A Note From The Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
There's an old saying that goes: "Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you read". This always sounded so cynical that I never really embraced it - until now! Jack Potter states "Our bond with our employees has never been more important than it is today. That bond is represented by the collective-bargaining agreements with our unions. As we adapt to a dynamic and dramatically changing environment we will, by necessity, bring even more change to our business. But one thing cannot change: our adherence to the provisions of our labor agreements. They are our word. They are our pledge of fairness to our employees."
This statement cannot be further from the truth!! The contract is being violated on a daily basis and employees are treated like Michael Vicks abused pit bulls. I know that Jack Potter is no fool but he is certainly being played like one in our district.
-Steve Lipski

Next Meeting – March 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, March 18, 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.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings Wednesday – March 11

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 11, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $75

Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, February 18, C. G. Tadeja, a carrier out of the Somerdale office, would have been the recipient of the $50 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $75 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

$ 415.30. That is the total payout of the first grievance settlement in the Blackwood Post Office for management forcing non-overtime desired list carriers to work before maximizing the OTDL in order to get carriers off the street by the infamous 17:00 window! Normally, I would be boasting about another cash payout for our people, but not now! In fact, I am disgusted with the arrogance displayed by the leadership, or should I say lack of leadership, with the players involved in this district by this settlement.
We are allegedly in a financial crisis, but this new regime doesn't seem to care in the least. Why then would they blatantly disregard the contract with these repeated violations which we grieved and won over and over in the past knowing full well they will be paying out a lot of money to carriers for not doing any work at all.
I tried to explain to the managers throughout the grievance procedure that you couldn’t do what you are being told to do because it violates the contract! They said the new DM says they can do it and will do it because where he came from the union never filed or won any grievances on these issues! I said either he is lying through his teeth or you guys aren't listening to what he really is saying.
Well, we have won the grievance and many other branches will be lining their pockets as well do to the arrogance and ignorance of the leaders of this district.
I hope someone in the area or at the national level above these managers starts to take a long hard look at the way this district is being run and how much money is being wasted by making this union devote hours upon hours writing up and processing grievances that should not have to be filed.
Quoting from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz where the scarecrow says, "If I only had a brain" seems to be the missing element in this district!
Just for the record for you "Kool Aid" managers. I did my own research on the new leader. Does the word Plainfield ring any bells?
-Gary DiGiacomo, Vice – President

From The Health Benefits Officer

I would like to thank and welcome all of our new members in the NALC Health Benefit Plan. We doubled our Branch membership in the plan during open season this year, the first time ever. This open season, Branch 908 rated sixth highest in new membership in the state of NJ! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at 856-933-2649.
Fred Mendel
, HBR

2nd Annual Branch Banquet – April 11

The 2nd Annual Branch 908 Banquet will be held on April 11, 2009 from 7:00 – 11:00pm at Nicolosi’s Catering, 1 Hessian Ave. Woodbury, NJ. This is the one night a year that we gather away from the Union Hall and take a few moments to honor those letter carriers who have retired in the past year as well as those who have been selected to receive Branch awards. For those of you who missed it last year, we keep the business part of the evening very brief and the remainder of the night is spent eating, drinking, dancing and socializing with good friends. For those of you unfamiliar with Nicolosi’s Catering, you won’t be disappointed. It is a beautiful facility with excellent food; just ask anyone who was there last year.
The following members of the Branch who have retired since our last Banquet will be honored and presented with tokens of our appreciation. If you have retired since the last Banquet or you will retire before April 11 and your name is not on this list, contact the Branch Recording Secretary, Norm Spence at 856-678-7101 or webmaster@nalcbranch908.com.
Michael Babli (Atco)   Steve Chojnacki (Riverton)
Anthony DeMarco (Atco)   William Gurecki (Woodbury)
Jack Kennedy Jr (Voorhees)   Joe Ouelette (Gloucester)
Ed Schopf (Paulsboro)   Michael Webb (Maple Shade)
Duane Wilson (Haddon Hts.)   John Wilson (Woodbury)
Chuck Seas (Woodbury)   William Morris (Salem)

Those being honored will receive one free ticket to the Banquet. All other Branch members, family, friends and acquaintances are encouraged to attend at a cost of $20 pp. Current Branch retirees will receive one ticket for half price ($10).
Tickets may be picked up from Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence at any Branch meeting, or by mailing the form below with checks made out to NALC Branch 908, to PO Box 45, Pennsville, NJ 08070.

Name:_________________________________________
(please print)

Check One:      Honoree (   )     Retiree (   )     Other (   )

Total Number Attending: _________

Honorees – Free          Retirees - $10          All Others - $20

Amount of remittance enclosed: _________

Send to PO Box 45, Pennsville, 08070 by April 4

Branch Honorees Needed

Any member, who wishes to nominate another Branch member to receive a Branch award at the Branch Banquet, must do so ASAP. Nominations must be submitted in writing to NALC Branch 908 Awards Committee, PO Box 45, Pennsville, NJ 08070. Nominations must include the name and work location of both the Branch member making the nomination as well as the member being nominated. Any member chosen to receive a Branch Award will be mailed a letter informing him/her that they are to be honored and inviting them to the Banquet.

Door Prizes Needed

Anyone wishing to donate door prizes for the Branch Banquet please contact Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence. Bottles of wine or other alcohol or craft items are examples of the type of door prizes needed.

Last Chance For Nominations For Shop Steward Of The Year

This year the Branch is continuing it’s Shop Steward of the Year Award, to be awarded at the annual Branch retirees banquet. There is a nomination form available online at nalcbranch908.com/sofyear.pdf. For those of you without computer access, you can pick up nomination forms at the Branch meetings or simply write on a piece of paper the following information: Name of Steward being nominated, Office, Person making nomination (must be from Steward’s office), and a brief statement as to why you feel this person should be the Branch 908 Steward of the year for 2009, including accomplishments, knowledge of the contract, ability to deal with co-workers and management, communication skills, and dedication to the NALC. In other words, what makes this person special?
All submissions must be received by March 18, 2009.
The winner will be selected by the awards committee and kept confidential until the presentation at the banquet.
Mail completed submissions to:
Branch 908 Steward Of The Year
PO Box 45
Pennsville, NJ 08070

Proposed By-Law Change Passed

The proposed By-Law change to Article 5, Section 14 of the Branch By-Laws, which lowered the number of compensated Branch delegates to National and State conventions from three percent (3 %) to two and a half percent (2.5 %) was opened for discussion and subsequently brought to a vote and passed by the members in attendance and voting at the regular monthly Branch meeting on February 18.
The updated Branch By-Laws can be downloaded on the members only page of the Branch web site. If you need a user name and password, contact Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence at webmaster@nalcbranch908.com.

Proposal To Cut Postal Employee Benefits Withdrawn

NALC President Bill Young announced today (3/5/09) that the Obama administration will not pursue a proposal to raise postal employees’ benefit contributions in the 2010 budget. Vice President Joseph Biden confirmed the action when he met with President Young at the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Miami on Thursday.
“It’s a pleasure to work with a friendly administration for a change,” President Young said. “I look forward to working with the new administration to find ways to strengthen the Postal Service in the face of the current economic crisis.”
The cost-shift proposal was conceived by the Office of Management and Budget during the transition between the Bush and Obama administrations. Once the NALC and other postal unions pointed out that the proposal would infringe on the collective bargaining rights of letter carriers and other postal employees, it was withdrawn from consideration.

Non – Member Listing (As Of 1/30/09)

L. A. Stauffer (Atco) J. M. Boyle (Blackwood)
P. Phillips (Clayton) S. M. Reber (Clayton)
D. R. Sanders (Glassboro) R. C. Severino (Gloucester)
J. A. Dodge (Gloucester) D. E. King (Hammonton) 
W. J. Lyons (Hammonton) L. K. Luciana (Voorhees)
W. P. Green (Maple Shade) S. W. Bockman (Voorhees)
S. A. Washington (Marlton)  G. I. McCreery (Magnolia)
F. Doncheva (National Park) M. W. Jones (Maple Shade)
W. T. McAllister (Pennsville) J. M. Rafferty (Riverton)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede) P. A. Canales (Riverton)

Adhering To Rules?

It’s something we have been all taught over our adolescence years, preached to us by our parents and teachers throughout our developmental years of life. We go through life everyday knowing there are rules and those rules are set by people in higher places then us, just as they were when we were children. Most rules are broken when we are children and that is when we learn that we have to follow the rules or there are consequences. It seems lately we have a District Manager in our midst that likes to break the rules and force lower level managers to break the rules by blatantly violating our National Agreement and he seems to believe there are no consequences. Well, I would say paying out settlement money for the deliberate disregard for our National, Negotiated contract especially in these economically strained times are SERIOUS consequences. How anyone could have possibly thought that this would be a wise decision financially is beyond me. Postmaster General Jack Potter issued a letter on Monday February 23, 2009 informing Postal Management that we have labor agreements and they are to be ADHERED to. I hope this RULE is FOLLOWED; otherwise there are places for those people who do not. It’s referred to as “KINDERGARTEN”! Stay Strong, Stay Proud, Stay United!!!
Paul Poniatowski, Financial Secretary

Gimme 5 For COLCPE And Get A Chance To Win $1000

NALC National President Bill Young has announced a new contest to help grow our GIMME 5 for COLCPE contributors. As you know, COLCPE is the NALC’s political action fund used to help elect Letter Carrier friendly politicians. Here’s how the new contest works:
For the 2009 COLCPE campaign, the union locals will be divided into five categories:
  • Branches with 2,000 or more members
  • 1,000 to 1,999 members
  • 500 to 999 members
  • 100 to 499 members, and
  • 50 to 99 members
Between now and the end of the year, branches will strive to sign up as many active and retired members as possible as automatic Gimme 5-level COLCPE donors. The five branches with the highest percentage of members who are Gimme 5 contributors in their size category as of December 31 will be the winners.
At that point, each winning branch will conduct a raffle among all of its Gimme 5 members and the winner will receive a $1,000 American Express gift card. In addition, the five winning branches will each receive laptop computers for branch use, and the COLCPE coordinators of each winning branch will receive a $200 gift card upon completion of a report on their branch’s winning strategy.
There will be a special prize for making the greatest progress. The branch recording the most growth in percentage of automatic contributors during the contest months also will stage a $1,000 raffle for eligible members, receive a laptop, and the COLCPE coordinator will receive a gift certificate. (The branch winning this special prize must not have won in its size category in the general competition.)