A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We have narrowed down our Dental Plan selection to United Concordia and Aetna. Representatives from each plan will be at our April 13 Executive Board meeting to pitch their programs. When we decide which company to use, we will send out a mailing explaining the details of the plan chosen and the proposed enrollment period. It is vitally important that each Shop Steward attend the April 13 meeting so that they can give the members at their respective offices a synopsis of the plan. In general, both plans offer excellent coverage and unlimited calendar year maximums. Where they differ is in their proposed rates and dental networks. United Concordia has a small dental network in New Jersey, but their rates are much cheaper than Aetna. Conversely, Aetna's provider network is extensive; however, their premiums are much higher. We are looking forward to questioning their reps, and finally picking a provider.
In mid March, I met with the New Jersey District manager for AFLAC Insurance (the duck). They had some interesting products that they want to share with the Branch. I will schedule them to speak at the June meeting, providing that we do not need that meeting for Dental Plan enrollment.
Steve Lipski

Next Regular Monthly Meeting - April 20

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. The regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the third Wednesday of each month, 8 pm, except during the months of July and August.

Next Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings - April 13

The Branch Board of Officers and Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of Officers at 7:30 p.m., and the Executive Board at 8 p.m. The next meeting of the Board of Officers and Executive Board will be on Wednesday, April 13, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $25

V. A. Iannuzzi, a Branch member out of the Marlton office was in attendance at the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch on March 16 and won the attendance prize of $75. The prize now stands at $25 and will accumulate at $25 per meeting until someone in attendance at a regular meeting of the branch wins.

Westville Grievance Settlement

"The letter of warning dated February 18, 2005 for failure to properly perform your carrier duties will be reduced to a discussion."
Theresa Hensel 3/25/05       Labor Relations Specialist Ted Allen 3/25/05              NALC Shop Steward

Branch Retirees & Awards Breakfast Buffet
Sunday, April 10

The Branch annual retirees and awards breakfast buffet will be held on Sunday, April 10, commencing 11am, at the Best Western West Deptford Inn, 101 Grove Road, Thorofare, just off of exit 20 of I-295 South. The following members of the Branch who have retired since our last Breakfast Buffet in April of 2004 will be honored and presented with tokens of appreciation. Anyone else who will be retiring before April 10 should contact the Branch Recording Secretary Bill Revak:

F.C. O'Boyle (Williamstown) P. A. Eller (Pennsville)
J. J. Font, Jr. (Williamstown) J. D. Warren (Gloucester)
P. M. Doran (Blackwood) B. A. Ricci (Marlton)
W. P. Alcott (Marlton) R. L. Davis (Paulsboro)
J. A. Rodriguez (Williamstown) D. K. Forand (Paulsboro)
E. V. Mikesell (Marlton) R. Muller (Riverton)
R. W. Zurlo (Somerdale) S. Grenhart (Haddon Hts)

Those being honored, their spouses and current Branch retirees will not be charged for their attendance. All other Branch members, family, friends and acquaintances may attend at a cost of $10 pp, $5 for children under the age of 10. For reservations, complete the following and submit it with payment for those attending at cost. No other notices will be sent. Honorees, retirees, members and others planning to attend must complete and submit the following reservation form by April 4, 2005:

Name:____________________________
                          Please Print
Check one: Honoree (  ) Branch Retiree (  ) others (  )
Attending with honoree free of charge: spouse (  ) other (  )
Number attending with you at cost: Adults_____ Children_____
Total attendees including yourself:________
Amount of remittance enclosed: Adults ______Children______

Send to PO Box 385, Woodbury, 08096 by April 4

Branch Awards

The following members of the Branch will be presented with Branch Awards at the annual Retirees' and Branch Awards Breakfast Buffet that will be held on Sunday, April 10:
Norm Task - For his many years of unselfish donation of time and effort as Branch COLCPE Chairman in behalf of the NALC and its members.
Kevin Breitenstein - For his valor on duty alerting the police and firemen of the dire predicament of elderly women who had fallen into a hole in her backyard.

Dates to Remember

Annual Branch Retirees & Awards Buffet - April 10
March of Dimes Walkathon - May 1
NALC National Food Drive - May 14
NJ State Convention - May 15 to 17

Retirees Opts To Retain Membership

Ernesto Mikesell (Marlton)
Dianne Forand (Paulsboro)
Raymond Muller (Riverton)
Jose Rodriguez (Williamstown)

Work Related Injury or Illness?
Don't delay, call Branch OWCP Representative Ed Friel at 468-7339 for information, advice & Forms.

Welcome New Branch Members

R. Behm (Mt Ephraim) B. Murphy (Riverton)
L. Senavilla (Riverton)  J. L. Seeger (Bridgeton)

K. M. Mattaliano (Marlton)

March of Dimes WalkAmerica, Sunday, May 1

The Branch is looking for walkers to participate in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica to help fund research on a new epidemic threatening our babies - premature birth. Each year, more than 40,000 babies are born too soon. It's the leading cause of newborn death and many disabilities. The 5-mile walk starts out at Challenge Park, Cherry Hill, 9 am. For further information and details, contact Donna Villec.

Gary DiGiacomo Nominated

Branch President Steve Lipski has announced that he has received application for and has nominated Branch Vice President Gary DiGiacomo for selection by NALC President Bill Young to attend the upcoming NALC Leadership Academy to train prospective future NALC Branch and National Officers. President Young will complete his selection of nominees to attend the Leadership Academy no later that June 1.

Steve Rutkowski Graduates NALC Arbitration Training

Steve Rutkowski, Branch member, Shop Steward and Branch Trustee out of the Pitman office, recently graduated from the NALC arbitration advocate training program in Washington, DC, that he was nominated to attend by NALC National Business Agent Tim O'Malley.

Welcome Home: Larry Trimmer

It has been reported in the local media that Larry Trimmer, a Branch member out of the Pitman office, has returned home from his second tour of duty in Iraq. It has been reported that Larry is currently serving out the end of his call-up to duty in Washington, DC, and that he will be released and return to work at Pitman at the end of April. God bless, and welcome home, Larry!

USPS to Fully Pay for Health and Life Insurance of called to Active Duty USPS Employees

It has been announced that the USPS has responded to requests by the NALC to alleviate the financial hardship incurred by hundreds of letter carriers and postal employees called to active duty in their National Guard or Military Reserve units in Iraq and Afghanistan by announcing a policy change to fully pay both employee and employer insurance premiums for up to two years of active duty. According to the change, effective March 17 the Postal Service will pay the employee's share in addition to the Postal Service's share of the FEHBP premium for up to 24 months for covered, qualified employees. The coverage is retroactive to December 22, 2002. The change also allows for a leave without pay (LWOP) interruption option that allows for the use of annual leave interrupt periods of LWOP to extend health benefits coverage. (NALC Bulletin of 3/25/05)

Fifth COLA $229 - Effective March 19
Pay Date: April 8

The fifth cost of living adjustment under the National Agreement will be $229 annually and will be effective the pay period beginning March 19 (pay date April 8). The adjustment is equivalent to 11cents per hour, or $8.80 per pay period. It raised the total annual pay for top rate letter carriers to $46,689, an increase of $4,054 ($155.92 per pay period) since the beginning of the contract.

Drew Walter Memorial Scholarship

Application for the Branch Drew Walter Memorial Scholarship must be completed and returned to the Scholarship chairman by the June regular monthly meeting on June 15. Contact Chairman Steve Rutkowskifor info and applications.

Dues Withholding Paydays

Pay Period Pay Periods Pay Date
07 March 19 - April 1 April 8
08 April 2 - April 15 April 22
09 April 16 - April 29 May 6
10 April 30 - May 13 May 20
11 May 14 - May 27 June 3
12 May 28 - June 10 June 17
13 June 11 - June 24 July 1

Branch Benefits

Sick & Welfare
Active members suffering periods of illness or disability shall be entitled to sick & welfare benefits. Contact: Mike McKiernan.

Death Benefits
The beneficiary of record of a deceased active or retired Branch member shall be entitled to death benefits. Contact: Mike DiGiacomo.

Expressions of Sympathy
In the event of the death of a spouse, children, or the parents of an active Branch member, or the death of an active or retired member in good standing, an appropriate spray of flowers or equivalent donation shall be made to an organization requested by the bereaved family or beneficiary. Contact: Mike McKiernan.

Branch Representation at Funerals
Representation of the Branch at the funeral services of a deceased active of retired member shall be the responsibility of the Shop Steward at the office involved, the Director of Retirees, or the Sick and Welfare Chairperson or their designee. Contact: Shop Steward, Director of Retirees, Sick & Welfare representative.

Optical Benefits
Optical benefits for the benefit of active and retired members and/or their families have been established by the Branch. Contact: Fred Mendel.

Branch Scholarship
The Branch has established a Scholarship Fund of $2,000, $500 per year for 4 years, for the children, grandchildren, step-children (living with member), and/or the adopted children of active or retired members. Contact: Steve Rutkowski.

Retirement Recognition
The Branch shall honor its retirees at an annual Retirees' Brunch, and presents them with an appropriate gift in recognition of their retirement from the Postal Service. Contact: Bill Revak.

Children's Christmas Party
Children's annual Christmas party. Toys, refreshments for children and parents of active and retired members in good standing. Picture with Santa, clowns, balloons, face-painting, etc. Contact: Donna Villec.

Union Activity Discipline
The Branch shall pay $400 per week for discipline of up to (4) weeks, thirty (30) days, of any Branch Officer or Shop Steward disciplined for his/her Union activities.

Hall Rentals
The American Legion Hall where the Branch regularly meets is available to the membership for rent at a reduced rate for small weddings, birthday parties, graduations, showers, anniversaries, etc. Bill Revak.

Legal Assistance
Branch membership provides for free consultation and legal representation at reduced raters. Call Hal Crass, Branch Attorney, at 856-845-7900.

Non-Member Listing (2/27/05)

D. R. Sanders (Glassboro) N. R. Zerno (Gloucester)
D. E. King (Hammonton) D. G. Earling (Voorhees)
A. D. Kuttruf (Maple Shade) F. Doncheva (National Park)
B. J. Samuels (Pennsville) W. T. McCallister (Pennsville)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede) T. P. Buter-Gaines (Stratford)