Empowering employees

Postmaster General Megan Brennan head shot

USPS is providing employees with the tools and training they need to excel in their jobs, PMG Megan J. Brennan told a recent meeting of Postmasters and other managers.

“As leaders of the Postal Service, you shape the culture for our employees and the experiences for our customers,” the PMG said.

She delivered her remarks at the United Postmasters and Managers of America (UPMA) national meeting in Louisville, KY, where she emphasized the Postal Service’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its workforce.

For example, USPS has improved training for employees who work at Business Mail Entry Units.

Additionally, the Postal Service is modernizing its payment systems, which benefits customers and employees alike.

In addition to UPMA, the PMG recently addressed the National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the National Star Route Mail Contractors Association.

She discussed workforce development at each of these meetings, along with the Postal Service’s efforts to restore financial stability, strengthen customer service and innovate through new offerings like Informed Delivery.

At the UPMA gathering, the PMG also discussed the importance of Business Connect, a program that encourages Postmasters to identify new business opportunities for USPS.

More than 222,000 new sales leads have been submitted so far this year.

“Thank you for your work connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with the Postal Service and finding additional ways we can add value to their business,” Brennan said.

After Irma

USPS employee loads cargo onto plane

The Postal Service is in recovery mode after Hurricane Irma, which was downgraded to a tropical depression Sept. 12 as it moved away from the southeastern coastal areas.

Although some operations remain affected, USPS is open for business where it’s safe to do so for both customers and employees.

Irma struck the Caribbean last week before moving into the southeastern United States.

Damage to the Florida Keys, where Irma first made landfall Sept. 10 as a Category 4 hurricane, is extensive. Other areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina experienced damaging winds, heavy rain and storm surges.

The Postal Service is also continuing to restore service after Hurricane Harvey, which caused severe flooding in Texas.

The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund and Employee Assistance Program are available to help employees who are affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.

The USPS Service Alerts and USPS Newsroom sites have more information.

Need to know

Woman in glasses types on computer

Training reminder. The USPS Ethics Office is offering a refresher course covering federal ethical conduct laws.

The session will provide an overview of ethics laws that apply to all federal employees. USPS will offer the session through WebEx several times from Sept. 13-29.

(Employees at Postal Service headquarters in Washington, DC, should take the ethics classroom training that is being offered, including four sessions that were recently added in October.)

The WebEx training is available to employees who are Executive and Administration Schedule level 18 and above. Employees who don’t regularly receive ethics training are encouraged to participate, along with employees who are required to file financial disclosure information each year.

The Ethics Blue page has more information, including a schedule of the sessions.

Survival story. The New York Times marked the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by remembering a mailpiece that survived the tragedy.

A video that the Times shared on social media this week chronicles the story of a red envelope that fell from one of the hijacked airplanes that struck the World Trade Center.

The envelope was mailed in Cape Neddick, ME, and postmarked in Portsmouth, NH, Sept. 10, 2001, before making it onto the doomed flight.

A London businessman fleeing the World Trade Center on 9/11 spotted the envelope in the rubble and picked it up. He then mailed it to its intended recipients: Lawry and Charlie Meister, a Los Angeles couple who were stunned to receive it.

The envelope, bearing a Love stamp, contained an invitation to a relative’s wedding rehearsal dinner.

“I think it’s actually a symbol of hope,” Lawry says in the video. “It wasn’t an ordinary letter. It was something to celebrate.”

Pulse check. The deadline to complete the latest Postal Pulse employee survey is Friday, Sept. 15. The Employee Engagement LiteBlue site has more information.

Along came trolleys

Black and white photo of men with trolley

If you didn’t get a chance to see the National Postal Museum’s recently concluded exhibition on mail trolleys, relax. “The list” has you covered with these five facts:

1. The success of “rail mail” led to the trolleys. In the mid-19th century, the Post Office Department launched the Railway Mail Service, which dramatically reduced delivery times by sorting mail en route in special cars. St. Louis Postmaster John Harlow took note and started experimenting with a specially built trolley car that carried mail instead of passengers.

2. The first trolley was tricked out. Clerks used built-in racks, tables and pigeon holes to sort the mail while the trolley moved through St. Louis. It became an official part of the city’s delivery network in 1892.

3. Other Postmasters said, “We want trolleys, too!” By June 1896, there were mail trolleys in almost a dozen cities, including Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC. About 75 clerks worked on mail trolley cars nationwide.

4. All good things must come to an end. (Even mail trolleys.) While the trolleys were considered a great success, their use was short-lived. Automobiles soon proved cheaper and more efficient for mail transportation, while most street car companies could make more money hauling passengers. Most cities stopped using mail trolleys by 1919, though Baltimore kept them in use until 1929.

5. Trolleys are rolling again — online, that is. The National Postal Museum’s online exhibit has more information about the trolleys, while YouTube has a lecture by Curator Nancy Pope.

Got ideas for future editions of “The list”? Email them to uspslink@usps.gov.