A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I'm sure most of you are aware that the NALC has formally started contract negotiations with the Postal Service. President Young and the National Executive Council will meet with Postal Service Representatives and discuss changes concerning every article of the National Agreement. Once the house cleaning of the National Agreement nears completion, the wage and benefit package hits the table. It's at this point you'll know how much the Postal Service appreciates your contribution. It is the NALC's hope the Postal Service will recognize that Letter Carriers's are the visible backbone of a faceless service industry. Letter Carrier's are the Postal Service and should be compensated accordingly. If the Postal Service fails to recognize this fact, the NALC is prepared to go forward to binding arbitration. Any updates I receive will be passed along to your shop stewards or communicated at the branch meetings. See you at the September meeting.
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Welcome Back - Next Meeting - September 20

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 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 - September 13

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 13, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $175

Had she been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, June21, Krista Ray, a member of the Branch out of the Williamstown office, would have been the recipient of the $150 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $175 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

When justice isn't being served properly, I feel it is my duty and obligation as your union representative to let you know what is going on around you within this district. During the summer months we had a couple of cases, which we believe were not ruled on properly by the DRT regarding discipline. Without getting into the office and names or the nuts and bolts of the case, which I believe isn't necessary to publish; we believe the DRT missed the boat completely on these two cases. The crux of the case dealt with management issuing an emergency placement and a subsequent removal letter to an employee for an alleged threat of violence during a pre-disciplinary interview. Whenever management issues discipline the burden of proof is on them to prove misconduct has occurred, or so I thought! I guess the rules have changed within this district's DRT process, because management could not prove their case but lo and behold the DRT was able to give management a piece of the pie anyway by still imposing a 7-day loss of pay suspension to the employee even though there was no proof that the alleged misconduct took place. The reason I am so disgusted and infuriated by these two decisions is the future repercussions this could have on our membership. If management is allowed to make statements and accusations without proof, then the entire due process rights of all employees may be jeopardized in any future discipline case. We are in the process of appealing these two cases to the Business Agent and the National for their review. I don't expect much will come of our appeal, but as long as I have a say on matters within this branch, I will continue to stay vigilant when I believe our member's rights have been violated.
Gary DiGiacomo - Vice President

Membership Pin Issued

At the June Branch meeting Pat Penza, a retired member out of the Runnemede office received his 40-year membership pin. Congratulations and thank you to Pat for all of his years of service. The NALC Constitution provide that: "When receiving proper notification by the Branch Secretary that a member has completed twenty-five (25) years, or thirty (30) years, or thirty-five (35) years, or forty (40) years, and forty-five (45) years of membership, the National Association of Letter Carriers shall provide a suitable lapel pin for such member". If you believe that you have attained the requisite amount of year's membership for the receipt of a suitable lapel pin, contact Branch membership chairman Paul Poniatowski at Paul@nalcbranch908.com .

Our Newest Gold Card Member

At the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on June 21, Cliff Rhone, retired member out of the Woodbury office was awarded his Gold Card. The NALC national Constitution provides that upon completion of 50 years membership in the NALC a member shall be given a Life Membership card of gold which shall entitle them to all of the privileges of membership in the NALC without the payment of dues, per capita tax, or special assessments from the date of issue. Congratulations to Cliff!
If any member feels that he has earned his Gold Card contact Paul Poniatowski, membership chairman, at Paul@nalcbranch908.com .

Branch Scholarship Winner

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 21. The winner was Laurel Laluk, the daughter of Joe Laluk, a Branch member and Shop Steward out of the Maple Shade office. The alternate winner was Amanda Renee Wright, the daughter of Laymon E. Wright, a Branch member working out of the Bridgeton office.

Annual Branch Picnic - Cancelled

The annual Branch Picnic that was to be held on Sunday, August 27 at Clementon Lake Park and Splash World, was unfortunately cancelled due to severe weather. The park contacted Branch Picnic Chairman Jim Livingston on Sunday morning and informed him that due to the threat of severe storms and high winds, they would not be opening the park at all. The only Sunday rain date that they could give us was Sunday, September 3. That being Labor Day weekend, we did not think we would get a decent turnout. Luckily for us, they called just as Jim was preparing to go pick up all of the food. So we didn't lose any money there and they will hold our deposit for next year.

FMLA

Branch FMLA Coordinator Fred Mendel asks Branch members to please remember that when you submit your 3971 for FMLA, if you put anything in the remarks box, make sure that it is directly related to the condition for which you are approved. Your best bet is to leave that box blank.

In Memoriam

Dave Saunders - Active carrier out of the Maple Shade office.
Samuel Hatcher Jr. - Son of Samuel Hatcher, retiree out of the Salem office.
Manuela Pagaduan - Mother of Rodel Pagaduan, out of the Magnolia office.
Lillian Townsend - Mother of Joe Townsend, out of the Bellmawr office.
Frank Silipino - Active carrier out of the Hammonton office.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families at this difficult time.

Congratulations Bill Lucini

William J. Lucini, Branch 157, Philadelphia, PA was nominated without opposition and thereby reelected by acclamation as the Region 12 National Business Agent. Branch 908 congratulates Bill and looks forward to working with him during this term.

65th Biennial Convention

This year Branch 908 sent 21 delegates to Las Vegas, NV for the 65th Biennial National Convention of the NALC. All delegates attended all of the general sessions as well as attending several workshops each before and after the sessions. Workshops attended included: health benefits, publications, private sector labor, branch trustee training, OWCP, 21st century Postal Service, MBA, legislation, secretary-treasurer training, congressional district liaisons, privatization, processing successful grievances, campaign training, contract administration, food drive, TSP, record keeping, retirement, MDA, EAP, COLCPE, customer connect, and safety. Hopefully all of the delegates came home with more ways to help our membership. The 66th Biennial Convention will be held July 21 - 25, 2008 in Boston, MA.

Help A Fellow Carrier In Need

Ventnor, NJ NALC Branch 370 Letter Carrier Maureen DePrince is in need of our help.
Maureen, 38, a Letter Carrier for 13 years, was delivering her route in Ventnor, on July 24, 2006 when the unimaginable happened. She had just finished a relay and was behind her Postal mini van waiting for traffic to clear so she could enter the vehicle when she was struck by an "alleged" drunk driver. He hit her with such force that the van was pushed up onto the sidewalk, with Maureen pinned between the vehicles. The impact severed one leg, the other had to be taken later at the hospital. Off duty fire fighter Kevin Howarth happened to be passing by on his way to the beach when the accident occurred and was able to immediately start first aid and most likely he saved Maureen's life.
The driver of the car, Allan Miller fled the scene of the accident on foot but was quickly apprehended and has been charged with assault with a motor vehicle, vehicular assault while under the influence within 1,000 feet of a school zone, leaving the scene of an accident in which there is serious bodily injury, DWI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. He was lodged in Atlantic County jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, a judge later raised it to $100,000.
Maureen is making great progress, but there is still a long way to go.
Delegates at the National Convention in Las Vegas took up a collection and raised about $47,000, which will be matched by the National headquarters bringing the total to $94,000. That is a nice start, but Maureen is still going to need more help. Branch 370 has set up a fund to receive direct contributions:

Maureen DePrince Benefit Fund
Atlantic City Firemen's Federal Credit Union
PO Box 413
Northfield, NJ 08225-0413

Cards and letters of support may be sent to:

Maureen DePrince Family
c/o USPS
PO Box 2750
Ventnor, NJ 08406-2750

We have set up a web page on our site for Branch 370 to keep everyone updated on Maureen's condition as well as upcoming fundraisers, visit the page at nalcbranch908.com/Maureen.html
We have "For Maureen" wristbands available for $5 each, with all proceeds going to Maureen. They are Postal Blue in color.
Contact Recording Secretary Norm Spence at webmaster@nalcbranch908.com to purchase wristbands.

Negotiations For New National Agreement Open

On August 28, 2006 negotiations began for a new National Agreement. The current contract expires on November 20, 2006, the same date as the contracts for the APWU (clerks), NRLCA (rural carriers), and the NPMHU (mail handlers).
NALC National President Bill Young outlined the union's broad aims at an Executive Council meeting in Washington in June: "Our goal is a negotiated agreement with general wage increases that reward city carriers for their significant contributions to the success of the USPS in recent years." President Young went on to stress that NALC looks forward to the continuation of the current COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) clause and that "we will vigorously resist any attempt to shift the burden of health care costs from the Postal Service to our members."

School's Open
Please Watch For Children!!

Final Cola For This Contract

The eighth and final cost of living adjustment for the 2001 - 2006 National Agreement becomes effective on September 2nd, with a pay date of September 22nd. The COLA is $790 annually or 38 cents per hour or $30.40 per pay period. This COLA raises the annual pay for a top rate carrier to $49,218, an increase of $6,583 or $253.19 per pay period since the beginning of this contract. The COLA's have accounted for over 50% of the total salary increase received by letter carriers. This is why National President Bill Young has repeatedly stated that he will not accept a new contract that does not include a new COLA clause. Now, seeing as how every carrier is going to be receiving a $30.40 raise per pay, this would be the perfect time for you to start giving $5 a pay to COLCPE. If you started giving $5 per pay now, to help make sure that there is going to be a Postal Service for us all to retire from, you would still be getting a $25.40 raise every pay. How can anyone say that they would miss that $5 when you've never gotten it? If you need assistance signing up for COLCPE automatic deductions, you can go to our website at http://nalcbranch908.com/checkoff.htmlor feel free to contact any of your Branch Officers and we'll be happy to help you.