A Note From the President

Just a reminder that Fidelity Funds will be at our December meeting to roll-out our new 529 plan for members who wish to put away college funds for their children. Because Branch 908 is the primary sponsor of the plan, members will not have to pay brokerage fees and will buy shares at cost. There are many more perks that will be explained at this meeting. As reported at the last meeting the Branch's census will be completed by mid January. This should allow us to start receiving additional Dental Plan quotes by the end of February. Speaking of February, COLCPE Chairman Norm Task has announced that the Branch will hold its annual COLCPE drive in February. Highlighting this event will be a 2-hour beef and beer reception at the Union Hall, with a Casino trip immediately following the reception. We are trying to get the Sunday before Presidents' Day, February 17, for this event. Tentatively, the cost will be $20 pp, with a Casino rebate of $12. That's a 2-hour beef and beer, and a trip to the Casino for $8. Norm will update us at the Christmas meeting on December 18. To every member out there, I would like to thank you for your continuing support of our Union, and wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year. Thanks!
Steve Lipski, President

Next Meeting - December 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month except in July and August.

Branch Officers & Shop Stewards Meeting - December 11

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, December 11, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $150

Had he been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, November 20, Cliff Rhone, a retired Branch member, would have been the winner of the $125 attendance prize. The prize now goes up to $150 for the drawing at the December 18 meeting.

Children's Christmas Party
Sunday, December 15

The Branch's annual Christmas party for the children and grandchildren of Branch members and retirees will be held on Sunday, December 15, 1 to 3 pm. Santa will be there with gifts and goodies for the children, food and refreshments for all. For info and/or further details, contact Donna Villec.

Young Elected NALC President
Broendel, Southern Also Victorious

NALC Executive Vice President William H. Young was elected overwhelmingly as the new leader of the 307,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers succeeding retiring Vincent R. Sombrotto, according to balloting results certified to the National Election Committee by DeLancey Printing, the official election tabulator.
Also victorious in the election for National Resident Officer positions were:
Jane E. Broendel as Secretary-Treasurer
Don Southern as Director of Retired Members

DOIS

DOIS is an anagram for Delivery Operations Information System. This system runs a series of reports that managers and supervisors use to evaluate your workload. It does not take into account the intangibles such as accountable items, changes of address, carrier markups, hold mail notices or delivery confirmation items.

Amended: December Penalty OT Exclusion Period

The Postal Service has announced that they have amended the December Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period from December 7, 2002 to January 3, 2003, to: November 30 through December 27, 2002.

Membership Dues Categories

Active Members Dues
All active employees of the Postal Service pay active dues of $150.54 per year national per capita tax, plus State per capita tax and Branch dues where applicable.
Retired Members Dues
Former active members who have retired from the Postal Service on a Civil Service retirement annuity, or were separated from USPS employment due to an OWCP-covered disability, and who continued their NALC membership thereafter, pay retired member dues: $7 per year national per capita tax, plus State per capita tax and Branch dues where applicable.
Fixed-Rate Health Plan Member Dues
These members pay $36 per year national per capita tax only, and include:
Active or retired (non-postal) employees of the US Government or District of Columbia Government who have enrolled in the NALC Health Benefit Plan; and
Postal Service retirees or OWCP retirees who have enrolled in the NALC Health Benefit Plan after leaving USPS employment and who were not NALC members at the time of enrollment. Dues for these members are billed individually by Headquarters and not collected by the Branch.
Life Members (exempt from dues)
Life members are entitled to the rights and privileges of NALC membership without having to pay dues, per capita tax, or assessments.

Welcome New Members

P. D. Fowler - Gloucester City
Sam S. Saldana - Paulsboro

A Protected Union Activity

According to a book by labor attorney Robert M. Schwartz, "The Legal Rights Of Union Stewards", encouraging employees to file grievances against a contract violation is a protected Union activity. It is unlawful to threaten a Steward for soliciting grievances.

Some Dates To Remember

February 15 Branch COLCPE Casino Bus Trip
March 2, 3, 4 NALC Regional Rap Session, Atlantic City
March 12, 13 NALC NJ State Association Congressional Breakfast, Wash., DC
April 27 Annual Branch Retirement Breakfast
May 18-20 NALC NJ State Convention, Atlantic City

Thanks For The Donations

"The Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association would like to thank the Branch for its generous contribution of $50 in memory of Matthew Niemzura, a recently deceased Branch retiree." We would like to thank you (Branch 908) for your $40 contribution to the American Heart Association, donated on October 14, 2002."

TSP Catch-up Bill Passes

The Senate has joined the House in passing and sending to President Bush for expected signature a bill (HR-3340) that would provide the opportunity for many more senior federal employees to boost their Savings Plan accounts. The bill would let TSP participants age 50 and older to make "catch-up" contributions -- on top of the regular TSP investments allowed -- to the retirement saving program an additional $2,000 in 2003, with the allowable amount rising by $1,000 per year until reaching $5,000 in 2006 and adjusted for inflation afterward. While a tax law enacted in 2001 allowed such contributions for private sector participants in similar tax-favored plans, for technical reasons separate legislation was required to take the opportunity available to TSP participants. The TSP expects to allow employees to make such payments-- which will have to be made through payroll withholding-- effective with the TSP open season that begins April 15, 2003.

Long Term Care Insurance Open Season - July 1 to December 31

A regular "open season" for long term care insurance (LTC) will be conducted from July 1 to December 31, 2002. This new insurance is being offered through OPM to all federal and postal employees, military personnel, retirees, survivors, current spouses, and some other family members, including adult children and parents. The insurance is separate from health benefits. You will have a choice of benefit levels but there is only one provider, chosen by OPM, and the employee or annuitant must pay 100% of the premium. Premiums are based on age and general health, among other factors.

Health Benefits Plan Open Season
November 11 through December 9

The 2002 Federal Employees Health Benefits Open Season is scheduled for November 11 through December 9, 2002. During this open season, eligible employees may make any one, or a combination of, the following changes:
- Enroll if not enrolled.
- Change from one plan to another
- Change from one option to another
- Change from self only to self and family
- Change from self and family to self only
- Cancel enrollment
- Change from pre-tax to post-tax payment of health insurance premiums or vice versa.

Changes made during the open season will be effective January 11, 2003.

2003 NALC Health Benefits Plan Rates

  Self Only Self & Family
Active Letter Carriers (biweekly) $28.71 (+$0.50) $42.37 (-$1.01)

Annuitants (monthly)

$104.95 (+5.56) $189.48 (+$8.09)

Annual Leave: Use It Or Lose It

The 2002 leave year ends on January 10, 2003, and the new leave year begins on January 11, 2003. Please remember that you will lose any annual leave that exceeds the 440-hour limit, if not used by January 10, 2003.

Use Of Potassium Iodide Voluntary

The Post Office has issued instructions regarding the purchase and distribution of potassium iodide to field employees in the event of a radiation emergency. Potassium iodide can help protect the thyroid gland when there is a chance you might be exposed to radioactive iodine. Two potassium iodide tablets will be distributed to employees only after notification of a radiation emergency. Employees should only take the potassium iodide after such notification. Employees whose normal job responsibilities require then to be outside their facility on a daily basis should return to their facility, if possible, to be given two tablets of potassium iodide. If unable to return to the facility as a result of mandated evacuation procedures, follow the instructions provided by local management or the local government and public health agency. This is a voluntary program. Every employee must be provided with a copy of the safety talk on potassium iodide, the question and answer document, and the potassium iodide employee acceptance form.

For The Refrigerator Door

Shop Stewards
Atco George Greenwood

**Webmaster's Note**

Bellmawr Mike DiGiacomo We do not list any members phone 
Blackwood Gary DiGiacomo numbers on the main pages of the 
Bridgeton Don Connelly web site. All Officer and Steward
Clayton Norm Spence phone numbers can be found in 
Gibbstown Paul Sheets the Members Only section.
Glassboro Bill Dougherty
Glendora Gary DiGiacomo
Gloucester Steve Lipski
Haddon Hts Jack Bittner
Hammonton Frank Ingemi
Lawnside Jack Bittner
Magnolia Lou Evans
Mantua Bill Gore
Maple Shade Joe Laluk
Marlton Mary Hackett
Marlton Bruce Watson
Mt Ephraim Fred Mendel 
National Park Jim Comuso
Paulsboro Rick Hurst
Penns Grove Norm Spence
Pennsville Phil Eller
Pitman Steve Rutkowski
Riverton Harry Smith
Runnemede Fred Mendel
Salem Norm Spence
Sewell Harry Harrison
Somerdale Bob Zurlo
Stratford Jim Barlow
Swedesboro Shannon Falls
Voorhees Steve Rutkowski
Wenonah Jack Bittner
West Berlin Tom Cary
Westville Ted Allen
Williamstown Wayne Beschler
Woodbury Jack Buniak
Woodbury Mike McKiernan
Woodstown Dave Hogate