Letter to the law

The Postal Service is providing employees and contractors with an “essential service provider letter” they can show to law enforcement officers in case they’re stopped and questioned during the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter explains that USPS is part of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is continuing normal operations during the pandemic.

The letter also affirms to law enforcement that postal employees and postal contractors provide an essential public service and are exempt from general quarantines and other pandemic travel restrictions issued by state and local governments.

The Postal Service advises employees and contractors to:

  • Carry a Postal Service-issued identification badge and the essential service provider letter whenever they travel
  • Show the postal ID and letter if stopped by law enforcement officials enforcing travel restrictions
  • Explain the nature of their work for the Postal Service and the reason they’re traveling, whether they’re commuting to or from work or traveling during their workday

Employees and contractors should also carry their supervisor’s name, number and email address, in case authorities need additional information.

USPS managers and supervisors are delivering a stand-up talk and distributing copies of the essential service provider letter. Employees and contractors who have not received this letter should contact their Postal Service manager, supervisor or USPS contracting officer’s representative.

The Postal Service has additional resources to help educate employees about the coronavirus pandemic on Blue and LiteBlue.

Bad sign

The Postal Service is again educating employees about the Hatch Act by providing examples of co-workers who broke the law.

The Hatch Act aims to keep politics out of federal workplaces by prohibiting workers from engaging in political activity while on duty, while wearing a uniform, while on federal property or while inside a federal vehicle.

In 2018, USPS conducted a communications campaign that featured examples of actual employees who violated the Hatch Act in a variety of ways, including a letter carrier who wrote “corrections” on political mailpieces before delivering them and a retail associate who made political posts on social media while on the clock.

The campaign resumed this month with the example of “Travis” — not his real name — an employee who brought campaign signs promoting a presidential candidate to the Post Office where he works.

Travis obtained the posters from his union to distribute to other union members, but was advised not to do so at work. Nevertheless, he announced during a morning staff meeting that the union had endorsed the candidate and he had signs in his workspace for anyone who was interested.

Employees are allowed to distribute campaign materials away from federal property when off duty and not in uniform, but distributing these kind of materials at work is considered partisan political activity and violates the Hatch Act.

Following an investigation, Travis reached a settlement agreement to serve a 30-day suspension for his violation.

The Postal Service will continue its campaign throughout 2020, highlighting other violations that employees should avoid.

The Ethics Blue page has more Hatch Act resources, including a Let’s Talk Politics!fact sheet. Employees who have questions can contact their local field law office or send an email to ethics.help@usps.gov.

Gift cards

USPS is offering a promotion on Visa gift cards at select Post Office locations.

From April 4-17, employees and customers will receive $3.95 off the purchase fee of a Visa gift card valued at $100.

Variable load gift cards are excluded from this offer. No coupon is needed.

News Briefs

Employee profiled

Action star. Hung Bui, a USPS enterprise computing support manager and 23-year employee, is profiled in the latest edition of Diversity in Action magazine.

Bui oversees 35 employees who provide telephone, computer and other technical support to workers at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

“I define my success by the success of those in my department,” Bui tells Diversity in Action, a digital and print publication that promotes diversity in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

The profile appears in the magazine’s March/April edition, which is available as a PDF on the Diversity in Action website.

Postal Bulletin. The latest edition of Postal Bulletin features heat safety tips for employees, as well as recent updates to the Domestic Mail Manual and Publication 223, Directives and Forms Catalog.

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