As you are probably aware, there will be no formal meetings in July and August. However, I have decided to open the Union Hall on the third Wednesday of each month (July 19 and August 16) between the hours of 7:30 and 10 pm. Anyone interested can stop by and stock up on supplies or purchase tickets for the Branch Picnic and fishing trip. In addition, if you have any questions or problems we'll be able to talk about them in a relaxed atmosphere over a cold drink. Secondly, over the Summer months the Branch will be conducting a Branch census and voter registration drive to update our mailing list so our members receive all the information they are entitled to. In closing, I hope everyone has a safe, peaceful and enjoyable Summer....
In Unionism: Stephen J. Lipski
Next Meeting - June 21
The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be on Wednesday, June 21, 8p.m. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, except for the months of July & August. This will be the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch until we meet again in September. Have a happy and safe Summer.
Branch Officers & Executive Board Meeting - June 14
The Branch Officers and Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of officers at 7:30p.m., and the Executive Board at 8p.m. The next meeting of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, June 14. This will be the last meeting for Officers and Shop Stewards until we meet again in September.
Attendance Prize Still At $250
Had he been there, Mark Smith, a member of the Branch working out of Swedesboro, would have been the recipient of the $250 attendance prize. The attendance prize now stands at $250 and will remain at that figure until someone in attendance at a regular monthly Branch meeting wins it; Branch Officers and Shop Stewards not included.
Housing - National Convention Delegates
The Branch's National Convention Delegates will be staying at Downtown Chicago's Essex Inn on Grant Park during the week of the National Convention, July 30 to August 5. While there, the Delegates, if necessary, can be reached at 312-939-2800.
In your prayers please remember Joan M. Walder, the sister of Joe Walder, Branch Vice President and Shop Steward at Deptford and Marlton, and Christina Campbell, the daughter of Bob Campbell, a Branch member working as a clerk at the Deptford office.
Have a peaceful, happy, safe Summer
Proposed Amendments To Branch Constitution & By-Laws
The following proposals to amend the Branch Constitution and By-Laws were submitted to the By-Laws Committee, were read by the Chairman if that Committee at the May regular monthly meeting of the Branch, and will be debated and voted on at the regular monthly meeting on June 21: Proposed to amend Article 4, Officers, Section 1, to read that the elected officers of the Branch shall now include a 2nd Vice President. Proposed to amend Article 6, Duties of Officers, by adding a new Section 2a, to provide that the 2nd Vice President shall be the assistant to the President and shall fill such duties as the President deems fit.
The purpose of the amendments is to allow the Branch to have another elected officer to better spread the duties of the Branch.
RIFs And Cost Cutting
According to the May 22 issue of the Postal Employees News Digest, "by 2004, the Postal Service is planning to reduce its workforce by about 9,000 jobs - through leaders of postal unions and associations expect that the cutbacks' effect on their members will be minimal because most of the reductions will occur among administrative staff."
Some Convoluted Reasoning
The EEOC recently ruled that a transitional carrier who successfully complained that her termination was tainted by sex discrimination was not entitled to be returned to the USPS in a part-time flexible position because that would have placed her "in a position greater than that which she was at the time of her termination."
NALC Health Benefit Plan Online Services: RxRequest.com
New online services at RxRequest.com have recently been added to the NALC prescription drug benefit. New Prescription Request. You can request a new prescription online, or have your physician contact Caremark at 1-800-378-5697 (this number is for physician use only) to request a new prescription order form. Your physician simply completes the form and then faxes the prescription request directly to Caremark. Transfer Prescription from Retail to Mail. Maintenance prescription currently being filled at your local retailpharmacy can be transferred to Caremark's mail service pharmacy to be filled for up to a 90-day supply. Update Prescriptions that have no refills or have expired. Update your mail service prescriptions where there are no refills remaining or the prescription has expired.
Free Online Manuals & Information
Access to various handbooks and manuals including the 1998-2000 NALC Contract are available online at Unionweb: http://www.unionweb.com
Thrift Savings Plan Open Season May 15 Through July 31, 2000
Career employees must use the PostalEASE telephone enrollment system (call toll free 1-800-477-3273) during the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) open season if they wish to begin contributions to TSP, change the current TSP contribution amount or percentage, change the investment of future TSP contributions, or cancel TSP contributions.
You Wanna Bet!
According to a newly released 1999 annual report by the Postal Inspection Service, one of the Inspection Service's primary responsibilities is to protect postal employees from criminals and acts of violence committed by members of the public.
Register To Vote By October 10
Members unregistered or having moved must register to vote by October 10 if they want to vote in the general election in November.
The Government (Public) Pension Offset
Under current law, federal retirees cannot collect both a government annuity based on their own work and social security benefits based on their spouse's work record. The law provides that two-thirds of the government annuity must be counted as an offset against whatever spousal social security benefits would be payable to the retiree.
Some New Branch Members
K M Mithcell - Gloucester T J Leisner III - Paulsboro L W Trimmer III - Pitman U Codey - Runnemede N L Franchi - Swedesboro W N Taylor - Riverton D S Foster - Salem D E Tisa - Bridgeton S McClain - Bridgeton
F E Cole - Stratford T Price - Glassboro W E White - Pitman
Allegheny Area Arbitration Panels Appointed
William A Donnelly, Jr.
Arthur P Fisher
John M Hamrick
William J Miller
Stephen D Owens
Susan G Ruben
Peter C Schaumber
Dwayne L tinsley
Joel S Trosch Regular
Mollie H Bowers
Thomas J DiLauro
William A Donnelly, Jr.
Nicholas Duda Jr.
Harry E Graham
Jonathan S Liebowitz
Mark I Lurie
Philip W Parkinson
Mark A Rosen
James F Scearce
Joseph A Sickles
Branch Fishing Trip - August 20
The annual Branch fishing trip will be held this year on Sunday, August 20. Contact Bill Baitinger for further details.
Branch Picnic - September 10
The annual Branch Picnic will be held this year on Sunday, September 10, at Clementon Lake Park. Contact Bill Baitinger for further details.
Branch Scholarship Drawing June 21
Pay Differential Not Maintained For VOMAs
According to meeting notes from the Committee of Presidents' Meeting in Seatle, Washington, the differential between Grade 5 and Grade 6 carrier craft employees will not be maintained for VOMAs. The reason that T-6 employees do maintain the differential and VOMAs don't is because the DPS working environment has impacted the way the T-6 employees work and has not affected VOMAs. There are only 900 VOMAs in the Postal Service. Of that, only 300 are carrier craft employees.
Branch Candidates Graduate Union Counselor Program
The following Branch members recently graduated from the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO and Union Organization for Social Services (UOSS) sponsored Union Counselor Course which taught volunteers from seven locals to access public and private services to assist fellow union members and their families. The graduates can be contacted at their offices of employment listed after their names below: Vince Castagna - Blackwood Norm Spence - Penns Grove Donna Villec - Riverton
Final FMLA Rules Effective June 7
In general employees must give 30 days notice of their intent to take FMLA leave whenever possible and cannot invoke FMLA leave retroactively. However, in emergencies, employees may invoke leave on the day of an emergency or within two work days of returning to work.
If employees don't notify their agencies that they are invoking FMLA leave until after their return to work, they must provide medical documentation showing that they and their "personal representatives" were "physically or mentally incapable of invoking" the leave during the entire period they were absent from work.
Employees have 15 days to provide medical certificationwhen their agencies request it. In cases where they cannot obtain the certification despite their "diligent, good faith efforts," they are allowed 30 days to supply such information. If they do not provide the requested medical certification, the absence cannot be covered by FMLA leave, and the agency may charge the employee as being absent without leave or allow the worker to request annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay.
Employees will not be required to comply with a requirement that they supply "administrative acceptable" evidence of their need for FMLA leave which OPM originally had proposed. When an agency suspects an employee of fraud, it may investigate the matter through the Office of the Inspector General.
Employees will not be charged for FMLA leave on holidays that occur during a period of FMLA leave. Agencies may not subtract leave from the 12-week FMLA leave entitlement without employee confirmation.
Supervisors must inform employees of their entitlement and responsibilities under the FMLA. While supervisors "generally cannot deny sick leave if the employee provides medical certification," they "can deny annual leave or leave without pay if there is a need for the employee to be at work," OPM advises. "When an employee requests leave for a personal or family medical situation, the supervisor may want to ask up front whether the employee is invoking his or her entitlement to FMLA leave."
Employees have an "absolute entitlement" to unpaid FMLA leave to cover time off for the birth of a child and care of the newborn, but they can also substitute sick leave for pregnancy and childbirth.