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Daily printout: Feb. 1

Thursday, February 1, 2024

A black-and-white image of Black men sorting mail in a workroom
Black letter carriers work at the Mobile, AL, Post Office in 1956.

Black History Month begins

A new stamp will help mark the commemoration

The Postal Service will observe Black History Month, which begins Thursday, Feb. 1.

The annual commemoration traces its roots to 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson helped establish a week to raise awareness of African Americans’ contributions. The observance was expanded to a full month in 1976.

Since 1978, USPS has commemorated the occasion by releasing a Black Heritage stamp. This year’s stamp honors Constance Baker Motley, the first African American woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

African Americans have also made important contributions to the Postal Service throughout its history.

In the early 20th century, many African Americans found steady, valuable jobs in urban Post Offices.

In the 1960s, the number of African American employees promoted to supervisory positions grew exponentially, and African Americans were appointed as postmasters of the nation’s three largest Post Offices — New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.

By the end of the 20th century, African Americans represented 21 percent of all postal employees, serving at all levels of USPS.

Today, approximately 29 percent of the Postal Service workforce is African American.

The postal history section has additional information, including articles about 19th-century and 20th-century African American postal employees.

Smiling man stands near a stage in a theatre
Christian Johnston, a Salt Lake City customer relations coordinator, stands near a stage in a local performing arts venue.
Off the Clock

Music man

This employee sings, dances and acts across Utah

My name is Christian Johnston and I’m a USPS customer relations coordinator in Salt Lake City.

When I’m not at work, you might find me onstage, performing in musicals throughout my native Utah.

Currently, I’m in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” a darkly hilarious show that opened in January. I’ve also recently been in productions of “Sweeney Todd” and “White Christmas.”

I grew up in a very musical family. My mom and dad did shows together when they were first married. I grew up singing with family.

In high school, I had one of those teachers who ends up changing your life. She got me to audition for scholarships at the theater department of Weber State University in Ogden. I graduated from Weber with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater.

Last September, I got to put my vocal training to good use for the Postal Service. Part of my job here is that I’m looped into special event planning. They needed someone to sing the national anthem at the OSIRIS-REx stamp dedication ceremony.

Nobody spoke up, so I said, “Well, I have a degree.” Headquarters had me set up a video to make sure I could really sing. They were like, “Yeah, you’re good.”

One of my favorite composers is Stephen Sondheim, and my favorite musical of his is “Sunday in the Park With George.” I got to play the title role of Georges Seurat in my last show at school before graduating.

I approach musical theater as a job — that’s what I was trained to do — but it’s one of the most fun jobs you can have. It requires dedication and concentration, but it’s also, basically, getting to play pretend with a bunch of friends.

“Off the Clock,” a column on Postal Service employees and their after-hours pursuits, appears regularly in Link.

A postal delivery truck stops at a mailbox on a residential street
Do you know the rules on unauthorized use of USPS vehicles?

Postal Service vehicles are government property

The penalties are stiff for unauthorized use

The Postal Service wants employees to remember they have a duty to conserve and protect government property — including USPS vehicles.

The organization’s vehicles should not be used:

• To commute between home and work;

• To go on vacation;

• To transport unauthorized persons such as a child, relative or friend; or

• To run personal errands.

When on official travel or a detail assignment, postal vehicles should not be used:

• To visit friends and family;

• To sightsee; or

• For entertainment.

Misuse of a USPS vehicle may result in disciplinary action, including a minimum 30-day suspension without pay up to removal from the Postal Service.

Employees with questions on the use and misuse of postal vehicles can email the USPS Ethics Office or call 202-268-6346.

A graphic showing a postage stamp with an illustration of a dragon mask

Watch a video about the Year of the Dragon stamp

The latest in the Lunar New Year series portrays the Chinese zodiac’s only mythical being

The Postal Service has released a video about its new Year of the Dragon stamp.

The Forever stamp celebrates the Lunar New Year, an important holiday in many Asian cultures and the United States, and depicts the only mythical creature in the Chinese zodiac.

The three-minute video features Eduardo H. Ruiz Jr., the Postal Service’s WestPac Area vice president, who spoke at the Jan. 25 dedication ceremony for the stamp; Nicole Dowd, head of public programs for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art; and Connie So, a professor at the University of Washington.


WestPac, Minnesota-North Dakota lead in scanning data

A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 95.9 percent during the week ending Jan. 26, down 0.29 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected Jan. 31.

WestPac led the four areas with a rating of 96.6 percent, while Southern ranked last with a 94.68 percent rating.

Among the 50 districts, Minnesota-North Dakota, part of Central Area, ranked first with a 97.54 percent rating, while Florida 1, part of Southern Area, ranked last with a 90.59 percent rating.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.” Postal Service employees must request Informed Visibility access through eAccess.


USPS to end use of PST files to archive emails, calendar items

This year, the Postal Service will stop using Personal Storage Table (PST) files to archive emails and calendar items in Outlook.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 31, ACE workstation users will no longer be able to create new PST files. The files, which use the extension .pst, are only accessible by the computer the file is on.

Employees and contractors who use ACE computers should move any needed data stored in PST files to their Online Archive mailbox. Moving these files to the Online Archive mailbox better protects the information and allows access from any device.

The organization plans to remove Outlook PST files from all ACE workstations by Thursday, Aug. 1.

More information is available in the Jan. 30 CIO Notice of Information and at the USPS ServiceNow website.

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