A Note From the President

"The United States Postal Service is in trouble. 50,000 jobs have been cut since 1998, 14,000 of them City Carriers. With the declining volume of mail (all classes), the Postal Service will lose $1,984,000,000 of revenue in PFY 2002."
This message was delivered by NALC President Bill Young in Atlantic City last weekend. It is time, Brothers and Sisters, to circle the wagons! There are two bills in Congress that will have an enormous effect on the survival of the Postal Service, Senate bill 380 and House bill 735, bills that will eliminate the Postal Service over-funding of pre-1984 CSRS payments. If this legislation is enacted, it will save the Postal Service over 71 billion dollars! Every rank and file letter carrier must contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support these bills. You can send a post card, write a letter, E-mail, make a personal call, or visit their local offices. This legislation is that critical! If we drop the ball on this one, we may not get a second chance. For the address and/or phone numbers of your legislators, contact John Vito or Norm Task.
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - March 19

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month except in July and August.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings - March 12

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, March 12, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $225

Had he been there, Chad Rusk, a member of the Branch out of Deptford, would have won the $200 attendance prize drawn at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday, February 19. The attendance prize now stands at $225.

Charges Filed

Charges have been filed against the Branch Shop Steward at Riverton by a Branch member alleging dereliction of duty, failure to represent, failure to obey an order, and making false statements. In accordance with the provisions of Article 10, Charges, NALC Constitution for the Government of Subordinate and Federal Branches, the charges shall be read by the Branch Recording Secretary at the next regular monthly meeting of the Branch on March 19, subsequent to which the Branch President will appoint a committee of three disinterested members to summon the parties, hear and take down the testimony and documentary evidence presented. Disinterested members who would like to serve on the committee are urged to contact the Branch President.

"Remember, with a midnight vote in Congress and the stroke of the President's pen, we could all be without a job."

First COLA - $229 - March 28

The first regular Cost-of-living adjustment under the National Agreement will be $229 annually, based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for January announced February 21 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The adjustment is effective the pay period beginning on March 9, pay date March 28. The adjustment is equivalent to 11 cents an hour, or $8.80 per pay period. It is the first of eight regular COLAs called for in the 2001-06 contract.

Branch Retirees Dodge Bullet

A proposed addition to the Branch Constitution and By-laws that would have denied lost time compensation to Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and other members of the Branch who are retired from the Postal Service, but are active Branch members, was rejected by a majority of the members of the Branch present and voting at the February 19 regular monthly meeting who recognized the past and present contributions made by Branch retirees to the Branch and the Union. Lost time compensation is paid to delegates of the Branch who are nominated, elected and/or appointed by the Branch to attend Union conventions, the State Congressional Breakfast, NALC Rap Sessions, training seminars, and/or other Union functions and activities approved by the Branch.

Compensation Benefits Increased

Branch members present and voting at the February 19 regular monthly meeting of the Branch approved proposed amendments to the Branch Constitution and By Laws that increased the lost time, meals and incidentals compensation paid to delegates who attend conventions and/or other Union functions and activities. The compensation for lost time was increased from $35 to $50 per day, and the compensation for meals and incidentals was increased from $30 to $50 per day.
Also increased was the compensation that will be paid to Branch Officers and/or Shop Stewards who are disciplined for Union activities. Such compensation was increased from $250 to $400 per week.

COLCPE Beef/Beer & Casino Bus Trip To Be Rescheduled To March or April

The COLCPE Beef/Beer & Casino Bus trip that was cancelled because of the recent snow storm will be rescheduled for March or April. Details will be published in the Branch Newsletter as soon as they become available. The Branch President and COLCPE Chairman, Steve Lipski and Norm Task, thank you for your continued support. Money paid in advance for the cancelled event will be repaid as soon as possible. Thank you!

Blackwood Carriers Awarded $300 Each in Punitive Damages

Arbitrator Michael Fischetti awarded Carriers on 15 routes at the Blackwood office $300 each in punitive damages because management did not share appropriate information with the Union when the sixty-day route review took place, because the routes were overburdened, and because carriers were stressed and pressured by management to perform their tasks with what they believed was insufficient time.

2003 Food Drive - May 10

The 2003 NALC-USPS Food Drive will take place this year on Saturday, May 10. Over a half Billion pounds of food was collected for local food banks and pantries in the 10-year history of the drive. Once again the Campbell Soup Co. and the USPS are leading the way in corporate support, funding the printing of 100 million postcards that will be mailed to Postal customers just before the drive. A Branch beef & beer reception at the hall is being considered for all carriers and retirees who participate in the drive. Stay tuned.

NALC Backs CSRS Funding Measure

The NALC is endorsing bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and House of Representatives to correct a Civil Service Retirement System benefit formula in current law that has forced the Postal Service to overpay pension obligations by $71 Million, which could require unwarranted postage rate increases. The NALC is urging active and retired members of the Union to immediately write their senators and representatives and ask for their support of House measure (HR 735) and Senate bill (S 380). The bipartisan legislation would allow the USPS to model its payments to CSRS in the manner it makes payments to FERS, resulting in a reduction of its annual obligation to CSRS by $2.9 billion. The legislation would not affect current or future benefits to employees. Contact John Vito or Norm Task for addresses or phone numbers of legislators.

Voorhees Machinists Fighting For Contract

The Machinists at the Voorhees Pediatrics Facility have been working well over two years without a contract. On January 12th they hit the streets to express their desire for a fair and equitable contract. About 100 Union brothers and sisters joined with their IAM International President and Congressman Rob Andrews to fight for a fair contract.

UAW Organizes Cumberland County Employees

UAW Local 2327 has organized the employees of Cumberland County's Office of Employment and Training (ITPA). In the unit, there are approximately 65 men and women.

WAWA Update

Building Trades has continued hand billing various Wawa's in the area, informing their customers about the non-union, out-of-state labor that is being sent to construct Wawa Supercenters. Wawa is paying its laborers poor wages and sub-standard benefits. Call Dave Harris at the Wawa Construction Office, 1-800-833-5732, and let him know where you live and that you received a pamphlet at your local Wawa. Tell him that you will not be shopping at Wawa until this construction issue is resolved.

Union Leadership Academy

The Union Leadership Academy (ULA) is hosting a series of classes on Arbitration Preparation on Thursday nights, March 27 through May 1, 6:30 to 9:15 PM. The classes are held at the UFCW 1360 Union Office, 400 Commerce Lane and Route 73, West Berlin. Interested Branch Officers or Shop Stewards should advise the Branch and request approval to attend the Academy at Branch expense, $70 per person.

In Memoriam

Jean S. Lipski - The mother of Branch President Steve Lipski. Jean died on February 19, 2003 at the age of 83. The family requests that memorial donations be made to Seashore Gardens Assisted Living, 22 West Jimmie Leeds Road, Galloway Township, NJ 08205.

Board Members Wanted

The South Jersey AFL-CIO is seeking interested members to work on various boards in the area, such as the Work Investment Board (WIB) to help make improvements for all working people in our area. Application for such service must go through the Branch Executive Board for its approval.

Welcome New Member - Stratford 100%

Kenneth Walker - Mt Ephraim
With the signing up of Eddie Peace, last month the Stratford post office is now 100% NALC Union.

The USSO Wants To Help

Our Country as a whole has been saddled with trying times. Many working families in our area have been hit hard by our sinking economy and its subsequent layoffs. The Union Organization for Social Services (UOSS) wants to help. If you or your family has questions about benefits, or needs to know about various means of help available, or you and your family would like to participate in counseling to help get a handle on things, call UOSS at 1-800-331-7272 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Annual Branch Retiree and Awards Breakfast - April 6

The annual Branch Retiree and Awards Breakfast will be held this year on Sunday, April 6, commencing at 11 am. The Breakfast will be held at the same place as last year, The Best Western West Deptford Inn, 101 Grove Road, Thorofare, just off of Exit 20, I-295 South.
The cost of the Breakfast will be the same as last year, $10 per person, and $5 for children under 5 years of age.
Those members, who retired since the last Breakfast in April of 2002, will be honored. Such retirees and a guest of their choice will be admitted free of charge. All other Branch retirees are invited free of charge, but must pay for any guests.
Branch award recipients are invited free of charge, including one guest, and those members being presented with Service Pins for the first time at the Breakfast are invited free, but will have to pay for any guests.
In order to make the appropriate arrangements, all those who intend to be at the Breakfast must complete the below application and return it to the Branch at Post Office Box 385, Woodbury, 08096, by March 31. Other than this notice, no other notice will be sent out to 2003 retirees, award or service pin recipients.

2003 Retirees

Albert L. Shane, Mt Ephraim Vito M. Fruggiero, Blackwood
George E. Cleary, Gloucester Peter C. Dombrowski, Salem
Dale H. Smiley, Riverton James W. Dean, Stratford
Fred L. DiStefano, Jr., Deptford Forrest D. Robinson, Deptford
Richard Logan, Voorhees Mike Cullinan, Voorhees

Award Recipients

Paul Sheets, Retired Tom Barnett, Retired
Rose Burke, Magnolia Pedro Canales, Riverton
Jim Moritz, Marlton Mike McKiernan, Deptford

Service Pins

Tom Walsh, Deptford Richard P. Bacon, Bridgeton
Jeffrey E. MacMahon, Bridgeton John Earnest, Jr, Bridgeton

Name :____________________________________( Please Print)

Check one: (  ) 2003 Retiree (  ) Award Recipient
(  ) Branch Retiree (  ) Service Pin Recipient (  ) Others

Number of free guests who will be attending with you: __________
Number of paid guests attending with you: ___________
Number of guests 5 years of age & under: ___________

Amount of check for paid guests: _________________

Remember to contact your Congressional Representatives on Senate bill 380 and House bill 735. It's critical!