Video: Postal inspectors say you should never leave outgoing checks in your mailbox

MILWAUKEE — You might think the checks you put in a mailbox are secure — but U.S. postal inspectors say think again! They say outgoing mail in an unlocked box is an open invitation for thieves.

“Businesses reported in a short period of time their bank accounts being compromised,” David Cunningham, U.S. postal inspector said.

Investigators were able to track those reports to a certain area.

“The suspects in this case intentionally targeted business checks. They would often go to commercial business parks where they would be able to find a number of different checks,” Cunningham said.

The suspects were stealing the checks, and then using an elaborate process for duplication.

Source: Postal inspectors: “Never leave outgoing checks in mailbox to be picked up by carrier;” here’s why |

Senators Respond to GAO Report on USPS Delivery Performance Measurement

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, responded to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found the on-time mail delivery performance results provided by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) are not complete and may not give an accurate assessment of service for many communities across the country.

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Top stories of the week September 27-October 4

The ten most read articles last week:

  1. FEHB Premiums for 2016 Announced 2 Comments
  2. Chrysler to Supply 9,113 New 2016 Ram ProMaster Vans to USPS 5 Comment
  3. Video: Postal Worker Jumps In To Halt Pit Bull Attack on UPS Driver
    CBS Chicago Comment
  4. APWU: 50-Mile Limit – Minimizing Excessing Memo Extended, Temporary “Holiday Clerk” Jobs for Retirees
    APWU News Comment
  5. Civil Rights groups, unions oppose USPS Board nominees Comment
  6. Video: 7-year-old girl allegedly pepper sprayed by Oklahoma postal worker
    KOKI TV Tulsa Comment
  7. Jacksonville: Two USPS Contract Employees Sentenced For Mail Thefts Comment
  8. Video: Postal Inspectors investigate racist postcards mailed in Milwaukee Comment
  9. Video: Massachusetts postal worker accused of stealing hundreds of pieces of mail
    Worcester Telegram Comment
  10. Video: Murder Of Beloved Postal Carrier Hits Neighborhood Hard
    CBS Chicago 1 Comment

Civil Rights groups, unions oppose USPS Board nominees

A coalition of civil rights groups and unions sent the following letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid expressing their opposition to the current slate of nominees for the US Postal Service Board of Governors:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to express our opposition to the confirmation of the current slate of nominees to the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

It is our understanding that the Senate will consider as a package the four nominees approved by the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on May 6, 2015. Our organizations are in agreement that it would be preferable to continue with a stripped-down Board of Governors than to fill those vacancies with a slate that includes nominees whose policy stances would be harmful to the USPS and ultimately to the public it serves. Continue reading

Video: Postal Inspectors investigate racist postcards mailed in Milwaukee

United States Postal Inspectors are working with the Milwaukee Police Department in the investigation regarding racist postcards targeting Hispanics.

Business owners want something to be done, which is why they organized a community meeting at Salon Fiesta on Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee’s south side. They also plan to send Mayor Tom Barrett a letter.

Many of the business owners targeted live in Alderman José Perez’s district. “The constituents are offended, which they should be and there’s also some fear that this may escalate,” Perez said. “We don’t want that to happen and that’s why the police is involved.”

Perez said he has also contacted the Milwaukee Police Department and encourages people to report if they receive one of these postcards.

CBS 58
Source: CBS 58 – U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate racist postcards mailed in Mi

Online Lenders Rely on Direct Mail for Marketing

From the Wall Street Journal:

The most unlikely beneficiary of the online-lending boom may be the U.S. Postal Service.

LendingClub Corp., Prosper Marketplace Inc. and other financial technology, or “fintech,” companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to pry customers away from traditional banks. The main marketing channel for these online upstarts: old-fashioned snail mail.

Thanks in large part to online lenders, the average monthly volume of personal-loan offers sent through the mail has more than doubled in two years to 156 million in the year through July from 73 million in the same period in 2013.

A big reason online lenders make heavy use of mail, they said, is that it is still more effective than other types of direct marketing.

“Mail is not dead by any stretch of the imagination,” said R. Mark Graf, the chief financial officer of Discover Financial Services, at an industry conference last month. Referring to the online lenders, he said, “a lot of those guys now are starting to drop a lot of mail.”

Read more: Online Lenders Rely on Old-School Marketing

Barking dog prompts USPS employee to get help for sick man

Gunnison, CO, Letter Carrier Wayne Smith was making his rounds at an apartment building recently when he noticed uncollected mail in a customer’s box. Smith also heard the man’s dog barking incessantly inside the apartment.

hero_wayne_smith_largestory1Smith notified Postmaster Neil Kovach, who called the police and suggested someone check on the customer.

Officers visited the apartment discovered the man was experiencing serious health problems. He was taken to the hospital and treated.

The police later called the Post Office to thank Smith, saying the situation could have turned critical if he hadn’t intervened.

Source: Heroes’ corner | USPS News Link

FEHB Premiums for 2016 Announced

fehbThe Office of Personnel Management has announced FEHB health insurance premiums for 2016. Remember that a new feature this year is the “Self plus one” category.

Click the links below for more details:

2016 Premiums

Full Sets of Rate Charts

In addition to the biweekly and monthly premiums, you can also find the total premiums, the amount the government pays, and the change in your portion of the premium compared to last year. A new Self Plus One enrollment type has been added in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program that will provide coverage for an enrollee and one designated eligible family member. All FEHB plans will offer a Self Only, Self Plus One, and Self and Family enrollment type beginning in 2016. Note: Non-Postal Rates apply to enrollees who are not employed by the U.S. Postal Service. U.S. Postal Rates apply to enrollees who are employed by the U.S. Postal Service.

HMO (Regional Plans with Specific Service Areas)

FFS (Fee-for-Service/Nationwide Plans)

The overall average Postal rate increases shown are based on the Postal contribution for Category 1. The Postal employee groups in Category 1 can change from year to year. Postal employees are encouraged to review their Plan brochures for information about how their plan changes for 2016 as soon as the brochures are posted to OPM’s website.

APWU: 50-Mile Limit – Minimizing Excessing Memo Extended, Temporary “Holiday Clerk” Jobs for Retirees Agreed

09/29/2015The APWU and the USPS have agreed upon two Memoranda of Understanding: “Minimizing Excessing” and “Peak Season Exception Periods,” in addition to a Maintenance-specific Step 4 Settlement, that are all interconnected and result in the extension of the 50-mile memo on Sept. 28, 2015, APWU President Mark Dimondstein announced.

“One of the biggest concerns of our members is the 50-mile limit on excessing which expires with the term of the 2010-2015 National Agreement.  I am happy to announce today that the provisions of the Minimizing Excessing MOU will be reactivated and will continue until at least May 20, 2018 with one exception which is covered in the Step 4 Settlement (explained below),” reported President Dimondstein. “Excessing beyond 50 miles is so destructive to our members and devastating to their families, removing this concern for at least the next three years is a positive outcome for all APWU members of all Crafts.”

apwudefault2The granting of an exception period in Function 4 (retail) of the PSE Cap for three pay periods season beginning in 2015 as agreed to in the Peak Season Exception Period MOU will also establish appropriate procedures for the temporary reemployment of annuitants as “Holiday Clerk Assistants” to provide supplemental support for the peak volume seasons applicable to Function 1 and Function 4.

The Step 4 Settlement addresses the situation where there are no residual vacancies available for Maintenance Preference Eligible Veterans who exercise their MSPB rights to remain in their job category and management cannot excess them to a lower level vacancy.

Maintenance Director Raymer commented, “Working with President Dimondstein resulted in the entire APWU obtaining an important protection for our members; one we thought had been lost.

Given our experiences prior to 2010, the opportunity could not be passed by to include the entire Maintenance Craft under the continuing 50 mile excessing radius by the negotiating the retention of the Minimizing Excessing MOU.

Our settlement provides a complete choice for our Veteran Preference Eligibles, including retaining the rights they have earned in service to our country. Additionally, they also have the protections negotiated in our Collective Bargaining Agreement. Whichever is the best arrangement for them individually is theirs to choose.”

Dimondstein added, “I worked very closely with Director Raymer on these issues and appreciate his cooperation.

“The USPS expects a huge surge in parcels this holiday season. Simply put, we then negotiated to achieve a very important goal of contract negotiations – restoration of the Minimizing Excess Memo,” he concluded.

Higher holiday sales expected online this year

From USPS News Link:

Holiday shoppers are expected to spend more money online this year, which could translate into another record season for the shipping industry, analysts say.

Consulting firm Deloitte projects online and mail-order holiday sales will grow between 8.5-9 percent. Total holiday sales are expected to exceed $960 billion, a 3.5-4 percent gain.

“An improving labor market, increasing home values and relief at the pump gave more Americans reason to believe the economic recovery was gaining real traction this year,” said Daniel Bachman, a Deloitte senior economist.

Retailers are gearing up for the online frenzy. Toys R Us, for example, recently lowered its minimum requirements for free shipping, hoping to attract more shoppers.

“Online sales continue to be a growth channel,” said Rod Sides, a Deloitte vice chairman.

Online holiday sales jumped 15 percent last year, reaching $53.3 billion, according to Internet analytics company Comscore.

The surge helped produce a record season for shippers. The Postal Service delivered approximately 524 million packages last December, up 18 percent from one year earlier.

Source: Seasonal spike | USPS News Link