‘Trajectory for success’

In a new video message, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy discusses the Postal Service’s essential role in American life and thanks employees for their dedication to the organization and its customers.

“Over the past several months, the importance of the United States Postal Service has been more apparent than ever,” DeJoy says.

“This institution helps to bind our nation together, delivering mail and packages to a nation that has largely been forced to stay at home. We are critical to our national economy and millions of small businesses and their employees, and we are the ‘face’ of the federal government to millions of Americans who count on us to deliver information, census forms and mail-in ballots.”

The new Postmaster General praises USPS employees, including the front-line workers serving during the coronavirus pandemic and the recent nationwide protests.

“You are responsible for this institution’s respect and popularity with the American people,” he says.

DeJoy also discusses the challenges facing USPS, including the need to continue ensuring the safety of its workers during the pandemic; responding to changes in the way customers use mail; and the need to change the organization’s expensive, inflexible business model.

“I did not accept this position in spite of these challenges, I accepted this position because of them — and because I want to work with you in addressing them. I want to put this institution on a trajectory for success,” DeJoy says.

He outlines several steps the Postal Service will take to meet its challenges, including creating a viable business model that ensures the organization continues fulfilling its public service mission; identifying new and creative ways to fulfill that mission; and continuing to be a diverse and supportive workplace “where people can have opportunities for promotion, enjoy a great quality of life and count on a secure retirement.”

The video concludes with DeJoy’s thoughts on continuing the Postal Service’s legacy.

“We stand on the shoulders and of the men and women who built this institution, who grew it and who maintained it,” he says. “And we pledge to them — and I pledge to you — that we will continue to make the United States Postal Service a great institution worthy of its standing.”

A ‘strong and steady’ leader

Portrait of smiling woman

In his first act as Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy paid tribute to his predecessor.

DeJoy announced June 15 that he will honor Megan J. Brennan with the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Postal Service’s highest award.

“Megan has dedicated her life and career to the United States Postal Service,” DeJoy said in a video message to employees. “She started as a letter carrier, rose through the ranks, and became our nation’s first female Postmaster General. Over the past five years, she has provided the Postal Service with strong and steady leadership under some of the most challenging circumstances.”

DeJoy added that Brennan, who retired last week, always put the interests of the Postal Service and its workers first, including earlier this year when she delayed her retirement to ensure a smooth leadership transition.

“Over the past six weeks, she has been an invaluable resource to me — sharing her knowledge, enthusiasm and advice. And I know I will continue to call on that advice as I move forward in this job. … I can think of no one more deserving of this honor, and who is more deserving of our respect and admiration. Megan, we thank you for everything you have given to the Postal Service and the American public,” DeJoy said.

Franklin served as America’s first Postmaster General from 1775-1776. DeJoy is the 75th Postmaster General.

Prevent the bite

About 5,800 Postal Service employees were bitten by dogs last year, the third consecutive year that the number of attacks has declined.

The total number of dog bites is down by more than 200 since 2018 and down by about 400 since 2017, according to data that USPS released June 11 to promote National Dog Bite Awareness Week, an annual campaign to highlight responsible pet ownership.

“Be Alert: Prevent the BITE” is the theme for this year’s effort, which runs from June 14-20.

“The continued decline in dog attacks shows that our customer and employee outreach about dog bite safety, along with the continued use of digital tools, is working,” said Chris Johnson, the Postal Service’s safety awareness program manager.

About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of these victims are children.

Several cities reported declines in dog bites, including Philadelphia, which reported 34 attacks — down from 51 in 2018 — and San Antonio, which dropped from 47 attacks in 2018 to 28 in 2019.

Other cities saw increases. Los Angeles, which ranked second, reported 74 attacks, up 13 from the year before.

Houston led the list of cities where the most attacks against postal workers was recorded last year: 85.

To help protect employees, the Postal Service in recent years has introduced Package Pickup and Mobile Delivery Device features that alert letter carriers to dogs on their routes.

In addition to these digital features, the organization is offering safety training for employees and reminders for customers. One tip: If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a satchel, backpack or bicycle.

USPS is also reminding carriers to complete dog warning cards for addresses with dogs and to carry authorized dog repellent at all times.

The Postal Service’s Dog Bite Awareness Week, which typically occurs in April, was moved to June to coincide with the start of summer, when dog bite incidents peak.

This year’s outreach efforts will include news releases, a social media campaign and radio public service announcements.

Special connection

A Texas rural carrier’s conversation with a customer has led to almost $20,000 in new revenue for the Postal Service.

Tina Harbison of Wylie, TX, submitted a lead through the Rural Reach program to help a customer on her route who runs an apparel and jewelry shipping business out of her home.

Dallas District Business Development Specialist Anthony Sanchez followed up with the customer, who wanted the ability to print labels from home and have a carrier pick up her packages.

The resulting deal is expected to bring in more than $19,820, which has been added to the Postal Service’s Race for a $Billion campaign total.

The initiative — which is at $785 million, according to a June 11 ranking of all district contributions — aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Additionally, USPS is conducting #LEADtheWayBack Month in June, aiming to collect 20,000 sales leads from employees.

“Rural carriers like Tina Harbison are able to have such a special connection with their customers because of how important our deliveries are in rural areas,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “As we help Main Street USA business come back from the pandemic, it is good to remember that businesses aren’t always on ‘Main Street.’”

In addition to Rural Reach, employees can submit leads through the Business Connect, Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers and Submit a Lead programs.

The Sales Blue page has more information about the lead-sharing programs, including instructions on participating.