A Note From the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
First off, I would like to thank everyone who voted in the recent Branch election. We had the greatest number of ballots cast in a Branch election. There were 417 ballots returned and counted out of 713 sent out, a tribute to the informed and dedicated members of this Branch. Secondly, on a more somber note, the Branch has been hit with an inordinate number of removals. We have four pending, and one on the road. It is important for every member to realize that no problem is insurmountable. Please, if someone is having a problem, contact me immediately!! This Branch operates on the principle that every member counts. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, gambling, material problems, financial difficulties, etc. We have people who can help. We are available 24/7 and can meet with members anytime, anywhere. When you are facing problems in your personal life, the job is the last thing that you can afford to lose. Please call: Home - 456-4246 Office - 456-0477 Cell - 856-217-7825 Fax - 742-847. God bless you. Have a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - January 21

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, January 21, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury.

Installation of Branch Officers & Shop Stewards

The installation of Branch Officers and Shop Stewards for the term 2004 to 2005 will be held at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, January 21. The office of our National Business Agent, Tim O'Malley, has been invited to install the newly elected officers and Shop Stewards of the Branch, including those Shop Stewards who have been appointed by the Branch President subsequent to a write-in vote by the membership at offices where no one was nominated via the regular nominating process.

January 14 - Next Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings

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, January 14, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $250

Had he been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on December 17, C. E. Amicone out of the Somerdale office would have been the recipient of the $250 attendance prize. The award will continue to stand at $250, the maximum, until a member in good standing and present at a regular monthly meeting of the Branch name is drawn.

COLCPE All-Stars

S. S. Peterson, a member of the Branch working out of the Maple Shade office, donated the $25 Christmas drawing prize that she won at the Christmas Meeting to COLCPE.
Joe Foreman, a member of the Branch working out of the Marlton office donated $40 of his Branch Election Committee compensation to the Branch COLCPE fund.

Branch Election Results

President

Steve Lipski 361*
Andy Dealy 50

Treasurer

Mike McKiernan 169
Tom Barnett 240*

Financial Secretary

Bob Stoltz 141
John Vito 270*

Trustees

Norm Spence 261*
Donna Villec 243*
Steve Rutkowski 218*
Mike DiGiacomo 260*
Barbara Ricci 144
Jim Comuso 151
Bill Gore 99
Mary Hackett 184

Shop Steward - Marlton

Bruce Watson 5
Mike Boston 33*
Bernadette Formicola 6
Kenneth Rieger 4
Mary Hackett 34*

Shop Steward - Somerdale

Fred Simpkins 10*
Jim Glielmi 3

Shop Steward - Wenonah

Brian Deputy 2*
Karl Schluth 0

(*) denotes elected

Convention Delegates

B. Formicola 136** N. Task 245*
T. Walsh 266* J. Walder 261*
B. Dougherty 242* B. Ricci 206**
J. Bittner 285* M. McKiernan 277*
J. Buniak 164* E. Friel 261*
B. Stubblefield 114** P. Poniatowski 118
B. Deputy 110** J. Barlow 208*
F. Simpkins 138** J. Comuso 223*
B. Revak 319* S. Lipski 372*
R. Bibbo 112 B. Gore 198*
G. Jackson 213** H. Smith 122
N. Spence 290* M. Hackett 243*
B. Dermond 98 J. Livingston 149
G. DiGiacomo 320* A. Dealy 171**
B. Watson 179* F. Mendel 225*
D. Singleton 218* T. Barnett 308*
F. Potts 222*

* Compensated Delegate

** Not Eligible For Compensation

National Dues Deduction Change

Effective pay period one of 2004 (December 13-26, 2003) beginning with the January 2, 2004 paycheck, $18.34 (an increase of 45 cents per pay period) will be deducted for NALC membership dues. Article 7, Section 2 of the NALC constitution provides that each NALC member shall pay monthly dues equal to two hours base pay for an NALC Grade 1, Step "D" letter carrier employed by the United States Postal Service. Taking into account the 1.2 percent increase effective November 15, 2003 an NALC Grade 1, Step "D" letter carrier will be earning $19.86 per hour on January 4, 2004. The national per capita tax is increased only once a year regardless of any wage increases implemented during the calendar year. Of the $18.34, $6.13 is retained by the National Union and the rest goes to the Branch.

Proposed Branch Budget

The Branch Board of Officers has met and came up with a proposed Branch budget for the year 2004. The proposed budget will be printed and distributed to the membership present at the December 17 regular monthly Branch meeting for their review, discussion, consideration and vote at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, January 21, 2004.

Next COLCPE Casino Bus Trip
Sunday, February 15

The next COLCPE Casino Bus Trip has been scheduled for Sunday, February 15, the day before the annual Presidents' Day Holiday on Monday, February 16. The trip will leave at 11 am from the Branch meeting hall, 502 Colonial Ave., Woodbury, and return at 6 pm at which time there will be refreshments waiting at the hall. To reserve your spot on the bus, see your Shop Steward or call Norm Task at 547-1639.

Congressman Andrews Votes against Republican Medicare Prescription Drug Bill

"If you are in a prescription plan that you want to keep, I believe the Republican bill will force you to enroll in a Medicare plan that costs you more and covers you less. If you are a retiree from a large company, a Union, the military, federal and local government, or the postal service, you will likely find that your plan sponsor will choose to save billions of dollars a year at your expense by dumping you into this untested new plan. Under the new plan, out of the first $5000 of prescription costs you incur each year, you would pay approximately $4000 and Medicare would only pay the remainder. For many of you, this is a major step backward--not forward."

Made In America Branch Christmas Party

We have been advised that thanks to the efforts of Branch Trustee Donna Villec and her committee, all of the toys given to the children of Branch members, active and retired, at the annual Branch Christmas party were made in America. This just shows that it can be done if members always remember to ask for American made products when they go shopping.

2003-2004 Leave Years/Carryover

The 2003 leave year ends on January 9, 2004, and the 2004 leave year begin on January 10, 2004. The maximum amount of annual leave that carriers may carry over from one year to the next is 440 hours (55 days). If you have in excess of 440 hours annual leave, contact your supervisor schedule any excess leave before January 9, 2004.

A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year To All!

Jury Duty/Court Leave

The office of our National Business Agent has advised that the latest issue of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM 17.4) has recently gone into effect. There has been a significant change in the handling of jury duty witness fees. The new regulations state:
516.4 Fees
516.41 General
Employees may retain any court allowance in the amount of $25.00 or less per day on days court leave is authorized. Employees must remit to their supervisor amounts received in excess of $25.00 per day. Employees who are eligible to receive such fees are not authorized to waive the fee.

Working In the Dark Guidelines for Letter Carriers

  1. Complete form 3996 in the morning and request assistance
  2. Inform your supervisor before you leave the office that your workload dictates that you will not be able to finish your assignment by dark.
  3. Call your supervisor in the afternoon and inform him/her that your situation has not changed and that you will not be able to finish before dark sets in. Again, request assistance. If given an order to finish your route, follow the order until you feel an unsafe condition exists.
  4. After it becomes dark and you are faced with specific circumstances which you feel would place you in jeopardy (many hazards like loose dogs, obstacles in yards, threats from a resident or others, or some other specific fact/conditions which makes you feel in danger), again call your supervisor and inform him/her that is unsafe to continue delivery. (If you use a pay phone to make the call, don't forget to request reimbursement for the money spent on phone calls).
  5. If you are once again given instructions to finish the assignment, make an attempt to follow the instructions. If conditions are unsafe- -And you are the one to make that determination -- return to the office.
  6. Inform your supervisor (if he/she is still in the building) that you have curtailed delivery because of an unsafe condition of working in the dark.
  7. If you receive any discipline for your actions, contact your Shop Steward and grieve the situation. Remember to document all conversations with the supervisor.
Article 14 of the National Agreement provides you with the right to safe working conditions, and both the Union and management have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment.

In Memoriam

George Howell - Age 83. Retired member, South Jersey Letter Carriers, Branch 908, NALC, AFL-CIO. Retired out of the Magnolia Post Office after 25 years of service. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 1060 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, NJ, 08034.
Marie Vito - Age 96. Mother of retired member and Branch Officer, John Vito. Cremation and interment private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made payable to the Constantino Funeral Home, 231 W. White Horse Pike, Berlin, NJ, 08009, to assist the family with expenses.

5-Day Leave Granted Postal Employees for Anti-Terrorism Military Call Up

NALC President Bill Young has been advised by the Postal Service that five days of uncharged leave will be granted to all postal employees who were called to active duty in the global war on terrorism. Postmaster General John E. Potter determined that such postal employees should receive the additional leave time similar to federal employees.

Recent Branch Retirees Retain NALC Membership

Jim SerockWoodbury/Deptford office.
Norm Seher - Branch retiree out of the Woodbury/Deptford office.