Holiday rush

Priority Mail packages on doorstep

The Postal Service’s busiest week of the holiday season is about to begin.

The organization predicts it will deliver almost 2.5 billion pieces of mail — including more than 28 million packages per day — from Dec. 16-21.

Overall, USPS plans to deliver about 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, with more than 8 million package deliveries expected each Sunday in December.

Employees say they’re ready.

“I enjoy taking great care of my customers throughout the year, and it’s extra special during Christmas when I deliver Christmas cards and presents and I see kids’ faces light up with smiles of excitement,” said Tulsa, OK, Letter Carrier Sheldon Gore.

In addition to serving customers at Post Offices, USPS is preparing for a rush online, too.

The organization predicts usps.com will have its busiest day of the season Dec. 16, when the site is expected to receive 8.5 million visitors, up more than 6 percent from last year.

This includes almost 400,000 customers who will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day Package Pickup.

No matter what the week brings, many employees said they’ll give customers the best service possible.

“Making a customer smile is one of the best rewards of the holiday season,” said Marla Basque, a Layton, UT, retail associate.

Giving and receiving

The Postal Service is reminding employees to proceed with caution when exchanging gifts.

Generally, an employee shouldn’t give a gift to a manager or higher-paid colleague. Likewise, a gift shouldn’t be accepted from a subordinate or lower-paid employee.

There are exceptions. For example, a non-cash gift worth $10 or less to a manager on birthdays, holidays or similar occasions is OK.

Holiday gift exchanges — including “white elephant” exchanges in which amusing or impractical presents are exchanged — are also OK, as long as employees participate voluntarily and give non-cash gifts worth $10 or less.

Another exception is a gift to a manager on a special occasion, such as a marriage, birth, adoption, retirement or resignation. This gift could be cash; there is no monetary limit on the gift, but the gift must be customary to the occasion.

These rules help to avoid complaints of favoritism or harassment while creating cohesive, productive workplaces.

The Ethics Blue page has additional guidance, including a presentation on holiday gift exchanges.

If you have questions, email the Ethics Office at ethics.help@usps.gov.

Brotherly love

A USPS employee receives praise from colleagues — and his younger brother — in a new video.

Roche’s Story showcases Roche Schlegel, an electronics technician at the Pittsburgh Processing and Distribution Center.

The video shows Roche working on machines while employees describe his efforts and thank him for his contributions to the plant’s operations.

Says one co-worker: “He takes a lot of pride in his job to do all that he can do to make the machines keep on running to help us not lose production time.”

You also hear from Roche’s brother, Rhett.

“Thank you for being the best big brother you could ever have. I look up to you. I always have,” he says.

The video is part of a new #PostalProud campaign that features employees and customers expressing appreciation for USPS and for each other.

The campaign also includes Peek into Peak, an initiative that features employees throughout the organization answering the question, “How do you go the extra mile to spread holiday joy?”

In addition to being available on the Link site, you can watch the video on the #PostalProud Blue and LiteBlue pages, which have previous videos about USPS employees and their contributions.

Share your story

Link wants to hear from more Postal Service employees who have benefited from the Combined Federal Campaign, the annual federal workplace charity drive that is now underway.

The campaign, also known as the CFC, allows employees to donate to more than 7,000 charities.

Since the current campaign began in September, Link has showcased:

• Amy Tackett, a Printer, KY, retail associate who relied on Ronald McDonald House when her son Elijah was born prematurely

• Lynn Ackerson, a Wichita, KS, vehicle maintenance facility clerk who received help from the Kansas Children’s Service League after obtaining custody of her granddaughter

• Lisa Doran, an Essex, MA, retail associate whose son benefited from several CFC charities after he was diagnosed with leukemia as a child

If you or a loved one has benefited from a CFC charity, let Link know. Send an email to uspslink@usps.gov and a member of the team will be in touch.

News Briefs

Honoring Duncan

Two smiling men display plaque

Honoring Duncan. Robert M. Duncan, chairman of the USPS Board of Governors, was recently honored by his alma mater, the University of Kentucky.

Duncan received the Kentucky Public Service Hall of Fame Award from the university’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration during a Nov. 22 ceremony.

Duncan is a longtime public servant whose previous roles include serving as assistant director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under President George H.W. Bush and serving as chairman of Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

Employee awards. The Postal Service recently honored two consumer and industry contact managers, Melida Nealy and La Vanda Fondren-Copeland, for their efforts to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Nealy, who works in New York District, and Fondren-Copeland, who works in Northern Ohio District, each received a Chief FOIA Officer’s Award, a quarterly honor that recognizes postal employees who respond to requests in a timely manner and help USPS foster transparency.

Fondren-Copeland also received a Chief FOIA Officer’s Award in 2015.

FOIA is a 1966 law that allows individuals and organizations to request documents, emails and more from federal agencies.

The Freedom of Information Act Blue page has more information.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.