Link Extra

New prices

The Postal Service has announced price changes for next year.

If reviewed favorably by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the changes would take effect Jan. 24, 2021.

Here’s a list of current and proposed prices:

  • First-Class Mail letters (additional ounces): 15 cents (current), 20 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail letters (metered 1 ounce): 50 cents (current), 51 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail domestic postcard stamps: 35 cents (current), 36 cents (proposed)
  • First-Class Mail letters (1 ounce): 55 cents (no change from current price)
  • Flats (1 ounce): $1 (no change from current price)

The changes would raise Mailing Services product prices approximately 1.7 percent. Competitive International Shipping Services price changes would vary by product.

Mailing Services product price increases are based on the consumer price index, while all Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted due to market conditions.

USPS filed the proposals with the PRC on Oct. 9.

The complete price filings are available on the PRC’s site under the Daily Listings section, and price change tables will be available on the Postal Explorer website.

The Postal Service’s news release has more information.

Time of reflection

The Postal Service will release a Kwanzaa stamp Oct. 13 to celebrate the values and beliefs around African American heritage.

Kwanzaa, which takes place over seven days from Dec. 26-Jan. 1, brings family, community and culture together for many African Americans.

The stamp design features the face of a woman in profile with her eyes closed. Her contemplative demeanor signifies the ways in which observers of Kwanzaa reflect on the seven founding principles, the Nguzo Saba, and their role in everyday life.

A candleholder (kinara) with seven lit candles (mishumaa saba) sits in front of her. Cool tones evoke a sense of inner peace, and vibrant design elements give the artwork a celebratory feel.

Antonio Alcalá, a USPS art director, designed the stamp with original artwork by Andrea Pippins.

The stamp will be available in panes of 20 at Post Offices and usps.com.

Kwanzaa will be one of several holiday stamp releases this year, along with Holiday Delights, Hanukkah, Winter Scenes and Our Lady of Guápulo.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Lean on EAP

The Postal Service wants employees who feel overwhelmed by issues like the coronavirus pandemic, social unrest and teleworking challenges to know that support is available.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free, voluntary and confidential service to help USPS employees overcome challenges affecting their physical and mental health, family life and job performance.

EAP assistance is available 24/7 and includes:

Video counseling, a service that allows employees to meet with an EAP counselor through a video call

•  Online counseling, a service that offers professional counseling anytime, anywhere, through a computer, tablet or smartphone

myStrength, a highly interactive, individually tailored application that help users address topics like opioid recovery, depression, insomnia, mindfulness, anxiety and chronic pain

• Live webinars that explore topics such as emotional intelligence and navigating personal challenges

EAP also offers state-of-the-art telehealth options that allow employees to receive counseling services online. This benefit has been particularly useful during the pandemic, when many people are staying home.

For more information, go to the EAP website or call 800-327-4968 (TTY: 877-492-7341).

Open call

Link is working on a story about Postal Service employees who have saved money by changing their benefits during the annual open season enrollment period.

Gieti Mojadidi, a USPS senior organization design consultant, shared her experience with Link last fall, explaining how she reduced her premiums after changing her health coverage the previous year.

Have you had a similar experience? If so, Link would like to hear from you.

Send an email to uspslink@usps.gov and a member of our team will respond.

This year’s open season will run from Nov. 9-Dec. 7.