May 1998 Newsletter

Next Meeting - May 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, May 20, 8 pm at the Colonial Manor American Legion Post Home, 502 Colonial Ave., N. Woodbury.

Branch Officers, Executive Board Meetings - May 13

The Branch Officers and the Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of Officers meets at 7 pm., and the Executive Board at 8 pm. The next meetings of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, May 13, at 7 and 8 pm. respectively.

Attendance Prize - $250

Active member Al Herzer, Somerdale carrier, would have been the recipient of the $225 attendance prize at the April meeting had he been in attendance. The prize now stands at $250 for the May meeting on May 20.

Bridgeton Merger Approved By The Membership

The Branch membership in attendance and voting at the April regular monthly meeting of the Branch on April 15 voted unanimously to accept the merger of Bridgeton Branch 538 with Branch 908. Accordingly the application for merger was sent to NALC President Sombrotto for approval.

NALC Food Drive - May 9 (Forget The Overtime)

The NALC National Food Drive is set for Saturday, May 9, 1998. According to District Management, there was an overtime issue last year, and there was a noticeable spike in OT that they don't want to see happen this year. Participants must understand that this is a voluntary effort. Individuals who do not wish to participate on a voluntary basis should make it known, and arrangements will be made to cover their routes. Branch Food Drive Chairman John Vito has issued a call for help at the post office hubs for Saturday, May 9, to help separate and load the food collected onto trailers. Any retirees or non-sched day carriers who would like to help out should call John for a hub office assignment.

Safety: Only For You, Not Me!

From a member at Williamstown: "The day I met with the OIC in her office for a Step 2 grievance, she did a driver's observation on my parking. I didn't see a signal as she pulled over behind my truck, and she parked on the illegal side of the street to do the observation. The next day I had a discussion about how I parked too close to the curb and too close to a telephone pole. I guess when they run out of rules, they have to make them up on the spot."

Drew Walter Scholarship Drawing - May 20

The Drew Walter Scholarship, funded by Branch 908, to the tune of $2000, $500 per year for 4 years, will be chanced off at the regular Branch meeting on May 20, 1998. Any high school senior children, grand children, and step children of active and retired members in good standing of Branch 908 are eligible. For applications and further information, contact Vice President Steve Lipski.

Blanket Medical Documentation Surrounding Holidays

Mike Fleury, Manager, Human Resources, SJ District: "Sick leave usage triples over holiday weekends. There is no blanket policy in the District (requiring medical documentation for sick leave absences surrounding a holiday) Normally something of this nature, establishing policy, would be published over the signature of the District Manager. It is the Postmaster's responsibility to administer the sick leave policy as set forth in the Contract and to stay within It while doing so."(Joint District Labor Management Meeting, 4/9/98)

Unauthorized Material In Residential Mail Boxes

"The normal procedure is to bring a sample back to the Postmaster/Supervisor. Customer service or the local Postmaster writes a letter informing the mailer that he/she is not allowed to place material in/on residential mail receptacles. In some cases, the item will be returned to sender, postage due. The main concern is aimed at persons who place blanket mailing materials in our resident boxes." (Joint District Labor Management Meeting, April 9, 1998)

Route Inspections: 1838's And NALC Observers

Carriers should be getting copies of their 1838's (Letter Carrier's Count of Mail Worksheet) the next day. They should be able to get a computerized print-out the following day. If for some reason they are unavailable, at the very least a copy of the manual work sheet should be provided the next day. The District has already given an OK for an NALC observer to be present during route inspections. The only question at this point is whether the observer will be paid for by the Union or the Post Office. (Joint District Labor Management Meeting, April 9, 1998)

Branch Certificates Of Appreciation Issued

At the Branch's annual Branch Awards and Retirees' Breakfast on Sunday, April 19, 1998, the Branch issued Certificates of Appreciation and an appropriate monetary award to John Vito and Norm Task for their years of faithful performance and legislative lobbying efforts in behalf of the Branch members and retirees. It was also the distinct pleasure of the Branch to issue a Certificate of Appreciation to Shop Steward Norm Spence who in addition to his fervent representation of the Branch membership at his office, was able to develop a Branch web site ( NALCBRANCH908.COM) on the internet. Congratualtions, John, Norm and Norm, We all love you.

Proposed Retirement Legislation

Government Pension Offset
HR 2273 would partially repeal the law so that annuitants could keep more of their spouses' Social Security benefits. Retiees could keep up to $1,200 a month in combined benefits. Spousal Social Security benefits still would be reduced after that.
Limit Windfall Elimination Provision
HR 2549 Would make the windfall elimination provisions, which reduces a retiree's own pension, apply only to people whose combined monthly income from benefits exceeds $2,000. For people with benefits between $2,000 and $3,000 a month, the provisions would apply on a graduated scale, For those receiving more than $3,000, it would fully apply.

Dolan Apologizes For Missing Retiree's Breakfast

"Dear Bob: I want to apologize to all your active and retired members of Branch 908 for not being able to attend your Retiree Breakfast last Sunday. Something came up with my family that made it impossible to attend. Again, please apologize for me. Thank you. With very good wish, I remain, Sincerely and Fraternally, James J. Dolan, National Business Agent."

Arbitrator Backs NALC Article 29 Protections

Arbitrator Carlton Snow has ruled that Article 29 of the National Agreement requires the Postal Service to make temporary cross-craft assignment in order to provide work for carriers whose occupational driver's license has been suspended or revoked.

Thrift Savings Plan Open Season May 15 Through July 31

The Thrift Savings Plan open season is the designated period in which you can begin contribution to the TSP, adjust your TSP contribution amount, or change where your new TSP contributions are invested.

Branch Fishing Trip - June 14

The Branch fishing trip is scheduled For Sunday, June 14. There are a few tickets left. Cost: $30 pp, includes boat, all food and drinks. Call Bill Baitinger or Steve Lipski for further information or details.

LOW Issued Route Examiner

A regular supervisor at Somerdale was thrown off the route examination team and issued a proposed letter of warning in lieu of a 30-day time-off suspension because he allegedly did not record time-wasting practices on a carrier being inspected at the Atco office. Allegedly, the team leader and the Postmaster at Atco observed the carrier tapping mail, pacing, fanning the case, searching for addresses, making triple pumping motions and multiple withdrawals of mail from flat tubs which the supervisor did not record. The supervisor alleges that he did not see the time-wasting practices cited, and that his review of the Postmaster's pre-walk comment sheets did not mention the alleged time-wasting practices he allegedly observed.

Speaking With Forked Tongues

In accordance with a memo signed by the Postmaster General, the Deputy Postmaster General and the Chief Operating Office of the USPS, renewed emphasis must be placed on treating all employees with dignity and respect, and the corporate objective that all managers and supervisors must give the highest priority to compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the various Unions. Appropriate corrective action should be considered for any manager or supervisor who knowingly, or repeatedly, violates the clear terms of any of those agreements.

District Insists On Hiring "Cheap Labor"

District Management is taking the position that whenever a PTF is converted they have the right to hire or retain TE's even if no position is being withheld in an individual installation and the final target DPS percentage has been met. It is the position of' the Union that transitional employee entitlement is limited to whatever entitlement arises from withheld for exessing positions once management has reached their final target percentage in DPS. Accordingly, Shop Stewards are advised to file grievances when management hires or retains TE's after having reached the final target percentage in DPS.

TE Entrance Examination For Career Letter Carrier Appointment

Pursuant to the July 30, 1993, Memorandum of Understanding between the NALC and the USPS, any TE who has completed 180 days of service may request to take the entrance examination for career letter carrier appointment by asking for and completing a Transitional Employee Exam Request form letter that has been prepared by the South Jersey District Office. (Ref: SID:Personnel:CBD)

Branch Grievance Results

Voorhees - Proposed 7-day suspension remanded back to the parties for development of fact circumstances and possible resolution. (071297A)
Swedesboro - Four (4) full time carriers each will be paid $350 for failure to adjust routes within 52 days. The parties will meet in the near future to review the adjustments. (111197)
Gloucester - Letter of warning issued 11/14/97 has served its purpose. It is now removed and rescinded. (121597A)
Gloucester - The letter of warning issued 11/14/97 has served its purpose. It is now removed and rescinded. (121597B)
Voorhees - Letter of warning remanded back to the parties for development of fact circumstances and possible resolution (020298A)
Voorhees - Letter of warning is remanded back to the parties for development of fact circumstances and possible resolution. (020298D)
Atco - Letter of warning issued 2/19/98 is reduced to a discussion. (021998B)
Westville - Carrier's use of 40 hours AL changed to 40 hours SL for dependent care of pregnant wife. (041198)

Retirement Switching Season Scheduled

The Clinton Administration now appears to be backing away from its repeal of the CSRS and FERS open season scheduled for July 1 through December 31, 1998. During the retirement plan open season, employees under the Civil Service Retirem System (CSRS) can choose to transfer to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Stay tuned for any repeals of the open season by the Clinton Administration.

Thrift Savings Plan Returns

The plan's common stock (C) fund returned 5. 1 percent in March, for a 12-month return of 47.85 percent. The government securities (G) fund returned 0.50 percent, while the bond (F) fund returned 0.354 percent for a 12 month return of 6.56 and 11.94 percent, respectively. (Fed Emp. News Digest, April 3, 1998)

Branch Attorney

For free initial consultation and reduced costs for court representation call our Branch attorney, Hal Crass, at 845-7900. Hal's office is located at 59 N. Broad Street, Woodbury, NJ.

Legion Hall For Hire

One of the benefits of Branch membership is the hiring of the AL Hall where we meet at reduced rates for Branch Members. Call Bill Revak for further informations and details.