Merry Christmas &           Happy New Year !     

A Note From the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Over the last few months we have had numerous complaints over the quality of DPS. The Branch has tried, in vain, to talk some sense into management about the handling of DPS. In some offices we tried to get management to pull sections of the DPS out of the mail stream because of multiple addresses, out of sequence apartment numbers, sections of heavy removals etc. Management's response was to handle it on the street. DPS should never be touched! Even though privately they tell me they agree with our suggestions, that they know our suggestions will improve service to our customers, they are afraid to violate District policy. Brothers and sisters, this is why the Postal Service will never come close to reaching its potential. Not only because of this DPS issue, but because they refuse to listen to the people who do the job. You absolutely have no voice when it comes to doing your job. You cannot listen to people who refuse to think outside the box, instead of relying on drone-like handbooks and manuals. It flat out amazes me that the people most responsible for the job are the least involved. Next time your car breaks down, take it to a rodeo clown to fix, it works for the Postal Service.
Steve Lipski

Next Regular Monthly Meeting, Christmas Meeting, December 15

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, December 15, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. This is the Christmas meeting and the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch for the year 2004. The business portion of the meeting will be expedited and special refreshments served. 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 - December 8

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 8, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $25

He was in attendance at the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch on November 17 and E. G. Walter, a member of the Branch working out of the Gloucester office, won the $75 attendance prize. The attendance prize now starts anew at $25 and accumulates at the rate of $25 each regular monthly meeting up to a maximum of $250 or until someone's name in attendance at a regular monthly meeting is drawn.

Children's Christmas Party - Sunday, December 12

The Branch's annual children's Christmas party will be held on Sunday, December 12, 1 to 4 pm., at the American Legion meeting hall, 502 Colonial Ave., West Deptford. As usual Santa will be on hand, there will be gifts for the children, face painting, clowns and pictures taken with Santa. Refreshments, drinks, food and snacks, will be available to all. Assistance is needed; contact Chairperson Donna Villec if you would like to help out.

Members Serving In War on Terrorism

The following members of the Branch have been activated and are serving in the war on terrorism. We are sure they would like to hear from us here at home to show our support. So, if you would, why not send a greeting card, note, or some essential items they might need.
SSGT Trimmer L W
4th CAG/ DET 2/Team 3/KV Unit 435-57
FPO-AP 96426/3357

SSGT John Sikorski
PO Box 79
Ft Belvoir VA 22060

Turkey Winner - Jim Comuso

Jim Comuso, a Branch member and Shop Steward at the National Park office, won the turkey drawing at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on November 17.

OWCP And/Or A Survivor Annuity

If you are separated from the Postal Service and receiving OWCP compensation, your spouse and/or family will not be entitled to a survivor's annuity unless you applied for and been approved for disability retirement prior to your separation or within 1 year thereafter. Even though you apply for and are approved for disability retirement, you can still opt for and receive OWCP compensation, and your spouse and/or family will be entitled to a survivor's, but you must have applied for and been approved for disability retirement within the time limits specified.

New Exam for USPS Applicants

The Postal Service has announced that it is changing how it selects new employees with new hiring practices including a new Postal exam. The change will initially be for the five most populist entry-level positions -- city carrier, mail handler, mail processing clerk, sales and service associate sales, services and distribution associate. The new exam begins its rollout next month. (Federal Employees News Digest)

Back On the Job in Atlantic City

UNITE HERE Local 54 members are back on the job in Atlantic City after the longest strike in Atlantic City history. More than 10,000 members walked out of 9 casinos on October 1st. They were fighting for health care benefits, succession language and against subcontracting agreements. They were successful in increasing their economic package by 28%, will continue to have a fully funded health care, subcontracted restaurants will no longer be welcome, and no members will lose their jobs because of the existing subcontracted restaurants.

Election Results

Listed below are winners of races in which there was a labor endorsement:
State Cong. District 1 Rob Andrews
Cong. District 2  Frank LoBiondo
Camden County Freeholder Edward T. McDonnell
Carmen Rodriguez
Cherry Hill Council Shelly Adler
Runnemede Council Lisa Scaramuzzo
Mark McCarthey
Salem County Freeholder Lee Ware
Pennsville Committee John Crawford (IBEW 210)
Gloucester County Freeholder Joe Brigandi
Helene Reed
Mantua Committee Pete Scirrotto
Sharon Perpetuino
Monroe Council (ward 1) Marvin Dilks (IUOE 825)
Pitman Council Mike Capelli (UBC 393)
Wash Twsp Mayor Paul Moriarty (AFTRA)
Council Frank Scarpato
West Deptford Committee John Cobb
Janice Hauser (CWA 1085)
Cumberland County Freeholder Doug Rainear

Open Season Reminder

Health Benefits
Open Season ends December 28
See pages 12-13 of the November Postal Record to learn why the NALC Health Benefit Plan is the best choice for NALC members.
Thrift Savings Plan
Open Season ends December 31
Pages 14-15 of the November Postal Record had important information on how to increase your retirement income and decrease your tax bill. Correction: TSP's toll-free Thriftline was incorrect on page 14. The correct number is 877-968-3778.
Flexible Spending Account
Open Season ends December 31
See page 11 of the November Postal Record to lean how to use FSAs to cut your tax bill

Charges To Be Read At Branch Meeting

Charges by some of the members at the Marlton office alleging that one of its Shop Stewards has displayed conduct unbecoming a Shop Steward, requesting that he be reprimanded, will be read at the next regular monthly meeting of the Branch on December 15, subsequent to which the Branch President will appoint a committee of 3 disinterested members who will investigate the charges. The committee will submit its report at the next regular monthly meeting of the Branch on January 19, 2005, after which the Branch will decide by a majority vote as to whether the facts, as found by the committee, sustain the charges.

New Jersey Carrier Killed

A 44-year old member of New Jersey Merged Branch 38, Julio V. Cruz, a native of El Salvador, a six-year veteran of the Postal Service who worked out of the Ridgewood Post Office, was killed on November 5 when a wind gust toppled a 40-foot maple tree onto his mail truck as he waited for traffic to clear at a stop sign on his route in Midland Park.

No Approval of Benefits Questionnaire

Some members may have received a two-page questionnaire in the mail recently seeking information on benefits received by federal and postal employees. This questionnaire has not been authorized or approved by the NALC. Members should feel no obligation whatsoever to answer it. It is unclear what organization or company is issuing the questionnaire and members should exercise caution in providing any such information to an unknown person or persons.

Employee Access to USPS Website

The Postal Service has announced that the Postal Service website is now accessible on the internet to all employees. The website address is: HTTP://LiteBlue.USPS.gov. To access the site you will need your employee identification number (EIN) and Postal Personal identification (PIN) number. The site contains individual employee information, provides links to Human Resource self-service applications such as: eReassign, Postal/EASE and the featured news and content for employees.

2004 Pay Days Remaining

Pay Period

Pay Period Ending

Pay Days

26 Nov. 27 - Dec. 10 December 17
27 Dec. 11 - Dec. 24 December 31

Dates to Remember

January 9 to 11 - Branch 38 Rap Session, Atlantic City
Congressional Breakfast - March 1 to 3 - Washington, DC
NBA Rap Session - March 6 to 8 - Atlantic City
NJ State Convention - May 15 to 17 - Atlantic City

Expense Report For October

Printing, Branch News $90.10
Postage 204.16
Phone 25.47
Office Supplies 412.90
Hall Rental 330.00
Grievance Costs 67.66
Branch Training 3.70
Labor Activities, Functions 12.71
Officers Salaries-Net 2,202.96
Employees FICA-Medicare 1,070.95
Employees FICA-Medicare, Taxes 1,622.90
N/P Corp.& State Assessments 78.92       
Total Expenses $6,122.43

Biweekly Dues Increase

In accordance with Article 7, Section 2 (a) of the NALC Constitution and taking into account the 1.3 percent pay increase that became effective November 27, 2004, a biweekly dues increase of 58 cents per pay period will take place in pay period one of 2005 (December 25, 2004 - January 7, 2005), and will be deducted beginning with the January 14 paycheck. The new deduction will amount to $18.92 per pay period.

Hot Topic Addressed

The ability of Step B teams to terminate Letter Carriers was brought up at the Committee Of Presidents meeting in Puerto Rico, at which time, according to Plainfield, New Jersey Branch Scribe Mike Breslin's article in the December Postal Record, page 54, President Young advised that if we considered a Step B decision unjust, notify him and if in agreement he will get the decision overturned.

Honoring COLCPE Contributors

There will be no Branch Items, State Summaries or Retiree Reports in the February, 2005 Postal Record. That issue will be a special edition honoring contributors to COLCPE.

Norm Task, COLCPE chairman, urges members to bring in items for a COLCPE drawing at the next Branch meeting.