must have a current mailing address on file by December 22, 2015.

Note:  The deadline to update the W-2 mailing file is December 22, 2015.

Employees may use the following options to change their mailing address on record:
1. LiteBlue for Employees with PC Access
a.  Go to the LiteBlue home page at
b.  Enter your Employee Identification Number and USPS® Password.
c.  Click the Log On button.
d.  Click on the My HR tab at the top of the page.
e.  Click Change My Address (top left of page, within the I want to: section).
f.   Click Edit.
g.  Change any necessary mailing address information.
h.  Click Review.
i.   Click Save.
2. Employee Self-Service Computer Kiosk
All Postal Service™ employees can change their mailing and residential addresses using an employee self-service computer kiosk. Employee self-service computer kiosks are located in large processing and distribution centers and in some Post Offices™. On the kiosk’s main web page, click on the tab titled, Employee Change of Address.
3. Mail
Send a completed PS Form 1216, Employee’s Current Mailing Address, to:
HR Shared Service Center (HRSSC)
PO Box 970400
Greensboro, NC 27497-0400
4. Telephone
Call the Human Resources Shared Service Center at 877-477-3273, select option 5, and follow the prompts to speak to a service representative who will assist you (TTY 866-260-7507).

Dec 21: Flexible Spending Deadline

Although open season has ended, the Postal Service is giving employees extra time to enroll in flexible spending accounts (FSAs). The new deadline is Dec. 21.
FSAs allow users to set aside money pretax to pay for health and dependent care expenses.
For 2016, the maximum amount that employees can contribute to FSAs has increased to $2,550, as allowed under IRS regulations.
“Flexible spending accounts are such a valuable benefit we want to make sure our employees don’t miss the opportunity to participate,” said Benefits and Wellness Manager Erica Hayton. “We wanted to give our employees another week to enroll and potentially save money on their current health-associated costs.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

FSA Deadline: Monday, December 14

You can make your health care dollars go further by using flexible spending accounts (FSAs) — but only if you get the facts first, experts say.
“FSAs work with your health care plans, but it’s important to understand the value of those plans,” Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Williamson says in a new video discussion.
FSAs allow users to set aside money pretax to pay for health and dependent care expenses. Employees can enroll in FSAs during the open season benefits period that concludes Dec. 14.
The Postal Service has raised the maximum amount that employees can contribute to FSAs to $2,550 and simplified the process for withdrawing the money.
“It’s your money. You should have no problem getting it out,” Compensation Director Vinay Gupta says.
Money saved through FSAs can be used for a variety of health and dependent care expenses. The trick is to save wisely, says Benefits and Wellness Manager Erica Hayton.
“It’s a use it or lose it account, so don’t put in the max unless you’re going to spend the max,” she says.
Employees can learn more on the LiteBlue open season site and through the Postal Service’s benefits webinars.

Holiday Helper

The Postal Service has updated its websites for the holidays. 
The interactive Charlie Brown-themed holiday newsroom features news releases, videos, stamp information, fact sheets, mail-by dates and a “Christmas Countdown” clock.
The site also has information on special holiday postmarks, as well as the Operation Santa and Letters from Santa programs.
The holiday page highlights online tools to help customers simplify their mailings. Features include package tracking, pick-up scheduling, a Post Office locator, ZIP Code finder and the My mobile app.

Good Grief! It's Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Customer Relations Coordinator Kelly Worthman assures Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang that letters to Santa truly are answered by the jolly man in the red suit.

Fort Lauderdale Supervisor, Customer Service Support Amy McCall was shocked to see Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang in front of the Fort Lauderdale Main Office.

Pictured from left: Data Collection Technician Carmen Ortiz, Budget and Financial Analyst Sheryl Dillon-Jones, and Data Collection Technician Nopporn Sawatamnuaychok join Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang in front of the Fort Lauderdale Main Office.

Good grief! It’s Equal Employment Opportunity Alternative Dispute Resolution (EEO ADR) Specialists Ann Strickland (left) and Vanessa Brown (right) at the collection box at the Fort Lauderdale Main Office. The postal duo took a break to share mailing tips with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Security Tips: The Package You Save May Be Your Own!

This holiday season the U.S. Postal Service looks forward not only to delivering  holiday cheer, but also nearly 600 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. That’s a 10.5 percent increase over last year.

The U.S. Postal Service offers 12 Secure Shipping Tips to help brighten everyone’s holiday season.

1.  Don’t leave your mail or parcels unattended — especially overnight. You wouldn’t leave your wallet or purse on the front seat of your unlocked car in the driveway at night. Neither should you leave your mail or parcels unprotected for any length of time. Remember — your mailbox is not your backup file cabinet.

2.  Be a buddy — help a neighbor in need. If you have a stay-at-home neighbor, enlist their help. Ask to schedule your package deliveries to their address, increasing the likelihood someone will be home to receive your package.

3.  Consider an alternate shipping address. Some employers will allow you to ship small amounts of personal items to your work location. Inquire whether your employer will allow you to do so, and plan your shipment accordingly.

4.  It’s 3 PM … do you know where your package is? You could. The Postal Service provides real-time tracking for a wide-range of products. You can monitor your package’s status from tender to final delivery. Registered users of can also receive status updates via text alerts delivered to their mobile devices.

5.  Change of plans? Change your package’s delivery address—while it’s in transit! If you’ll be away when your package is being delivered, try USPS Package Intercept. Prior to delivery, you can redirect most domestic package shipments to the sender, a new address,  or the Post Office to be held for pickup. The service is fee-based, but you are only charged if the package is successfully re-directed.

6.  Customize your delivery. Provide the Postal Service personalized instructions. If your package doesn’t fit in your mail box and you won’t be home to receive it, you can provide delivery instructions online and authorize your carrier to leave it in a specified location. Visit, track your package, and select Delivery Instructions. You can also request your package be left with a neighbor or held at a Post Office for pickup.

7.  Your package on demand. Ship using “Hold for Pickup” to your local Post Office. Priority Mail Express Hold for Pickup service lets customers claim packages on their schedule, at more than 30,000 USPS locations, where their packages await safely and securely. Automatic notifications via e-mail or SMS text messaging are also available.

8.  Keep thieves at bay while you’re away. Hold your mail at your Post Office. If you’re going away for a few days, and don’t want to risk leaving your package unattended, take advantage of the Postal Service’s Request Hold Mail service. Your letters and packages will be held securely at your local Post Office until you’re back in town to receive it again.

9.  Secure your shipment using USPS Signature Services. The Postal Service’s Signature Services help ensure your package ends up in the right hands, by requiring a signature at time of delivery. Choose from a variety of offerings including Signature Confirmation, Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery, Adult Signature Required, and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery. Also available — Signature Confirmation, which provides you the date and time an item was delivered or attempted, and includes a record maintained by USPS and available electronically or by email, upon request.

10. Protect your package every step of the way, and insure its valuable contents. Opt for Registered Mail service — the Postal Service most secure form of mail delivery. Registered Mail receives special-handling from tender to delivery, documenting the chain of custody of your important item. Electronic verification of delivery or attempted delivery is available upon request. Insurance may also be available to protect against loss or damage.

11. Control your package’s delivery date using Priority Mail Express. Now, you can choose your delivery date, using Priority Mail Express. It’s the Postal Service’s fastest domestic service (with limited exceptions), available 365 days a year. It offers a money-back guarantee and overnight scheduled delivery to most U.S. addresses — including PO Boxes. You’ll also get proof of delivery signature record, tracking services, and $100 insurance (most shipments).

12. Upgrade the security for all your mail, not just your parcels. Consider renting a Post Office Box at your local Post Office. Your mail remains secure within the Post Office, accessible only when using the right key or combination. Many Post Offices lobbies are open 24/7, allowing you to retrieve your mail on your schedule.

Please also remember, report suspicious activity immediately. If you notice an unfamiliar vehicle following behind the USPS truck or unknown persons hovering around mailboxes, report the activity to your local police department and local Post Office immediately. The package you save may be your own!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Our Season Returns

Royal Palm P&DC Clerk Anthony Smith 
The Postal Service expects to deliver 15.5 billion cards, letters and packages this holiday season.
Approximately 600 million package deliveries are expected between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, up 10.5 percent from last year’s record-setting performance.
Like last year, USPS will deliver packages on Sundays in major cities and high-volume areas. 
The busiest mailing and shipping day is expected Monday, Dec. 14, while the busiest delivery day is expected Monday, Dec. 21.
This year, the Postal Service has invested in new technology: My customers can sign up for real-time delivery notifications that alert them within a few minutes of the delivery scan for select packages.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Promoting #PostalProud

The new #PostalProud initiative is discussed in a video that features Chief Operating Officer David Williams and Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Jim Cochrane.
#PostalProud, which launched this week, aims to underscore the role of mail in strengthening bonds between families, friends and businesses.
The initiative emphasizes core organizational principles, such as accurate scanning. Although the initial efforts are geared toward delivery employees, #PostalProud will soon expand throughout USPS.
In the video, Williams and Cochrane offer tips on how employees can incorporate #PostalProud into their daily work during the holidays and beyond.
For example, Cochrane reminds employees that cameras are posted near many customers’ homes and businesses.
“If you’re going to get caught on camera, let’s make sure it’s for an excellent customer experience,” he says.
Other tips include double-checking addresses when delivering packages and treating customers with courtesy.
“You are the face of the Postal Service, and a simple smile shows your pride and willingness to go the extra mile,” Williams says.
The video’s themes will be reinforced through workplace posters, stand-up talks and messages delivered to Mobile Delivery Devices throughout the peak season.
More information on #PostalProud will be shared in the coming weeks.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Updating Your Health Options

Reminder: You can you use PostalEASE on the Lite Blue open season site to update your benefits.
Your choices include the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), USPS Health Benefits Plan (USPSHB), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs).
Update your coverage on the Ready to Make Changes page or by calling the employee service line at 877-477-3273 (select option 1).
Log on to Benefeds to make changes to your FEDVIP coverage.
Open Season, the annual period when you can make changes to your health coverage or choose a new plan, will conclude Dec. 14.

Hatch Act Updates

The Postal Service reminds employees that they must follow rules established by the Hatch Act, a law that prohibits federal workers from engaging in some political activities.
The main point of the Hatch Act is to prevent federal employees from using their positions to unduly influence elections.
Under the law, employees can register to vote and support their favorite candidates by voting.
Employees also can post campaign logos or images on social media, such as their personal Facebook or pages and Twitter feeds.
However, employees could run into trouble if they use campaign images as profile photos.
The reasoning: Since those images are attached to everything they like or tweet, they become the sort of active on-the-clock politicking restricted under the Hatch Act.
(Also, as a reminder, USPS employees aren’t allowed to use their social media accounts while on the clock.)
More information is available in the recently updated FAQs from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Employees who have additional questions should contact their field law office or send an email to

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fort Lauderdale BMEU Employees Celebrate Their Career Milestones

L to R: BMEU Technicians Anthony Lazzari, John Reynolds and Ron Lux; BMEU Manager Joycelynn King; BMEU Technician Timothy Leathers; Mailing Standards Specialist Mary Ann Perez; BMEU Supervisor Warren Clarke; and BMEU Technician Keith Young.

Congratulations to Fort Lauderdale Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU) employees who have reached career milestones:

40-Year Service Award & Pin
BMEU Technician Keith Young

35-Year Service Award & Pin
BMEU Technician Anthony Lazzari 

30-Year Service Award & Pin
BMEU Supervisor Warren Clarke
BMEU Technician Timothy Leathers
BMEU Technician Ronald Lux
Mailing Standards Specialist Mary Ann Perez
BMEU Technician John Reynolds

Putting Your Stamp on the Holidays

The Postal Service has more than a billion Holiday themed stamps in stock from previous years, and has printed 800 million more to help Americans celebrate this year’s holiday season. Customers may purchase them now at at this link or by calling 1-800-STAMP24 (1-800-782-6724).

Here’s an alphabetical list of stamps available this year: A Charlie Brown Christmas; Geometric Snowflakes; Gingerbread Houses; Hanukkah; Holiday Baubles; Holy Family; Kwanzaa; Madonna of the Candelabra by Raphael; Neon Celebrate!; Poinsettia; Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert; and, Winter Fun.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Oct. 2 marked the 65th anniversary of the “Peanuts” comic strip and December marks the 50th anniversary of the most popular holiday TV classic of all time, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

The stamp images include: Charlie holding the sapling that eventually becomes his Christmas tree; Charlie and Pigpen with a snowman; Snoopy and children ice skating; the cast of the program gathered around the Christmas tree; Linus kneeling by the sparsely decorated Christmas tree; Charlie checking his mailbox for a Christmas card; Charlie and Linus leaning on a snowy brick wall; Charlie and Linus standing by the Christmas tree; a frustrated Charlie standing in front of Snoopy’s doghouse; and, Charlie decorating the tree in front of the prize-winning lights display on Snoopy’s doghouse.

Christmas Magi
The stamp art illustrates the traditional tale of the Magi, who came bearing gifts for Jesus. The three regal figures sit atop a trio of bedecked and harnessed camels, the animals almost at the summit of a small hill. Guiding them is a large, dazzling star shining in the sky. The colors in the sky range from a rose near the horizon, darkening to a rich purple at the top, suggesting that the travelers are moving through the desert at dawn.

Geometric Snowflakes
Each of the four Geometric Snowflakes stamps depicts a different snowflake. In nature, untold millions of ephemeral ice crystals form unique patterns that are as stunning in their complexity as they are fleeting. This infinite variety inspired the designers to experiment with different graphic shapes. Each snowflake is drawn in one of four colors: purple, pink, green, or blue. Applying light and dark shades of color enhanced the intricate geometry of each flake and added a feeling of playfulness to the stamp art.

Gingerbread Houses
Four new, cheerful holiday stamps capture the delicious tradition and childlike nostalgia of making gingerbread houses. Stumbling across a magical cottage made of cake and candy, Hansel and Gretel knew just how special gingerbread houses could be — but no witches will jump out of these confectionery domiciles. Instead, the Gingerbread Houses stamps will add a touch of whimsy to your holiday mail.

Celebrated by Jewish people around the world, Hanukkah, the joyous Festival of Lights, spans eight nights and days of remembrance and ritual. Central to the celebration is the hanukiah, a nine-branched menorah used only at Hanukkah. Eight of its branches represent each of the eight nights and days of Hanukkah, and the ninth, the shamash or “the servant,” is used to light the other candles.

Happy Hanukkah! With eight colorful shapes and the silhouette of a dreidel, this stamp captures the joyous spirit of the Hanukkah festival.

Holiday Baubles
Evergreen trees and branches have been used as winter holiday decorations for hundreds of years. Trees were trimmed with fruit — apples were a popular choice — and nuts, candies, or paper. Glass ornaments first appeared in the late 19th century, in Germany, and their use quickly spread to other countries.

While styles from the 1950s inspired the ornaments depicted in the stamp art, sincere wishes for happy holidays never go out of fashion. These stamps offer a fashionably “retro” way to enhance the season’s greetings.

Holy Family
The Holy Family stamp celebrates Christmas with a scene from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the season: family, togetherness, and the birth of the baby Jesus. It continues the Postal Service’s tradition of issuing beautiful and timeless Christmas stamps and will be a treasured addition to cards and letters sent during this season of goodwill and sharing.

With this colorful stamp design, the Postal Service celebrates Kwanzaa, a non-religious holiday that takes place over seven days each year from Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Kwanzaa draws on African traditions and takes its name from the phrase for “first fruits” in Swahili, a widely spoken African language.

Madonna of the Candelabra by Raphael
This Christmas stamp features a detail from a work by the Italian master Raphael, entitled “Madonna of the Candelabra.” This tondo (circular painting), oil on panel, dates to around 1513.

Neon Celebrate!
Good times call for good wishes. Bringing an extra wish for happiness to anyone celebrating a special time, this stamp features a brilliantly colored design crafted out of neon and glass that adds a spark to greeting cards, invitations, and gift-bearing envelopes and packages.

The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of issuing classic holiday stamps with this bright and cheerful rendering of America’s favorite holiday flower, the poinsettia.

The stamp art depicts the rich red and vibrant green leaves surrounding the flower — the cluster of small, rather modest cup-shaped structures in the center. The red “petals” that we think of as the flower are actually modified leaves called bracts. A potted poinsettia was used as art reference.

Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert
Five centuries ago, Jan Gossaert helped bring the genius of the Italian Renaissance to northern Europe. Today, his devotional paintings, rich in symbolism, still vividly evoke the traditions of Christmas.

Winter Fun
Drawing on nostalgic images of snowy childhoods, the Winter Fun stamps can be used not only to convey the joyful spirit of the holiday season and the New Year, but also to send cheerful greetings for any occasion all winter long.

The 'Mailbox Miracle' Experience

Download the Postal Service’s AR app at Google Play or iTunes App Store. Stand next to one of nearly 160,000 blue mail collection boxes December 14-17 to see Charlie Brown characters surround Postal Service blue collection boxes to take a photo with the Peanuts gang to save on your camera phone or share on social media. As the nation counts down to the holidays, the Postal Service will be adding new experiences every few days.

Pictured: Palm Beach Gardens Clerk Gary Hansman is getting an assist from the Charlie Brown gang while collecting holiday cards. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Combined Federal Campaign: Every Dollar Can Make a Difference

There’s still time to give to the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), and every dollar can make a difference.
As part of the fabric of every American community, the U.S. Postal Service demonstrates good corporate citizenship each and every day. Its collective commitment to the CFC is a prime example. There are more than 4,000 approved charities eligible to receive your donation --- organizations that provide human services, health care, medical research, disaster relief, housing, youth development, and much more.
The CFC is the largest and most successful workplace charitable giving drive in the world. The CFC is the only authorized charitable organization solicitation of federal employees in their workplace. 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 CFC. Your gift will help shape the lives of thousands of people in our communities, across the country, and around the world. For example:
Pledging $1 a week ($52 a year) can buy …
  •     12 elementary school students with trained volunteer tutors to help with reading and math.
  •     10 children with bilingual beginning-to-read books to build early literacy skills.
  •      Three 30-minute appointments for health assessment and counseling for individuals facing physical, developmental or mental health challenges.
  •       One acre of unprotected tropical rainforest which assures protection of the natural areas vital to our climate and diverse species.
     Pledging $5 a week ($260 a year) can buy …
  •      Two months of meals for a homebound person.
  •      Five wigs for children with cancer undergoing chemotherapy.
  •      Two nights of shelter for a troubled or neglected youth.
  •      After school care (food, health, recreation, and homework help) for one child for a year.
  •      Temporary shelter for a family of four for three nights following a disaster.
    Pledging $10 a week ($520 a year) can buy …
  •     Two days of care for a terminally-ill individual.
  •     Baby formula for 52 low-income infants (one each week).
  •     A full year of scouting for two girls.
  •     One month of preschool for a child at risk of falling through the cracks.
  •     Lightweight wheelchair for a person who is physically challenged.
If you'd like to make a CFC pledge, please contact Human Resources Administrative Assistant Jennifer Thonus at 954-527-3235 or 305-962-1095. Jennifer will ensure that you receive a CFC pledge card and catalog.

Pew Poll: They Like Us, They Like Us!

As we head into our busiest time of year, millions of packages, cards and letters will be entrusted to the Postal Service. We’ve built a legacy of trust over the last 240 years, and now our customers have spoken. Eighty-four percent of Americans view the Postal Service favorably, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. In fact, more Americans have a favorable view of the Postal Service than any other government agency.

The Postal Service was ranked highest of 17 federal agencies. Rounding out the top five: the National Parks Service (viewed favorably by 75 percent), the Centers for Disease Control (71 percent), NASA (70 percent) and the FBI (68 percent).

The findings, released November 23, are based on interviews with 6,000 individuals who represent a sampling of the nation. These results align with similar surveys, including a Gallup poll in May that found that the public is overwhelmingly satisfied with mail delivery, ranking it higher than any other government service. 

Pew’s findings on the Postal Service are part of a broader poll on the public’s trust in government.

Remember, “This Is Our Season,” the time we shine by doing what we do best --- serving our customers every day. Be on time, do your job safely, and do your job well. Be sure to sort properly, be courteous with customers, scan with integrity, and deliver with care, so we can preserve and protect the trust of the American public.