InsideOut Online

Highlighting the Houston District

NPMHU labor contract arbitration decision

New contract runs through May 2016extra-stamp-large

The binding arbitration process between USPS and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union has concluded. The resulting contract between the parties went into effect Feb. 15, 2013 and lasts through May 20, 2016.

While the decision by the arbitrator includes important provisions that will benefit the Postal Service over the life of the contract and into the future, it does not include all of the changes it sought.

The results of the Interest Arbitration Award include the following:

  • A two-year wage freeze, followed by modest increases.
  • A lower wage scale for new career employees, with a reduced entry step salary and lower cost-of-living adjustments.
  • Creation of a new, lower-cost, non-career employee category — Mail Handler Assistant.
  • Decrease in the employer share of health insurance premiums.

USPS said it was disappointed that the award continues limited no-layoff protection for career mail handlers. It said Congress needs to enact significant legislative reform to quickly restore the Postal Service to profitability and put the organization on stable, long-term financial footing.

USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Different Hats…

A face of the Postal Service steals the show in a new USPS commercial promoting business services.DifferentHatsCarrier

The latest TV ad features Great Neck, NY, Letter Carrier Lorenzo Hudson describing how postal employees play an important role in the companies they serve.

 In the commercial, he gives viewers an inside look at his job. He says he has to “wear a lot of hats” to serve not only residential customers but also small business owners in his community who rely on mail and package delivery.

Hudson is a full-time letter carrier, as well as a part-time actor and model. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild; and he has appeared in other commercials and advertisements. He credits his managers and co-workers with helping him balance both careers successfully.

 His role as a letter carrier on camera mirrors the role he plays in his job every day. The commercial highlights the convenient options on for small businesses, such as free delivery of boxes, free package pickup and Click-N-Ship postage printing.

 The commercial premiered during the NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 1, and it was shown again during the Super Bowl pre-game coverage.


February 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Future of Mail Delivery in Rural America

RuralPOThe Postal Service is moving forward with a plan to keep Post Offices across the country open by realigning retail window hours based on customer use. The process to implement the plan (known as Post Plan) is being conducted in a multi-phased approach over two years, to be completed in Sep. 2014.

In early September, each of the Postal Service’s 67 districts began the two-year nationwide process of notifying affected communities of the changed hours of operations of local Post Offices and other options available to them. Residents in these communities will receive a survey requesting a preference for one of four options available regarding the future status of their Post Office and a letter notifying them of the date, time and location of a community meeting. At the meeting, local postal management will share the results of the survey and answer questions. The first community meetings began the week of Oct. 9. The majority of the districts will be conducting several meetings per week until all affected communities have been notified and community meetings have been held.

Post Offices evaluated under Post Plan will remain open with realigned hours unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options. If a community chooses realigned Post Office retail window hours, Saturday hours will not change and access to delivery receptacles will not be reduced as a result of Post Plan.

Meanwhile, to better serve customers, the Postal Service continues to pursue the establishment of Village Post Offices (VPO) in the communities affected by these changes and in other areas across the country, including communities with Post Offices. VPOs may be established in convenience stores, other local businesses, libraries, etc. — and are managed by the proprietors. By being located inside established businesses and other places consumers already frequent, VPOs offer Postal Service customers time-saving convenience, and in most cases, longer hours than regular Post Offices. VPOs offer a range of popular postal products and services — the ones most used by customers — including PO Boxes, Forever stamps and Pre-paid Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes.


February 21, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


 reginaldEwingFor Reginald Ewing, a 30-year veteran and mailhandler with the Postal Service, there are many passionate things in life but only few come close to helping male teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 years old, who are interested in excelling in mathematics, science, and engineering to realize their dreams.

Since December 1986, Reginald has been in the forefront of bringing joy into the hearts of his mentees, their families, and himself. “I am excited to see the students, their families, and social circles exude confidence, pride, and a better outlook on life,” said Reginald.

Reginald, who is a mechanical engineer by trade, has been mentoring with different organization over the years, including young men from the YMCA (Young Men Christian Association), the National Society of Black Engineers, his church, as well as male children of his family members and friends, stating that “mentoring gives me a chance to reach young men and see how they think, live, and make choices. I help them develop the ability to think out of the box and to understand that failure is not an option; that nothing is easy or free; that success comes in small steps and takes time.”

He encouraged everyone who has some quality skills to pass on, to consider mentoring because when the mentee succeeds as a person and a professional, he or she would never forget those who helped to make the success possible.

February 14, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Stafford going above and beyond!

StaffordThe Employee Engagement Program has added billions of dollars into the Postal Service’s bottom line as a result of revenue-generating leads; leads submitted by our employees. One component of the program that has been in the forefront of lead generation is the Customer Connect by City Carriers. 

To highlight the importance of the program, the United States Postal Service each year recognizes one office from each of its seven areas of operation for going above and beyond in lead generation. It’s therefore pleasing to announce that Houston District’s Stafford Post Office is number one in lead generation in the Southern Area for Fiscal Year 2012.

At a December 21, 2012 recognition ceremony, for their commitment to the customer connect initiative, Stafford Post office received a plaque from Houston District Manager, William J. Mitchell, while each letter carrier received a framed certificate of achievement from Kathy Baldwin, who was representing the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). 

Houston District Marketing Manager Linda Gray, in her opening statements, thanked Stafford Post Office managers and employees for being fully committed to revenue lead-generation, while encouraging every post office or station in the district to commit to lead-submission because of its potentials for huge revenue.

“We have a great workforce here at Stafford and they do what they are supposed to do. They work as a team and they are not shy to turn in leads for the sales force to work on. It’s all a team effort and we are all committed to the program,” stated Stafford Postmaster Fidel Gonzalez.

Customer Connect Coordinator for Stafford Post Office, Baron Scott told Houston InsideOut, “We should all be dedicated to the program because most of us are not eligible to retire. As we bring in the leads and revenue is generated we secure our longevity in service as well as the longevity of the Postal Service. All it takes is for each carrier to understand the business customers she/he services each day, the business they do, and whether they use one of our competitors to ship packages. Just bring in the contact information and the rest is left for the sales team. That way we know we will continue in business.”

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Humble Kingwood Station: Picturesque


When Humble Kingwood Station decided to clean up its landscape they did not know it would land them in the local paper; for being the most enhanced and beautified business property in the city, “Kingwood Garden Club has honored the station with its January 2013 Community Enhancement Award, an honor reserved for commercial properties,” said Humble Postmaster Jerry Butler.

To win the well-deserved award, Kingwood Station cut down 50 dead trees and removed all the stumps, in addition to pruning trees in front of the customer parking lot to make the entrance look visually pleasing.

“We removed all dead bushes and shrubs. We planted new holly, yaupon, and cleyera bushes, and laid 28 yards of black mulch. I feel very proud and honored that we were chosen by the Kingwood Garden Club because it shows that our community pays attention and appreciates the improvements to not only enhance our appearance, but to enhance the area around us,” stated Station Manager Curtis Brice.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ann Tidwell: Delivering Life

 Ann Tidwell

Ann Tidwell, a 28-year Rural Carrier from Magnolia Post Office, never gave much thought to blood donation until the need hit home in 1998 when her late husband was diagnosed with leukemia. Leukemia is cancer of the blood. Since then she has continued to donate to the American Red Cross in Conroe.

Something spectacular about Ann’s blood donation is that she donates both plasma and platelets. Platelet donation, a process that is about four times longer than normal blood plasma donation, involves drawing about ¼ of a pint of blood which is then passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and returns the remaining blood components with added saline to the donor.

Platelets are blood components that help the clotting process after a wound by attaching to the linings of blood tissues. They are for treating patients undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplantation. One platelet donation is worth 12 -18 blood donations.

In an interview with Houston InsideOut, Ann said her late husband was also a postal worker before he was diagnosed with leukemia, “and I thought since he needed blood, why not my blood? That’s how I started donating blood and then platelets. I have been donating platelets for more than 10 years now.”

“Blood donation is a wonderful selfless service. Sometimes we don’t have money to give people in need, but 30 minutes of our time might save a life; and we don’t know whose life we might help save. I encourage those who are able, to donate blood,” she stated.

Blood types A+, B+, and AB are ideal for platelet donation. Ann is AB+.

February 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seeing Double? – It’s not your vision

TwinM1My twin brother Craig and I were born in 1964 and we will turn 49 next month. We both moved to Houston in 1986, shortly after college and I have been here ever since. We are identical twins, although like most identical twins, you never feel like you look as much alike as outsiders think you do. He is the older twin by 4 minutes and is a high school teacher.

My wife Darlene and Craig’s wife Diane are 42 and are also identical twins. Darlene is older by 45 minutes than Diane. They grew up in Southern Illinois and only  moved to Houston when we  

got married in a double wedding ceremony in 1999. Both families live in Missouri City in side-by-side houses, and we share one big backyard.

My wife and I have two daughters – Reagan (11) and Landry (9). Craig and Diane have 11 year old identical twin boys (Brady and Colby) and a 7 year old boy too (Holden).  

Growing up as a twin in the 1970s was a positive experience. Our dad died when we were young so our single mother had to raise us and five older siblings. My brother and I relied on each other as we grew up first in New York City and then later Southern California for high school and college.

We’re probably closer than most twins, but not as close as Darlene and Diane who lived together their whole lives until they met us. Craig and I fight like any other siblings – Darlene and Diane never fight. We’ve also lived apart as he was in New York for six years in the 1990s while I remained in Houston.twin3Twin2

We have been on a number of television shows through the years, and assorted news stories in magazines, newspapers, etc., but much of that was shortly after we were married in a double wedding ceremony. The shows included Oprah, Montel and Incredible Weddings on The Discovery Channel.

This past summer we filmed The Jeff Probst Show, and that show just aired earlier this month. And then after that show aired, a few other people contacted us and we appeared on The Today Show yesterday.

I have worked for USPS for eight years, all in Missouri City. I was an RCA during that whole time but just recently wastwin5twin4 converted to a regular carrier at the main Missouri City post office.

My brother and I met our future wives at a twins convention, which is an annual event in Twinsburg, Ohio. It was our first time going to the festival, although Darlene and Diane had been several times as they had relatives living nearby. It was just pure luck and destiny that we met Darlene and Diane on our next to last day at the festival. I was talking to them in a hotel lobby and then got my brother Craig to join us, as he was back in our hotel room at the time. The older twin in each case is married to the younger twin and it’s worked out great as they say opposites attract, and similars repel. In our cases, the older twins are a little more outgoing and aggressive than their younger counterparts.


Chances of having a twin pregnancy are increased by maternal age (30+).

Male twins will not have twins unless their wives have the ability to produce two eggs.

Identical twins share the same DNA but do not have the same fingerprints.

1 in 250 pregnancies can result in identical twins.

22 % percent of twins are left handed, compared to 10% in singletons.

Fraternal twin girls have twice the chance of giving birth to twins than singletons.

Some estimates suggest 1 in 8 people started life as a twin while 1 in 70 actually is a twin.

Once you have fraternal twins, you are 3 to 4 times more likely to have another set!

A study shows vegans are five times less likely to have twins than women who consume diary.




February 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lance Armstrong-Good Fit for the Postal Service?

LanceArmstrongLance Armstrong had an interview with Oprah Winfrey recently in which he addressed allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during a career in which he won seven consecutive Tour de France titles. Tour de France is the world cycling competition.

The no holds-barred interview was the first with Armstrong since his cycling career crumbled under the weight of a massive, damaging report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The report detailed accusations of drug use by Armstrong and teammates on his U.S. Postal Service team. The interview at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas, showed Lance admitting to Oprah that he used performance-enhancing drugs like Erythropoietin (EPO), testosterone, blood transfusion, and cortisone when he won all the Tour de France titles. What baffles most about his confession are the many years, time, efforts, and legal battles he went through to keep the lies under cover.

Do you believe Lance was a good endorsement for the United States Postal Service?

February 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Spring Employees Deliver More Than the Mail

GarciaFamily“Oh my Gosh, we don’t have to share one towel anymore!” This exclamation speaks to the depth of the need the Garcia family was in before Spring-Klein Station, Spring Main Post office, Houston District Operation Santa, and Gallery Furniture’s Mattress Mack came to the rescue.

The story of the Garcia family started when Spring-Klein Station conducted a Thanksgiving food drive for the Children’s Resource Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps needy children; an organization where Spring Klein Station carriers Herlin Hendry and Jackie Delane regularly volunteer.

After donating the food collected, Spring-Klein Station Manager Grace Erickson and her husband Jerry Butler – Humble Postmaster, asked the foundation if they knew of a needy family they could invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. The agency recommended the Garcia family. A family of four – a mother, her two teenage sons and a daughter – had been living in a shelter for months after fleeing from an abusive relationship.

After Thanksgiving, Erickson shared the Garcia family’s story with her employees who immediately decided to adopt them for the holidays. Spring-Klein is well known for their community work and charitable giving. But the needs of the Garcia family were more than Spring-Klein alone could handle. Erickson suggested they seek state help. Their fate was about to change as Erickson and her husband provided money for transportation and the security deposit for an apartment, while the women’s center agreed to pay rent for the family.

Meanwhile, Erickson shared her station’s holiday plans with Dionne Montague who coordinated the Houston District Operation Santa program. Montague went to work from there. “We were in the process of looking for discounted furniture,” Montague said, when Mattress Mack decided he wanted to donate the items we needed.

Two days before Christmas, with a packed U-Haul truck and Fox News in tow, Mattress Mack provided a sofa, bunk beds, a daybed and a dining room set. While Spring-Klein and Spring Main provided two dressers, a TV, cooking utensils, dish-sets, bedding, toiletries and food, and Operation Santa ensured the children received much needed clothes and gifts for the holiday season.

Erickson summed it up, this way: “My employees said helping the Garcia family was the best holiday gift they had given to others, other than their families. There are many truly needy families out there. Imagine how many lives we can impact if a number of post offices and stations team up to help families beyond just toys. Even the cameraman from Fox News was moved to tears by what was done for the Garcia family.  My employees said they are ready for the next holiday season, and Spring Main said they are adopting their own family also.”

February 11, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment