First-class kicks

A USPS-inspired line of footwear and apparel from Vans will be available in stores and online this week.

The products will generate revenue for the Postal Service and help customers show their appreciation for the organization.

In announcing the licensing deal, Vans praised the dedication of postal employees, saying there’s “an inherent sense of hardiness associated with USPS employees, which has made their blue uniforms (and the instantly recognizable USPS eagle logo) unexpected icons of workwear style.”

The “Vans X USPS” collection includes four footwear styles: the SK8-Hi MTE-1, the Sk8-Hi Reissue, the Authentic and the Old Skool, each displaying variations on the postal theme. The shoeboxes are made to look like Priority Mail boxes and are lined with “co-branded” tissue paper.

Apparel items include a “Bulk Mail” pocket T-shirt and hooded sweatshirt, and a “Priority” beanie, all in navy blue.

Most of the “Vans X USPS” collection will be available at Vans.com and FootLocker.com, beginning Nov. 29.

Additionally, the collection will be available at select Vans retail locations (a list is available on LiteBlue) and about 40 Foot Locker stores.

One exception: the Sk8-Hi Reissue, which will be released Jan. 20 exclusively at Foot Locker.

Shoes range from $65 to $115 and apparel from $28 to $75.

This collection is not part of the official USPS uniform and should not be worn by postal employees while on duty. Managers and supervisors can use Postal Uniform Guidelines, the organization’s pictorial guidebook, to help ensure employees wear their uniforms properly.

“The Postal Service is proud to work with Vans to bring these officially licensed products to the public, and we hope employees will appreciate them, too,” said Amity Kirby, the USPS licensing manager. “This will be a fun, unique way for everyone to show their postal pride.”

Update (Nov. 30, 9:30 a.m.): Although the Vans website has sold out of several of the USPS-licensed products, select sizes remain available in Vans stores and at other online retailers, such as PacSun.

High-impact giving

Pledging a gift through the Combined Federal Campaign on Nov. 30, also known as Giving Tuesday, benefits two forces for good — and that’s on top of the benefit to your chosen charity.

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 and is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. What started as a local endeavor in New York City is, less than 10 years later, a global movement dedicated to charitable giving and radical kindness.

The Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC, partnered early with Giving Tuesday, and federal employees have historically turned it into the biggest giving day of the campaign.

Giving Tuesday is what the military would refer to as a force multiplier for the CFC: a catalyst for increased performance.

Organizers are urging federal employees to seize the day and give generously to one or more of the thousands of charities under the CFC umbrella.

If you’re new to the CFC, there’s no time like Giving Tuesday to get started. The online CFC Donor Pledging System has more information about the campaign, along with a gateway page that allows participants to easily access their local CFC website. (Paper pledge forms are available for those who do not wish to donate electronically.)

And if you’ve given in the past, why not use Nov. 30 to increase your pledge or to donate to a new cause? Or perhaps make a special donation in honor of the campaign’s 60th anniversary?

The goal for the Postal Service this year is to raise $6.9 million.

Most donations are monetary, but volunteer work can also be pledged and will count toward the USPS total.

Employees with questions can email the Postal Service’s CFC team.

Holly’s hobby

It’s time to deck the halls with Holly.

The cheerful elf for the USPS Operation Santa program is back and appears in a series of new seasonal “Hollygram” messages.

The Postal Service introduced Hollygrams last year to help spread cheer throughout its workplace. The organization has again created templates that employees can use to send messages to each other this holiday season.

For example, perhaps you work with someone who routinely goes above and beyond to help others during the holidays, or any time of year.

Maybe your co-worker is having a challenging day.

Sending a Hollygram is an easy way to help spread the holiday spirit and tell your colleague you are thinking about them.

To download the templates featuring Holly in a variety of festive backdrops, go to the Postal Communicator’s Toolbox Blue page, find the “2021 Holiday Information” heading and select “Hollygrams.”

All a well-wisher has to do is open one of the six templates, write a message and paste it in the body of an email — or print and mail it.

Maintaining control

The Postal Service is reminding managers and supervisors to only grant the minimum privileges in eAccess necessary for employees and contractors to do their work.

The eAccess application provides entry to important USPS systems. Controlling user access to these systems is vital to protecting the organization’s computer network.

Access to a system or resource should be granted only if absolutely necessary.

As detailed in Handbook AS-805, Information Security, Section 9-3 (Authorization), managers and supervisors should act proactively when approving, denying, suspending or terminating eAccess privileges.

 For instance:

• Access must be immediately revoked when it is no longer needed by personnel due to a job change, transfer or termination; and

• Managers and functional system coordinators must review access rights twice a year for employees and quarterly for contractors.

Managers and supervisors are also reminded that eAccess will send an email with a link whenever a periodic review is due.

The manager periodic review message will also appear in the “Pending Actions” area of the “Manager” tab in eAccess.

It’s open

The Postal Service has released a video that reminds employees of the importance of the open season benefits enrollment period.

 

The video — “2021 Open Season,” available on LiteBlue — notes that employees’ circumstances may change from year to year.

 

For example, some employees may want to add a dependent to their plan, while other workers may determine they no longer need a family plan and want to consider another option.

 

The video also explains that employees can go to the Open Season LiteBlue page to review their health plan options.

 

Changes to health plans can be made through PostalEASE, which is accessible through LiteBlue, Blue and the self-serve kiosks available in some USPS facilities.

 

Open season is also a good opportunity to review and update PostalEASE login information and beneficiary forms.

 

Open season, the annual period when employees can make changes to their benefits, ends Monday, Dec. 13.