A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The June meeting will be our last regular meeting for the Summer. We will have our Annual Shrimp Night that meeting. As is the tradition, Joe Walder our housing chairperson, will be serving up Captain Cats Shrimp and Hot Wings. We will keep the business part of the meeting short so everyone will have plenty of time to enjoy the shrimp and good company.
Also in June we will be distributing Eagles raffle tickets to all Shop Stewards and Branch Officers. The format is the same as last year. $2.00 a ticket for a chance to win two Eagles season tickets. All monies from this raffle will go directly to political action. This is our only fundraiser scheduled so please support your Union and purchase some tickets.
In addition, you will be receiving a letter explaining how to sign up for COLCPE direct deduction and the E Activist program. Please read the instructions carefully, and if you can help out your Union it would be greatly appreciated. With Postal Reform and contract negotiations on the horizon we could use all the help we can get.
From all Branch Officers and Shop Stewards, have a safe and enjoyable summer.
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - June 21

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, June 21, 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., except during the months of July and August. This will be the last meeting before September. There is also no newsletter published in July or August.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings Wednesday - June 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, June 14, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively. The Branch Officer and Shop Steward meetings are also not held in July and August.

Attendance Prize Now At $150

Had she been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, May 17, Lonna Jablonsky, a member of the Branch out of the Blackwood office, would have been the recipient of the $125 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $150 and will increase $25 per meeting, up to a maximum of $250, until a member in attendance has their name drawn.

From the VP's Case

Who is calling the shots at the District? When this local was informed last month that 30th street station would be excessing employees into our district we kind of "assumed" that management would be using some "common sense" when they determined where to place these new employees! Well, you know what happens when you ASSume! In a brilliant display of wisdom they just picked two of the larger offices in this region, Blackwood and Marlton, to place some of these people. Blackwood will get 4 and Marlton a ridiculous 8! This isn't the worst part. All PTF carriers will be promoted to full-time flexibles and the new employees will be also become full-time flexibles. There will be no more PTF's in these offices! There will be absolutely no flexibility in these offices and you know the productivity will be horrible. I hope after thinking this through, with the help of some people who know where to assign these people, the district will re-evaluate their choices and make the appropriate choices for the best interest of the service. Just a little tip genius.' How about finding what offices are short due to say injuries or illnesses, or offices working non-otdl employees forced OT as a place to start? Just a thought!
-Gary DiGiacomo, Vice President

Membership Pins Issued

At the May Branch meeting Gary Depew, a member out of the Riverton office received his 35-year membership pin. Also, Michael Babli, a member out of the Atco office received his 30-year membership pin. Congratulations and thank you to these members for all of their years of service.
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 Branch membership chairman Paul Poniatowski at Paul@nalcbranch908.com .

Branch Scholarship Drawing In June

The Drew Walters Memorial Scholarship is open for all children, grandchildren, step-children (living with a member) and adopted children of active or retired members. Applicants must be a high school graduate eligible for college or vocational school admission. Applications for this drawing are available on the branch web site at nalcbranch908.com/scholarship.pdf, at the monthly meetings or by mailing a request to Steve Rutkowski, 36 Long Bow Drive, Sewell NJ 08080 or by e-mail at Rutkowski@nalcbranch908.com. The drawing is held at the regular meeting in June. Applications are accepted up until the drawing on June 21, 2006.

A Special Happy Birthday Wish

Les Styron, Branch retiree out of the Voorhees office turns 90 years old this month! At 90 years old, Les can still be found on the third Wednesday of each month at our regular Branch meeting. Happy Birthday Les, we hope to be wishing you many more to come.

Annual Branch Picnic - Sunday, August 27

The annual Branch Picnic this year will be held on Sunday, August 27 at Clementon Lake Park and Splash World. Park hours: 12 noon to 10 pm. Branch member cost of admission will be $15 per person, children 36" & under free. The cost of admission includes unlimited amusement park rides, unlimited water park rides, the big cat encounter show, and food and beverages, courtesy of the Branch. Get your tickets ahead of time, they are limited and may not be available at the gate, and there are no regular monthly meetings of the Branch in July and August. See your Shop Stewards or Branch Officers for tickets or contact Jim Livingston, Picnic Chairman at Sgtatarms@nalcbranch908.com.

Eagles Season Ticket Raffle

Once again this year the Branch will be selling raffle tickets to benefit COLCPE. Tickets are $2 per chance. The winner will receive 2 season tickets for the upcoming Eagles season. See your Shop Steward or a Branch Officer to purchase chances.

Seatbelt and Open Door Policy

With the arrival of the warm weather and a hot summer to come, here is the official policy on seatbelts and driving with an open door:
Seatbelts must be worn at all times the vehicle is in motion. Exception for Long Life Vehicles: In instances when the shoulder belt prevents the driver from reaching to provide delivery or collection from curbside mailboxes, only the shoulder belt may be unfastened. The lap belt must remain fastened at all times the vehicle is in motion. When traveling to and from the route, when moving between park and relay points, and when entering or crossing intersecting roadways, all vehicle doors must be closed. When operating a vehicle on delivery routes and traveling in intervals of 500 feet (1/10th mile) or less at speeds not exceeding 15 MPH between delivery stops, the door on the driver's side may be left open. (M-41, Section 812).
Please take the time necessary to due your job in a safe and professional manner.

Mandatory Overtime

With the arrival of Prime Time vacations come problems with forced overtime. There are rules that management must follow before forcing a carrier not on the overtime desired list (ODL) to work overtime.

Thanks Branch 908!

Just a note of thanks and appreciation for the $50 Visa card and the beautiful citation. It is very much appreciated. But more so than that, I thank you and all of the Branch Officers for 38 years of just "being there." You all are continuing a tradition that started many years ago. A tradition of service, advice and representation against many unfair labor practices that happen every day. So Thanks! - John Jengehino (recent retiree from Bridgeton)
Your thoughtfulness and support are greatly appreciated. - Nancy Chew and Family

FMLA Coordinator

Fred Mendel has been appointed as the Branch FMLA coordinator. Any member with questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), contact Fred at HBOfficer@nalcbranch908.com. Management has really been coming down hard on carriers about sick leave and we need to be sure that anyone entitled to FMLA protection is getting it. If you aren't sure, contact Fred and he will assist you.

Have A Happy, Safe Summer - See You In The Fall

Branch Office Open In July And August

President Lipski has advised that the Branch Office at the American Legion Hall where we regularly meet, will be open on the third Wednesday of July and August for Branch Officers, Shop Stewards or members who need to consult with him. Tickets for the Branch picnic and Eagles chances can also be picked up.

The Ultimate Duty Of A Steward

(Reprinted from Denny Belden, President, NALC Branch 1091)
How many times have you heard someone say, "That carrier should have been fired, but the Union won him his job back? Sometimes they should just stay out of it!" Pretty easy to say, and there are admittedly some carriers that probably shouldn't be carriers and are their own worst enemy. But, it is not up to the Steward or the Union to make that decision. The Steward takes his job seriously; however, we are not the judge and jury on what happens to any carrier for any reason. We are here to help each carrier be sure that his rights are protected and that management follows all the rules and regulations when discipline is issued.
But, some will say that if the Union didn't get in the way of the firing, it would have been better for everyone. Well…who then gets to make the decision of who is the "slacker", the "troublemaker", or the one who "should lose his job"? Do you get to make that decision…do I? Of course not, and we should never have that power. Only management has that power and the procedures are in place for them to fire anyone, as long as it is well documented and they have followed all the procedures set down by all handbooks, manuals, and the National Agreement. All the Steward does when grieving a discipline or removal is simply ask a question. Did management have just cause…Did management violate…and what is the remedy? That is all a grievance is…a question to the reviewing authority.
The reviewing authority, whether it is Step B, or an arbitrator, is the Judge and Jury on the question asked them. The Union never WINS someone their job back, they simply ask a question, and backed it with documents, and the reviewing authority decides who has the better case or if management did something technically wrong. The fact is that most of the time, management does not follow the rules and regulations set out before them. So the Union is usually the better prepared and presented the better case. The fact is if management wanted to get rid of a carrier and followed the rules and dotted their I's and crossed their T's, it would be a hard case to beat. But, usually the only way a supervisor learns about the National Agreement is what we teach them through the grievance procedure, so they are usually deficient in some way in their discipline.
When confronted with a carrier who is upset that the Union got a carrier his job back, and one he considers one who should have been fired, ask him this. "So you think the Union should not have defended him? What if the next time it's you, then who decides HOW, or IF the Union should defend you?" The responsibility of the Steward is to protect the carrier's rights, guaranteed him by the books, manuals, and the National Agreement. He should never make the decision of whom he would like to defend, he should defend all carriers the same, even the scabs. Who knows, the Steward's defense may turn that scab into a Union member. The fact is the Steward should never let the opinions of others or their Union status keep him from his responsibility of protecting the carrier's rights. Only the Steward knows if he has done the best job possible to protect the carriers he is serving, and with the quality of Stewards this Branch has, I see nothing but dignity and integrity with the Stewards of Branch 1091. They attend the branch meetings and shop steward training sessions to further their knowledge so that they may defend their station carriers. They take time away from their families so that they may make the station they serve a better place to work. They take the Ultimate Duty to heart when they are called to defend a carrier's rights.
So the next time someone says, "I can't believe the Union fought to get his job back!" Tell him, "That's their duty, they did what they were supposed to do, and if I ever need someone to defend me, I hope it's my Steward."
-Editors Note: Although this was written by the President of another Branch, you can certainly exchange Branch 908 for 1091 and it would still hold true. The Stewards are the backbone to any Union and it is usually a thankless and time-consuming job. Branch 908 appreciates all the work our Steward do and we hope that the members that they represent also appreciate them.