January 1999 Newsletter
Happy New Year!

Next Meeting - January 20

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, January 20, 8pm. At the Colonial Manor American Legion Post home, 502 Colonial Ave., N. Woodbury.

Branch Officers, Executive Board Meetings - January 13

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, January 13, at 7 and 8pm. respectively.

Retired Member Misses Out On $25 Attendance Prize

Harry Breyer, retired member who formerly worked out of the Deptford office, missed out on the $25 attendance prize because he showed up at the December meeting just after his name was drawn for the attendance prize. The prize now stands at $50. To win the prize, a member must be in attendance at 8:15 pm when the drawing takes place.

Life Insurance Open Season April 1 Thru June 30, 1999

The Federal Times reports that the dates for next year's open enrollment season on federal life insurance has changed from April 1 - May 31, 1999, to April 1 through June 30, 1999. During the open season employees can begin, resume, increase group life insurance or increase insurance on family members.

Optima 0700 Coming

Indications have been given that effective April 1, 1999, the carrier starting time for all offices within the District will be 7 am, except for those offices that have prior starting times in effect.

Used Carrier Uniform Items Available At Union Hall

The Branch has a number of carrier uniform items available at the Union Hall. The items include shirts, pants, coats, sweaters, overshoes, etc., that have been cleaned and donated by Branch members who have retired or outgrown their uniforms. The items can be picked up at Branch meetings held monthly.

Contract Negotiations

The NALC will resume contract talks with the USPS on January 5, after a 45-day delay, in hopes of sealing a negotiated contract. The NALC has demanded a 12 percent increase over four years, 3 percent each year. The Postal Service offered no regular wage increase and two lump sum bonuses over two years worth $1,900. NALC President Sombrotto insists that any contract must contain a significant wage increase.

Regional Rap Session February 21, 22, 23, 1999

The annual Region 12 RAP Session will be held at the TRUMP PLAZA hotel and casino on February 21, 22, and 23. The session begins at 9 am on Monday the 22nd and ends at 1 pm on Tuesday the 23rd. All Branch Officers and Shop Stewards are urged to attend. Let Vice President Steve Lipski know of your intentions so that he can remit the $10 registration fee for each person attending.

Management Bonuses

According to a recent edition of the Federal Times, Postal management bonuses will be slightly lower than last year's bonus. Postal managers who are exempt from overtime, will receive an average bonus of $2,700 or about $100 less than last year. Top postal executives will receive an average $10,400 annual performance bonus. Postal Service profits amounted to $500 million in fiscal year 1998. The Branch will publish the bonuses received by individual District management as soon as we get them.

CSRS Voluntary Contribution Rate Of Return Dips To 5.75%

According to the Federal Times, the rate of return for money invested in the voluntary contribution program, which allows people in the Civil Service Retirement System to increase their future retirement income, will decrease from 6.75 to 5.75% in 1999. Under the voluntary contribution program, CSRS employees can open tax-deferred accounts and save up to 10 percent of their career federal pay. Each $100 invested in the program, including interest earned, will provide an additional annuity of $7 a year, plus 20 cents for each full year the employee is over age 55 at the time of retirement. For further information on this program, ask your personnel office for Standard Form 2804.

Martin Luther King Holiday,
Monday, January 18

NALC Dues Increase

The NALC has announced that the biweekly dues paid by NALC members will increase from $15.21 to $15.38, an increase of 17 cents. The new dues deduction will start in paychecks of January 8, 1999. 11 cents will go to the Branch and 6 cents to NALC National Headquarters. The increases are mandated by the NALC Constitution which states that the minimum monthly dues be equal to two hours' base pay for a Grade 5, Step D letter carrier, which as of the last increase on September 12, amounts to $33.32 ($15.38 biweekly).

Revised Inspection Schedule

     Office                        Team Leader                  Date
     Clayton                       Lafferty                    1/30/99
     Blackwood                     Donahue                     2/6/99
     Runnemede                     Murphy                      2/27/99
     Voorhees                      Lanzalotti                  2/27/99
     Marlton                       Kinney                      3/6/99
     Bellmawr                      Lewandowski                 3/13/99
     Gloucester                    Lewandowski                 3/13/99
     Glassboro                     Knox                        3/20/99
     Bridgeton                     DiDomenico                  3/27/99
     Somerdale                     Forte                       4/10/99
     Maple Shade                   Rahl                        4/17/99
     Pitman                        Lee                         4/17/99
     Riverton                      Dennison                    5/1/99

Attention: Direct Pay Members

The following direct-pay, retired members of the Branch are hereby reminded that their annual per capita tax (Union Dues) for the new year are now due and should be made promptly, but no later rhan February 28, 1999. The annual dues for direct-pay, retired members is $10 per annum. Send your dues to the Branch at PO Box 385, Woodbury, 08096:
William Cleary
Dom Corsoe
Harry Heard
Joe Keown
Lnard Kienzle
George Koerner
Florence Morgey
George Murdock
Sam Rosenberg
John Russell
William Weber
Pete Yurgin

Transfer Of Injured Carrier

A partially disabled full-time letter carrier can not be forced to accept a part-time flexible position in another craft, Arbitrator Carlton J. Snow ruled in an award issued November 4. The case grew out of a grievance filed by a carrier in Memphis, Tennessee who was threatened with loss of worker's compensation benefits if he refused to accept a PTF clerk position.

Steward's Rights

A grievant has the option of excluding a steward from the discussion portion of a grievance where the merits of the grievance are discussed by grievant and management. However, absent waiver by the bargaining representative, Section 9(a) of the National Labor Relations Act requires that the bargaining representative be given the opportunity to be present at the adjustment portion of the grievance procedure. The bargaining representative need not be given an opportunity to be present if the grievance is denied at Step 1. (Pre-arb agreement, M-01065)

Hand Held Computers

According to the Federal Times, the US Postal Service requested an additional 25,000 hand-held track-and-trace computers for letter carriers. The request will help fulfill a nationwide roll-out of delivery confirmation service, which tracks Express Mail, Priority Mail and parcels for a fee. The 7-year project gained $28.2 million through the first three quarters of fiscal 98, and earned a $9.6 million profit.

End Of Monopoly?

According to an article in the Januaty 11, 1999, edition of the Federal Times, the end of the post office's mail monopoly is at hand. "Radical changes in the ways people communicate, do their banking and pay bills are undermining the importance of the 223-year-old limited monopoly over most nonurgent letters and mailboxes. Many experts, including Postmaster General William Henderson, believe the Internet, electronic mail and faxes, more so than legislation, will soon render the mail monopoly meaningless."

Branch Grievance Results

Marlton - Grievant paid 1/2 hour for case label changes made by a supervisor. (120298C)
Deptford - Letter of warning to be removed 6 months from date of issuance, 4/6/99. (102898)
Hammonton - Proposed 7-day suspension reduced to a letter of warning to be removed in 6 months. (092898)
Hammonton - Grievant paid 8 hours OT for not being called to word on his day off. (090498)
Hammonton - 8 hours overtime split between OTDL carriers for rural carrier and clerk used to case and carry mail. (083198)
Marlton - Proposed 7-day suspension to remain in OPF for 1-year, no loss of time or money. (081298A)
Marlton - OTDL carriers paid 4 hours for work performed by a TE from another office. (071698A)

Pitman Grievance Resolves

070798 - Article 9 - .50 hours paid at straight time rate.
072298B - Article 8 - 24 hours at straight time rate paid.
072298A - Article 8 - 19 hours at straight time rate paid.
072298C - Article 8 - 20 hours at straight time rate paid.
072298D - Article 8 - 6 hours paid at straight time rate.
072298E - Article 8 - 14 hours paid at straight time rate.
072298F - Article 8 - 26 hours paid at straight time rate.
072298G - Article 8 - 4.5 hours paid at straight time rate.
100898 - Article 15 - carriers will be given time to meet with shop steward within 48 hours notification.
102498 - Article 5 - Carriers will not be forced to carry a modified 1 bundle.
090598 - Carriers will not be accused of not doing their jobs.
100298A - 7-day suspension to be expunged.
100298B - 7-day suspension reduced to letter of warning for 6 months.
111098 - Management will cease and desist not following local memo for holiday scheduling.
111698 - Management will grant special inspection if warranted.
112098 - Letter of warning reduced to a discussion and expunged.

Step 3 Settlements

Westville - 14-day suspension for failure to meet attendance requirements expunged. Grievant will receive five (5) days back pay. (081198)
Woodbury - Letter of warning of July 28, 1998, for failure to wear seat belt will be reduced to a discussion on May 24, 1999, provided grievant does not incur discipline for a similar infraction during this time frame. (080798)

Pre-Arb Settlement

Voorhees - 7-day suspension for unacceptable conduct to be expunged. Grievant will receive two and one-half days back pay. Further, grievant and local management will meet and insure that the record is expunged, including all relevant documents relating to the date and incident cited in the notice of suspension. (010797A)

Bunch Of Heartless @#$&*#@

Remember the old days when you could get grievance settlements on Christmas Eve. Well, the Branch jsut got eight (8) Step 3 denials and requests for arbitrations ranging from letters of warning, 7 and 14-day suspensions and removals. Bah Humbug!!!