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New prices

The Postal Service has announced additional 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 planned prices:

  • Priority Mail small flat-rate box: $8.30 (current), $8.45 (planned)
  • Priority Mail medium flat-rate box: $15.05 (current), $15.50 (planned)
  • Priority Mail large flat-rate box: $21.10 (current), $21.90 (planned)
  • Army/Air Post Office and Fleet Post Office large flat-rate box: $19.60 (current), $20.40 (planned)
  • Priority Mail regular flat-rate envelope: $7.75 (current), $7.95 (planned)
  • Priority Mail legal flat-rate envelope: $8.05 (current), $8.25 (planned)
  • Priority Mail padded flat-rate envelope: $8.40 (current), $8.55 (planned)

Overall, these changes would raise prices approximately 3.5 percent for Priority Mail service and 1.2 percent for Priority Mail Express service.

In October, USPS announced price changes for Mailing Services and International Shipping Services products.

Although Mailing Services price increases are based on the consumer price index, Shipping Services prices are primarily adjusted according to market conditions.

USPS filed the proposals with the PRC on Nov. 16.

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.

Holiday connections

In this week’s all-employee video message, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy discusses the significance of the holiday shipping and mailing season.

“Many customers will be ordering more gifts online this year than they normally would. With fewer people traveling for the holidays, those cards and gifts will mean more. That is why our role in connecting people and communities during the holidays is so important,” DeJoy says.

He also previews this year’s seasonal TV commercial and discusses USPS Operation Santa, the Postal Service’s annual program to help people in need during the holidays.

The video, released Nov. 16, is available on Link and other postal websites and will be shown to employees throughout the organization this week.

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Better shop around

To help Postal Service employees compare health plans during this year’s open season, the organization offers access to Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees.

Checkbook has information about all plans available through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

The comparison tool allows you to find the right health plan for you and your family. It includes information on copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and whether dental and vision benefits are included in specific plans.

Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans is from the Center for the Study of Services, an independent nonprofit consumer organization that also publishes Consumers’ Checkbook.

Checkbook has published its annual guide to federal benefits for more than 35 years, and USPS continues to provide free access for all employees and retirees.

Employees can access the guide through the Open Season LiteBlue page.

Many employees overpay for health plans because they don’t take time to compare costs. To avoid this, USPS encourages employees to shop around for the best plan for their health and their wallet.

Open season, the annual period when employees can change their health coverage or enroll in a new plan, will conclude Monday, Dec. 14.

Your count counts

The Postal Service is reminding facilities to have sufficient coronavirus pandemic-related supplies on hand — and to accurately and regularly report their inventories in the organization’s field surveys.

Each facility should have a 30-to-45-day supply of COVID-19 materials, including face coverings and gloves; cleaning and disinfectant products; and hand soaps, sanitizer and paper towels.

Having adequate supplies will help USPS meet its operational readiness goals and avoid potential problems that could occur if there are national shortages later in the year.

Supplies are available through eBuyPlus catalog supplier sources, as well as from the Topeka, KS, Material Distribution Center (MDC) catalog. To check current availabilities at the MDC, go to the online COVID-19 Sanitation Supplies Availability worksheet and select the “Topeka MDC” tab.

Facility managers can also use their local purchasing authority to buy supplies if they follow the proper procedures.

Additionally, facility managers must accurately report their inventory. This will help prevent inaccurate demand forecasting and the distribution of supplies to a facility that does not need them.

“By accurately accounting for what’s on hand at your facility, you can help the Postal Service ensure every postal workplace is properly stocked and supplies are available for each employee. Remember: Your count counts,” said Supply Management Vice President Mark Guilfoil.

The COVID-19 Employee Resources Blue page has additional information under the “Supplies, Cleaning and Maintenance” tab.

Hooray for Hollygrams

Each Hollygrams template features Holly, the elf for the USPS Operations Santa program.

Do you have a co-worker who could use a little cheer this holiday season?

Maybe it’s someone who deserves recognition for a job well done, or someone who simply embodies the spirit of postal pride.

Whatever the situation, why not send them a Hollygram?

The Postal Service has created six templates that employees can use to send messages to each other this holiday season. Each template features Holly, the elf for the USPS Operation Santa program.

Hollygrams were created by the Postal Service’s holiday team.

To download the templates, go to the Postal Communicator’s Toolbox Blue page, find the “2020 Holiday Information” heading and select “Hollygrams.”

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