A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As most of you are aware OPM has come out with a list of vendors that are offering Vision and Dental benefits to Federal and Postal workers. These plans are non-contributory plans in which the insured pays 100% of the premium. The rates are determined on a state-by-state basis and are further bisected by regions within the state. Just to give you an idea of New Jersey rates, I chose the region (determined by zip codes) 080 to 084. These rates are biweekly:
Aetna  Single $13.36 Family $40.09
GEHA Std  Single $11.61 Family $34.82
GEHA High  Single $15.83 Family $47.48
Met Std  Single $8.69 Family $26.08
Met High  Single $14.55 Family $43.65
United C  Single $13.25 Family $39.75
All of these plans have different deductibles, benefits and maximum per person allowances. During open season you will receive detailed plan descriptions explaining the nuts and bolts of all the above plans.
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - October 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, October 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., except during the months of July and August.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings Wednesday - October 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, October 11, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $200

Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, September 20, James Mann, a Branch retiree out of the Riverton office, would have been the recipient of the $175 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $200 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

A little while back I posed the question, "Who is calling the shots at the district?" Well I think the new question should be, "Are they all "doing shots" at the district"? It appears to me that the latest lunacy directives coming out of this district cannot be given by anyone who is of a sound and sober mindset! The first ridiculous order of business is changing our cases from a four shelf configuration back to five shelves! Has anyone told these genius's that five shelves will slow the carrier down in the office? Everyone I have approached to explain this decision to me has not given a straight answer as to why the change, other than to say that is what they want! Everyone agrees this is a poor choice, but I guess are all afraid to challenge the higher ups on this stupid move.
The next brilliant decision concerns unaddressed circulars and line of travel mailings. The inspection "boys" have put a number of 50% on all line of travel mailings, i.e. Dell circulars, Kohl's, etc., that should be taken directly to the street on park and loop routes even if you skip 10 houses in a row. This is just another way to get us out of the office quicker. Who cares what kind of product the carriers have to deal with on the street, this is all about office time savings!
This gets even better brothers and sisters. Management states that if any routes start to exceed their normal street times when taking these circulars to the street, a partial street examination should be performed! Are they kidding me? You know full well it is going to take longer, a lot longer as I can see! Once again, we are being treated like ****! We are being disrespected once more because the DOIS driven nut cases will never let it go! All I can say is thanks for the extra cash you will be providing us; you know the holidays are coming soon!
Gary DiGiacomo, Vice President

Eagles Season Ticket Raffle

The Branch raised $1201 for COLCPE with our second annual raffle for a pair of season tickets to the Philadelphia Eagles. Unfortunately, the winner of the tickets was not from the Branch. But, in the long run, we are all winners with the money we raised for COLCPE. For those of us that didn't win the tickets, there's a phrase that we Philadelphia fans know all too well…..."just wait till next year".

Health Benefits Open Season

This year's open season for the FEHB runs from November 13 through December 11. During open season, you may enroll, change health plans or options or cancel your FEHB enrollment. You can download the 2007 FEHB Plan Rates on our web site at www.nalcbranch908.com/2007Postal.pdf.

NALC Health Benefit Plan Rates For 2007

Self Only Self & Family
Active Carriers (biweekly) $38.80 $60.85
Annuitants (monthly) $139.58 $257.77

OPM Offering Dental And Vision Insurance

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has awarded contracts to insurance carriers that will offer supplemental dental and vision benefits under the new Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. Following an extensive review, OPM has selected the Aetna Life Insurance Company, Government Employees Hospital Association, Inc. (GEHA), MetLife Inc., United Concordia Companies, Inc., Group Health, Inc., CompBenefits, and Triple-S, Inc. to offer dental benefits and BlueCross BlueShield Association, Spectera, Inc., and Vision Service Plan (VSP) to offer vision benefits.
"This new program, which becomes effective on December 31, gives federal employees additional healthcare choices," said OPM Director Linda M. Springer. "Employees may elect to enroll for dental benefits, vision benefits or both."
The program allows employees to use pre-tax dollars to pay for their vision and dental premiums. However, as specified by law, there is no federal government contribution.
The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004 was signed into law by President Bush on December 23, 2004. The Act requires OPM to establish arrangements under which supplemental dental and vision benefits will be made available to federal employees, retirees, and their dependents, and it gives OPM broad contracting authority to leverage the purchasing power of federal enrollees. The new supplemental dental and vision program will be offered during this year's Open Season, which begins November 13 and ends December 11.
Enrollment is only made through the website at www.BENEFEDS.com. Those without computer access should call 1-877-888-FEDS (1-877-888-3337). The TTY number is 1-877-889-5680.
For rates and more information, visit OPM's website at http://www.opm.gov/insure/DentalVision/index.asp.

Election Day - November 7

The following message is from NALC President Bill Young:
This November's election is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal midterm elections in history. Although this is a great opportunity to elect a pro-labor Congress, it cannot be done without the votes of each and every NALC member.
NALC supports pro-letter carrier Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But like millions of other Americans, I believe it is time for a change in Washington. For the vast majority of American workers, the country is clearly headed in the wrong direction. Quite simply, the pay, pensions and health insurance of millions of middle-class Americans are being undermined by a Congress and a national government that caters to Big Business interests. Letter carriers' interests are also threatened: Look no further than the Bush administration's recent efforts to tamper with the postal reform legislation. A worker-friendly Congress is desperately needed to help turn the situation around.
The gains we have achieved through collective bargaining can be reversed with the stroke of a pen if Congress enacts the wrong kind of postal reform or targets our benefits for budget cuts. Letter carriers realize that we need a Congress that respects working men and women and that balances their needs when developing legislation.
Your fellow city carriers who make up the 300,000-strong National Association of Letter Carriers are counting on you to vote on November 7, 2006, so be sure to register to vote and urge those who rely on you for support to do so as well. Together, we can help turn this country around for America's letter carriers, for your communities and for your families.
October 16 is the last day the New Jersey residents can register to vote in the upcoming election, please make sure that you and your family are registered and get out and vote. New Jersey voter registration forms can be downloaded from our web site at www.nalcbranch908.com/nj.pdf.

Thanks Branch 908!

Your thoughtfulness and support and greatly appreciated. - Nancy Chew and Family
Thank you very much for the beautiful funeral basket and your expressions of sympathy. It was greatly appreciated. - Joe Townsend and Family
Dear Branch 908 Members,
Let me begin by apologizing for my mistake in not thanking your branch much sooner. We received many generous donations and somehow, unintentionally, I missed writing to thank your branch. I take this time to ask your forgiveness and to thank you (Branch 908) for your donations. Branch 124 will be forever grateful for your generosity.
Sincerely,
Wayne Wharton
Branch President
-editors note: Branch 124 is the New Orleans, LA Branch and this note is in reference to the uniform and clothing drive that we did for them following Hurricane Katrina.

Welcome New Members

Our new members didn't make the newsletter last month, so theses are all of our new members since June. Welcome to Branch 908!
Leroy Blount Marlton
Reginald Carlton Blackwood
Deatrice D. Daniels Blackwood
Thomas S. Hasson Blackwood
Matthew D. Hedenberg Hammonton
Amy Marie Hosselrode West Berlin
Elizabeth Meyers Lawnside
Veneta A. Newkirk-Adams Marlton
Trudy S. Powe Marlton
Brandy J. Samuels Pennsville
William E. Sheperd II Deptford/Woodbury

Non Member Listing As Of 9/9/06

The following carriers are gladly going to take any raises that the NALC negotiates during this contract, but they don't feel that they should have to pay their share of the costs incurred by the NALC.
L. A. Stauffer (Atco) A. J. Spencer (Blackwood)
D. R. Sanders (Glassboro) D. E. King (Hammonton)
F. Doncheva (National Park) W. J. Lyons (Hammonton)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede) S. W. Bockman (Voorhees)
W. T. McAllister (Pennsville) M. E. Marley (Sewell)
T. P. Butler-Gaines (Stratford)

A Note On New Members

Please take note when any new carriers fill out form 1187 (Authorization for deduction of union dues) whether they work in your office or not, it is imperative to know if they are new hires or transferees from another craft before submission of form 1187 to the NALC. If we don't have this information stated on their 1187's and they transfer from another craft the NALC has no way of knowing, and the member will subsequently have both unions withholding dues from their paychecks. It is a huge inconvenience to the member, and they do not get reimbursed these extra deductions. Please contact Financial Secretary Paul Poniatowski when a new carrier arrives in your office.

Maureen DePrince Update

Maureen is continuing to improve at Magee Rehab in Philadelphia. The fundraiser at Adelphia's in Deptford was a big success, with a huge turnout. The is a beef and beer fundraiser coming up at the Colonial Manor Fire Hall in West Deptford on October 20. Check the Maureen page at www.nalcbranch908/maureen.html for more details and updates on her progress. We still have some "For Maureen" wristbands available for $5 each, contact Recording Secretary Norm Spence at webmaster@nalcbranch908.com to purchase.

Postal Reform Falls Short

Early this month we came within an eyelash of accomplishing our goal of enacting meaningful postal reform, at least in the Senate. In the final analysis, letter carriers could not support the bill that Senator Susan Collins was pursuing because it would have established a three-day waiting period for injured letter carriers before they could go on continuation of pay. We worked with allies in the Senate to block its consideration.
Bill Young phoned Postmaster General Jack Potter who informed him that he had communicated to both the Bush administration and to Senator Collins that the USPS did not want this bill to fail over the changes in workers' compensation. It was also reported that a small group of mailers had informed Senator Collins that they agreed with the Postmaster General on this issue. But the White House insisted on workers' compensation cuts. Senator Collins worked mightily to minimize the negative impact of these cuts, but in the end we could not go along with them.
It seems that, for the Bush administration, it is always easier to pick on those who are less fortunate than others. The nation's injured letter carriers and other postal employees were an easy mark.
NALC sought to hold up the Senate bill because of the COP issue, but it is very unlikely that reform would have advanced through the House of Representatives. No conference committee was ever established and the bill that nearly passed the Senate was essentially a new version of the bill that none of our allies in the House, Democrat or Republican, had even seen. Although NALC acted to halt progress in the Senate, other parties had problems with the legislation as well. The Postal Service was rebuffed in attempts to add "banding" language that would have built more flexibility into the proposed rate indexing system, and the APWU opposed the bill's work-sharing rules, among other provisions.
It is very sad that an issue like OWCP could derail this important legislation on the Senate side. Passage was made more difficult because we were working against the clock. Perhaps after the recess we can reconvene the parties and attempt to iron out the sticking points.
We have maintained from the very beginning that our Union would not support just any version of postal reform. It has to be the right bill, and we will continue to work with all parties who remain interested in adopting meaningful postal reform.