Banner days

Employees at the Los Angeles Processing and Distribution Center recently sent some love to their counterparts at other Postal Service facilities.

The employees shipped banners to processing plants in New York City, Chicago and Detroit. Each banner was printed with a special message — such as “LA is Blowing a Gust of Care Your Way” — and signed with messages of encouragement from the Los Angeles employees.

The goal is to show appreciation for processing plant employees, who are providing an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We truly have undercover heroes working behind the scenes to keep mail moving,” said Daniel Hirai, the Los Angeles facility’s senior plant manager, who spearheaded the effort. “We aren’t successful processing mail without the clerks, mail handlers and maintenance staff that keep the machines maintained and running, or moving mail without our transportation personnel.”

Employees at the plants that received the banners said they appreciated them.

“We were thrilled to receive the banner from our friends at the Los Angeles P&DC,” said John Colao, Chicago District’s senior plant manager. “It’s ginormous! We are looking for a place to hang it so all our employees can see it every day. My thanks to everyone in Los Angeles. Our employees thank them as well.”

In addition to the Los Angeles workers, the banners were signed by Los Angeles District Manager Robert Reynosa and Los Angeles Postmaster Joe Zapata.

Said Hirai: “Our thoughts and best wishes go out to these employees. They are the backbone of this organization. We understand the challenges they face and stand with them in their mission to keep America’s mail moving.”

Second jobs

The Postal Service wants to remind employees about the rules for working for an outside employer or seeking outside employment.

Employees are prohibited from working for:

  • Amazon, DHL, FedEx, UPS and other companies that deliver mailable matter, other than daily newspapers
  • Commercial mail-receiving agencies
  • Companies that makes uniforms or other products for the Postal Service
  • Transportation contractors who move mail to or from the employee’s postal facility or within the delivery area of the employee’s facility

Employees also cannot engage in any sales activity while on duty, in uniform or at any postal facility.

Additionally, employees need approval from the USPS Ethics Office before working for a company that:

  • The employee has had official dealings with on behalf of the Postal Service
  • Is dependent on or affected by postal rates, fees or classification
  • Is dependent on providing services to USPS

To request approval from the Ethics Office, an employee must send a written statement listing his or her postal duties, the name of the outside employer, the type of outside employment and a description of any dealings the employee has had with the company in his or her postal capacity.

An employee must also submit a written statement from his or her supervisor that lists the employee’s duties and any concerns the supervisor has with the request.

Once an employee begins outside employment, he or she must comply with postal regulations, maintain regular and on-time attendance in his or her postal position, and not let the outside work interfere with his or her postal job performance.

Postal employment must take precedence when a scheduling conflict arises with the outside job.

More information is available in the supplemental standards section of the standards of ethical conduct for employees of the executive branch, which applies to postal employees.

If you have questions, call the USPS ethics hotline at 202-268-6346 or send an email to ethics.help@usps.gov.

Staying grounded

The Postal Service is continuing to limit business-related travel.

The organization has extended restrictions that took effect in March, when USPS began limiting approved travel requests to “mission-critical” trips and trips and trips for meetings that require an employee’s physical presence and cannot be postponed.

This policy will remain in place until at least Aug. 3, according to a memo that Chief Human Resources Officer Isaac Cronkhite distributed last week.

The Postal Service instituted the policy following the guidance of public health experts during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees who have questions should speak to a manger or supervisor.

Preparing for retirement

Postal Service employees can participate in an upcoming webinar on preparing for retirement.

The session, “Retirement 101,” will be held Thursday, June 18, at noon EDT and repeated Wednesday, July 29, also at noon EDT.

Aetna will conduct the webinar, which will focus on Medicare, Medicaid, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB), the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

Participants must register before the event on the webinar website. After signing up, directions will be emailed to each registrant.

Participation is voluntary. Non-exempt employees may only participate off the clock or during authorized breaks.

The Financial Wellness LiteBlue page also has retirement planning information.

Additionally, throughout June, postal employees can participate in a series of webinars conducted by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the agency that administers TSP.

For more information, email the USPS Health and Wellness team.