Hurricane Florence

Two soldiers direct driver in the middle of intersection

The Postal Service is responding to Hurricane Florence, which is bringing torrential rain, damaging winds and life-threatening storm surges to the Southeast.

To protect employees and the public, USPS has suspended mail delivery and retail operations at several Post Offices in coastal areas, including parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and other affected states.

“Our top priority is the safety of our employees and customers. We’ll make every possible delivery — but only where it’s safe and reasonable to do so,” said Linda Malone, vice president of Capital Metro Area, which includes the region in the storm’s path.

The Postal Service began preparing last week for Florence, the first major hurricane of the season. In addition to providing employees with emergency guidelines, USPS has advised customers of potential service disruptions.

The organization’s preparations were a joint effort with the postal labor unions and management associations. “We’re all working together during this challenging time,” Malone said.

Employees affected by the storm should call the USPS national emergency hotline at 888-363-7462 to report their condition and check for changes in their scheduled work reporting status.

The Postal Employees’ Relief Fund and Employee Assistance Program are available to help affected employees.

Customers who have questions about mail delivery should check the USPS Service Alerts site for updates. The Postal Service is also posting updates on social media and distributing news releases with information for customers.

Let’s chat

Man sitting at desk using computer

Reminder: If you have questions about your benefits, the Postal Service has answers.

You can go online to post your questions and get answers from the Benefits and Wellness team. You can ask about health plans, retirement options, flexible spending accounts, commuter programs and other benefits-related topics.

The discussion board is part of the IdeaSMART platform, an online forum that allows postal employees to share feedback on improving the organization.

You can use most electronic devices — including computers, smartphones and tablets — to access the IdeaSMART application and participate in a chat. You’ll need your ACE ID and password or your employee identification number and self-service password.

The IdeaSMART LiteBlue page has additional details, including FAQs and contact information.

Need to know

U.S., POW-MIA flags flying at full staff

Flag notice. National POW-MIA Recognition Day, which honors the sacrifices made by members of the armed forces held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, is Friday, Sept. 21.

Postal Service facilities are required to display the POW-MIA flag this day. The flag must fly below the U.S. flag, and both flags should be flown at full staff.

For additional information, refer to the Postal Service’s guidelines on U.S. flag display and maintenance, as well as the requirements for displaying the POW-MIA flag.

Postal Bulletin. The Postal Bulletin’s Sept. 13 issue previews Energy Action Month, which is held each October.

The issue also includes information about new stamp releases; pictorial postmark announcements; and the latest updates to policies, procedures and forms.

Stamp dedication. Madonna and Child by Bachiacca, one of this year’s new holiday stamps, will be released Wednesday, Oct. 3.

USPS will dedicate the stamp that day during a ceremony in Santa Fe, NM.

The stamp, announced in July, features a detail from a 1520s work by Francesco d’Ubertino Verdi (1494–1557), the Italian Renaissance painter known as Bachiacca.

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

News quiz

Woman stands in line at USPS mobile retail vehicle

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: The system that will soon become the Postal Service’s official method to measure performance relies on the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of urban and rural areas.

a) True
b) False

2. What tips does USPS offer carriers who want to deliver exceptional customer service?

a) Be courteous
b) Handle packages with care
c) Scan mail and packages accurately
d) All of the above

3. What does the IRS wants workers to review?

a) Their annual leave available balance
b) Their federal income tax withholding
c) Their leave without pay available balance
d) Their sick leave available balance

4. Who said, “When you’re proud of where you work, when you’re excited to have conversations with customers and co-workers, and when that feeling is part of everything you do, that’s engagement.”

a) Operations Integration and Support Manager Lisa Adams
b) Enterprise Analytics Vice President Isaac Cronkhite
c) Customer Experience Vice President Kelly Sigmon
d) Acting Organizational Development Analyst Mark Wahl

5. Fill in the blank: The Music Icons: John Lennon Commemorative Forever stamp features a photograph taken by (blank).

a) Antonio Alcalá
b) Neal Ashby
c) Bob Gruen
d) Peter Fordham

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

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