Labor Day 2013 Made in America stamp 2

Released on August 8, this is one of a series of stamps honoring the achievements of American workers.

If you still occasionally mail an actual letter via the U.S. Postal Service, you’ll be glad to see that the USPS just released a new stamp series that recognizes the achievements of the American workforce. What better way to honor Labor Day?

(Or the day after. No, I’m not accidentally late. Yesterday, you may have noticed, was Labor Day; if you didn’t, I hope you had a good day at work. But because most folks were grilling meats or some such on Monday, I decided it was unlikely they were reading legal blogs (I know; you protest!), so I provided a light and film-related item. I decided to save this cool Labor Day news until today.)

The “Made in America: Building a Nation” stamps were issued on August 8, and they feature workers in many manufacturing occupations.

ABC News reports, “Eleven of the 12 stamp images were by photographer Lewis Hine, a chronicler of early 20th century industry.” Those images include a man on a hoisting ball on the Empire State Building,” as well as others laying railroad tracks or mining coal.

You can view all the images in a slideshow here.

Labor Day US Department of Labor sealMore detail about every image (and, natch, a portal to buy the stamps) is here on the Postal Service’s site.

And in case you missed it, 2013 is the centennial of the Department of Labor, which was created by President William H. Taft. (I appreciate the excellent fact that “The department’s headquarters is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, named in honor of Frances Perkins, the Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945 and the first female cabinet secretary in U.S. history.”)

Congratulations to American workers, the Post Office, the Department of Labor, and the memory of a successful woman.

The best news I received the other day came to me in an e-mail, when I was cc’ed on a note from our magazine printer to Michael Peel, our Production Manager. Here is the complete e-mail:

“Michael,

“We have confirmed with the US Post Office that you are hereby officially considered a “droop free publication”. Congratulations!

“Thanks,

“Chad”

Those words, from our great printer Prismagraphic in Phoenix, meant a lot to us at Arizona Attorney Magazine. And to understand why they meant a lot, you have to understand what the Post Office thinks of magazines.

In two words, the answer is “Not much.”

We’ve all heard how the Postal Service is bleeding cash, and they are bound and determined to make it up however they can. Early on, postal bosses knew that raising the price of a first-class stamp a penny or so every year would only take them so far. The real cash cow, ready to be milked dry, was the collection of biggest domestic mailers—publications.

Our periodicals rate has risen faster than your stamp-rate has, but recently the Postal Service has found even more ways to locate magazine dollars. And that leads them to the “droop test.” Any piece that fails the test will be charged non-automated postage rates. And that is a really big deal.

Because the Postal Service is a quasi-governmental agency, their instructions for the droop test are complex and cover about four pages of single-spaced text. But the test boils down to this: We lay our magazine on a flat surface and let 5” hang over the edge. If it droops more than 3”, it fails the test.

Easy squeezy, right? It should be, but you really want confirmation from the Post Office. After all, one man’s 2.75” droop may be another’s 3.25”. (And we all know painful that can be.)

Well, we passed, and so we can relax—until the next round of regulation changes and enforcement.

Here is a video to see how you pass the dreaded droop test.

And here is a story about it.

Have a great weekend.