Branch 908 October 2000 Newsletter

Next Meeting - October 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be on Wednesday, October 18, 8 p.m. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, except for the months of July & August.

Branch Officers & Executive Board Meeting - October 11

The Branch 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 the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, October 11.

Attendance Prize - $50

G Hampton, a retiree out of the Penns Grove Post Office, would have been the winner of the $25 attendance prize for the September meeting had be been in attendance. The prize now goes to $50 for October, and increases in increments of $25 monthly until someone's name in attendance at a regular monthly meeting is drawn. The prize increases to a maximum of $250. Branch Officers and/or Shop Stewards are not eligible.

Local Negotiations - October 1 to 31

Article 30 of the National Agreement permits NALC branches to engage in negotiations with local postal officials over certain work rules and other terms and conditions of employment. Article 30 lists 22 subject items which the parties may negotiate locally. The parties are free to negotiate on other subjects as well, so long as nothing in the local agreement is inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of 1998 National Agreement. Branch Shop Stewards have been authorized to negotiate local agreements at offices represented by Branch 908.

Health Benefit Plan Open Season
November 13 to December 11

Mark your calendar, this year's Open Season for health benefit plan choices is from November 13 to December 11. This is the perfect time for all active UNION members to join the NALC Health Benefit Plan, a plan that is owned and operated by your Union. The NALC Health Benefit Plan has been there for letter carriers for fifty years, it is the best health benefits' plan for the money and will continue to serve you in the years to come. For further info contact Health Benefits Officer Fred Mendel.

NALC Health Benefit Plan Rates

Despite the continued increase in medical costs, the NALC Health Benefits Plan has been able to reduce the rate for active letter carriers with families for three straight years:
              Self Only            Self & Family

Active Carriers     $33.38 (+ $.74)     $58.57 (- $2.32)
 Annuitants         $106.19 (+ $4.64)    $203.49 (+ $2.73)
        Active (bi-weekly)  Annuitants (monthly) 

Election Day - Tuesday, November 7
Get Out and Vote

The most important election of your lifetime may be on November 7, 2000. The defining issues of the election -- the pending threat to Medicare, Social Security, patients rights, prescription drug protection, and 65 years of social progress.
Don't miss this election, get out, register and vote.

AFL-CIO Labor 2000
Official Endorsements

This year the Southern NJ AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is supporting 24 candidates including 12 Union members seeking office:

National                  President       Al Gore
                                Vice President  Joe Lieberman
New Jersey                        Senator         Jon Corzine
                                House of Rep    Robert Andrews (1st Dist)
                                House of Rep    Frank LoBiondo (2nd)
                                House of Rep    Susan Bass Levine (3rd)
Camden County                     Freeholder      Helen Albright *
                                Freeholder      Jeffrey Nash
                                Freeholder      Tom Gurick
                                Clerk           James Beach
                                Sheriff         Michael McLaughlin
                                Surrogate       Patricia Eagan Jones
Magnolia                        Council         Don Wilson *
Gloucester County               Freeholder        Robert Damminger *
                                Freeholder      Bill Krebs                      
                                Freeholder      Warren Wallace
                                Sheriff         Gill Miller
Mantua                          Council         Lorraine Beckett  *
                                Council         Walter Lenkowski  *
Wahington Twsp                  Mayor           Randee Davidson
                                Council         Dave Bruce *
                                Council         John Maier
West Deptford                   Council         Janice Hauser *
Woodbury Hts                    Council         Duane Pheasant *
                                Council         Russell Naylor *
Cumberland County               Freeholder        Donna Pearson *
                                Freeholder      Louis Magazzu
Salem County                      Freeholder      Charles Pitt *
                                Freeholder      Andrew Rhea
Penns Grove                     Council         Rose Ann Chiaccio *
                    * = Labor Candidates

Election Day Assistance Needed

Donna Villec, Vice President of the Burlington County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, is seeking Branch members assistance to man election phone banks, stuff envelopes, and to drive voters to the polls on election day . Donna is an active Branch member and letter carrier at the Riverton Post Office. Contact John Vito to help in Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem counties.

Paper Suspensions Begin October 15

President Sombrotto has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Postal Service regarding Article 16 of the National Agreement to replace loss of time or pay suspensions of 14 days or less with paper suspensions effective October 15 and lasting through the remainder of the 1998-2001 National Agreement. According to the Memorandum, employees issued discipline involving suspensions of fourteen days or less will remain on duty during the term of the suspension with no loss in pay. These disciplinary actions shall, however, be considered to be of the same degree of seriousness and satisfy the same corrective steps in the pattern of progressive discipline as the time-off suspensions. Such suspensions are equivalent to time-off suspensions and may be cited as elements of past discipline in subsequent discipline in accordance with Article 16.10.

Letters Of Demand - Pay Anomaly/NALC Contract Overpayments

Where letters of demand are issued, request from management a "detailed written explanation" and "documentation" of why and how they believe the letter of demand is justified. If they cannot produce the information to justify it, then grievances should be filed under Article 28 of the National Agreement, within 14 days and forward a copy along with the information with a PS Form 3074 to Finance to officially object and stop Payroll from beginning any deductions. Also when appealing to Step 3, please include all relevant information to the NBA's office. (Timothy C. O'Malley, NBA)

New District Manager Appointed

Elwood Mosely, District Manager, South Jersey, has left the Postal Service. He is being replaced by Bill Bothwell, Manager, Delivery Policies and Programs, at headquarters, who will act as the District Manager. Bothwell has served as Manager, Delivery Program Support, Northeast Area, Postmaster of Nashua, NH, and Postal Inspector in Washington, DC.

Merger Of Rural Letter Carriers With NALC
"Not In My Lifetime"

The Postal Employees News Digest of September 11 quoted the President of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association of having said "not in my lifetime" to the idea of the rurals merging with the NALC. However, he did confirm that there would be meetings with the American Postal Workers Union to discuss their "areas of mutual concern."

Annual Branch Picnic

Bill Baitinger and his wife, Sandy, would like to thank all the officers and shop stewards and their families who helped out at the Branch Picnic on Sunday, September 12. 348 people came to enjoy rides, food and drink. Justine Wilson won the letter carrier doll (mail kid without a face) donated by Sandy Baitinger, which was chanced off for $56. Sandy donated the money to COLCPE. The 50/50 chance was won by Kathy Shelton. The chance raised $44 for COLCPE. The Horse Shoe Tournament winners were Theresa Barnett and Vicki Miller - $26. The Branch owes a sincere debt of gratitude to Bill and Sandy Baitinger, without whom the picnic would not be the success it was. Thanks Sandy and Bill!!

Annual Branch Fishing Trip

The annual fishing trip was huge success. August 20 saw Bud Dermond win the pool for the largest fish, a very big weakie, followed by large flounders by Steve Lipski, Mrs Pat Gallagher, and Joe Laluk. A Good time was had by all.

Welcome New Members

B DeCesaro - Gibbstown
D M Taylor - Woodstown
T N Wright - Woodstown
T M Ambrosius - Clayton

Mutual Trade Desired

A letter carrier from Kent, Washington, desires a mutual trade to South Jersey. If you might be interested, contact Zena O'Donell, 253-226-7900 (mobile), 253-770-7364 (home). zena@hotmail.com or zena@draegernet.com

Postmaster General Favors Privatization

Postmaster General Henderson's support of privatization of the Postal Service has never been more blatant. In a recent speech he stated "we need commercial freedoms, including market based pricing and the ability to generate income from investment, whether we call it deregulation, privatization, or liberalization..." He also supports HR 22 which would effectively limit wage increases for postal workers, but he favors eliminating the cap on salaries for higher level postal managers.
(The Communicator)

Vote On Additional Convention Delegate Expenses Possible

A few of the Branch National Convention Delegates who feel that the $560 spending money given them by the Branch for their stay in Chicago for the week of the Convention was not enough to cover the $27 round-trip cost of getting them to and from the airport in Chicago, have submitted requests for reimbursement of the $27 to the Branch trustees who will make their recommendations for or against such reimbursement at the Branch meeting on October 18.

Branch Grievance Results

Runnemede - Letter of warning to be removed if grievant produces documentation. (091500)
Runnemede - Letter of warning to be reduced to discussion if grievant maintains satisfactory attendance for period of 6 months. (090700)
Woodbury - Letter of warning for seatbelt infraction reduced to a discussion. (040999)
Woodbury - 9/3/99 letter of warning for delay of mail expunged 9/3/00.
Woodbury - 12/21/99 7-day suspension for failure to perform in a safe manner reduced to letter of warning.
Woodbury - 6/19/00 14-day suspension for failure to follow safety rules reduced to 7-day suspension, no loss of pay.
Blackwood - Hiring of casuals in lieu of PTF. The parties agree to hold the case at the local level pending the outcome of the national case, #G94N-4G-C 00036546 and B94N-4-C 96047437. (050797)
Woodbury - 5/29/99 letter of warning for failure to perform in a safe manner removed from OPF 12/3/00 providing no subsequent discipline of a similar nature. (072999)
Woodbury - 14-day suspension reduced to paper suspension, no loss of pay. Will be removed from OPF 12/1/00 providing no discipline between 8/30/00 and 12/1/00. (080999)
Woodbury - 14-day suspension for failure to perform in a safe manner reduced to paper suspension, no loss of pay. (041399)
Bridgeton - 6/7/99 letter of warning issued for failure to perform in a safe manner will be pulled from OPF 8/30/00)
Blackwood - Grievant paid 5.78 hours annual for denial to attend funeral. (123199)
Blackwood - 3 carriers paid 1 hour OT for not assigning OT work to OTDL carriers in order to avoid payment of penalty OT. (050100)
Blackwood - OTDL carriers to be paid overtime for 204-b doing carrier work. (060700)
Blackwood - OTDL carrier to be paid penalty OT for forcing non-OTDL carrier to work OT while a 12-hour OTDL carrier was available for the OT. (082100A)

If You Haven't Registered To Vote, You Have Till October 10 To Do So. You Owe It To Yourself And Your Family To Get Out And Vote On November 7