Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year

A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Just a reminder that the next general meeting will be an abbreviated one. Once we finish with the business part of the meeting we will quickly dispense and enjoy our annual Christmas meeting. As in the past, we will be getting shrimp from Captain Cats in addition to our normal spread. So, please attempt to come out and enjoy some food and beverages with your fellow Brothers and Sisters.
In reading newsletters from other part of the County I came across an interesting bit of news. In a rural area of Maryland it seems that management is not happy with the amount of errors in DPS. Their solution to fix this problem is to have every person case every piece of DPS every day! But before you get your hopes up, management is only implementing this practice in the rural craft. The Rurals are not paid an hourly wage so it doesn't matter to management how long it takes them to case the DPS. Even if the rural carrier wishes to take DPS directly to the street, he/she is ordered to case it up. For years the NALC has argued that to take DPS directly to the street without some type of cleaning process severely impacts service. And for now management seems to agree with us. That is as long as it is not too costly.
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting, Christmas Meeting - December 21

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch, the Christmas meeting, will be held on Wednesday, December 21, 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 at 8 pm, except during the months of July and August.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings - Wednesday, December 14

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 14, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $50
Someone Will Win The $50 At Christmas Meeting

Had she been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, November 19, Jennifer Perry, a member of the Branch working out of the Penns Grove office, would have been the recipient of the $25 attendance prize. The prize now stands at $50. Names will be drawn at the Christmas meeting until someone wins the $50 dollar prize.

Health Benefits Plan Open Season:

November 14 through December 12

NALC Health Benefit Plan Rates For 2006

Self Only Self & Family
Active Carriers (biweekly) $37.97  $ 59.07
Annuitants (monthly) $136.71 $251.64

Branch Children's Christmas Party - Sunday, December 11, 1 to 3 pm

Children's Christmas Party. Come see Santa. Sunday, December 11, 1-3 pm at Union hall. Santa, candy canes, photos, gifts, for the children; food and drinks for all. Come on out and enjoy some of the benefits for your Union dues. For further info call Donna Villec at 856-772-9164.

Leave Year Beginning and Ending Dates

2005 leave year ends: 01/06/06 PP 1-2006
2006 leave year begins: 01/07/06 PP 2-2006
2006 leave year ends: 01/05/07 PP 1-2007
2007 leave year begins: 01/06/07 PP 2-2007
2007 leave year ends: 01/04/08 PP 1-2008
Employees will loose any annual leave that exceeds the 440-hour limit if it is not used by Friday, January 6, 2006.

2006 Pay Periods, Pay Days & Holidays

PP Begins Ends Pay Date

Holidays

        Christmas 12/26/05
1 12/24/05 01/06/06 01/13/06 New Years 01/02/06
2 01/07/06 01/20/06 01/27/06 M. L. King 01/16/06
3 01/21/06 02/03/06 02/10/06  
4 02/04/06 02/17/06 02/24/06  
5 02/18/06 03/03/06 03/10/06 Pres. Day 2/20/06
6 03/04/06 03/17/06 03/24/06  
7 03/18/06 03/31/06 04/07/06  
8 04/01/06 04/14/06 04/21/06  
9 04/15/06 04/28/06 05/05/06  
10 04/29/06 05/12/06 05/19/06  
11 05/13/06 05/26/06 06/02/06  
12 05/27/06 06/09/06 06/16/06 Mem. Day 5/29/06
13 06/10/06 06/23/06 06/30/06  
14 06/24/06 07/07/06 07/14/06 Indep. Day 7/4/06
15 07/08/06 07/21/06 07/28/06  
16 07/22/06 08/04/06 08/11/06  
17 08/05/06 08/18/06 08/25/06  
18 08/19/06 09/01/06 09/08/06  
19 09/02/06 09/15/06 09/22/06 Labor Day 9/4/06
20 09/16/06 09/29/06 10/06/06  
21 09/30/06 10/13/06 10/20/06 Columbus 10/9/06
22 10/14/06 10/27/06 11/03/06  
23 10/28/06 11/10/06 11/17/06  
24 11/11/06 11/24/06 12/01/06 Vets Day 11/11/06 Thanksgiving 11/23/06
25 11/25/06 12/08/06 12/15/06  
26 12/09/06 12/22/06 12/29/06  

Proposed 2006 Branch Budget

The proposed 2006 Branch Budget which has been approved by the Executive Board will be presented for the review and consideration of the membership in attendance at the regular monthly meeting on December 21. The budget estimates the receipt and expenditures of $271,188.00 for 2006.

Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period - 12/3/05 to 12/30/05

In accordance with Article 8, Sections 4 and 5 of the National Agreement, the December period (during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable) consists of 4 consecutive weeks.
This year the December period begins pay period 25/05, Week 2, (December 3, 2005), and ends pay period 01/06, week 1, (December 30, 2005).

1.3 Percent Wage Hike Set For November 26
Will Bring Top Scale for Most Carriers to $47,950 Annually

The fifth and final regular salary increase under the 2001-2006 Contract will become effective November 26, 2005, and will bring the top scale for most city letter carriers (Grade 1, Step O) to $47,950 annually. The amount of the increase will be based on the basic annual salary for the grade and step in effect as of November 16, 2001--at the start of the new contract.

National Convention Call

The Branch has received the official Convention Call for the 65th Biennial Convention of the National Association of Letter Carriers, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 14-18, 2006. The host Branch is Branch 2502, Las Vegas, Nevada. Proposed Amendments and Resolutions for consideration of the Delegates to the convention must be received by the National Secretary Treasurer by June 15, 2006. The Branch is entitled to send 37 delegates to the Convention, 21 of which will be compensated if eligible and elected to receive such compensation by the Branch membership.

Postage Rate Increase - First-Class Will Increase from 37 to 39 Cents, And Post Cards Go To 24 Cents

The USPS Board of Governors voted to accept the Postal Rate Commission recommendations to increase most postal rates and fees 5.4 percent. The new rates take effect in January. Among the rate adjustments, the single piece rate for First-Class will rise from 37 cents to 39 cents and postcard rates will increase 1 cent to 24 cents.

New Jersey Citizens Action Oil Group (NJCAOG)

Save 15 to 30% on heating oil costs. Go to the above address in the yellow pages under heating oil, or the Internet at http://www.njcitizenaction.org/. They will set you up with oil companies for service contracts and reduced oil prices for a membership fee of $25 annually.

Welcome New Branch Members

Christian Zappley (Riverton)
Maureen Bailey (Dept/Woodbury)
C. P. Kalmes (Marlton)
Steve Nelson (Maple Shade)

Election Ballots Mailed Out

As promised, the election ballots were mailed out on November 2, 2005 for execution and return to the Branch Election Committee no later than December 14. Any eligible member who has not received an election ballot, or received the wrong ballot, should contact Bill Revak, Chairman, Branch Election Committee, at 468-4746. The Election Committee will start counting the ballots on Thursday, December 15, commencing at 7:30 p.m. at the hall. Observers welcome.

AFL-CIO General Meeting/Holiday Reception

The November/December meeting of the Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council is scheduled for Thursday, December 8, 7 pm, at the Clarion Hotel, Cherry Hill, and will immediately be followed by a Holiday Reception. All members invited. Call by Tuesday, December 6, for reservations. (856-663-1555).

Total Amount of CSRS Contributions

To find out how much an individual has contributed to the CSRS Retirement and Disability Fund, the individual should contact the Office of Personnel Management's retirement office at retiree@opm.com. For further questions and answers with regard to retirement issues, visit www.FederalSoup.com.

Used Uniforms Available

The Branch has an assortment of cleaned, used uniforms available at the Union Hall for members of the Branch in need of replacement or additional items of uniform dress. See your Shop Steward to find out how to obtain them, or pick them up at the regular monthly meetings of the Branch.

Attention Recent Retirees

You must complete a Form 1189 to continue on as a member of the NALC, the Branch, and your NALC Health Benefits Plan if you have one. The Form 1189 must be completed and returned to the Branch Recording Secretary for processing and return to the NALC national Secretary Treasurer within 60 days of your retirement. Don't jeopardize your NALC health benefits. To receive an 1189, contact your Shop Steward or Branch officers.

Membership Pins Awarded

Bill Leconey (Glendora) - 25 years membership
Charles Layden (Blackwood) - 30 years membership
Joseph Santangelo (retired) - 35 years membership

The NALC Constitution provide that: "When receiving proper notification by the Branch Secretary that a member has completed twenty-five (25) years, or thirty (30) years, or thirty-five (35) years, or forty (40) years, and forty-five (45) years of membership, the National Association of Letter Carriers shall provide a suitable lapel pin for such member".

If you believe that you have attained the requisite amount of year's membership for the receipt of a suitable lapel pin, contact Norm Spence, membership chairman.

Newest Branch Retirees

Robert Diclaudio (Paulsboro)
P. F. McLaughlin (Westville)
John Jengehino (Bridgeton)

The Election of Dispute Resolution Representatives

The following resolution has been submitted and is being circulated by Branch 758, Woodhaven, MI, for the consideration of the Delegates to the National Convention in Las Vegas:
Whereas: All other Branch, State and National officers are elected by their peers.
Whereas: As elected officials, said officers are held accountable by their peers through power of the vote.
Whereas: When adjusting grievances, union officers have a duty to provide fair representation to the grievant.
Whereas: The membership should be entitled to vote for the person most competent to meet that obligation to provide fair representation.
Whereas: The membership should be provided with the same check and balance applied to all other union officers, their vote.
Whereas: There is currently no term limit on DRT members and no means for the membership to replace them.
Be It Resolved: That the NALC Dispute Resolution Representatives shall be elected to that position for a term of two years by the members they represent.

Another Gold Card Member: Howard Foxwell

The Branch has received from the NALC a Gold Card for presentment to Branch retiree Howard Foxwell. The NALC national Constitution provides that upon completion of 50 years membership in the NALC a member shall be given a Life Membership card of gold which shall entitle them to all of the privileges of membership in the NALC without the payment of dues, per capita tax, or special assessments from the date of issue.