A Note From the President

I hope that everyone has had an enjoyable and safe Summer. There are many things facing the Branch when we meet in September. Local negotiations training will be held in September for Branch Officers and Shop Stewards. Members should contact their Shop Steward if they have topics they wish to discuss during this period. In addition, sometime in November, the Branch will be running a Casino bus trip and a cocktail hour to benefit COLCPE. Furthermore, the Branch will attempt to establish a grievance oversight committee that will meet once a week to troubleshoot all Branch grievances. This will necessitate an overhaul of the Branch office in order to provide tech support for the team. These are only a few of the items facing the Branch as we meet in September. Please come out to the Branch meeting to express your views.
Steve Lipski, President

Welcome Back !
Next Meeting - September 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, September 18, 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 Officers & Shop Stewards Meeting - September 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, September 11, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $75

Had he been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, June 19, S L Murphy, a Branch member working out of the Pitman office, would have been the winner of the $50 attendance prize. The prize now goes up to $75 for the drawing at the September 18 meeting.

Branch Scholarship Winner - Elyse Budesa

Drawing for the annual Branch Scholarship of $500 for each of 4 years, or $2000, for continuing education after high school, took place at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, June 19. The winner was Elyse Budesa, the daughter of Fred Budesa, a Branch member out of the Blackwood office. The alternate winner was Mark Nickollof, the son of Mark Nickollof, a Branch member working out of the Maple Shade office.

Long Term Care Insurance Open Season
July 1 to December 31

A regular "open season" for long term care insurance (LTC) will be conducted from July 1 to December 31, 2002.

National Convention Resolutions

The Branch submitted three (3) resolutions for the consideration of NALC delegates assembled at the National Convention in Philadelphia during the week of August 19 to 23, 2002. One of the resolutions requested that the Dispute Resolution Step B representatives be housed at other than the administration offices of the Postal Service or the Union. The second requested that the NALC do everything in its powers to change Section 436 of the ELM, which now provides that an employee must seek other employment and that the back pay awarded an employee for an unjust or unwarranted personnel action be offset by the amount an employee earned in such other employment during the term of the unjust or unwarranted personnel action. The third resolution requested that the delegates in attendance at the convention in Philadelphia join with the Branch in denouncing the recent federal court's senseless and ridiculous decision, which declared the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional because of the words "under God." At the convention, the NALC Executive Council recommended disapproval of the Step B representative housing change, and the pledge of allegiance resolutions, and the convention, by way of a majority vote, voted to uphold the Council's disapproval.

Branch Picnic Canceled

The annual Branch picnic, scheduled for Sunday, September 15, has been canceled. The Branch was notified on Sunday, September 1, by Clementon Lake Park that due to poor planning and heavy rains, they could not accommodate us on September 15, and they gave us September 8 as a replacement date. After discussing the situation, the Branch decided that with less than one week's notice, it would be in our best interests to cancel the picnic. This is not the first time that Clementon Lake Park has screwed us over, and we would like to have the opinions of the membership as to where to have this event in the future. Sorry!

Purge Of Letters Of Warning

According to a Memo Of Understanding between the USPS and the NALC under date of April 25, 2002, there will be a one-time purge of official Disciplinary Letters of Warning from the personnel files of all employees represented by the NALC. To qualify for purging, such LOW must have been issued prior to the effective date of the 2001 National Agreement. They must have been in effect 6 months and not cited as an element of prior discipline in any subsequent disciplinary action. The LOW must not have been issued in lieu of a suspension or a removal action, and all grievances associated with discipline purged as a result of the Memo shall be withdrawn.

Employment Opportunity For TEs

According to a Memo Of Understanding between the USPS and the NALC under date of April 25, 2002, TEs currently on the rolls who have completed 180 days of employment are eligible to take an "Entrance Test" for City Letter Carrier. Eligible TEs interested must submit their request to be tested to their local Personnel Office before November 20, 2002, at which time the Memo expires.

Military Leave Change

As a result of changes to 517.53 and 517.71 of the Employee and Labor Relations Manual, effective fiscal year 2002 (9/8/2001), nonworkdays will not be charged against paid military leave regardless of whether they fall within a period of absence or fall in the beginning and end of an active duty status.

Photo ID Now Required

The United States Postal Service has issued regulations requiring every Postal employee be issued, wear and physically display a PS Form 4098-F, Employee Identification or equivalent photo I.D. card, while officially employed on the workroom floor or serving customers outside postal facilities. The cards will not display any part of an employees' social security numbers.

Earnings Limitations For Disability Retirees

The retirement law limits the amount of outside income a disability retiree under age 60 can earn before losing his or her disability retirement benefit. The retiree's earning capacity is considered restored and the disability benefit terminates if, in any one calendar year, the retiree's income from wages or self-employment is at least 80% of the current rate of pay for the position from which he or she retired. Subsequent to the upgrade of letter carriers to the new NALC Grades 1 and 2, OPM advised that the equivalent grade and step of the new pay scale would be the benchmark for determining earnings limitations for carriers who retired under the old Grades 5 and 6. Now, OPM has determined that the correct application of the law provides in part that when the grade and step of a position has been modified subsequent to retirement by reclassification or other action, the grade and step in effect at the time of retirement will control. The bottom line is that disability retirees who retired under the old Grade 5 and 6 positions will be restricted to a little less outside income than originally estimated if they want to keep their disability retirement benefit.

Employee Survey

The NALC has been notified that the Postal Service plans to conduct a survey to gain feedback to help improve internal communication in the Postal Service. The survey will assess employee perceptions on postal communication in general, and the anthrax crisis and transformation efforts, specifically. Our National Business Agent's office has advised that the survey is a "unilateral" action by the USPS. The employee may complete the survey on the clock. It takes 10-15 minutes, and is voluntary.

Congratulations - Tim O'Malley

Timothy C. O'Malley, Branch 157, Philadelphia, PA, was nominated without opposition to continue on as NALC National Business Agent for Region 12 (Philadelphia). Congratulations, Tim, and best wishes for a successful and healthy term of office.

Financial Fruits of New National Agreement

Pay Period 18 (8/10-23) - First payment of the 1.8 percent initial wage increase.
9/27 Paycheck - One-time cost of living adjustment (projected at $296) based on July 2002 CPI to cover inflation since October, 2001.
10/11 paycheck - Retroactive payment of 1.8 percent wage increase back to November 17, 2001.
11/16 - Next regular wage increase (1.5 percent) under the new National Agreement.

Uniform Allowance Increases

Employees covered by the new National Agreement who are eligible to receive annual clothing allowances, are entitled to an annual uniform allowance increase from $298 to $328 per annum effective on those uniform allowance anniversary dates occurring on or after November 21, 2001. Newly eligible employees entering the uniform program will receive an additional credit to the employee's allowance of $76 if entitled to $328 per annum.

Lunch Period After 6 Hours Work

A pre-arbitration settlement agreement signed by the parties under the date of April 18, 1985, provides in part that where service conditions permit, an employee may request to schedule their lunch period after the completion of 6 hours work, and that the determination to grant such a request will be made on a case by case basis. (M-00093)

Branch Grievance Results

Deptford - The Merit Systems Protection Board reversed the removal action taken against a carrier at Deptford which was based on a charge of the improper disposition of mail in a UBBM hamper. The Administrative Judge ordered that the removal be canceled, that the appellant be retroactively restored, and that he paid all back pay and benefits.
Pitman - An arbitrator has ruled that the Postal Service did not conduct the adjustments of the routes at Pitman, subsequent to a special count and inspection, in accordance with the provisions of the M-39, and directed that the Postal Service pay each carrier one hour at the straight time rate for every day that employees worked overtime beginning January 24, 2000, until the first route count, inspection and adjustment after that date.
Bridgeton - In accordance with a pre-arb settlement agreement, 14 carrier grievants at the Bridgeton office will each receive a lump sum payment of $350 as a result of the improper adjustment of routes at that office.

Anthracis Bacillis

The Postal Service, under guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and local Public Health Services, agreed to allow antibiotics and vaccinations to be prescribed by the CDC and PHS to Postal employees either as treatment for exposure to anthrax or to serve as a prophylaxis. An employee who suspects adverse effects arising from the administration of antibiotics or vaccine must immediately report the reaction to Postal management, call the CDC Hotline at 1-800-696-1545, and be seen immediately by either Postal medical personnel or by a community based medical provider. (2/12/02 USPS Memo)

Local Negotiations - October 1-30, 2002

Local negotiations for a new Memo of Understanding between the parties at the local level or an extension of the present local agreement are scheduled to take place during the period October 1-30, 2002. Branch members who would like to suggest possible changes to their local MOU should contact their Shop Stewards ASAP.

Welcome! New Members

Erin C. Gattone Atco David J. Cullen Riverton
Mike Breslin Riverton Robert J. Auger Wenonah
Steve Purdy Riverton Robert J. Headley, Jr. Bridgeton
A. Caban Maple Shade Jeff Swanson Runnemede
Kenneth DePrince Blackwood

Branch Retirees Retain NALC Membership

The following Branch members, recently retired from the Postal Service, have opted to retain their NALC membership with the Branch:
Dale H. Smiley Peter Dombroski John R. Mader
Riverton Salem Gloucester

State Association Golf Tournament
September 30, 2002

The NJ State Association of Letter Carriers will hold their annual Martin Seitz-Gabe Beatrice golf tournament at the Mercer Oaks Golf Course on Monday, September 30, 2002. The cost of $85 pp includes greens fees, carts, refreshments at turn, award banquet, and prizes. Deadline for registration is September 20, 2002. For registration forms, contact Bill Revak.