Changing lives

CFC

Postal Service employees across the nation participated in this year’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the federal workplace charity drive that concludes Jan. 12.

Employees volunteered their time to promote the campaign and encourage co-workers to support the 12,000 participating charities.

In Greenville, SC, Berea Branch became the first workplace in Greenville County to pledge volunteer hours, a new method of giving this year.

“Berea’s exemplary support of charities gives the community we serve opportunities and resources to reach their full potential,” said Postmaster Stephanie Banks.

Other participating employees included those returning the favor to CFC charities.

Joanne Benge, a Dallas District business service network representative, said she gave to a local hospital “because of the care they provided to my daughter when she was young.”

Employees also hit the road to drum up support for the CFC.

One example: Warren, MI, Postmaster Dennis Kennedy, who serves as a Detroit District CFC coordinator, visited postal facilities throughout the district to deliver CFC talks.

“Postal employees have big hearts when giving back to the community,” Kennedy said. “I know the donations will make significant changes in the lives of others.”

The CFC Blue and LiteBlue pages have guidelines on contributing to the campaign, including contact information for national and local campaign managers.

Lunar New Year

Year of the Dog

The Postal Service released its Year of the Dog stamp Jan. 11. The stamp is the 11th entry in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series.

The Lunar New Year, the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world, is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage.

The Year of the Dog stamp illustration depicts an arrangement of “lucky” bamboo.

On the right of the stamp is lozenge-shaped red paper with the Chinese character fu, meaning good fortune, rendered in calligraphy — a common decoration on doors and entryways during Lunar New Year festivities.

Art Director Ethel Kessler worked on the stamp series with illustrator Kam Mak, a Hong Kong-born artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown.

The dog is the 11th of 12 zodiac animal signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. The Year of the Dog begins Feb. 16.

USPS is issuing the Year of the Dog stamp in souvenir sheets of 12. The stamps are available at Post Offices and usps.com.

Need to know

ntk Hazmat

Hazardous materials. USPS is reminding employees about the proper handling of packages that contain exempt human or animal specimens, including samples transported for routine testing of noninfectious diseases, as well as drug, alcohol, cholesterol and pregnancy testing.

Mailpieces marked “Exempt Human Specimens” should be handled appropriately for the mail class and product. No special handling or hazardous materials handling is required if all packaging requirements in Publication 52, Section 346.326, are met.

The Postal Inspection Service has prepared a stand-up talk that managers and supervisors can deliver to employees to educate them about the handling requirements.

The stand-up talk, Hazardous Materials: Proper Handling of Exempt Human Specimen Packages, is available on pages 14-15 in a series of talks posted on Blue.

Stay informed. Employees can sign up for Informed Delivery, a free feature that provides users with digital previews of their incoming mail, at informeddelivery.usps.com. Sign-up is voluntary and must be completed off the clock.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

News quiz

Man dressed as Santa Claus laughs alongside two women

Here’s Link’s latest “News quiz,” a weekly feature that invites readers to test their knowledge of recent stories. The correct answers appear at the end.

1. True or false: USPS is extending voluntary early retirement offers to eligible mail handlers and clerks.

a) True
b) False

2. What year did the Upton, NY, Post Office begin serving customers at Brookhaven National Laboratory?

a) 1918
b) 1926
c) 1947
d) 1960

3. Which is not a winter safe driving tip?

a) Allow yourself extra time to stop and turn.
b) Always wear your seatbelt.
c) Rehearse winter driving in a full parking lot.
d) Scan the road ahead.

4. Where did USPS test a digital version of Operation Santa last year?

a) Chicago
b) Los Angeles
c) New York City
d) San Diego

5. Under the Hatch Act, if you reply to a Facebook post  in support of a political candidate on your day off, can you mention that you’re a Postal Service employee in the reply?

a) Yes, because federal employees can comment on social media posts.
b) Yes, because you are using social media to engage in political activity while off the clock.
c) No, because you are identifying yourself as a federal employee while engaging in political activity.
d) No, because federal employees cannot engage in political activity.

Answers: 1) a. 2) c. 3) c. 4) c. 5) c.

Look for a new quiz next week and share your feedback with Link at uspslink@usps.gov.