the daily news digest of the postal world since 1998


APWU National Convention Gets Underway


July 21, 2014 – Delegates to the APWU National Convention are ready for action after several days of pre-convention workshops and conferences.

Monday, July 21, will feature a State of Our Union address by President Mark Dimondstein, speeches by several members of Congress, and messages of solidarity by postal union presidents from the U.S. and abroad.

Plans are in full swing for a Stop Staples protest on Tuesday, July 22, in the Chicago Loop at 111 N. Wabash.


Video: Linns Stamp News Monday Morning Brief for July 21

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editor Charles Snee discusses a few significant events in the stamp world last week and what to look for in the coming week.

This week’s stories for July 21, 2014, include:

• New Star-Spangled Banner coil error discovered
• Germany’s World Cup Champions stamp
• Scott catalogue update
• Michael Rogers to join forces with Kelleher auction firm



Investor says collapse of postal deal shows how vulnerable Staples is

An investor writing for Seeking Alpha thinks Stalpes’ days are numbered, and the abrupt cancellation of its deal with the USPS proves it:

StaplesShrews14-540x270 - EditedNothing shows Staples’ vulnerability more than its reliance upon school supplies. The Wall Street Journal reported that Staples has killed a program to open post offices in its stores. The program was killed because the American Postal Workers Union was able to get two teachers’ unions to join it in a boycott of Staples. The postal workers were mad because Staples employees are nonunion.

Staples’ management was afraid that teachers would start telling parents not to shop for school supplies at its stores. With its recent revenue losses, Staples needs all the customers it can get.

Read more: Staples: The First Casualty Of The Wal-Mart/Amazon War – Staples, Inc. NASDAQ:SPLS | Seeking Alpha.


Price adjustments make USPS parcel shipping more competitive

The eyefortransport logistics blog suggests that the USPS may pick up some more parcel business thanks to FedEx and UPS’s dimensional pricing, along with USPS price reductions:

Now let’s talk about parcels. In my last blog post I wrote about the move FedEx made to convert to dimensional pricing, matching UPS’s decision. I should point out that USPS has applied to the Postal Regulatory Commission for approval to lower some priority mail rates starting on September 7 this year.

The drop in pricing targets parcels transported up to 1,000 miles and weighing 3 to 40 pounds. Some zone pricing will drop more than 50 percent as the Postal Service tries to make some hay from the UPS and FedEx decisions to switch to DIM pricing.

When shopping your parcel shipping business, it would be wise to take a look at USPS.

Read more: Slow and Steady, Recovery Pushes On | eft – Supply Chain & Logistics Business Intelligence.


Royal Mail readies for battle with shareholders

Royal Mail will this week face a stormy shareholder protest when the company holds its first annual meeting since its controversial privatisation.

The 500-year-old company is likely to face questions about the £1.35m pay package awarded to the chief executive, Moya Greene, and its warning that the universal service obligation – the pledge to deliver to every address in the country for the same price six days a week – is under threat.

The company, which the government privatised in October 2013 at a £1bn loss to the taxpayer according to a committee of MPs, will hold its first annual meeting as a FTSE 100 firm in Birmingham on Thursday. It will also update the City on its latest financial performance, which has been worrying some analysts, in an interim management statement on Tuesday.

Read more: Royal Mail readies for battle with shareholders | Business | The Guardian.


North Dakota postmaster admits fraud

US-Department-Of-Justi_fmtThe Postmaster of Beulah, North Dakota, Edmund J. Sharp IV, has agreed to plead guilty to charges that he defrauded the USPS by issuing salary advances in the names of employees he supervised, but kept the money for himself. Sharp claimed he needed the money to “meet the demands of higher costs of living in Western North Dakota”. According to USPS records, Sharp is paid a salary of $58,353 a year, and has worked for the USPS since 2000. Neither the plea agreement nor the indictment specify exactly how much money Stark stole, but the agreement recommends restitution in the amount of $7,500. In exchange for his guilty plea and promise of restitution, the prosecution agrees to recommend a sentence at the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, which could result in a prison term of up to six months. Had the case gone to trial, Sharp faced a possible sentence of up to ten years,

The court has scheduled a hearing on the plea agreement for September 2- sentencing will take place December 5.


Rep. Nolan Hears from Concerned Citizens on Closure of Duluth Plant, Blames Prefunding Law

A Duluth mail sorting facility is set to close next year, but first Rep. Rick Nolan D-Minn. wants to know how that will impact us here in the Northland.

He stopped at the Coppertop Church in Duluth Friday to hear from about 60 concerned residents. Nolan says the closure would send 70 jobs to the Twin Cities, and end up slowing mail service.

He says a requirement to fund employee health and pension benefits is forcing the cost-saving move.

Read more: – Rep. Nolan Hears from Concerned Citizens on Closure of Mail Processing Center.


APWU: Updated Maximization Duty Assignment Tool (MDAT) Goes Live

From the American Postal Workers Union:

apwulogoJuly 18, 2014 – A highly-anticipated computer program – Version 2 of the Maximization Duty Assignment Tool (MDAT) – launched on Friday, July 18.

“The original version has been highly successful in helping the union win the conversion of part-time flexible clerks to full-time regular and creating duty assignments with good schedules,” said Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lamont Brooks, MDAT Coordinator.

“And Version 2 has several enhancements that will make the program more effective and easier to use,” he said.

The new program:

  • Creates an additional report that identifies possible duty assignments after analyzing the clock rings.
  • Allows users to easily access employees via a drop-down menu that contains all the employees in the file.
  • Allows up to three additional users to be designated by the local/state president under the Administrative Access tab.
  • Includes a mission statement about the program and numerous documents, templates, worksheets necessary to create grievance files specific to the grievance associated with the clock rings being requested.

“With all that being said, the program is faster than ever,” Brooks added.

“This is another example of the union’s efforts to provide tools and resources to make it easier for local activists to create and preserve desirable duty assignments,” said Clerk Craft Director Clint Burelson.

“I congratulate the Clerk Craft officers for developing the improvements to this important program,” said APWU Mark Dimondstein. “This is another example of why it pays to belong to the APWU.”


Alibaba Teams Up With Brazilian Postal Service

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is cultivating is overseas customer base while preparing for its initial public offering in New York, which could be one of the largest initial public offerings in history.

For the past few months, Alibaba has been going around the world — France, Australia, Singapore and Italy to name a few–signing agreements with governments and logistics providers to attract more overseas merchants to its Chinese online marketplaces.

In the latest, Alibaba said Friday it will team up with Correios, Brazil’s state-owned postal services company, to help the country’s small businesses sell their products in China through Alibaba’s websites using its Alipay electronic payment system.

Read more: Alibaba Teams Up With Brazil Postal Service Firm – Digits – WSJ.


North Carolina couple arrested for mail and identity theft

DURHAM — The Durham County Sheriff’s office arrested a young couple Wednesday on charges relating to stealing their neighbors’ mail and committing fraud.

Amber Michelle Carthen, 23, and Donnie Paul Cates, 22, of Eaker Drive were arrested after Durham County Sheriff’s investigators alleged they were committing several types of fraud.

Investigators said Carthen and Cates stole and cashed an income tax return and used a stolen credit card to make various unauthorized purchases.

More charges are likely as the sheriff’s office works with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to investigate the crimes.

Read more: COPLOG: ID released of man shot by police; condition critical | The Herald-Sun.