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the daily news digest of the postal world since 1998

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Get a stamp made while waiting for flight at Chennai

Chennai, Aug. 26:

Air passengers can now have a postal stamp made with their own photo while departing the Chennai domestic airport.

India Post has opened a counter at the airport to provide this facility. Passengers can make their own postal stamp with their photo by paying Rs 322 for 12 stamps of Rs 5 each. The postal department has such a facility in all major post offices.

Passengers need to fill up the required proforma at the counter with identity proof and a recent passport size photo. The twelve photos will be sent by the postal department to the given address within ten days.

Read more:  Get a stamp made while waiting for flight at Chennai | Business Line.

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USPS year to date overtime costs reach $3.5 billion

The idea that the US Postal Service is grossly overstaffed and desperately needs to get rid of employees is widely accepted among pundits and politicians. The service’s own statistics, however, tell a different story. Ten months into the fiscal year, the USPS has spent $3.5 billion on employee overtime. For bargaining unit employees, that works out to an average overtime rate of 10.8%, roughly double what would be expected in order to cover absences and fluctuations in workload. The dollar total reflects an increase of over a half billion dollars compared with the same period last year (SPLY).

Overtime is highest in the letter carrier craft, running a whopping 17%. That means the average city carrier is working almost seven hours overtime a week. All of which just goes to show that contractual no-layoff clauses have absolutely no impact on the USPS’s ability to cut costs. As it stands right now, the USPS appears to be drastically understaffed!

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Japan Post to start elderly support services

Japan Post will begin testing support services for the elderly at some post offices from October, with the aim of later expanding the plan nationwide.

The company said on Monday that under the program, postal workers will visit the homes of elderly on a monthly basis to check on their health status, and then report to their relatives.

For a monthly fee of over 10 dollars, Japan Post will also provide 24-hour telephone counseling on medical and other issues.

Read more: Japan Post to start elderly support services -NHK WORLD English-.

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Canada Post offers $5 million to end shipping charges lawsuit | Toronto Star

Canada Post has agreed to pay more than $5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by Lee Valley Tools on behalf of large businesses who contend they were overcharged for parcel shipping.

The $5.05 million settlement will be split among commercial customers of Canada Post who had agreements to ship items within Canada during the period 2003 and 2007. In addition, Canada Post has agreed to pay $1.3 million toward legal costs incurred by the plaintiffs. The class action could potentially involve as many as 54,000 Canada Post customers.

Read more: Canada Post offers $5 million to end shipping charges lawsuit | Toronto Star.

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Calgary mailman arms himself with tennis racket to fend off hawks

Surveying the treetops through black binoculars from her front step, Pat Rendle swivelled her head as the hawks began circling.

“Here comes the mailman,” said Rendle.

Holding a tennis racket high with an outstretched arm, Rick Tobin rounded the corner looking poised for an overhead power serve.

With bundles of envelops tucked under his other arm, the Canada Post worker kept his eyes to the sky, skirting along Lake Bonavista homes delivering letters.

The hawks take turns circling — and screeching — before dramatically swooping down on him.

The mail must go through.

Read more: Calgary mailman arms himself with tennis racket to fend off hawks.

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MP raises concerns over post office "downgrades" in Teesside

AN MP says he has been told his town’s premier post office is to be “downgraded” and franchised out into a shop sometime in the current financial year.

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision and likened it to “privatisation by the back door.”

However the Post Office said the decision had not been made, a consultation would take place and whatever happens there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Read more: MP raises concerns over post office "downgrades" in Teesside (From The Northern Echo).

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Postal inspectors checking handwriting on local absentee ballots?

In an unusual move, postal inspectors have gotten involved in a municipal election in Mobile, Alabama. Inspectors say a postal worker contacted them after seeing “what appeared to be voter fraud”. The Mobile city clerk said she was called by postal officials questioning “numerous ballots bearing similar handwriting, as well as multiple ballots from the same voters being mailed almost daily”. There was no explanation as to how voters could vote more than once- as the city clerk pointed out, each ballot requires “an ID and a signed affidavit” to be counted.

The local US Attorney’s office, which would handle any federal prosecution of fraud charges, says it is not involved in the Inspection Service investigation.

via U.S. Postal Service launches inquiry into possible ballot fraud; U.S. Attorney’s Office not involved | al.com.

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Tennessee postal worker shot and killed by police in his own garage

A 68 year old postal worker from Tennessee who planned to retire at the end of the year was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in his own garage Thursday night. The deputy claimed he was doing a “property check”, and was confronted by a man with a handgun. The Sherriff’s Department says the deputy “gave verbal commands, and fired multiple shots, striking Henry C. Taylor, 68, and killing him.”

So far the Sheriff’s Department has not confirmed whether or not a weapon was found at the scene. The victim’s brother told the Knoxville News that as far as he knew, the victim didn’t even own a firearm. He also expressed concern abut a possible cover-up.

The case is under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Read more: Blount County Sheriff’s Office press release.

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Mail Handlers contract finalized

From the National Postal Mail Handlers Union:

NPMHU_logoThe NPMHU and USPS have finalized the text of the 2011 National Agreement as compelled by the February 15, 2013 Award of the Board of Arbitration. The term of the contract is four and one half years in duration (November 21, 2011 through May 20, 2016). The contact was recently sent to the Union printer and will be distributed by mail to each NPMHU member in the coming weeks.

In anticipation of that delivery, you may access a complete .pdf version of the National Agreement by following this link.

 

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Postal worker sentenced to 3 years for stealing $390K via fraudulent tax returns

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier was sentenced to prison today for using his mail route to aid a group of Paterson men who stole more than $390,000 by filing 151 fraudulent state and federal tax returns.

Miguel E. Duran, 35, of Paterson, was sentenced today to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Donna Gallucio in Passaic County. He previously pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by unlawful taking. In pleading guilty, Duran admitted that he participated in the conspiracy by supplying addresses from his mail route in Morris County to be used in filing false tax returns. He further admitted that he intercepted the resulting government refund checks while working his mail route. Duran delivered the checks to his co-conspirators and was paid $200 for each check. Duran was ordered to pay $29,800 in restitution. Read More