December 1999 Newsletter

Next Meeting - December 15

The regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, except in July and August. The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be on Wednesday, December 15, 8pm. At the Colonial Manor American Legion Post home, 502 Colonial Ave., N. Woodbury. For this meeting the Branch has approved the expenditure of funds for some live entertainment, so come on out and enjoy.

Branch Officers & Executive Board Meetings - December 8

The Branch Officers and the Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of Officers meets at 7pm. and the Executive Board at 8pm. The next meetings of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, December 8, at 7 and 8pm. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now Stands At $250

Had he been at the November meeting of the Branch on Wednesday November 17, G. Mackey, a member at the Stratford Office, would have been the recipient of the $250 attendance prize. The prize now stands at $250 for the December meeting on Wednesday, December 15. According to the attendance prize provisions, the prize will stand at $250 until someone wins. Thereafter, the prize increases in $25 increments until again it reaches $250.

Childrens' Christmas Party
Sunday, December 19

The annual Childrens' Christmas party for the children and grandchildren of Branch members will be held on Sunday, December 19. Santa Claus will be there between 1 and 3 pm to greet the kids, have his picture taken with them, and dispense presents and other goodies. There will be refreshments available for young and old.

Turkey Winner

The winner of the turkey raffle at the November Branch meeting was P. Funk, who works out of the National Park office. The prize was a 20-lb, fresh killed turkey, compliments of the Branch.

Be Careful About Health Benefits Coverage

Ina a recent NALC Bulletin President Sombrotto expressed concern for more than 26,000 letter carriers who have no insurance under the Federal Employees Health Benefit program. While some may be relying on thier spouse's insurance, he recommended that carriers be made aware that they must have been in FEHBP for 5 years in order to carry coverage into retirement.

The Fruits Of NALC Arbitration Victory

$395 Wage Hike/COLA will be in December 10 Check

$725 First of two Cash Payments will be in December 23 Check

2nd Cash payment (in various amounts, depending on grade and step) will be in February 4 or 18, 2000, check.

See NALC Bulletin of November 19, 1999, or latest issue of NALC Postal Record for the amount of the 2nd cash payments on February 4 and /or 18, 2000, the eligibility rules, questions and answers on cash payments.

Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period
December 4 to 31, 1999

Under the National Agreement, the four-week period during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable will begin December 4, 1999 and end on December 31, 1999.

Separation Of Probationary Employees

According to the NALC-USPS Joint Contract Administration Manual, Article 12.1.A, employees serving their probationary period are members of the bargaining unit and have access to the grievance procedures in all matters pertaining to their employment except separation. However, where there is a dispute concerning whether such a separation was effectively completed during the 90-day probationary period, would be reason to pursue such cases through the grievance procedures.

Union Yes! For Commerce Bank

The AFL-CIO Southern New Jersey Central Labor Council recently reported that Commerce Bank has entered into a project labor agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Camden and Vicinity, Commerce Bank has agreed to use union workers to build all future banks in the southern New Jersey region.

Comuso Appointed Shop Steward at Paulsboro

Due to the recent resignation of Paulsboro Shop Steward Rick Hurst, Branch President Bob Stoltz has appointed National Park Shop Steward Jim Comuso as Shop Steward at Paulsboro pending the results of the Branch elections which could result in the selection of someone at Paulsboro for the position.

Branch Elections

Ballots for the election of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates were sent out to the membership at their address of record on November 10, 1999, for return to the Branch Election Committee no later than December 8, 1999. If you have not received a ballot, notify your Shop Steward or call Secretary Bill Revak.

Attention! All Candidates For Branch Officer, Shop Steward & Convention Delegate Positions

The Branch Election Committee will commence with the check-off and the opening of election ballots on Thursday, December 9, 7pm, at the American Legion where we regularly meet. All candidates are welcome to attend and observe, the check-off and opening of ballots.

Thrift Savings Plan Open Season
November 15 to January 31

The Thrift Savings Plan Open Season opens November 15 and continues through January 31, 2000. During "Open Season" employees can open or change their contribution amount toward a Thrift Saving Plan. Under the tax-deferred TSP program a letter carrier can improve their retirement income. Not only does the program provide for excellent returns, but more importantly the Postal Service will fully or partially match payroll deductions for employees under FERS, and although CSRS employees do not get that matching advantage, they will still benefit from the tax-deferred contribution they make.

FSA Account Open Season
November 8 to December 13

The Annual FSA "Open Season" allows employees to enroll in the Flexible Spending Account Programs for dependant care and/or health care. The FSA program allows an individual to have money not subject to taxation deducted from each paycheck for dependent care costs of children under 13 and also for elderly family members as long as the costs make it possible for employee and their spouses to work. The Health Care FSA pays family health care bills not covered by insurance. However, carefully estimate the yearly amount to be deducted because any excess in either account will be forfeited.

Congressman Andrews Joins Us In The Good Fight

By way of a letter to Alexis Herman, Secretary, US Department of Labor, Congressman Andrews has joined us in our fight to persuade the Department of Labor to give residents of Southern New Jersey, comprised of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties, the option of having their OWCP paperwork, claims and appeals handled at the Region III Department of Labor Offices in Philadelphia rather than New York where claimants and their representatives face the massive logistical hurdle of traveling as far as 200 miles to receive prompt and proper care under the law. Please! Write Congressman Andrews and thank him for joining us in this fight to receive prompt, and proper care under the law at a more reasonable location.

Additional Street Duties For Carriers

According to a memo put out by the Manager, Operations Support, South Jersey District, all city delivery offices have been told that "while out on the street, all carriers should break down their return mail into five bundles (carrier missorts, DPS errors, CFS, collection and markups)." According to the memo, "this can be accomplished on Park and Loop routes in between relays; on curbside, dismounts and NDCBU's by setting up a couple of tubs or trays with banded bundles in them. This procedure will eliminate time wasting practices in PM office time." Since when is the breaking down of such mail when you get back to the office time wasting?

Branch Grievance Results

Pre-Arb Settlements

Bellmawr- 2 Grievants will receive 2 hours straight-time pay. Management directed to comply with provisions of Article 8, Section 5D and G of National Agreement.(111297)
Step Three Settlements

Voorhees- 10 hours pay at overtime rate to be divided among employees designated by the Union. (072999)
Gibbstown- Settlement regarding 1723's dated 8/12/99 will be adhered to. Failure to adhere may result in financial liability. (082499)
Bridgeton- Notice of vacancy dated 7/10/99 rescinded. A new notice of vacancy will be revised and posted in accordance with all applicable handbook and manual provisions and the National Agreement. (071699)
Pitman- Management will abide by the most recent Step 4 decision on this issue dated July 8, 1998, which stated that the selection of a work method is to be a joint determination. Any unilateral changes without Union and carrier involvement must be nullified. (032399)
Step 2 Settlements

Paulsboro- 3 hours straight time, and 5 hours overtime to be paid eligible carriers as determined by the Union for violations of Article 8, Section G. (083099A)
Paulsboro- Grievant to be paid an additional 50% overtime for being forced to work on non-scheduled day. (083099B)
Step 1 Settlements

Paulsboro- Form 4584 (observation of driving practices) to be removed and all future 4584's to be given carriers on a timely basis. (051299C)
Paulsboro- Form 1723 will be completed and given the Union every time someone is assigned to 204B position. (051299B)
Hammonton- Collection duties will be posted on a weekly schedule in advance. (051799)
Paulsboro- Letter of warning rescinded. (051899)
Magnolia- 7day suspension held in abeyance and discipline purged if grievant's attendance is satisfactory for 90-day period. (052799)
Bridgeton- Letter of suspension issued 6/25/99 rescinded under date of 8/11/99. (063099B)
Salem- 14-day suspension reduced to 7-day no loss of pay suspension to be removed in 6 months if no further discipline. (081799)
Willianstown- 14-day suspension reduced to 7-day suspension, no loss of pay, 2 days served. (082399)
Paulsboro- 7-day suspension reduced to letter of warning contingent upon completion of EAP program. (082599)
Paulsboro- Form 3971 request for annual leave approved. (081099A-081099B)
Paulsboro- Form 3971 request for annual leave approved. (091099)
Paulsboro- Grievance sustained. Case returned to agreed upon 6 shelves. (091799)
Paulsboro- Carriers designated by the Union will be paid a total of 8 hours OT. (040999)
Paulsboro- ODL carriers designated by Union will be paid a total of 8 hours OT. (042899)
Paulsboro- Total of 8 hours OT to be paid OTDL carriers designated by Union. (042299)
Paulsboro- OTDL carriers designated by Union to be paid total of 8 hours OT. (042199)
Paulsboro- OTDL carriers designated by Union to be paid total of 8 hours OT. (041699)
Paulsboro- OTDL carriers designated by Union to be paid total of 8 hours OT. (041599)
Paulsboro- All carriers, not just a select few, will be required to fill out form 3996. (100299A)
Paulsboro- Pertinent medical documentation will be required from all carriers, not just a select few. (100299B)
Paulsboro- Form 3971, request for leave, will be approved immediately. (101499A)

Pennsville Settles Grievances:
62 Hours Administrative Leave

A total of 51 grievances at Pennsville were resolved at Steps 1 and 2 for a total of 62 hours administrative leave for 9 carriers.

Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year !