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All the best Black Friday 2021 video game deals we can find, in one place [Updated]

As usual, a whole lot of video games are on sale for Black Friday.
with 20 posters participating

(Update 11/24/21 1:05 pm EST): We've updated this roundup to ensure all prices are up to date. Of note, sales that brought several first-party Switch games down to $27 at Amazon and GameStop when this article was first published appear to have ended. Most of the affected games are now priced between $35-40, so we've edited our post amazon force high volume hiring. We've also added a few deals we like from the Nintendo eShop's Black Friday sale, which went live amazon force high volume hiring our last update.

Black Friday officially arrives in a few days, but many of the noteworthy deals we expect to see have already begun. We have a big roundup of the best early Black Friday deals we can findmore generally, but today we wanted to break out a separate roundup for video game discounts, since a metric ton of them have gone live across several retailers this week.

Major retailers like Target, Best Buy, and Walmart have already kicked off their official sales, as have the digital gaming storefronts for Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation, with others like Amazon price-matching many of the better offers. We've pored over as many so-called deals as we can find from all of them and have listed the genuine discounts we like below, spotlighting a few particularly notable offers along the way.

Before you dig in, note that the sales haven't made in-demand hardware like the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Amazon force high volume hiring Switch OLED, or Nvidia's newer RTX GPUs any easier to buy, though the lower-power Xbox Series S does look like it's available in some capacity. We aren't seeing notable discounts on many brand-new big-name games like Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining PearlMario Party SuperstarsForza Horizon 5, or Battlefield 2042, either, though amazon force high volume hiring well-reviewed games released earlier this year are discounted.

Also, while most of the steepest discounts we're seeing right now are on console games, PC gaming storefronts like Steam, Epic, and Humble have kicked off their own Black Friday sales as well. Generally speaking, many of the higher-profile games in those aren't priced as low as their console counterparts, but the sales do include a number of notable deals on indie games we like, including former Ars game-of-the-year winner Hades, the self-looping RPG Loop Hero, and several others we've recommended for past sales.

Either way, if you're seeking to stuff your gaming backlog even more, have a look at our curated selection below.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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Featured early Black Friday gaming deals

PlayStation Plus (12 months) for $40 () at Amazon, Target, Best Buy

A PS Plus membership is still required to play most PlayStation games' online multiplayer modes, but amazon force high volume hiring a subscriber nets you two or three "free" games a month. We've seen 12-month subscription codes go for a little less in the past, but either way this is a good deal for those who need to top up their membership.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (3 months) for $25 () at Target, Amazon, GameStop

Saying Game Pass Ultimate is one of the best values in gaming has become a meme at this point, but that doesn't mean it's not true. The service pairs Xbox Live Gold—Microsoft's equivalent to PS Plus—with access to a growing library of games for both consoles and PC, a surprising number of which are genuinely worthwhile. The service might not be worth it if you tend to play one game repeatedly for months on end, but if you like to hop from new release to new release, it's a good deal at its MSRP, let alone this sale price.

This deal matches the best price we've seen on a three-month membership for new and existing subscribers. If you only use a gaming PC, though, note that Microsoft is running a promotion that gives brand-new users three months of Game Pass for PC for $1.

Nintendo Switch + Mario Kart 8 Deluxe + Nintendo Switch Online (3 months) for $299 () at Target, Best Buy, Walmart, GameStop

This is the primary Switch amazon force high volume hiring deal Nintendo is running across retailers this Black Friday. It's not exactly a showstopper, pairing a five-year-old game and three months of the company's largely inessential Switch Online service with the non-OLED version of the console at no extra cost. If you're hoping to buy someone their first Switch, though, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still a good time, and, if nothing else, the Switch Online trial will let them rent a bunch of classic NES and SNES games. It's also worth noting that this bundle includes the updated version of the standard Switch with slightly improved battery life.

The open-world adventure <em>The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild</em>. 

 (now $35)

Breath of the Wild is another relatively amazon force high volume hiring one, having launched in 2017, but it remains borderline essential for any new Switch players. It's still not something you play for the narrative, but its contingent, freeform open world has held up remarkably well in the four years since the game's launch.

This deal marks the lowest price we've tracked, and it comes as part of wider sales that bring several first-party Switch games down to $27 at Amazon and GameStop. Nintendo has priced these games at $40 at other retailers for Black Friday, so we can't say how long the discounts will last.

Time to complete: 50-100+ hours

It Takes Two (PS4, Xbox) for $20 () at Amazon, Best Buy

It Takes Two is a 3D platformer that can only be played in co-op (online or local). Its rom-com-style story—in which an unhappy couple on the brink of divorce becomes trapped in the bodies of lookalike dolls made by their daughter and are forced to "fix" their relationship to go back to normal—is weird, on the nose, and surprisingly dark at points. (One level american express business gold card cash advance the parents deliberately trying to make their daughter cry by killing her stuffed elephant, which makes sense in context, but. yeah.) Still, it controls well, and it's one of the few narrative-based games that feels explicitly designed with cooperative play in mind: rarely does it force you and your partner ever to do the same amazon force high volume hiring at the same time.

It does tend to stretch its various levels' ideas a bit past their expiration date, and while it's never particularly difficult, I'd expect a little bickering between you and your partner if the two of you aren't at least somewhat versed in platformers. Still, the bulk of it is fun, and at this new, low price, it's worth a shot for any couple looking for a new game to play together. For Xbox players, note that this one is also on Game Pass.

Time to complete: 12-15 hours

Returnal (PS5) for $43 () at Amazon, Walmart

One of the year's best PS5 amazon force high volume hiring, Returnal is a third-person shooter with elements of roguelites and psychological horror games. You play as Selene, a space pilot trapped in a time loop on a hostile alien planet. It is a Difficult Game™, as, like most roguelites, it forces you to start from the beginning when you die. It's hard to talk about what makes the game stand out without delving into spoilers, but let's just say the stiff challenge makes perfect sense in context, and the whole production has an unusually keen eye for detail. Its world, mechanics, and narrative work in harmony in a way that's uncommon to big-budget games, frequently producing moments of both extreme tension and haunting beauty.

The game had technical issues at launch, as our review noted, but after finishing it a couple months ago, I can say those issues appear to have been rectified. A recent update also added the ability to save your progress mid-run, so players no longer have to rely on the PS5's sometimes buggy rest mode. In any event, outside of an extremely brief dip to $30 earlier this week, this deal matches the best price we've seen.

Time to complete: 20-35 hours (highly dependent on skill)

The haunting and challenging rogue-like <em>Returnal</em>.
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Login  <div><h2>United States Postal Service</h2><div><p>Independent agency of the United States federal government</p><p>

"USPS" redirects here. For the non-profit boating safety and education organization, see United States Power Squadrons.

United States Postal Service Logo.svg

Corporate signature used since 1993

Uspsheadquartersatlenfantplaza.jpg
USPS Headquarters
FormedJuly 1, 1971; 50 years ago (1971-07-01)
Washington, D.C., U.S.[1]
TypeIndependent. Private[3]
Headquarters475 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, D.C. 20260-0004 U.S.
Employees633,108 (496,934 career personnel, 136,174 non-career personnel) as of 2019[2]
Agency executives
Key document
Websitewww.usps.com
The full eagle logo, used in various versions from 1970 to 1993

The United States Postal Service (USPS; also known as the Post Office, U.S. Mail, or Postal Service) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The USPS, as of 2020, has 495,941 career employees and 148,092 non-career employees.[6]

The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general; he also served a similar position for the colonies of the Kingdom of Great Britain.[7] The Post Office Department was created in 1792 with the passage of the Postal Service Act. It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency.[8] Since the early 1980s, many direct tax subsidies to the USPS (with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with disabled and overseas voters) have been reduced or eliminated.[9]

The USPS has a monopoly on "letter" delivery within the United States and operates under an universal service obligation (USO), both of which are defined across a broad set of legal mandates, which obligate it to provide uniform price and quality across the entirety of its service area.[10] The Post Office has exclusive access[11] to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but has to compete against private package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service, FedEx, and Amazon.[12]

Formation[edit]

Further information: United States Post Office Department and Postage stamps and postal history of the United States

On March 18, 1970, postal workers in New York City—upset over low wages and poor working conditions, and emboldened by the Civil Rights Movement—organized a strike against the United States government. The strike initially involved postal workers in only New York City, but it eventually gained support of over 210,000 United States Post Office Department workers across the nation.[13] While the strike ended without any concessions from the Federal government, it did ultimately allow for postal worker unions and the government to negotiate a contract which gave the unions most of what they wanted, as well as the signing of the Postal Reorganization Act by President Richard Nixon on August 12, 1970. The act replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with a new federal agency, the United States Postal Service,[14] and took effect on July 1, 1971.[15]

Current operations[edit]

See also: 2020 United States Postal Service crisis

In a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Court noted: "Each day, according to the Government's submissions here, the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points."[16] As of 2017, the USPS operates 30,825 post offices and locations in the U.S., and delivers 149.5 billion pieces of mail annually.[17]

The USPS operates one of the largest civilian vehicle fleets in the world, with an estimated 227,896 vehicles,[17] the majority of which are the easily identified Chevrolet/Grumman LLV (long-life vehicle), and the newer Ford/Utilimaster FFV (flex-fuel vehicle), originally also referred to as the CRV (carrier route vehicle). Made from 1987 to 1994 and with no air conditioning, no airbags, no anti-lock brakes, and lacking space for the large modern volume of e-commerce packages, the Grumman fleet ended its expected lifespan in fiscal year 2017. The LLV replacement process began in 2015, and after numerous delays,[18] a contract was awarded in February, 2021 to Oshkosh Defense to finalize design and produce 165,000 vehicles over 10 years.[19]

It is by geography and volume the globe's largest postal system, delivering 47% of the world's mail.[17][better source needed] For every penny increase in the national average price of gasoline, the USPS spends an extra US$8 million per year to fuel its fleet.[20]

The number of gallons of fuel used in 2009 was 444 million, at a cost of US$1.1 billion.[21] The fleet is notable in that many of its vehicles are right-hand drive, an arrangement intended to give drivers the easiest access to roadside mailboxes. Some rural letter carriers use personal vehicles.[22] All contractors use personal vehicles. Standard postal-owned vehicles do not have license plates. These vehicles are identified by a seven-digit number displayed on the front and rear.[23]

The Department of Defense and the USPS jointly operate a postal system to deliver mail for the military; this is known as the Army Post Office (for Army and Air Force postal facilities) and the Fleet Post Office (for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard postal facilities).[24]

In February 2013, the Postal Service announced that on Saturdays it would only deliver packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, and Express Mail, effective August 10, 2013.[25][26] However, this change was reversed by federal law in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013.[27] They now deliver packages on Sunday—only for Amazon.com — meaning that carriers make parcel deliveries seven days a week.[28] During the four weeks preceding Christmas since 2013, packages from all mail classes and senders were delivered on Sunday in some areas.[29]

Parcels are also delivered on holidays, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.[30]

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the USPS with the agency delivering an estimated 900 million packages during the period of 2018.[31]

In May 2019, the Postal Service announced that it will be releasing a pilot of self-driving trucks to haul mail across the U.S. The 18-wheelers were developed by startup company, TuSimple. The pilot will last two weeks, making five total round trips to cities across the country.[32]

In early May 2020, the USPS's board of governors confirmed that Louis DeJoy would be the new postmaster general.[33]

Operation and budget[edit]

United States Postal Service surplus/deficit

In 2016, the Postal Service collected $71.5 billion in revenue.[34]

Revenue decline and planned cuts[edit]

In 2016, the USPS had its fifth straight annual operating loss, in the amount of $5.6 billion, of which $5.8 billion was the accrual of unpaid mandatory retiree health payments.[34]

Declining mail volume[edit]

First-class mail volume peaked in 2001, declining by 43% as of 2017[35] due to the increasing use of email and the World Wide Web for correspondence and business transactions.[36]

Private courier services, such as FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS), directly compete with USPS for the delivery of urgent letters and packages.

Lower volume means lower revenues to support the fixed commitment to deliver to every address once a day, six days a week. According to an official report on November 15, 2012, the U.S. Postal Service lost $15.9 billion its 2012 fiscal year.[37]

Internal streamlining and delivery slowdown[edit]

In response, the USPS has increased productivity each year from 2000 to 2007,[38] through increased automation, route re-optimization, and facility consolidation.[36] Despite these efforts, the organization saw an $8.5 billion budget shortfall in 2010,[39] and was losing money at a rate of about $3 billion per quarter in 2011.[40]

On December 5, 2011, the USPS announced it would close more than half of its mail processing centers, eliminate 28,000 jobs and reduce overnight delivery of First-Class Mail. This will close down 252 of its 461 processing centers.[41] (At peak mail volume in 2006, the USPS operated 673 facilities.[42]) As of May 2012, the plan was to start the first round of consolidation in summer 2012, pause from September to December, and begin a second round in February 2014; 80% of first-class mail would still be delivered overnight through the end of 2013.[43] New delivery standards were issued in January 2015, and the majority of single-piece (not presorted) first-class mail is now being delivered in two days instead of one.[44] Large commercial mailers can still have first-class mail delivered overnight if delivered directly to a processing center in the early morning, though as of 2014 this represented only 11% of first-class mail.[44] Unsorted first-class mail will continue to be delivered anywhere in the contiguous United States within three days.[45]

Post office closures[edit]

In July 2011, the USPS announced a plan to close about 3,700 small post offices. Various representatives in Congress protested, and the Senate passed a bill that would have kept open all post offices farther than 10 miles (16 km) from the next office.[46] In May 2012, the service announced it had modified its plan. Instead, rural post offices would remain open with reduced retail hours (some as little as two hours per day) unless there was a community preference for a different option.[47] In a survey of rural customers, 54% preferred the new plan of retaining rural post offices with reduced hours, 20% preferred the "Village Post Office" replacement (where a nearby private retail store would provide basic mail services with expanded hours), 15% preferred merger with another Post Office, and 11% preferred expanded rural delivery services.[48] Approximately 40% of postal revenue already comes from online purchases or private retail partners including Walmart, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, Sam's Club, Costco, and grocery stores.[48] The National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear the American Postal Workers Union's arguments that these counters should be staffed by postal employees who earn far more and have "a generous package of health and retirement benefits".[49][50]

Elimination of Saturday delivery averted[edit]

On January 28, 2009, Postmaster GeneralJohn E. Potter testified before the Senate[51] that, if the Postal Service could not readjust its payment toward the contractually funding earned employee retiree health benefits, as mandated by the Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act of 2006,[52] the USPS would be forced to consider cutting delivery to five days per week during June, July, and August.

H.R. 22, addressing this issue, passed the House of Representatives and Senate and was signed into law on September 30, 2009.[53] However, Postmaster General Potter continued to advance plans to eliminate Saturday mail delivery.[citation needed]

On June 10, 2009, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA) was contacted for its input on the USPS's current study of the effect of five-day delivery along with developing an implementation plan for a five-day service plan. A team of Postal Service headquarters executives and staff was given a time frame of sixty days to complete the study. The current concept examines the effect of five-day delivery with no business or collections on Saturday, with Post Offices with current Saturday hours remaining open.

On Thursday, April 15, 2010, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to examine the status of the Postal Service and recent reports on short and long-term strategies for the financial viability and stability of the USPS entitled "Continuing to Deliver: An Examination of the Postal Service's Current Financial Crisis and its Future Viability". At which, PMG Potter testified that by the year 2020, the USPS cumulative losses could exceed $238 billion, and that mail volume could drop 15 percent from 2009.[54]

In February 2013, the USPS announced that in order to save about $2 billion per year, Saturday delivery service would be discontinued except for packages, mail-order medicines, Priority Mail, Express Mail, and mail delivered to Post Office boxes, beginning August 10, 2013.[25][26][55][56] However, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, passed in March, reversed the cuts to Saturday delivery.[27]

Retirement funding and payment defaults[edit]

The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA)[57] obligates the USPS to fund the present value of earned retirement obligations (essentially past promises which have not yet come due) within a ten-year time span. In contrast, private businesses in the United States have no legal obligation to pay for retirement costs at promise-time rather than retirement-time, but about one quarter do.[58]

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the main bureaucratic organization responsible for the human resources aspect of many federal agencies and their employees. The PAEA created the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund (PSRHB) after Congress removed the Postal Service contribution to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Most other employees that contribute to the CSRS have 7% deducted from their wages. Currently all new employees contribute into Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) once they become a full-time regular employees.[59]

On September 30, 2014, the USPS failed to make a $5.7 billion payment on this debt, the fourth such default.[60]

On February 5, 2020, the House passed The USPS Fairness Act (H.R. 2382)[61] with 309 Yeas and 106 Nays meeting the 2/3rd rule. The measure eliminates the requirement going forward and forgives all payments on which USPS has defaulted.[61] It was moved to the Senate on February 10, 2020 and is awaiting action by senators.

Rate increases[edit]

Congress has limited rate increases for First-Class Mail to the cost of inflation, unless approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission.[62] A three-cent surcharge above inflation increased the 1 oz (28 g) rate to 49¢ in January 2014, but this was approved by the commission for two years only.[63] As of January 2019, first-class postage for up to 1 ounce is $0.55.[64]

Reform proposals and delivery changes[edit]

During the Obama administration[edit]

Comprehensive reform packages considered in the 113th Congress include S.1486[65] and H.R.2748.[66] These include the efficiency measure, supported by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe [67] of ending door-to-door delivery of mail for some or most of the 35 million addresses that currently receive it, replacing that with either curbside boxes or nearby "cluster boxes". This would save $4.5 billion per year out of the $30 billion delivery budget; door-to-door city delivery costs annually on average $353 per stop, curbside $224, and cluster box $160 (and for rural delivery, $278, $176, and $126, respectively).[68][69]

S.1486,[70] also with the support of Postmaster Donahoe,[71] would also allow the USPS to ship alcohol in compliance with state law, from manufacturers to recipients with ID to show they are over 21. This is projected to raise approximately $50 million per year.[71] (Shipping alcoholic beverages is currently illegal under 18 U.S.C. § 1716(f).)

In 2014, the Postal Service was requesting reforms to workers' compensation, moving from a pension to defined contribution retirement savings plan, and paying senior retiree health care costs out of Medicare funds, as is done for private-sector workers.[72]

During the Trump administration[edit]

As part of a June 2018 governmental reorganization plan, the Donald Trump administration proposed turning USPS into "a private postal operator" which could save costs through measures like delivering mail fewer days per week, or delivering to central locations instead of door to door. There was strong bipartisan opposition to the idea in Congress.[73]

In April 2020, Congress approved a $10 billion loan from the Treasury to the post office. According to the Washington Post, officials under Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested using the loan as leverage to give the Treasury Department more influence on USPS operations, including making them raise their charges for package deliveries, a change long sought by President Trump.[74]

In May 2020, in a controversial move, President Trump appointed a new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, the first postmaster in the last two decades who had no prior experience within the United States Postal Service.[75]

DeJoy — until 2014 CEO of New Breed Logistics (a controversial Postal Service contractor),[76] and until 2018 a board member its new parent, XPO Logistics, whose postal contracts expanded during DeJoy's postmaster role — was a major donor and fundraiser for the Republican Party[77][78] (from 2017, a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, until appointed postmaster, and later million-dollar donor to the 2020 Trump campaign while postmaster).[77][78][79][80][81][82][83]

DeJoy immediately began taking measures to reduce costs, such as banning overtime and extra trips to deliver mail.[84][85][86] While DeJoy admitted that these measures were causing delays in mail delivery, he said they would eventually improve service.[87]

More than 600 high-speed mail sorting machines were scheduled to be dismantled and removed from postal facilities,[88] raising concerns that mailed ballots for the November 3 election might not reach election offices on time.[89]

Mail collection boxes were removed from the streets in many cities; after photos of boxes being removed were spread on social media, a postal service spokesman said they were being moved to higher traffic areas but that the removals would stop until after the election.[90]

The inspector general for the postal service opened an investigation into the recent changes.[91] On August 16 the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to consider a bill rolling back all of the changes.[92]

On August 18, 2020, after days of heavy criticism and the day after lawsuits against the Postal Service and DeJoy personally were filed in federal court by several individuals,[93] DeJoy announced that he would roll back all the changes until after the November election. He said he would reinstate overtime hours, roll back service reductions, and halt the removal of mail-sorting machines and collection boxes.[94] However, 95 percent of the mail sorting machines that were planned for removal had already been removed,[95] and according to House SpeakerNancy Pelosi, DeJoy said he has no intention of replacing them or the mail collection boxes.[96]

Coronavirus pandemic and voting by mail[edit]

See also: 2020 United States Postal Service crisis

Voting by mail has become an increasingly common practice in the United States, with 25% of voters nationwide mailing their ballots in 2016 and 2018. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 was predicted to cause a large increase in mail voting because of the possible danger of congregating at polling places.[97] For the 2020 election, a state-by-state analysis concluded that 76% of Americans were eligible to vote by mail in 2020, a record number. The analysis predicted that 80 million ballots could be cast by mail in 2020 – more than double the number in 2016.[98] The Postal Service sent a letter to 46 states in July 2020, warning that the service might not be able to meet the state's deadlines for requesting and casting last-minute absentee ballots.[99]

The House of Representatives voted to include an emergency grant of $25 billion to the post office to facilitate the predicted flood of mail ballots.[100] Trump conceded that the post office would need additional funds to handle the additional mail-in voting, but said he would oppose any additional funding so that "universal mail-in voting" would not be possible.[101] On August 14, 2020, President Trump said he was willing to approve USPS funding if concessions were made to some funding asks in coronavirus relief package.[102]

Governance and organization[edit]

The Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service sets policy, procedure, and postal rates for services rendered. It has a similar role to a corporate board of directors. Of the eleven members of the Board, nine are appointed by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate (see 39 U.S.C. § 202). The nine appointed members then select the United States postmaster general, who serves as the board's tenth member, and who oversees the day-to-day activities of the service as chief executive officer (see 39 U.S.C. §§ 202–203). The ten-member board then nominates a deputy postmaster general, who acts as chief operating officer, to the eleventh and last remaining open seat.

The independent Postal Regulatory Commission (formerly the Postal Rate Commission) is also controlled by appointees of the president confirmed by the Senate. It oversees postal rates and related concerns, having the authority to approve or reject USPS proposals.

The USPS is often mistaken for a state-owned enterprise or government-owned corporation (e.g., Amtrak) because it operates much like a business. It is, however, an "establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States", (39 U.S.C. § 201) as it is controlled by presidential appointees and the postmaster general. As a government agency, it has many special privileges, including sovereign immunity, eminent domain powers, powers to negotiate postal treaties with foreign nations, and an exclusive legal right to deliver first-class and third-class mail. Indeed, in 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision “The Postal Service is not subject to antitrust liability. In both form and function, it is not a separate antitrust person from the United States but is part of the Government, and so is not controlled by the antitrust laws" such as the Sherman Antitrust Act.[103] Unlike a state-owned enterprise, the USPS lacks a transparent ownership structure and isn't subject to standard rules and norms that apply to commercial entities. The USPS also lacks commercial discretion and control.[104]

The U.S. Supreme Court has also upheld the USPS's statutory monopoly on access to letter boxes against a First Amendmentfreedom of speech challenge; it thus remains illegal in the U.S. for anyone, other than the employees and agents of the USPS, to deliver mailpieces to letter boxes marked "U.S. Mail".[105]

The Postal Service also has a Mailers' Technical Advisory Committee and local Postal Customer Councils, which are advisory and primarily involve business customers.[106]

Privatization proposals[edit]

Since the 1990s, Republicans have been discussing the idea of privatizing the U.S. Postal Service.[107] President Donald Trump‘s administration proposed turning USPS into "a private postal operator" as part of a June 2018 governmental reorganization plan, although there was strong bipartisan opposition to the idea in Congress.[73]

On December 17, 2017, President Donald Trump criticized the postal service's relationship with Amazon. In a post on Twitter, he stated: "Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!"[108] Amazon maintains that the Postal Service makes a profit from its contract with the company.[109] On June 21, 2018, Trump proposed a sweeping reorganization but Congress did not act.[110]

Lisa Graves has documented decades-long efforts to privatize the U.S. Postal Service through driving the public service to financial collapse.[111][112][113]

USPS Email Service[edit]

There is a proposal to create a United States Email Service under the USPS. [114] USPS has profitability issues since McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group reports to USPS a decade ago due to e-diversion or a switch to online communication by companies and the public to a large extent. [115] The United States Postal Service can help the environment by switching to the electronic medium as the (USPS) delivered 11.52 billion pounds of paper in Financial Year 2019, taking into account First Class, Marketing Mail, and Periodicals. At 17 mature trees per ton of paper, nearly 98 million trees were cut down for the 11.5 billion pounds of paper (assuming that is not recycled paper) delivered by USPS in 2019. [116]

Universal service obligation and monopoly status[edit]

Legal basis and rationale[edit]

Article I, section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power to establish post offices and post roads,[117] which has been interpreted as a de facto Congressional monopoly over the delivery of first-class residential mail—which has been defined as non-urgent residential letters (not packages). Accordingly, no other system for delivering first-class residential mail—public or private—has been tolerated, absent Congress's consent.[citation needed]

The mission of the Postal Service is to provide the American public with trusted universal postal service. While not explicitly defined, the Postal Service's universal service obligation (USO) is broadly outlined in statute and includes multiple dimensions: geographic scope, range of products, access to services and facilities, delivery frequency, affordable and uniform pricing, service quality, and security of the mail. While other carriers may claim to voluntarily provide delivery on a broad basis, the Postal Service is the only carrier with a legal obligation to provide all the various aspects of universal service.[118]

Proponents of universal service principles claim that since any obligation must be matched by the financial capability to meet that obligation, the postal monopoly was put in place as a funding mechanism for the USO, and it has been in place for over a hundred years. It consists of two parts: the Private Express Statutes (PES) and the mailbox access rule. The PES refer to the Postal Service's monopoly on the delivery of letters, and the mailbox rule refers to the Postal Service's exclusive access to customer mailboxes.[119]

Proponents of universal service principles further claim that eliminating or reducing the PES or mailbox rule would affect the ability of the Postal Service to provide affordable universal service. If, for example, the PES and the mailbox rule were to be eliminated, and the USO maintained, then either billions of dollars in tax revenues or some other source of funding would have to be found.[119]

Some proponents[by whom?][120] of universal service principles suggest that private communications that are protected by the veil of government promote the exchange of free ideas and communications. This separates private communications from the ability of a private for-profit or non-profit organization to corrupt. Security for the individual is in this way protected by the United States Post Office, maintaining confidentiality and anonymity, as well as government employees being much less likely to be instructed by superiors to engage in nefarious spying.[citation needed] It is seen by some[by whom?] as a dangerous step to extract the universal service principle from the post office, as the untainted nature of private communications is preserved as assurance of the protection of individual freedom of privacy.[121]

However, as the recent notice of a termination of mail service to residents of the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness indicates, mail service has been contracted to private firms such as Arnold Aviation for many decades. KTVB-TV reported:[122]

"We cannot go out every week and pick up our mail ... it's impossible", said Heinz Sippel. "Everyone gets their mail. Why can't we?" said Sue Anderson. Getting mail delivered, once a week, by airplane is not a luxury, it's a necessity for those who live in Idaho's vast wilderness—those along the Salmon and Selway rivers. It's a service that's been provided to them for more than half a century—mostly by Ray Arnold of Arnold Aviation. The decision was reversed; U.S. Postmaster General John Potter indicated that acceptable service to back country customers could not be achieved in any other fashion than continuing an air mail contract with Arnold Aviation to deliver the mail.[123]

2008 report on universal postal service and the postal monopoly[edit]

The Postal Act of 2006 required the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to submit a report to the president and Congress on universal postal service and the postal monopoly in December 2008. The report must include any recommended changes. The Postal Service report supports the requirement that the PRC is to consult with and solicit written comments from the Postal Service. In addition, the Government Accountability Office is required to evaluate broader business model issues by 2011.

On October 15, 2008, the Postal Service submitted a report[10] to the PRC on its position related to the Universal Service Obligation (USO). It said no changes to the USO and restriction on mailbox access were necessary at this time, but increased regulatory flexibility was required to ensure affordable universal service in the future. In 2013, the Postal Service announced that starting August 2013, Saturday delivery would be discontinued.

Obligations of the USO include uniform prices, quality of service, access to services, and six-day delivery to every part of the country. To assure financial support for these obligations, the postal monopoly provides the Postal Service the exclusive right to deliver letters and restricts mailbox access solely for mail. The report argued that eliminating or reducing either aspect of the monopoly "would have a devastating impact on the ability ... to provide the affordable universal service that the country values so highly". Relaxing access to the mailbox would also pose security concerns, increase delivery costs, and hurt customer service, according to the Post Office. The report notes:

It is somewhat misleading to characterize the mailbox rule as a "monopoly," because the enforcement of 18 U.S.C. § 1725 leaves customers with ample alternative means of delivering their messages. Customers can deliver their messages either by paying postage, by placing messages on or under a door or a doormat, by using newspaper or non-postal boxes, by telephoning or emailing, by engaging in person-to-person delivery in public areas, by tacking or taping their notices on a door post, or by placing advertisements in local newspapers. These methods are comparable in efficacy to communication via the mailbox.

Most of these alternatives are not actually free in some communities. For example, in the Chicago metropolitan area and many other major metros one must get a background check from police and pay a daily fee for the right to solicit or post commercial messages on private property.[citation needed]

Regarding the monopoly on delivery of letters, the report notes that the monopoly is not complete, as there is an exception for letters where either the amount paid for private carriage of the letter equals at least six times the current rate for the first ounce of a single-piece First-Class Mail letter (also known as the "base rate" or "base tariff") or the letter weighs at least 12.5 ounces.

The Postal Service said that the USO should continue to be broadly defined and there should be no changes to the postal monopoly. Any changes would have far-reaching effects on customers and the trillion dollar mailing industry. "A more rigidly defined USO would ... ultimately harm the American public and businesses," according to the report, which cautions that any potential change must be studied carefully and the effects fully understood.

Competitors[edit]

FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) directly compete with USPS Express Mail and package delivery services, making nationwide deliveries of urgent letters and packages. Due to the postal monopoly, they are not allowed to deliver non-urgent letters and may not directly ship to U.S. Mail boxes at residential and commercial destinations. However, both companies have transit agreements with the USPS in which an item can be dropped off with either FedEx or UPS who will then provide shipment up to the destination post office serving the intended recipient where it will be transferred for delivery to the U.S. Mail destination, including Post Office Box destinations.[124][125] These services also deliver packages which are larger and heavier than USPS will accept. DHL Express was the third major competitor until February 2009, when it ceased domestic delivery operations in the United States.

A variety of other transportation companies in the United States move cargo around the country, but either have limited geographic scope for delivery points, or specialize in items too large to be mailed. Many of the thousands of courier companies focus on same-day delivery, for example, by bicycle messenger.

Although USPS and FedEx are direct competitors, USPS contracts with FedEx for air transport of 2–3 Day Priority Mail [126] and Priority Mail Express (typically delivered overnight).[127]

Alternative transmission methods[edit]

The Post Office Department owned and operated the first public telegraph lines in the United States, starting in 1844 from Washington to Baltimore, and eventually extending to New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. In 1847, the telegraph system was privatized, except for a period during World War I, when it was used to accelerate the delivery of letters arriving at night.[128]

Between 1942 and 1945, "V-Mail" (for "Victory Mail") service was available for military mail. Letters were converted into microfilm and reprinted near the destination, to save room on transport vehicles for military cargo.[129]

In 1970, Western Union in co-operation with the Postal Service introduced the "Mailgram", a special type of telegram offered by Western Union intended for bulk mailing to multiple addressees. The sender would contact WU and submit to them the message to be sent and a list of addressees to mail the requested Mailgrams to. The message and address data were then sent electronically over Western Union's terrestrial network normally used for standard telegrams, with WU's Westar 1 satellite used instead starting in 1974 with its launch, for Mailgram transmission to participating Postal Service centers, who would then print and mail the Mailgrams to the requested addressees.

Similar to WU's Mailgrams was Electronic Computer Originated Mail, offered by the Postal Service from 1982 to 1985. Also known as E-COM, it too was used for bulk mailings. Text was transmitted electronically to one of 25 post offices nationwide. The Postal Service would print the mail and put it in special envelopes bearing a blue E-COM logo. Delivery was assured within 2 days.[130]

To improve accuracy and efficiency, the Postal Service introduced the Intelligent Mail program to complement the ZIP code system. This system, which was intended to replace the deprecated POSTNET system, allows bulk mailers to use pre-printed bar codes to assist in mail delivery and sorting. Additional features, called Enhanced, or Full-Service, Intelligent Mail Barcodes allow for mail tracking of bulk mail through the postal system up to the final delivery Post Office.[131]

Criticism of the universal service requirement and the postal monopoly[edit]

Critics of the universal service requirement and the statutory postal monopoly include several professional economists advocating for the privatization of the mail delivery system, or at least a relaxation of the universal service model that currently exists.[132] Rick Geddes argued in 2000:[133]

  • First, basic economics implies that rural customers are unlikely to be without service under competition; they would simply have to pay the true cost of delivery to them, which may or may not be lower than under monopoly.
  • Second, basic notions of fairness imply that the cross-subsidy should be eliminated. To the extent that people make choices about where they live, they should assume the costs of that decision.
  • Third, there is no reason why the government monopoly is necessary to ensure service to sparsely populated areas. The government could easily award competitive contracts to private firms for that service.
  • Fourth, early concerns that rural residents of the United States would somehow become isolated without federally subsidized mail delivery today are simply unfounded. ... Once both sender and receiver have access to a computer, the marginal cost of sending an electronic message is close to zero.

Furthermore, some economists have argued that because public enterprises may pursue objectives different than profit maximization, they might have more of an incentive than profit-maximizing firms to behave anticompetitively through policies such as predatory pricing, misstating costs, and creating barriers to entry.[134] To resolve those issues, one economist proposes a cost-allocation model that would determine the optimal allocation of USPS's common costs by finding the share of costs that would maximize USPS profits from its competitive products.[135] Postal regulators could use such a cost model to ensure that the Postal Service is not abusing its statutory monopoly by subsidizing price cuts in competitive product markets with revenue obtained from the monopolized market.[136]

Law enforcement agencies[edit]

Under the Mail Cover Program USPS photographs the front and back of every piece of U.S. mail as part of the sorting process, enabling law enforcement to obtain address information and images of the outsides of mail as part of an investigation without the need for a warrant.[137]

Postal Inspection Service[edit]

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Founded by Benjamin Franklin on August 7, 1775, its mission is to protect the Postal Service, its employees, and its customers from crime and protect the nation's mail system from criminal misuse.[138]

Postal Inspectors enforce over 200 federal laws providing for the protection of mail in investigations of crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees.

The USPIS has the power to enforce the USPS monopoly by conducting search and seizure raids on entities they suspect of sending non-urgent mail through overnight delivery competitors. According to the American Enterprise Institute, a private conservative think tank, the USPIS raided Equifax offices in 1993 to ascertain if the mail they were sending through Federal Express was truly "extremely urgent". It was found that the mail was not, and Equifax was fined $30,000.[139][140]

The PIS oversees the activities of the Postal Police Force who patrol and secure major postal facilities in the United States.[141]

Office of Inspector General[edit]

The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) was authorized by law in 1996. Prior to the 1996 legislation, the Postal Inspection Service performed the duties of the OIG. The inspector general, who is independent of postal management, is appointed by and reports directly to the nine presidentially appointed, Senate–confirmed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.

The primary purpose of the OIG is to prevent, detect and report fraud, waste and program abuse, and promote efficiency in the operations of the Postal Service. The OIG has "oversight" responsibility for all activities of the Postal Inspection Service.

How delivery services work[edit]

Elements of addressing and preparing domestic mail[edit]

See also: Address § United States

All mailable articles (e.g., letters, flats, machinable parcels, irregular parcels, etc.) shipped within the United States must comply with an array of standards published in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).[142] Before addressing the mailpiece, one must first comply with the various mailability standards relating to attributes of the actual mailpiece such as: minimum/maximum dimensions[143] and weight, acceptable mailing containers, proper mailpiece sealing/closure, utilization of various markings, and restrictions relating to various hazardous (e.g., explosives, flammables, etc.) and restricted (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, etc.) materials, as well as others articulated in § 601 of the DMM.[144]

The USPS specifies the following key elements when preparing the face of a mailpiece:

  1. Proper Placement: The Delivery Address should be left-justified and located roughly in the center of mailpiece's largest side. More precisely, on a letter-size piece, the recommended address placement is within the optical character reader (OCR) read area, which is a space on the address side of the mailpiece defined by these boundaries: Left – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the left edge of the piece; Right – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the right edge of the piece; Top – 2-3/4 inches (70 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece; Bottom – 5/8 inch (16 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece.[145] Preferred placement of a return address is in the upper left portion of the mailpiece—on the side of the piece bearing postage.[146] Finally, postage (e.g., stamps, meter imprints, information-based indicia [IBI], etc.) is to be affixed in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. Any stamp/indicia partly concealed or otherwise obscured by an overlapping stamp/indicia may not be counted as valid postage.[147]
  2. Delivery Address (party receiving mail): The mail piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the mail piece bearing postage. Generally, the name of the addressee should be included above the address itself. A ZIP+4 code will facilitate delivery.[148]
  3. Return Address (party sending mail): A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. Usage of a return address is required for some postal services (including Priority Mail, Express Mail, Periodicals in envelopes or wrappers, Insured Mail, Registered Mail, and parcel services).[149]
  4. Postage Payment: All mailpieces must include appropriate valid postage. Postage payment may be in the form of stamps, stamped stationery, precanceled stamps, postage meter imprints & PC Postage products ("Postage Evidencing Systems"), or permit imprint (indicia).[150] Members of the U.S. Congress, among others, have franking privileges, which require only a signature.

Domestic First-Class Mail costs 55¢ for envelopes (36¢ for post cards) and upwards, depending on the weight and dimensions of the letter and the class.

Mail going to naval vessels is known as the Fleet Post Office (FPO) and to Army or Air Force installations use the city abbreviation APO (Army Post Office or Air Force Post Office).

Undeliverable mail that cannot be readily returned, including mail without a return address, is treated as dead mail at a Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia or Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Sticker promoting ZIP code use
The format of the address is as follows
Line 1: Name of recipient
Line 2: Street address or P.O. Box
Line 3: City, State (ISO 3166-2:US code or APO/FPO code) and ZIP+4 code
Example
Customer Name
1 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104-5516

The USPS maintains a list of proper abbreviations.[151]

The format of a return address is similar. Though some style manuals recommend using a comma between the city and state name when typesetting addresses in other contexts, for optimal automatic character recognition, the Post Office does not recommend this when addressing mail. The official recommendation is to use all upper case block letters with proper formats and abbreviations, and leave out all punctuation except for the hyphen in the ZIP+4 code. If the address is unusually formatted or illegible enough, it will require hand-processing, delaying that particular item. The USPS publishes the entirety of their postal addressing standards.[152]

Postal address verification tools and services are offered by the USPS and third party companies to help ensure mail is deliverable by fixing formatting, appending information such as ZIP code and validating the address is a valid delivery point. Customers can look up ZIP codes and verify addresses using USPS Web Tools available on the official USPS website and Facebook page, as well as on third-party sites.[153]

Delivery Point Validation[edit]

Delivery Point Validation (DPV) provides the highest level of address accuracy checking. In a DPV process, the address is checked against the AMS data file to ensure that it exists as an active delivery point.[154] The USPS does not offer DPV validation on their website; however, there are companies that offer services to perform DPV verification.

Paying postage[edit]

The actual postage can be paid via:[155]

  • Stamps purchased online at usps.com, at a post office, from a stamp vending machine or "Automated Postal Center" which can also handle packages, or from a third party (such as a grocery store)
  • Pre-cancelled stamps for bulk mailings[156]
  • Postal meter
  • Prepaid envelope
  • Shipping label purchased online and printed by the customer on standard paper (e.g., with Click-N-Ship, or via a third-party such as PayPal or Amazon shipping)

All unused U.S. postage stamps issued since 1861 are still valid as postage at their indicated value. Stamps with no value shown or denominated by a letter are also still valid, although the value depends upon the particular stamp. For some stamps issued without a printed value, the current value is the original value. But some stamps beginning in 1988 or earlier, including Forever Stamps (issued from April 2007) and all first-class, first-ounce stamps issued from January 21, 2011, the value is the current value of a first-class-mail first-ounce stamp. The USPS calls these Forever Stamps but the generic name is non-denominated postage.

Forever stamps are sold at the First-Class Mail postage rate at the time of purchase, but will always be valid for First-Class Mail, up to 1 ounce (28 g), no matter how rates rise in the future.[157] Britain has had a similar stamp since 1989. The cost of mailing a 1 oz (28 g) First-Class letter increased to 58 cents on August 29, 2021.[158]

Postage meters[edit]

Main article: Postage meter

A postage meter is a mechanical device used to create and apply physical evidence of postage (or franking) to mailed matter. Postage meters are regulated by a country's postal authority; for example, in the United States, the United States Postal Service specifies the rules for the creation, support, and use of postage meters. A postage meter imprints an amount of postage, functioning as a postage stamp, a cancellation and a dated postmark all in one. The meter stamp serves as proof of payment and eliminates the need for adhesive stamps.

PC Postage[edit]

In addition to using standard stamps, postage can now be printed in the form of an electronic stamp, or e-stamp, from a personal computer using a system called Information Based Indicia. This online PC Postage method relies upon application software on the customer's computer contacting a postal security device at the office of the postal service.[159]

PC Postage providers include:

Other electronic postage payment methods[edit]

Electronic Verification System (eVS)[161] is the Postal Service's integrated mail management technology that centralizes payment processing and electronic postage reports. Part of an evolving suite of USPS electronic payment services called PostalOne!,[162] eVS allows mailers shipping large volumes of parcels through the Postal Service a way to circumvent use of hard-copy manifests, postage statements and drop-shipment verification forms. Instead, mailers can pay postage automatically through a centralized account and track payments online.

Beginning in August 2007, the Postal Service began requiring mailers shipping Parcel Select packages using a permit imprint to use eVS for manifesting their packages.

Stamp copyright and reproduction[edit]

All U.S. postage stamps issued under the former United States Post Office Department and other postage items that were released before 1978 are not subject to copyright, but stamp designs since 1978 are copyrighted.[163] The United States Copyright Office in section 313.6(C)(1) of the Third Edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices holds that "Works prepared by officers or employees of the U.S. Postal Service ... are not considered works of the U.S. Government"[164] and are therefore eligible for registration. Thus, the USPS holds copyright to such materials released since 1978 under Title 17 of the United States Code. Written permission is required for use of copyrighted postage stamp images, although under USPS rules, permission is "generally" not required for "educational use", "news reporting" or "philatelic advertising use," but users must cite USPS as the source of the image and include language such as "© United States Postal Service. All rights reserved."[165]

Service level choices[edit]

Ambox current red.svg

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(September 2016)

General domestic services[edit]

Former Tyvekenvelope design for Express Mail before July 28, 2013

As of April 2011, domestic postage levels for low-volume mailers include:

  • Priority Mail Express (formerly Express Mail): Overnight delivery guaranteed to most locations[166]
    • 1 or 2 day delivery guarantee
    • Delivery guaranteed by 6 PM (as of 23 May 2021[update])[167]
    • $100 insurance included.
    • Tracking included.
    • Flat Rate envelopes are available $26.35 postage. Otherwise, pricing varies by weight and distance.
  • Priority Mail: Day specific delivery service ranging from 1 to 3 days depending on origin of shipment (not guaranteed)
    • As of January 27, 2013, tracking via Delivery Confirmation is now included on all Priority Mail shipments.[166]
    • Flat Rate envelopes and boxes (various sizes) are available free from the Postal Store. Otherwise, pricing varies by weight, size and distance.
    • $50 insurance for retail/$100 insurance for commercial starting on July 28, 2013.
    • Tracking Included
  • First-Class Mail
    • 2- to 3-day delivery.[166]
      • In most cases for letters and small packages.
    • Rate varies by size and weight, but not distance.
      • Postcards (5″ × 3.5″ × 0.007 to 6″ × 4.25″ × 0.016″ × [127 × 89 × 0.18 to 152 × 108 × 0.4 mm]): 35¢
      • Letters (up to 11.5″ × 6.125″ × 0.25″ ×, 3.5 oz [292 × 156 × 6.4 mm, 100 g]): 55¢ + 15¢ for each additional ounce stamped, 50¢ + 15¢ for each additional ounce metered
      • Large Envelope or Flat (up to 15″ × 12″ × 0.75″ ×, 13 oz [381 × 305 × 19 mm, 370 g]): $1.00 + 15¢ each additional ounce (28 g). Must be rectangular, uniformly thick, and not too rigid.
  • First class package service
    • Rate varies by weight and distance.
      • Package/Parcel (Up to 108 inches (270 cm) length plus girth, 13 ounces (370 g): $3.80-$4.20 up to 4 ounces, $4.60-$5.00 up to 8 ounces, $5.90-$6.50 up to 13 ounces
  • USPS Retail Ground (formerly Parcel Post)
    • Slowest but cheapest service for packages too large or heavy for First Class—uses surface transport.
    • 2- to 9-day service to contiguous U.S., 4–14 days internal to AK/HI/territories, 3–6 weeks between mainland and outlying areas (travels by ship).[166]
    • Variable pricing by weight, size and distance.
    • Free forwarding if recipient has filed change-of-address form, or return if the item is undeliverable.
  • Media Mail—formerly "Book Rate"
    • Books and recorded media only.
    • No advertising.
    • Pricing by weight only.
    • Transit time similar to Parcel Post.
    • Cheaper than Parcel Post but only due to increased restrictions on package contents.
  • Library Mail
    • Similar to Media Mail, but cheaper and restricted to academic institutions, public libraries, museums, etc.

The Post Office will not deliver packages heavier than 70 pounds (32 kg) or if the length (the package's longest dimension) plus the girth (the measurement around the package at its largest point in the two shorter dimensions) is greater than 108 inches (270 cm) combine or 130 inches [330 cm] for Retail Ground. [166]

Bulk mail[edit]

See also: Bulk mail

USPS-operated minivan serving in the LLV's role

Discounts are available for large volumes of mail. Depending on the postage level, certain conditions might be required or optional for an additional discount:

  • Minimum number of pieces
  • Weight limits
  • Ability for the USPS to process by machine
  • Addresses formatting standardized
  • USPS-readable barcode
  • Sorted by three-digit ZIP code prefix, five-digit ZIP code, ZIP+4, or 11-digit delivery point
  • Delivered in trays, bundles, or pallets partitioned by destination
  • Delivered directly to a regional Bulk Mail Center, destination SCF, or destination Post Office
  • Certification of mailing list accuracy and freshness (e.g., correct ZIP codes, purging of stale addresses, processing of change-of-address notifications)

In addition to bulk discounts on Express, Priority, and First-Class Mail, the following postage levels are available for bulk mailers:

  • Periodicals
  • Standard Mail (A)
    • Automation
    • Enhanced Carrier Route
    • Regular
  • Standard Mail (B)

[edit]

Depending on the type of mail, additional services are available for an additional fee:[169]

  • Certificate of Mailing provides proof of the date a package was mailed.
  • Certified Mail provides proof of mailing, and a delivery record. Used for serving legal documents and for sending U.S. Government classified information, up to the "confidential" level.
  • Collect on Delivery (C.O.D.) allows merchants to offer customers an option to pay upon delivery, up to $1000. Includes insurance.
  • USPS Tracking provides proof of delivery to sorting facilities, local post office and destination, but no signature is required.
  • Insurance is shipping insurance against loss or damage for the value of the goods mailed. Amount of coverage can be specified, up to $5,000.
  • Registered Mail is used for highly valuable or irreplaceable items, and classified information up to the "secret" level.[170] Registered mail is transported separately from other mail, in locked containers. Tracking is included and insurance up to $25,000 is available.[171]
  • Restricted Delivery requires delivery to a specific person or their authorized agent, not just to a mailbox.
  • Return Receipt actively sends signature confirmation back to the sender by postcard or emailed PDF (as opposed to merely putting this information into the online tracking system).
  • Signature Confirmation requires a delivery signature, which is kept on file. The online tracking system displays the first initial and last name of the signatory.
  • Special Handling is for unusual items, like live animals.

International services[edit]

Packages awaiting inspection at the International Mail Facility in JFK airport

In May 2007, the USPS restructured international service names to correspond with domestic shipping options. Formerly, USPS International services[172] were categorized as Airmail (Letter Post), Economy (Surface) Parcel Post, Airmail Parcel Post, Global Priority, Global Express, and Global Express Guaranteed Mail. The former Airmail (Letter Post) is now First-Class Mail International,[173][174] and includes small packages weighing up to four pounds (1.8 kg). Economy Parcel Post was discontinued for international service, while Airmail Parcel Post was replaced by Priority Mail International. Priority Mail International Flat-Rate packaging in various sizes was introduced, with the same conditions of service previously used for Global Priority. Global Express is now Express Mail International, while Global Express Guaranteed is unchanged. The international mailing classes with a tracking ability are Express, Express Guaranteed, and Priority (except that tracking is not available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes or Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes).[175]

One of the major changes in the new naming and services definitions is that USPS-supplied mailing boxes for Priority and Express mail are now allowed for international use. These services are offered to ship letters and packages to almost every country and territory on the globe. The USPS provides much of this service by contracting with a private parcel service, FedEx.[176]

The USPS provides an M-bag[177] service for international shipment of printed matter;[178] previously surface M-bags existed, but with the 2007 elimination of surface mail, only airmail M-bags remain.[179] The term "M-bag" is not expanded in USPS publications; M-bags are simply defined as "direct sacks of printed matter ... sent to a single foreign addressee at a single address";[178] however, the term is sometimes referred to informally as "media bag", as the bag can also contain "discs, tapes, and cassettes", in addition to books, for which the usual umbrella term is "media"; some also refer to them as "mail bags".

Military mail is billed at domestic rates when being sent from the United States to a military outpost, and is free when sent by deployed military personnel. The overseas logistics are handled by the Military Postal Service Agency in the Department of Defense.[180] Outside of forward areas and active operations, military mail First-Class takes 7–10 days, Priority 10–15 days, and Parcel Post about 24 days.[166]

Three independent countries with a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. (Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia) have a special relationship with the United States Postal Service:

  • Each associated state maintains its own government-run mail service for delivery to and pickup from retail customers.[181][182][183]
  • The associated states are integrated into the USPS addressing and ZIP code system.
  • The USPS is responsible for transporting mail between the United States and the associated states,[181] and between the individual states of the Federated States of Micronesia.[183]
  • The associated states synchronize postal services and rates with the USPS.
  • The USPS treats mail to and from the associated states as domestic mail.[184] Incoming mail does require customs declarations because, like some U.S. territories, the associated states are outside the main customs territory of the United States.[185]

The discontinuation of international surface mail[edit]

For more information about surface mail, see Surface mail.

In 2007, the US Postal Service discontinued its outbound international surface mail ("sea mail") service,[186] mainly because of increased costs. Returned undeliverable surface parcels had become an expensive problem for the USPS, since it was often required to take such parcels back.[187]

Domestic surface mail (now "Retail Ground" or "Commercial Parcel Select") remains available.

Alternatives to international surface mail include:

Senders can access the International Surface Air Lift and ePacket services through postal wholesalers. Some examples of such wholesalers include:

  • Asendia USA (accessible through the Shippo website to users who have an Asendia account),[189]
  • Globegistics (now owned by Asendia), and
  • APC Postal Logistics.

If a sender sends an ISAL mailing directly through the USPS (without a wholesaler as an intermediary), the minimum weight is 50 pounds per mailing.[190]

Sorting and delivery process[edit]

Mail flow through national infrastructure

Processing of standard sized envelopes and cards is highly automated, including reading of handwritten addresses. Mail from individual customers and public USPS mailboxes is collected by letter carriers into plastic tubs, which are taken to one of approximately 251 Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) across the United States. Each P&DC sorts mail for a given region (typically with a radius of around 200 miles (320 km)) and connects with the national network for interregional mail.[191] During the 2010s, the USPS consolidated mail sorting for large regions into the P&DCs on the basis that most mail is addressed to faraway destinations,[192] but for cities at the edge of a P&DC's region, this means all locally addressed mail must now travel long distances (that is, to and from the P&DC for sorting) to reach nearby addresses.[193]

At the P&DC, mail is emptied into hampers which are then automatically dumped into a Dual Pass Rough Cull System (DPRCS). As mail travels through the DPRCS, large items, such as packages and mail bundles, are removed from the stream. As the remaining mail enters the first machine for processing standard mail, the Advanced Facer-Canceler System (AFCS), pieces that passed through the DPRCS but do not conform to physical dimensions for processing in the AFCS (e.g., large envelopes or overstuffed standard envelopes) are automatically diverted from the stream. Mail removed from the DPRCS and AFCS is manually processed or sent to parcel sorting machines.

In contrast to the previous system, which merely canceled and postmarked the upper right corner of the envelope, thereby missing any stamps which were inappropriately placed, the AFCS locates indicia (stamp or metered postage mark) regardless of the orientation of the mailpiece as it enters the machine, and cancels it by applying a postmark. Detection of indicia enables the AFCS to determine the orientation of each mailpiece and sort it accordingly. The AFCS rotates and flips over mailpieces as needed, so all mail is sorted right-side up and faced in the same direction in each output bin.

Mail is sorted by the AFCS into three categories: mail already affixed with a bar code and addressed (such as business reply envelopes and cards); mail with machine printed (typed) addresses; and mail with handwritten addresses.

Mail with typed addresses goes to a Multiline Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) which reads the ZIP Code and address information and prints the appropriate bar code onto the envelope (formerly POSTNET, now Intelligent Mail). Mail with handwritten addresses and illegible typed addresses is diverted from the mailstream to the Remote Bar Coding System (RBCS). Images of such mailpieces are transmitted through RBCS to the Remote Encoding Center, where humans (data entry clerks) read each image and type in the most likely address. Each mailpiece held for RBCS processing is sprayed with an ID Tag, a fluorescent bar code. When address data comes back from the Remote Encoding Center, RBCS uses the ID Tag bar code to identify the corresponding mailpiece and prints the appropriate bar code, then returns the mailpiece to the mailstream.

Processed mail is imaged by the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) system to allow easier tracking of hazardous substances. Images are taken at more than 200 mail processing centers, and are destroyed after being retained for 30 days.[194]

If a customer has filed a change of address card and his or her mail is detected in the mailstream with the old address, the mailpiece is sent to a machine that automatically connects to a Computerized Forwarding System database to determine the new address. If this address is found, the machine will paste a label over the former address with the current address and the appropriate bar code. The mail is returned to the mailstream to be forwarded to the addressee's new location.

Mail with addresses that cannot be read and bar coded by any of the foregoing automated systems is separated for human intervention. If a local postal worker can read the address, he or she manually codes and sorts it according to the ZIP Code on the article. If the address still cannot be read, mail is either returned to the sender (First-Class Mail with a valid return address) or is sent to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia (formerly known as the dead letter office). At this office, the mail is opened to try to find an address to forward to. If an address is found, the contents are resealed and delivered. Otherwise, the items are held for 90 days in case of inquiry by the customer; if they are not claimed, they are either destroyed or auctioned off at the monthly Postal Service Unclaimed Parcel auction to raise money for the service.

Once the mail is bar coded, it is automatically sorted by a Delivery Bar Code Sorter (DBCS) that reads the bar code, identifies the destination of the mailpiece, and sends it to an appropriate tray that corresponds to the next segment of its journey.

There are necessarily two P&DCs for every domestic mailpiece which correspond to the regions in which the sender and recipient are located. USPS calls these, respectively, the origination and destination P&DCs. Mail for which they are the same (because the senders are located in the same region as the recipients) is either trucked to the appropriate local post office, or kept in the building for carrier routes served directly from the P&DC itself. Out-of-region mail is trucked to the closest airport and then flown, usually as baggage on commercial airlines, to the airport nearest the destination station. At the destination P&DC, mail is once again read by a DBCS which sorts items to local post offices; this includes grouping mailpieces by individual letter-carrier route.

At the carrier route level, 95% of letters arrive pre-sorted;[191] the remaining mail must be sorted by hand. The Post Office is working to increase the percentage of automatically sorted mail, including a pilot program to sort "flats".[195]

FedEx provides air transport service to USPS for Priority and Express Mail. Priority Mail and Express Mail are transported from Priority Mail processing centers to the closest FedEx-served airport, where they are handed off to FedEx. FedEx then flies them to the destination airport and hands them back to USPS for transport to the local post office and delivery.

Types of postal facilities[edit]

Although its retail postal facilities are called post offices in regular speech, the USPS recognizes several types of postal facilities, including the following:

  • A main post office (formerly known as a general post office) is the primary postal facility in a community.
  • A station or post office station is a postal facility that is not the main post office, but that is within the corporate limits of the community.
  • A branch or post office branch is a postal facility that is not the main post office and that is outside the corporate limits of the community.
  • A classified unit is a station or branch operated by USPS employees in a facility owned or leased by the USPS.
  • A contract postal unit (or CPU) is a station or branch operated by a contractor, typically in a store or other place of business.[196]
  • A community post office (or CPO) is a contract postal unit providing services in a small community in which other types of post office facilities have been discontinued.
  • A finance unit is a station or branch that provides window services and accepts mail, but does not provide delivery.
  • A village post office (VPO) is an entity such as a local business or government center that provides postal services through a contract with the USPS. First introduced in 2011 as an integral part of the USPS plan to close low volume post offices, village post offices will fill the role of the post office within a ZIP Code.[197]
  • A processing and distribution center (P&DC, or processing and distribution facility, formerly known as a General Mail Facility) is a central mail facility that processes and dispatches incoming and outgoing mail to and from a designated service area (251 nationwide).[191][198]
  • A sectional center facility (SCF) is a P&DC for a designated geographical area defined by one or more three-digit ZIP Code prefixes.
  • An international service center (ISC) is an international mail processing facility. There are only five such USPS facilities in the continental United States, located in Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.[199]
  • A Network Distribution Center, formerly known as a bulk mail center (BMC), is a central mail facility that processes bulk rate parcels as the hub in a hub and spoke network.
  • An auxiliary sorting facility (ASF) is a central mail facility that processes bulk rate parcels as spokes in a hub and spoke network.
  • A remote encoding center (REC) is a facility at which clerks receive images of problem mail pieces (those with hard-to-read addresses, etc.) via secure Internet-type feeds and manually type the addresses they can decipher, using a special encoding protocol. The mail pieces are then sprayed with the correct addresses or are sorted for further handling according to the instructions given via encoding. The total number of RECs is down from 55 in 1998 to just 1 center in December 2016. The last REC is in Salt Lake City, Utah.[200]

While common usage refers to all types of postal facilities as "substations", the USPS Glossary of Postal Terms does not define or even list that word.[196] Post Offices often share facilities with other governmental organizations located within a city's central business district. In those locations, often Courthouses and Federal Buildings, the building is owned by the General Services Administration while the U.S. Postal Services operates as a tenant.[201] The USPS retail system has approximately 36,000 post offices, stations, and branches.[202]

Automated Postal Centers[edit]
A 24-hour Automated Postal Center kiosk inside the Webster, Texasmain post office

In the year 2004, the USPS began deploying Automated Postal Centers (APCs).[203] APCs are unattended kiosks that are capable of weighing, franking, and storing packages for later pickup as well as selling domestic and international postage stamps. Since its introduction, APCs do not take cash payments – they only accept credit or debit cards. Similarly, traditional vending machines are available at many post offices to purchase stamps, though these are being phased out in many areas.[204] Due to increasing use of Internet services, as of June 2009, no retail post office windows are open 24 hours; overnight services are limited to those provided by an Automated Postal Center.[205]

Evolutionary Network Development (END) program[edit]

In February 2006, the USPS announced that they plan to replace the nine existing facility-types with five processing facility-types:[206]

  • Regional Distribution Centers (RDCs), which will process all classes of parcels and bundles and serve as Surface Transfer Centers;
  • Local Processing Centers (LPCs), which will process single-piece letters and flats and cancel mail;
  • Destination Processing Centers (DPC), sort the mail for individual letter-carrier route;
  • Airport Transfer Centers (ATCs), which will serve as transfer points only; and
  • Remote Encoding Centers (RECs).

Over a period of years, these facilities are expected to replace Processing & Distribution Centers, Customer Service Facilities, Bulk Mail Centers, Logistic and Distribution Centers, annexes, the Hub and Spoke Program, Air Mail Centers, and International Service Centers.

The changes are a result of the declining volumes of single-piece First-Class Mail, population shifts, the increase in drop shipments by advertising mailers at destinating postal facilities, advancements in equipment and technology, redundancies in the existing network, and the need for operational flexibility.

The program was ended in early 2007 after an analysis revealed that the significant amount of capital investment required to implement the END network concept would not generate the benefits originally anticipated.[207]

Airline and rail division[edit]

The United States Postal Service does not directly own or operate any aircraft or trains, although both were formerly operated. The mail and packages are flown on airlines with which the Postal Service has a contractual agreement. The contracts change periodically. Contract airlines have included: UPS, Emery Worldwide, Ryan International Airlines, FedEx Express, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Express One International. Amtrak carried some mail between cities, such as Chicago and Minneapolis–Saint Paul, but this terminated in October 2004.[208]

The last air delivery route in the continental U.S., to residents in the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness, was scheduled to be ended in June 2009. The weekly bush plane route, contracted out to an air taxi company, had in its final year an annual cost of $46,000, or $2400/year per residence, over ten times the average cost of delivering mail to a residence in the United States.[209] This decision has been reversed by the U.S. postmaster general.[210]

Parcel forwarding and private interchange[edit]

Private US parcel forwarding or US mail forwarding companies focusing on personal shopper, relocation, Ex-pat and mail box services often interface with the United States Postal Service for transporting of mail and packages for their customers.[211]

Delivery timing[edit]

1998 United States Postal Service Ford Windstar, showing the larger driver's side door

Delivery days[edit]

From 1810, mail was delivered seven days a week. In 1828, local religious leaders noticed a decline in Sunday-morning church attendance because of local post offices' doubling as gathering places. These leaders appealed to the government to intervene and close post offices on Sundays. The government, however, declined, and mail was delivered seven days a week until 1912.[212][213]

Today, U.S. Mail (with the exception of Express Mail)[214] is not delivered on Sunday.

Saturday delivery was temporarily suspended in April 1957, because of lack of funds, but quickly restored.[215][216]

Budget problems prompted consideration of dropping Saturday delivery starting around 2009. This culminated in a 2013 announcement that regular mail services would be cut to five days a week, which was reversed by Congress before it could take effect. (See the section Revenue decline and planned cuts.)

Direct delivery vs. customer pickup[edit]

Originally, mail was not delivered to homes and businesses, but to post offices. In 1863, "city delivery" began in urban areas with enough customers to make this economical. This required streets to be named, houses to be numbered, with sidewalks and lighting provided, and these street addresses to be added to envelopes.[217] The number of routes served expanded over time. In 1891, the first experiments with Rural Free Delivery began in less densely populated areas. There is currently an effort to reduce direct delivery in favor of mailbox clusters.

To compensate for high mail volume and slow long-distance transportation which saw mail arrive at post offices throughout the day, deliveries were made multiple times a day. This ranged from twice for residential areas to up to seven times for the central business district of Brooklyn, New York.[218] In the late 19th century, mail boxes were encouraged, saving carriers the time it took to deliver directly to the addressee in person; in the 1910s and 1920s, they were phased in as a requirement for service.[217] In the 1940s, multiple daily deliveries began to be reduced, especially on Saturdays. By 1990, the last twice-daily deliveries in New York City were eliminated.

Today, mail is delivered once a day on-site to most private homes and businesses. The USPS still distinguishes between city delivery (where carriers generally walk and deliver to mailboxes hung on exterior walls or porches, or to commercial reception areas) and rural delivery (where carriers generally drive).[219] With "curbside delivery", mailboxes are at the ends of driveways, on the nearest convenient road. "Central point delivery" is used in some locations, where several nearby residences share a "cluster" of individual mailboxes in a single housing.

Some customers choose to use post office boxes for an additional fee, for privacy or convenience. This provides a locked box at the post office to which mail is addressed and delivered (usually earlier in the day than home delivery). Customers in less densely populated areas where there is no city delivery and who do not qualify for rural delivery may receive mail only through post office boxes. High-volume business customers can also arrange for special pick-up.[220][221]

Another option is the old-style general delivery, for people who have neither post office boxes nor street addresses. Mail is held at the post office until they present identification and pick it up.

Some customers receive free post office boxes if the USPS declines to provide door-to-door delivery to their location or a nearby box.[222] People with medical problems can request door-to-door delivery.[223]Homeless people are also eligible for post office boxes at the discretion of the local postmaster, or can use general delivery.[224]

Special delivery[edit]

From 1885 to 1997, a service called special delivery was available, which caused a separate delivery to the final location earlier in the day than the usual daily rounds.

Same-day trials[edit]

In December 2012, the USPS began a limited one-year trial of same-day deliveries directly from retailers or distribution hubs to residential addresses in the same local area, a service it dubbed "Metro Post".[225][226] The trial was initially limited to San Francisco and the only retailer to participate in the first few weeks was 1-800-FLOWERS.[227]

In March 2013, the USPS faced new same-day competition for e-commerce deliveries from Google Shopping Express.

In November 2013, the Postal Service began regular package delivery on Sundays for Amazon customers in New York and Los Angeles,[228] which it expanded to 15 cities in May 2014.[229] Amazon Sunday delivery has now been expanded to most major markets as of September 2015.

Other competition in this area includes online grocers such as AmazonFresh, Webvan, and delivery services operated by grocery stores like Peapod and Safeway.

Forwarding and holds[edit]

Residential customers can fill out a form to forward mail to a new address, and can also send pre-printed forms to any of their frequent correspondents. They can also put their mail on "hold", for example, while on vacation. The Post Office will store mail during the hold, instead of letting it overflow in the mailbox. These services are not available to large buildings and customers of a commercial mail receiving agency,[230] where mail is subsorted by non-Post Office employees into individual mailboxes.

Financial services[edit]

Postal money orders provide a safe alternative to sending cash through the mail, and are available in any amount up to $1,000. Like a bank check, money orders are cashable only by the recipient. Unlike a personal bank check, they are prepaid and therefore cannot be returned because of insufficient funds.[231] Money orders are a declining business for the USPS, as companies like PayPal, Venmo and others are offering electronic replacements.

From 1911 to 1967, the Postal Service also operated the United States Postal Savings System, not unlike a savings and loan association with the amount of the deposit limited.[232]

A January 2014 report by the inspector general of the USPS suggested that the agency could earn $8.9 billion per year in revenue by providing financial services, especially in areas where there are no local banks but there is a local post office, and to customers who currently do not have bank accounts.[233]

Employment[edit]

The Postal Service is the nation's second-largest civilian employer.[234] As of 2020[update], it employed 495,941 career employees and 148,092 non-career personnel, divided among offices, processing centers, and actual post offices.[6] The United States Postal Service would rank 44th on the 2019 Fortune 500 list, if considered a private company[235] and ranks 136 on Global Fortune 500 list.[236]

Labor unions representing USPS employees include: The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), which represents postal clerks and maintenance, motor vehicle, mail equipment shops, material distribution centers, and operating services and facilities services employees, postal nurses, and IT and accounting;[237] the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), which represents city letter carriers; the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association (NRLCA), which represents rural letter carriers; and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU).

USPS employees are divided into major crafts according to the work they engage in:

  • Letter carriers, also referred to as mailmen or mail carriers, prepare and deliver mail and parcels. They are divided into two categories: City Letter Carriers, who are represented by the NALC, and Rural Letter Carriers, who are represented by the NRLCA. City Carriers are paid hourly with automatic overtime paid after 8 hours or 40 hours a week of duty. City Carriers are required to work in any kind of weather, daylight or dark and carry three bundles of mail (letters in one hand with magazines and other larger mail pieces) on the forearm carrying the mail. Advertisement mail, Every door direct (EDD) and smaller parcels all go in the carriers satchel). Larger parcels, up to a total of 70 lbs. may be delivered at various times of the day or with the mail. Mail routes are outfitted with a number of scanpoints (mailbox barcodes) on random streets every 30 to 40 minutes apart to keep track of the carriers whereabouts in real-time.
  • Rural carriers are under a form of salary called "evaluated hours", usually with overtime built into their pay. The evaluated hours are created by having all mail counted for a period of two or four weeks, and a formula used to create the set dollar amount they will be paid for each day worked until the next time the route is counted.
  • Mail handlers and processors, prepare, separate, load and unload mail and parcels, by delivery ZIP code and station, for the clerks. They work almost exclusively at the plants or larger mail facilities now after having their duties excessed and reassigned to clerks in Post Offices and Station branches.
  • Clerks, have a dual function by design of where their assignment is. Window clerks directly handle customer service needs at the counter, sort box mail and sort first-class letters, standard and bulk-rate mail for the carriers on the work floor. Clerks may also work alongside mail handlers in large sorting facilities, outside of the public view, sorting mail. Data Conversion Operators, who encode address information at Remote Encoding Centers, are also members of the clerk craft. Mail handlers and Clerks are represented by the NPMHU and the APWU, respectively.

Other non-managerial positions in the USPS include:

  • Maintenance and custodians, who see to the overall operation and cleaning of mail sorting machines, work areas, public parking and general facility operations.
  • City Carrier Assistants. (CCAs) With the Das Arbitration award the designation of PTF City Carrier has been abolished. TE City Carriers will have the opportunity to become CCAs. A CCA is a non-career employee who is hired for a 360-day term, similar to what TEs had. CCAs earn annual leave. CCAs, unlike TEs do have a direct path to becoming career employees. When excess City Carrier positions exist the CCA in that work installation with the highest "relative standing" will be promoted to a career employee and be assigned to the vacant position.
  • Career, Part Time Flexible and Transitional employees (Career, PTF & TE) There are a variety of other non-managerial positions in such crafts as accounting, information technology, and the remote encoding center. These are under a different contract than plant workers or letter carriers.[238]
  • Contractors are not USPS employees, but work for the USPS under a written contract and usually paid per mile. They do not get benefits including health insurance, leave, life insurance, and pension. They must use their own vehicle and pay any cost to maintain, insure, or replace. Contractors generally make less than employees. Just like regular carriers they deliver packages and letters to mailboxes and doors.

Though the USPS employs many individuals, as more Americans send information via email, fewer postal workers are needed to work dwindling amounts of mail. Post offices and mail facilities are constantly downsizing, replacing craft positions with new machines and consolidating mail routes through the MIARAP (Modified Interim Alternate Route Adjustment Process) agreement. A major round of job cuts, early retirements, and a construction freeze were announced on March 20, 2009.[239]

Workplace violence[

Источник: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service
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Amazon Is Hiring Nearly 1,400 Full-Time Work-from-Home Employees with Full Benefits

Amazon continues to be a source of both essential items and work-from-home jobs going into 2021, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The online retailer currently has more than 1,300 open full-time positions on its virtual locations career site.

They are primarily looking for remote solutions architects, but there are also dozens of vacancies in sales, advertising and account management, fulfillment and operations management, human resources, and project/program/product management. There are also opportunities in marketing and PR and leadership development and training and more. So whatever your corporate skillset is, there's probably an open work-from-home job at Amazon for you.

The bulk of the openings are in the Amazon Web Services division. Hundreds of the jobs are available anywhere in the US; others must be done in specific states, such as Arizona, California, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington (and Washington, D.C.), New York, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio.

Working at Amazon remotely comes with plenty of perks, including an employee discount. In addition to health insurance, some employees also receive benefits, such as retirement planning and paid time off. Parents can also take maternity and paternity leave and receive adoption assistance.

If you're looking for part-time remote work, though, it might be tough to swing right now. There is only one job listed on Amazon's virtual locations career site.

To view the available listings, go to Amazon's virtual locations career page. Use the bar on the side of the page to filter the options by location and category. Many of the listings have been updated as recently as early December 2020.

And to up your odds of scoring one of these coveted roles, read up on how one mom got a work-from-home job at Amazon.

Источник: https://www.workingmother.com/amazon-is-looking-for-5000-work-from-home-employees
amazon force high volume hiring

Amazon force high volume hiring -

Amazon Is Hiring Nearly 1,400 Full-Time Work-from-Home Employees with Full Benefits

Amazon continues to be a source of both essential items and work-from-home jobs going into 2021, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The online retailer currently has more than 1,300 open full-time positions on its virtual locations career site.

They are primarily looking for remote solutions architects, but there are also dozens of vacancies in sales, advertising and account management, fulfillment and operations management, human resources, and project/program/product management. There are also opportunities in marketing and PR and leadership development and training and more. So whatever your corporate skillset is, there's probably an open work-from-home job at Amazon for you.

The bulk of the openings are in the Amazon Web Services division. Hundreds of the jobs are available anywhere in the US; others must be done in specific states, such as Arizona, California, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington (and Washington, D.C.), New York, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio.

Working at Amazon remotely comes with plenty of perks, including an employee discount. In addition to health insurance, some employees also receive benefits, such as retirement planning and paid time off. Parents can also take maternity and paternity leave and receive adoption assistance.

If you're looking for part-time remote work, though, it might be tough to swing right now. There is only one job listed on Amazon's virtual locations career site.

To view the available listings, go to Amazon's virtual locations career page. Use the bar on the side of the page to filter the options by location and category. Many of the listings have been updated as recently as early December 2020.

And to up your odds of scoring one of these coveted roles, read up on how one mom got a work-from-home job at Amazon.

Источник: https://www.workingmother.com/amazon-is-looking-for-5000-work-from-home-employees

Business first

Florida reached an economic milestone in October, notching 18 months of consecutive job growth, among other accomplishments.

Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the milestone and highlighted his “business first” policies as the foundation of the rebound. They, he stressed, helped Florida gain 1.1 million private-sector jobs since April 2020 ‑ marking an 89% recuperation of jobs lost during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Florida’s economy continues to grow faster than the nation because we put the needs of Floridians and businesses first and make smart policy decisions that push back against heavy-handed mandates,” DeSantis said. “With 18 consecutive months of job growth and 12 consecutive months of labor force increases, we will continue to make investments that move our economy forward.”

Indeed, the state’s labor force and unemployment rates are also improving. Unemployment lowered and now hovers around the current rate of 4.6%.

Meanwhile, job opportunities are plenty. More than 518,00 jobs in Florida are available and posted online, according to the Governor’s Office.

Florida’s labor force growth is also rivaling the national average, with a 5.8% increase over the year. The term ‘labor force’ refers to the number of folks working or looking to work.

“Florida continues to see job growth, increases in labor force, and a decline in unemployment rate thanks to Gov. DeSantis’ policy decisions to protect Floridians and their jobs,” said Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Floridians and businesses remain confident in the state’s economy, and as evidence of that confidence, Florida’s current participation in the labor force of 10,590,000 is actually larger than Florida’s February 2020 labor force of 10,461,000.”

In all, October was a good month for Floridians. The unemployment rate lowered from 4.8% to 4.9%, while job creation also increased.

Several industries reported job market growth including, particularly in leisure and hospitality, with 16,600 new jobs. The second leading industry categories were trade, transportation and utilities, with 10,400 jobs. Education, health services, and business services also reported job creation.

October 2021 employment data is available online. Statewide job opportunities are also available online.

___

Coming up, the usual assortment of tidbits, leftovers and not-ready-for-prime-time moments by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

DeSantis signs Special Session bills — Gov. DeSantis earned a significant win Thursday, signing a “freedom agenda” of bills to curb COVID-19 policies and mandates. The four-bill signing came the morning after the Legislature passed them during this week’s Special Session. DeSantis called the Special Session as the legislative front to combating President Joe Biden‘s vaccine mandates. “To say it should be mandated when you can still get it, this is a personal choice, so that’s what we’re doing, and that’s the science-based approach to say it should be a personal choice,” the Governor said. “There is no data that shows an improvement of health with these massive mandates for children,” said Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who also called mandates divisive.

Hold the line, or not — Florida Democrats criticized DeSantis for pushing a Special Session that they said was more about “political theater” and future presidential aspirations than it was about responding to a real crisis. It was a surprise to watch Democrats unable to band together to block one of the four bills up during the Special Session. Legislators needed a supermajority to pass a public records exemption traveling with the main vaccine mandate bill. If Democrats had voted together, they could have stopped the legislation. But a handful of Democrats peeled off. Some of them explained they were uncomfortable with allowing the names of businesses being investigated for violating the vaccine mandate law to become public. But the result was that Republicans and DeSantis got what they wanted.

CMS rules challenged — Ten states have already challenged a vaccine mandate rule requiring health care providers dependent on federal funding to vaccinate their employees. Attorney General Ashley Moody this week filed a separate challenge on behalf of Florida in federal court in Pensacola. Moody wants a judge to block the mandate before Dec. 6, when health care employees are required to have gotten their first shot. The association that represents many of Florida’s hospitals has already said that it will follow the federal rule despite newly-enacted state law. Likewise, LeadingAge Florida spokesperson Nick Van Der Linden said: “Until we are advised otherwise by the courts, our members are obligated to follow the CMS rule.”

Redistricting battle lines begin taking shape — Finding time amid the Special Session for some regular business, Senators reviewed four senatorial and four congressional district maps this week. With the first staff-drawn maps finally on the table, the Republican-led Senate opened itself up to criticism and gerrymandering accusations. However, those in the minority party were largely satisfied with the maps, which were more even-keeled than expected. With the additional congressional district likely going for Republicans, Florida’s delegation would likely be split 16-12 under the Senate maps. However, Republicans nationally were eyeing Florida as one place to pad their attempts to retake the U.S. House in 2022. That and whether Senate District 19 can be consolidated in only Hillsborough County without crossing Tampa Bay to Pinellas County, benefiting Black representation, remain questions.

Ben Shapiro talks CRT, “Wokeism” at FSU — Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro targeted critical race theory and “wokeness” during a sold-out speaking event hosted by the College Republicans at FSU and FSU’s Institute of Politics. Although the 1,500-person event was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Monday, its standby line stretched the length of the hall’s courtyard by 5:30. By 6, the line snaked the building. FSU jackets, American flag shirts, and MAGA hats speckled the mostly college-aged crowd. When Shapiro approached the podium, most of the audience stood and applauded. Shapiro then began tomahawk chopping at the crowd, to further applause and returned chops. Later in the evening, he said he did not see how the chop could be considered racist.

National Adoption Month

DeSantis signed a proclamation this week, recognizing November as National Adoption Month in Florida.

The annual observance celebrates foster families and adopted children. It also brings awareness to the thousands of children awaiting adoption.

“This month is one of gratitude for the more than 2,600 families that adopted children from our foster care system this past year,” DeSantis said. “Not only am I thankful for these adoptive parents but also for the many partners, advocates and child welfare professionals across the state who work tirelessly to ensure children have the opportunity to lead happy, stable lives through adoption.”

According to the Department of Children and Families, more than 3,800 children were adopted in the last year through foster care. Meanwhile, more than 4,500 children need adoption or go through the adoption process.

“Every child deserves to have a caring and loving environment to grow and learn. I’ve had the honor of witnessing adoption ceremonies in Florida, and the joy, care and love between the families was overwhelming,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.

Individuals interested in adopting children from foster care can visit AdoptFlorida.org to learn more. State care agencies will host family events and adoption ceremonies throughout the month.

Hispanic heritage

Last week, the First Family honored winners of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month contests in the Governor’s Mansion.

This year, Florida celebrated Hispanic American community leaders and champions with student art and essay contests, as students across the state learned about Florida’s culture and Hispanic heritage.

“There are thousands of Hispanic American community leaders and champions across Florida, and I’m proud of the work they do every day to enrich their communities,” DeSantis said, congratulating winners for their hard work and lasting impact on students.

First Lady DeSantis, who took the lead on the Governor’s Mansion’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, thanked those who participated. Among those honored in the entries were law enforcement officers, first responders, public servants and school officials.

“I was amazed by the entries we received this year from students across our state who submitted moving stories of community, family and leadership from Hispanic Americans in Florida,” the First Lady said.

“The high quality of this year’s entries made it difficult to select a winner, but I am honored to recognize some truly outstanding students and educators,” she continued.

Kindergartner Eziel Juarez, of Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School, was awarded for his drawing honoring his mother. Second grader Julian Alexander Ruiz, of Coral Reef Elementary School, also won for his drawing of his abuelo, who is a radio show host.

Student essay contest winners were Orange Grove Elementary School fourth grader Stella Jurkovic, who wrote about Pinellas County’s first Hispanic judge; Tequesta Trace Middle School eighth grader Diana Cho, who wrote about a bilingual drug abuse and addiction recovery counselor; and Booker High School senior Giacomo Mutti, who wrote about a Sarasota County priest. Student essay contest winners each earned a four-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Three teachers, namely West Glades Elementary teacher Estela Gonzalez, Oasis Middle School teacher Gabriel Ortiz and Doral Academy Preparatory School teacher Raquel Medina, each received $1,5000 from Volunteer Florida.

Facebook risk

Moody is leading a nationwide investigation into the company formerly known as Facebook, for conduct relating to how children and young adults used the platform.

Attorneys General across the country are examining whether Meta Platforms, as it’s now known, violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk by carelessly promoting the platform to younger users.

“We have serious concerns about how social media is impacting the lives of young people in this country, and as a mother, I want to know how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children and teens to lengthen engagement on its platforms,” Moody said. “I am proud to lead these efforts with our partner states to find out if Meta violated any consumer protection laws and put our children at risk.”

The investigation targets the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. The announcement, issued Thursday, follows recent reports revealing that Meta’s own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health damages on young people. These harms include depression, eating disorders and suicide.

Moody is leading the investigation with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

Illegal gas prices?

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Wednesday requested Moody to investigate any anti-competitive, potentially illegal activity by oil and gas companies.

With gasoline prices at recent highs, Biden wrote to Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, requesting that the FTC investigate whether the industry was illegally keeping prices high amid “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior.”

With gas prices currently near a seven-year high, oil and gas companies see record-high profits despite the declining cost of unfinished gasoline. According to the President’s letter, oil and gas companies plan billions of dollars in stock buybacks and dividend hikes, while consumer gas prices rise, and refined fuel costs decrease. The price of oil is down more than 5% this month, while gas prices have increased 3%.

In her letter, Fried noted that her office had received 80 consumer complaints about gas prices in the past two months. However, Moody’s office, not hers, has the power to investigate illegal activity in the gas industry.

“We cannot expect Floridians to bear the burden of higher gas prices while oil and gas companies line their pockets with record-high profits, despite their costs declining,” Fried wrote. “I hope that you will take all appropriate action to join me in protecting Florida’s consumers at the gas pump.”

Fallen firefighters

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis helped honor fallen firefighters and their families at a memorial in Ocala on Thursday.

The names of 18 fallen firefighters will be etched on the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala.

“Every day and every night, Florida’s firefighters stand ready to answer the call, leaving their families behind and risking their lives to keep Floridians safe,” Patronis said. “These are the brave men and women who, at a moment’s notice, rush toward unbelievable danger with one mission — to save lives.”

Firefighters were among those who responded to the Surfside condo collapse this summer. And September marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, continuing a difficult year for firefighters and first responders.

Still, they bravely served the community, Patronis said.

“Today, we honor our fallen firefighters, the ones that answered the call but didn’t come home,” he continued. “Please pray for the families of these heroes who served alongside these first responders and supported them as they worked to protect us. God bless these heroes and their families. Their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

The fallen firefighters this year included firefighters from across the state. Those honored were David L. Abernathy, Thomas M. Barber, Dwain S. Bradshaw, Anthony C. Christensen, Michelle Clore, Donald DiPetrillo, Randall M. Donaldson Jr., William C. Donaldson, Walter “Pete” Gee, James G. Gunter, Lloyd Losinger, Jeremy J. McKay, Scott R. Neumann, Jimmy D. Riley, Jeremy J. Saunders, Eric M. Siena, Brian S. Smith and Hervè Thomas.

To watch highlights of the ceremony, click on the image below:

Instagram of the week

The week in appointments

Department of Juvenile Justice — DeSantis on Friday named Eric Hall as Secretary of DJJ. The gig will mark Hall’s first state agency job. In 2019, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran tapped Hall to serve as the first Chancellor for Innovation and Senior Chancellor. The role oversaw a slew of divisions, including K-12 Public Schools, the Florida College System, Career and Adult Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, Blind Services, the Office of Safe Schools, and the Office of Early Learning. He replaces Interim Secretary Josie Tamayo, who will remain aboard the DeSantis administration. More information on Tamayo’s next role is soon to come, the Governor’s Office said. The previous DJJ Secretary was Simone Marstiller, who left the position in February to lead the Agency for Health Care Administration.

Florida Department of Corrections Ricky Dixon was appointed as the next Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. Dixon is no stranger to the state prison system. The 25-year veteran has held numerous positions throughout his career. He most recently served as Deputy Secretary, a second-in-command position that oversaw the agency’s overall operations. He earned his degree in criminal justice from Florida Gulf Coast University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Dixon replaces outgoing Secretary Mark Inch, who is retiring after nearly three years leading the third-largest prison system in the nation.

Department of Elder Affairs — DeSantis has appointed Michelle Branham to lead the Department of Elder Affairs. She comes to the department from the Florida Alzheimer’s Association, where she has worked as vice president of Public Policy since September 2021. Branham has over 28 years of experience in public policy, public health, and public relations and more than a decade of senior executive experience in federal and state-level public policy initiatives, including advanced health care and Florida senior initiatives. She has served as Chair of the State of Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee and was an Advisory Member for the State Plan on Aging Task Force. Branham earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stetson University and a master’s degree in theological studies from Emory University. She replaces retiring Secretary Richard Prudom.

Chief Resilience Officer — The Governor named Wesley Brooks as the state’s next CRO, a position tasked with preparing Florida for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of sea level rise. Brooks most recently served as Director of Federal Affairs for the Department of Environmental Protection. He also previously worked as a staffer for members of Florida’s Congressional delegation, including under U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, where he worked on policies for Everglades restoration, coastal resiliency, coral reef conservation, water quality, and harmful algal bloom monitoring. Brooks earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and biology from Duke University. He earned his doctorate in ecological science from Rutgers University. The position has been vacant since March 2020, when former CRO Julia Nesheiwat resigned to serve as then-President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser.

Board of DentistryNicholas White, Tinerfe Tejera, Fabio Andrade and Karyn Hill are the Governor’s picks for the Board of Dentistry. White, of Winter Park, is a pediatric dentist and owner of Lake Mary Pediatric Dentistry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in health sciences from the University of Nevada and DMD from the University of Florida. Tejera, of Fort Myers, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Southwestern Florida Oral and Facial Surgery. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Spring Hill College, DMD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and medical degree from the University of North Carolina. Andrade, of Weston, is the Managing Director of FAAC Consulting. He has served on the Board of Dentistry since 2016 and is a co-founder of the Americas Community Center. Hill, of Parkland, is a dental hygienist at Dental Hygiene Services of Broward and a traveling dental hygienist with the Dental Wellness Team of Coral Springs. She earned her associate degree in dental hygiene from Palm Beach State College and a bachelor’s degree in oral health promotion from O’Hehir University. The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis named Maria Bosque-Blanco to the Miami Dade College board. The Miami resident works as a guidance counselor at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. She is nationally certified in school psychology and was previously a school psychologist in Broward County Public Schools. Bosque-Blanco is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. She attended Miami Dade College and earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in school psychology from Barry University. Her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

We wanna workgroup

This week, health care representatives asked the Agency for Health Care Administration to create a workgroup to help guide the state as it moves forward on proposed new rules for patient safety surveys. During Tuesday’s workshop, there were requests for the agency to create a workgroup, but AHCA made no commitments.

The agency released a proposed rule as well as draft copies of proposed surveys for hospital staffand ambulatory surgical center staff. The proposed new rule implements a 2020 law that requires AHCA to collect, compile, and publish patient safety culture survey data submitted by hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

The law requires the agency to use patient safety surveys developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The law does require AHCA to customize the surveys to include questions that will generate specific data, including whether staff would seek care — or have their family treated — at the facility both in general or within a particular unit.

Meanwhile, Tampa General Hospital President and CEO John Couris praised AHCA earlier this week for its willingness to negotiate proposed rules regarding the regulation of neonatal intensive care units.

Inaugural debate championship

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is congratulating the two winners of the inaugural National Civics and Debate Championship.

DeSantis established the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative last year. Among the FCDI’s goals was to host a national civics and debate championship. That goal came to fruition over the weekend.

“The three-day contest fostered leadership, teamwork, analytical skills and a deeper understanding of our responsibilities as Americans,” Corcoran said. “That is a win-win for our schools, students, state and our country.”

Simon Denahan of Kanapaha Middle School was declared the Middle School Champion, while Alex Vihlan of Lake Mary Preparatory School was declared the High School Champion.

“National” might be a stretch for the new competition, but it’s the first of its kind. And it’s helped debate programs expand in Florida.

Since 2020, the FCDI has added over 160 debate teams in 48 Florida school districts. When the initiative began, Florida students could access speech and debate programs in only 11 school districts.

The Florida Civics Debate Initiative aims to create access and opportunities for all students to have the best civics education, including curriculum, debate programs and high-quality teachers that are catalysts for them to become great citizens who can preserve our constitutional republic for future generations. Students engaged in well-rounded civics education and debate extracurriculars realize an increased chance of exceptional academic success, exceeding college-readiness benchmarks and leading to an almost 99% chance of attending college with expanded scholarship offerings.

Participating schools receive funding to support the development of their debate teams, including funds to offset educational resources, tournament transportation coach stipends, and membership in the National Speech and Debate Association.

Safe holiday travel

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is kicking off the holiday season with a safe travels’ initiative.

For November and December, the Safe Holiday Travel campaign strives to educate Floridians and visitors on all aspects of safe driving. Millions of travelers are expected to hit Florida’s roadways over the next two months.

“Safety is always in season, and what better gift to give your loved ones this holiday season than your safe arrival,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes said.

“As traffic volume increases, FLHSMV urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans, and practice safe driving behaviors to ensure the safety of all,” she continued.

In 2020, during November and December, there were 1,052 crashes involving alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both in Florida, and 5,442 DUI citations issued across the state.

The multi-phased safety messaging will be staggered throughout the months, starting with a focus on having a road-ready vehicle. Tires are a vehicle’s first line of defense on the road, so it’s critical to check your tires before hitting the road. In 2020, there were 3,069 tire-related crashes in Florida, resulting in 184 serious bodily injuries and 61 fatalities.

“The Florida Highway Patrol encourages motorists to remain vigilant on Florida’s roadways in the upcoming weeks,” said Lt. Col. Troy Thompson, acting director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “As you travel Florida’s roadways this holiday season, remember, safety is always in season. We can all do our part to ensure all travelers Arrive Alive by buckling up, slowing down, and never driving impaired.”

Environmental alliance

Sen. Loranne Ausley is a finalist in the national NewDEAL 2021 Ideas Challenge, recognizing her efforts to protect natural resources through agricultural and environmental alliances.

Ausley, a Tallahassee Democrat, this month filed the “Protecting Florida’s Natural Resources Act” (SB 864) to bring environmental, aquaculture and agricultural communities together to quantify ways that these industries contribute to long-term sustainability and resiliency goals. For that bill, her Ideas Challenge submission, Ausley was named a finalist in the “securing our communities and our planet category.”

“I am honored to be named a finalist and to be included in this group of talented leaders across the country,” Ausley said. “Political rhetoric will not solve our problems; it takes common sense solutions proposed by state and local leaders closest to the needs of our constituents and communities. The NewDEAL Ideas Challenge does just that, and I’m excited to share our legislation that creates a program to bring the agriculture, aquaculture, and environmental communities together to create a more sustainable Florida.”

The annual NewDEAL competition focuses on innovative state and local policymakers’ ideas to solve our nation’s problems in six key areas. The proposals are judged by a diverse panel of judges and policy experts who select the winners based on which idea will most improve Americans’ quality of life.

Amazon fraud

Sen. Dennis Baxley has a plan to help prevent fraud on online marketplaces like Amazon.

The Ocala Republican on Tuesday filed a measure (SB 944) that would require online marketplaces to have high-volume sellers to provide certain identifying information and other information. Those marketplaces would have to suspend sellers that don’t certify or update their information.

Sellers that make 2,000 or more transactions over 12 months and generate $5,000 or more in revenue would be subject to the reporting requirements.

If the seller is an individual, they need to provide a photo I.D. that includes their address. If the seller is not an individual, the seller would need to provide an I.D. of someone representing the seller or a tax document that includes the seller’s business name or physical address. In both cases, the seller would need to provide a valid email address and working phone number.

The bill also asks the Department of Legal Affairs to adopt rules on collecting and verifying the identifying information. It also preempts seller verification rules to the department, preventing local governments in Florida from implementing their own verification policies.

Another measure (SB 956) Baxley filed this week would allow public schools to enroll eligible students part-time.

Davie’s preservation

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book filed — on Davie’s 96th anniversary — a resolution (SR 928) honoring the town for its role in environmental and historical preservation.

In September, Davie, which falls within Book’s district, entered into the preservation-focused Certified Local Government Program, becoming one of only about 2,000 places to receive the distinction. Secretary of State Laurel Lee noted Davie is the 80th local government in Florida to join the program.

Member rewards include training, technical aid, and grant funding to further preservation efforts.

“Davie has a rich agricultural history which lives on today through its annual Orange Blossom Festival, rodeo events, and Western-themed downtown,” Book said. “We are so proud of Davie for earning this elite honor.”

Davie is in Broward County, just west of Ft. Lauderdale. Settlers from the Panama Canal Zone first named the area “Zona.” The Town was later named “Davie” in honor of R.P. Davie, who was responsible for draining thousands of acres of swampland to make the land suitable for agriculture.

More modern conservation efforts succeeded in preserving the ancient “ridge” areas known to include archaeological resources from the earlier Native American presence. The Town maintains its historical and cultural ties to the past through its annual Orange Blossom Festival, annual rodeo events, and Western-themed downtown area.

“The Town of Davie is proud to be one of the newest Certified Local Governments for historic preservation,” Mayor Judy Paul said. “We value our heritage and appreciate Senator/Leader Lauren Book and the Florida Senate’s recognition of this accomplishment.”

Christmas spirit

Sen. Randolph Bracy is looking for Secret Santas and Santa’s helpers to bring gifts to children in need in Central Florida.

“It’s that time of year again. My office is preparing for our annual Holiday Toy Drive, and we need your help,” the Ocoee Democrat said in an email. “While many in our community are shopping and decorating, many children will go without gifts this year.”

The second-term Senator said constituents — or anyone in the giving spirit — can bring unwrapped toys to his district office located at 6965 Piazza Grande Ave. in Orlando. The office will be accepting Holiday Toy Giveaway donations through Dec. 15 at noon.

The Senator had hosted several giving drives in the past, even last year, when the then-raging pandemic forced his office to adopt a drive-thru-only policy for donations and distributions.

Bracy’s office has received $2,000 or $3,000 in toys in past years, which he noted can go a long way. Still, they usually run out of toys by the end of the event, so donors can rest assured — if you bring a toy, it will be given a happy home.

More details can be had with a call to Bracy’s district office, (407) 297-2045, or by emailing [email protected]

Long-distance learning

Attending out-of-state schools is commonplace for college students, but it could soon be an option for K-12 kids as well.

This week, Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. filed a bill that would open the door for Florida youngsters to enroll in virtual schools even if the institution doesn’t have a physical footprint in the Sunshine State.

The bill, SB 980, scratches out a handful of requirements that currently prevent out-of-state schools from operating in Florida, chief among them a mandate that a school’s administrative office be in the state.

The proposal would also delete requirements that an institution’s administrators be Florida residents and that their instructors be Florida-certified teachers.

Schools would still be required to conduct background checks on all employees and adhere to the same standards as schools with a nexus in Florida.

The bill, filed Thursday, does not yet have a House companion and is currently awaiting committee assignments. If passed, it would take effect in July 2022.

Diaz, a Hialeah Republican, is one of the top school choice advocates in the Legislature. In the 2021 Legislative Session, he was the Senate sponsor of a bill to streamline Florida’s education choice programs by merging five scholarship programs into two. That House version of that proposal ultimately became law.

He’s also a former chair of the Senate Education Committee and current vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.

Charging plan

Sen. Keith Perry is bringing forward an initiative to expand Florida’s electric vehicle charging capacity.

The Gainesville Republican’s bill (SB 920) asks the Public Service Commission to develop an “electric vehicle transportation electrification plan” and rules to implement it. The measure calls for a “competitively neutral manner, and that includes reasonable and affordable electric rates for investor-owned electric utilities that offer electric vehicle charging to the public.”

The Commission must propose the rules by the start of 2023 and adopt the rules by the beginning of 2024.

“The expanded use of electric vehicles provides this state with increased energy security and health and environmental benefits by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and street-level air pollutants, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides,” according to the bill’s legislative findings.

It continues: “Electric vehicle charging station infrastructure has the potential to lessen climate impacts, expand infrastructure investment, improve environmental and economic conditions, and help make this state a leader in new and innovative technologies.

Expanding electric vehicle infrastructure has been a priority of Florida for several years.

Lawmakers on the Senate Transportation Committee, for which Perry is the vice-chair, heard a briefing earlier this fall laying out the findings from a recent electric vehicle study.

Expanding the grid would help address the problem of “range anxiety,” fears that electric vehicle drivers won’t find the power stations necessary to make their trips — kind of like running out of gas. According to the Department of Transportation’s highest estimate, electric vehicles could make up 35% of cars on the road in Florida by 2040. Moderate estimates place that percentage around 20%.

Digitizing history

Tallahassee’s John G. Riley Center and Museum of African American History and Culture won a three-year grant to digitize its vast array of archives in a partnership with Florida State University and the Riley Museum Archives at Tallahassee Community College.

The $246,250 grant will improve access to the archives by producing digital versions of a collection that includes photos, historical documents, rare books, oral histories that tell the story of Black Floridians, focusing on those from Leon and Gadsden counties.

“We are excited to get to work digitizing materials and to see this collaboration, which has been years in development, take off,” said Katie McCormick, Associate Dean of Libraries for Special Collections and Archives at Florida State University.

The grant will also provide training for members of the Florida African American Heritage Preservation Network.

The grant comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museum Grant for African American History and Culture. The center received a grant from IMLS back in 2010 to assist its archival efforts.

Althemese Barnes, Riley Museum founder and executive director emeritus, first started gathering community oral histories 25 years ago to preserve community history.

“This current award is a next important step in creating access to people’s stories,” Barnes said. “These are the stories of the people who built our community. They are irreplaceable. This is our way to carry important lessons through time.”

Promise Fund

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is rising in support of The Promise Fund of Florida, a nonprofit founded to improve the outcomes of breast and cervical cancer patients in Palm Beach County.

“The hospitality industry is the largest employment sector in the United States and has one of the largest impacts on people across Florida,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “We know the impact that breast cancer has on people in our industry, and as a breast cancer survivor, I know the personal impact it can have on one’s life.”

“Women of diversity are dying of breast and cervical cancer at an alarming rate, and they are dying right here in South Florida,” said The Promise Fund of Florida founder Nancy Brinker. “Our goal is to reduce early deaths from breast and cervical cancer in our community, and The Promise Fund is the way to do it.”

In addition to The Promise Fund of Florida, Brinker also founded the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer, in honor of her sister who died from breast cancer in 1980. This organization has invested more than $2.9 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy, and programs in more than 60 countries.

Noles alumni directors

The National Board of Directors of the FSU Alumni Association is accepting applications to serve as national director.

Applications are available through Jan. 10. Applicants must be FSU Alumni Association members.

Directors may serve up to two 3-year terms and are expected to participate on various board committees, based upon their expertise, skillsets and interest levels. These committees will review goals, evaluate and provide input on strategic objectives, and work closely with Association leadership to directly impact the organization and the greater university community.

The Board of Directors has the responsibility to ensure the success of the association through the approval of an annual budget, setting policy, following the strategic plan, providing input, guidance, oversight and expertise.

Directors are expected to be active and participatory, not just in meetings, but also as members, ambassadors and representatives of the FSU Alumni Association in their home areas. According to the application, all directors should aspire to support the association financially on an annual basis above and beyond a yearly membership in the association.

Directors must attend three meetings in Tallahassee throughout the year. Directors are responsible for their travel and lodging expenditures. Interim discussions and meetings are held via email/conference calls with directors participating on an as-needed basis.

The application portal can be found here: alumni-fsu-sm.smapply.us.

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  • The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a portable streaming device that plugs right into your TV's HDMI port.
  • Like other streaming devices, the Amazon Fire Stick lets you watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming apps.
  • To set up a Fire Stick, just plug it into your TV and a power source, then connect it to the internet.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick — better known by some as just the Fire Stick — is a streaming device sold by Amazon. Similar in many ways to the Roku, the Fire Stick is shaped like a USB flash drive, and plugs directly into your TV's HDMI port. Despite its small size, it's a full-featured streaming player, able to turn nearly any television into a 'smart' TV.

With a Fire Stick, you can watch movies and TV shows from popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. And if you have other Amazon smart devices, like an Amazon Echo, you can connect them together to unlock new features.

Here's everything to know about the Amazon Fire Stick, including how to set one up.

What you can do with an Amazon Fire Stick

Amazon Fire TV Stick, $39.99.
Amazon

Amazon claims that the Fire Stick adds "tens of thousands" of channels to your TV. This includes all the streaming services you're familiar with, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Now, along with network TV apps, sports, and thousands of niche channels you may not be familiar with.

Just remember that downloading an app onto your Fire Stick isn't the same as signing up for an account. If you want to watch a paid service like Netflix, you need to sign up for a subscription separately.

The Stick comes with a remote control which has a built-in microphone. Because this is an Amazon product, you might expect that it has Alexa support, and you would be right — you can give commands to the Fire TV Stick using Alexa, and control all your Alexa-connected products (like the Ring doorbell, Philips Hue lights, and ecobee thermostat, among others) just as if you were talking to an Amazon Echo.

What's the difference between a Fire Stick and a Fire TV?

The full name of the Fire Stick is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. "Fire TV" is Amazon's name for all their streaming devices, most of which are streaming sticks.

There are four different versions of the Fire Stick, and each of them has slightly different features.

  • The Fire TV Stick is the base model, and lets you stream all your favorite apps in HD.
  • The Fire TV Stick Lite also streams in HD, but the remote that comes with it doesn't let you change the volume or turn your TV on and off.
  • The Fire TV Stick 4K lets you stream in 4K resolution, which is better than HD and the best widely available resolution that TVs are sold with today. Just note that you'll need a 4K television for this.
  • The Fire TV Stick 4K Max also streams in 4K, but supports Wi-Fi 6, the fastest wireless internet connection available.

Amazon also sells the Fire TV Cube, a 4K streaming device that can natively connect to the internet with an ethernet cable, making it faster than the streaming sticks.

The Fire Stick family ranges in price from $30 to $55, but they're almost always on sale. Look at the right time, and you can score one for less than $20. The Cube retails for about $120.

Every version of the Amazon Fire TV, along with their prices.
Amazon

How to set up an Amazon Fire TV Stick

Setting up an Amazon Fire Stick should only take a few minutes.

Plug the Fire TV stick into its supplied power adapter, and then plug the stick into your TV's HDMI video input. Then turn on your TV and make sure it's set to the correct HDMI input.

Finally, using the remote control, move through the welcome and setup instructions on the TV screen.  You'll need to enter your Wi-Fi password and log into your Amazon account. You don't need a VPN or anything of the sort.

After that, setup is largely complete; you'll just need to add and log into any streaming channels you use (like Netflix, Hulu, and so on).

If you need more details, check out our full guide on how to set up a Fire Stick for the first time.

Which Amazon Fire product should I buy? 

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Insider tests and reviews Fire Sticks. Read more about the Fire TV Stick 4K Max or the original Fire TV Stick 4K.