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Postal News Roundup

White powder sends 3 postal workers for medical care

Times Union - “Three employees at the U.S. Postal Service's processing and distribution facility on Karner Road needed medical treatment after they were exposed to a unknown powder that came from a package Sunday. Emergency responders descended on the mail center after midnight Sunday after one of the workers said they became ill after being exposed, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. News10 ABC reported that the first worker went to an urgent care facility for a rash.” See also: Postal workers injured by package with hazardous substance           

12 Lake County EMS workers exposed to unknown white powder

WFTV Orlando - “A postal inspector and FBI agents responded to the scene, along with Mount Dora firefighters and a hazmat team. Police said an envelope arrived at the facility via U.S. Postal Service. They said a powder was discovered inside and 12 employees were exposed.”           

Three semi-trucks used to haul mail destroyed in fire at US Postal Service complex

Bradenton Herald - “Center investigated the cause of the fire but it was left undetermined. The fire was not the result of arson, he added, and could have been caused by something in the engines of one of the trucks since the fire occurred just shortly after being parked. The postal inspector also responded to the scene.”

Vote For Which of 5 USPS Prototypes Should Be The Next Mail Truck

Trucks.com - “Five prototype delivery vans are undergoing full-scale testing by the U.S Postal Service as it gets ready to spend more the $6 billion on the next mail truck contract. The Postal Service will use one or more of these models to replace as many as 180,000 vehicles in its aging fleet of 215,000 trucks.”

New USPS mail processing plant to set open soon in Portland, Ore.

Linn's Stamp News - “What she will be formally opening will be one of the largest mail-processing plants the United States Postal Service has created in an era of declining letter volume. The new plant, near Portland International Airport, has the second largest work room of any USPS plant…”

Highway Contract Route Irregularity Reporting – Chicago Network Distribution Center

USPS OIG - Report - “Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of the U.S. Postal Service’s irregularity reporting process for highway contract routes (HCR) at the Chicago Network Distribution Center (NDC). Each NDC reports HCR irregularities using the Yard Management System (YMS). The YMS automatically creates a Postal Service (PS) Form 5500, Contract Route Irregularity Report, when an irregularity occurs. A contract irregularity occurs when an HCR contractor does not satisfactorily perform a contracted service. The irregularity is either non-chargeable (the contractor is not at fault) or chargeable (the contractor is at fault)… We determined the Postal Service’s irregularity reporting process for the Chicago NDC was ineffective because the Chicago NDC did not submit reimbursement requests for chargeable irregularities or maintain all PS Forms 5500 for contract renewal reviews.”      

New social media guidance to help feds comply with the Hatch Act

FederalNewsRadio.com - “Federal employees get new social media guidance from the Office of Special Counsel. Special Counsel Henry Kerner updated current guidance to show how social media and the Hatch Act intersect. It gives employees real-life examples, and advises them against posting or tweeting partisan material.”

Is it all downhill next year?

FederalNewsRadio.com - “Unions, management associations and organized federal-postal employees fought a lengthy 2017 rear guard action that resulted in nothing happening to the fed family. Congress and the White House will go after “overpaid” feds with their “plus” fringe benefit package.”

The West Virginia Strike Points a Path Forward for the Labor Movement

In These Times - “The timing and outcome of their struggle is epic. Before and during their strike—an unprecedented statewide walkout that shuttered doors to every school in the state’s 55 counties—the national media was writing the obituary of public-service unions, a narrative driven by the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case Janus vs AFSCME. As Trump’s solicitor general bloviated bad things about government workers’ unions, it was day three in West Virginia’s unauthorized, illegal strike in a state that already has the trappings of the laws that the right wing hopes to nationalize in the Janus case (no worker has to pay dues, fair share or agency fees to his or her union). The West Virginia strike points the way forward for the working class and serves as an urgent memo to the leaders of what’s left of today’s unions.”

Parliament launches debate about postal vote

swissinfo.ch - Switzerland - “The government faces pressure to consider streamlining the nationwide procedure for postal votes in Switzerland. The House of Representatives has come out in favour of a proposal demanding that the authorities across the country send envelopes with pre-paid postage to citizens…”