A Note From The Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
At the last executive board meeting Shop Stewards expressed their outrage over the Postal Service's lack of concern over moving delayed mail. They petitioned me to contact Congressman Robert Andrews so they could vent their frustrations over this mounting problem. I contacted Rep. Andrews and requested a meeting at our union hall with all Branch 908 Officers and Stewards. I offered to invite all union officers within the South Jersey district regardless of craft affiliation. As of this writing we are finalizing the nuts and bolts of this meeting and will keep all members posted.
On a lighter note, don’t forget that our December meeting is our Christmas meeting. As always we will keep the business part of the meeting short and sweet so we can enjoy all the good food and cheer. The December meeting will also be my final meeting as branch president. I would like to profoundly thank all my officers and members for all the help and encouragement that you have given me over the last decade. It's a difficult task to manage over 700 members work life but it's an impossible task to do it alone! Thanks one and all.
-Steve Lipski

Next Meeting – December 16

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, December 16, 8 p.m., 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 p.m.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings Wednesday – December 9

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 9, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $250
Guaranteed Winner December 16

Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, November 18, David Umphress, a member out of the Gloucester office, would have been the recipient of the $225 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $250 and as has become tradition, it will be given away at the December 16 general membership meeting. Come on out for your chance to win!!!

Turkey Drawing Winner

At the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, November 18, Carlo Morning, a carrier out of the Maple Shade office was the winner of what will now be known as the annual Jack Bittner Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. Thanks to Branch Trustee Chairman Jim Comuso for donating this year’s turkey.

From The VP’s Case

As everyone is aware, November has been selected as the review period for the latest round of the MIARAP process. What does this mean for us, you ask? Well, what it should mean is that after looking at the data from November, and if our routes are evaluated over 8 hours, then our routes should be given an adjustment to get them back down to 8 hours. Seems like a no brainer right? Not so fast!
When the MIARAP process blew through here this past summer they had no problem taking out routes as fast they could based on low volume periods and using 3999 data from the summer months to move territory. We knew this wasn’t a fair way to adjust routes, but since we agreed to this process we had no way around it. This leads me to what is going to happen during this round of adjustments.
If what I was told was true when I asked the question about what would happen if our routes showed over 8 hours, and they assured me we would get routes back if they were warranted, then we should be getting a lot of routes put back in offices in this local. As you are all aware the volume the last 3 months has been strong, which is a good thing, so the last round of adjustments are now showing the majority of routes well over 8 hours and some well over 9 hours, which we predicted would occur if any mail started to come back. It looks like the doom and gloom this district was selling to us about how we had to hurry to get these routes stabilized in order to adjust to the ever decreasing mail volume, was nothing more than a bunch of crap!
Let’s face it; the people in charge have no clue as to what is going to happen. They needed a reason to abolish jobs, so they got on their soapbox and started their, “the sky is falling” rant.
This brings me to this next round of adjustments. One thing I don’t want to hear is there will be no territorial adjustments to put back routes in offices. If they try to sell us with router time as a proper adjustment they can expect a massive explosion from this branch. I don’t want to hear that router time is a proper adjustment when a route is showing 45 minutes to an hour and a half over 8 hours. We were told by our leaders this was not how this process is to work. If routes need to be put back, they will be put back. They told me this verbatim, and I will hold them to their word for whatever it is worth!
I hope they do the right thing, but something tells me they won’t! Stay tuned, this is not the end of this battle.
-Gary DiGiacomo - Vice President

The Officers and Shop Stewards of the Branch would like to take this opportunity to personally wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Branch Election Final Notice

This is your final notice that all ballots for the Branch election must be received by the election committee by December 12th. The election committee will begin tabulating the ballots on December 13th, at 9:00 am, downstairs at the Branch union hall. Candidates and/or their representatives may observe the tabulations.

Branch Children’s Christmas Party

The annual Branch children's Christmas party will be held on December 13, from 1:00 to 3:00. For more info visit nalcbranch908.com/xmas.html or contact Trustee Donna Villec at 856-287-6215.

2010 Leave Year

The 2009 leave year ends on January 1, 2010, pay period 1-2010. The 2010 leave year will begin on January 2, 2010, pay period 2-2010. Employees will lose any annual leave that exceeds the 440-hour limit if it is not used by January 1, 2010.

Proposed 2010 Branch Budget

The proposed 2010 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 16. The budget estimates the receipt and expenditures of $305,771.60 for 2010.

From The Health Benefits Officer

Hopefully all of you have decided by now, on what Health care plan you elected for the coming year, I still hope you find that the NALC plan is right for you and your family. May you and your family have a joyous Holiday Season.
Just a reminder, anyone with eyeglass or other optical receipts for the year, need to sent them to me before the end of the year to receive your $20 Branch reimbursement.
Fred Mendel, HBO
5 Payne Ave.
Runnemede, NJ 08078

Health Benefits Plan Open Season:

November 9 through December 14

MIARAP Follow-Up

The MIARAP follow up review has begun and the local parties will soon be contacted by the district teams as before, as stated in last month’s newsletter it is IMPERATIVE that all carriers request a copy of their 3999 and review it for any discrepancies and or mistakes made. Problems that may arise range from proper street breaks not being taken or credited, undefined management time, deadheading time where it is done every day and is part of your delivery time, extremely high relay time, travel within on mounted, curbside or dismount routes where traveling between deliveries is minimal and where moving between NDCBU’s in the same complex occurs. It is important to bring any problems to your shop steward so that it can be conveyed to the district teams when contact is made and notated on the consultation forms during consultations. It is also important for shop stewards to bring to the attention of the district team any issues that may have occurred during the representative month of review which in most cases will be November. If there ANY questions on the review process or if ANYONE needs help reviewing their 3999 and how to read it or what to look for do not hesitate to contact me @ paul@nalcbranch908.com or 856-869-7499 Merry Christmas to all.Thanks Branch 908 Our family would like to thank everyone for the beautiful flowers sent for our son Joe’s funeral. God Bless, Bill & Betty White
Thanks to everyone for the flowers, cards and other expressions of sympathy on the passing of my father-in-law. Your thoughts and prayers helped get my wife through a difficult time. –Norm Spence

Dates To Remember

December 13 Kid’s Christmas Party
January 10 – 12 Branch 38 Rap Session
February 21 – 23 Region 12 Rap Session
March 9 – 12 NJ State Congressional Breakfast
May 23 – 25 NJ State Rap Session
August 9 – 13  National Convention

From The Trustee Chairman

Brothers & sisters, well management is at it again, they reduce our cases and make us sort 2 and 3 addresses per slot, and then expect us to maintain standard. They change our routes and expect to maintain a street time. We are all under stress; management expects us to do whatever we have to, to get back in 8 hours. Including but not limited to cut your lunch short, skip breaks, and take no comfort stops even though we are human. It seems like they want to run the postal service into the ground. They refuse to really involve the NALC, you know the people that actually know the job. But we all must realize that, "poor planning on managements part doesn't necessitate an emergency on our part" so stay strong and stay the course, all of these programs will be gone one day proving they were a waste of money like so many other programs. Maybe one day they will learn, but I doubt it. On to another subject, the branch has clean, used uniforms available to Branch members down stairs at the hall. All bills should be sent to the trustee chairman at PO Box 227 National Park NJ, 08063.
- James Comuso, Trustee Chairman

NALC President Fred Rolando’s Response To The End Of Saturday Delivery Debate

From the New York Times
Eliminating Saturday mail delivery is a bad idea. America operates on a 24/7 schedule — moving to five-day delivery would permanently damage the economy. Not only would it cost thousands of jobs in the middle of a recession, but it would also irrevocably weaken the Postal Service once the economy recovers.
Tens of billions of invoices and payments move through the mail. Thousands if not millions of businesses and their customers rely on Saturday delivery — including fruit shippers, mail-order pharmacies and weekly news magazines. Permanently down-sizing service to meet a depression-level of demand is premature and short-sighted. What’s more, the decision to move to five-day delivery makes no business sense. In the short run, it will not save that much money — in fact, the Postal Regulatory Commission recently found that it would save half the $3.8 billion loss projected by the U.S. Postal Service.
In the long run, it will result in lost business and revenue. Diminishing the value of the postal network to fast-growing companies like e-Bay, Amazon.com, Netflix and Caremark, among others, would be penny wise and pound foolish.
Alternatives should be explored first. Most notably, Congress should reduce the onerous cost of prefunding future retiree health benefits. The law requires the Postal Service to pay more than $5.5 billion per year over 10 years for these benefits, on top of the $2 billion annual cost of insurance for current retirees.
The 10-year schedule in the law is ridiculously short and, as the commission has pointed out, the government’s 75-year projections of these costs are grossly exaggerated. No other company in America faces such a requirement. Instead of cutting service, Congress should fix the prefunding problem. Then it should explore ways to free the Postal Service to provide a broader array of useful services to businesses and the public — including Oregon-style vote by mail, low-cost banking and remittance services in underserved areas, utility meter reading and computer recycling services — that will generate new revenue and preserve universal mail delivery.