A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I'm fairly certain that the proposed National Agreement will be ratified by the time you read this article. With the implementation of this agreement everyone's work life will change forever. Management will have an unfettered right to hire as many Transitional employees as they see fit. Management's only restrictions are that they don't exceed a 3.5% cap nationally or a 6% cap in any district. For instance, if the Marlton installation is running at 23% overtime and management wants to get it down to 2%, all they would have to do is flood it with TE's. Everyone in this Branch must face the fact that work life will exist without the benefit of overtime. Previous to this agreement, management struggled with the decision to pay overtime or hire additional PTF's and pay the bennies. With the implementation of a "two tier workforce", management is forever relieved of this dilemma. Please attend the next union meeting for any last minute updates on our agreement.
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - September 19

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, September 19, 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 12

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 12, 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, June 20, Diane Goetz, a member out of the Bridgeton 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.

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 20. The winner was R. J. Senavilla, the son of Lynn Senavilla, a Branch member out of the Riverton office. The alternate winner was Lauren Cain, the daughter of Dawn Cain, a Branch member working out of the Marlton office.

Proposed Changes To Branch Constitution and By-Laws Passed

The two proposed By-Law changes that both dealt with adding an additional meeting for the Board of Trustees were opened up for discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, June 20, 2007. They were both subsequently voted upon and unanimously passed.

Notice of Nominations and Election of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates

This is to provide official notice that nominations for the election of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates for the term 2008 thru 2009 shall take place at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, October 17, 2007. Elections shall be by secret mail ballot of the eligible Branch membership held as soon as possible after nominations at the October regular monthly meeting. Nominations shall be made from the meeting room floor or in writing to the Branch Recording Secretary, mailed or presented to him/her prior to or at the October regular Branch meeting. Each eligible member of the Branch nominated for office shall accept or reject nomination in writing prior to the adjournment of the October regular monthly Branch meeting. Failure to accept nomination for Branch office prior to adjournment of the October regular Branch meeting will invalidate the nomination. Shop Stewards shall be nominated by an eligible Branch member from the office at which the nominee is employed to represent the Branch membership. Installation of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates shall take place at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch in January. Offices up for election include that of the Branch President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Assistant Recording Secretary, Trustees' Chairman, Trustees (4), Health Benefits Representative, Housing Chairperson, Sgt. at Arms, Shop Stewards (38) and approximately (36) Convention Delegates. The number of Convention Delegates to be compensated for their attendance at a State or National Convention, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for such compensation, shall not exceed three (3) percent of the total Branch membership.

Our New National Agreement

As I write this, the votes have not yet been tallied, however, I am sure that by the time you read this, our tentative agreement will have been ratified by the membership. So, here are the highlights of the agreement:
Wage and Salary Provisions: Under the terms of the agreement, all letter carriers will receive five general wage increases over the span of the 2006-2011 contract period, each calculated as a percentage of the basic salaries in effect at the end of the 2001-2006 National Agreement. A date for issuing payments for the 1.4% retroactive to November 25, 2006 for full back pay (including overtime and other premium pay hours) will be announced in the future.
Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA): The formula for calculating the semi-annual cost-of-living adjustments has not changed, but sets the May 2007 Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) as the "base month index" for future COLA payments. In lieu of the COLA that would have been accrued under the formula from July 2006 to May 2007, the agreement call for a one-time cash payment of $686, which will not be rolled into carriers' basic annual pay. The agreement calls for a total of nine COLA increases over the life of the contract, the first of which scheduled for September; we've been told there was a decline, so there will be no COLA in September.
Only carriers in a pay status during the pay period immediately prior to the effective date of the cash payment will be eligible for it. Those in full-time regular positions would receive the full amount, while hourly rate employees (PTFs and PTRs) would get a payment based on the number of paid hours in the 26 pay periods prior to the payment's effective date and will be paid according to the following schedule:
Number of Paid Hours Percent of Cash Payment
1500+ hours 100 percent
1000-1499 hours 75 percent
500-999 hours 50 percent
1-499 hours 25 percent
Health Insurance Premiums: The agreement increases the carriers' share of health benefit payments by 5% over the life of the contract. The Postal Service will continue to pay 85% in 2007 and 2008, then pay 83% in 2009, 82% in 2010, 81% in 2011, and 80% in 2012.
Transitional Employees: The contract abolishes the use of casuals in the City Carrier craft and replaces them with Transitional Employees (TEs). TEs will be limited to a 3.5% cap nationally and a 6% cap per district. It also allows an additional 8,000 TEs to be hired for FSS impact.
Uniform Allowance: The current uniform allowance of $328 will rise 2.5% annually over five years to $371. The one-time new carrier additional allowance will rise from the current $76 to $86 over five years.
New Article 32 Protections on Subcontracting: The proposed contract includes new protections against contracting out city carrier work. These new protections, the first of their kind since the 1973 National Agreement, are contained in two new Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). One prohibits outsourcing of any existing city delivery services during the term of the contract and the other establishes a national Joint Committee on subcontracting that will seek to "develop a meaningful evolutionary approach to the issue of subcontracting" to address the outsourcing of new delivery points. As the Committee does its work, there will be a six-month moratorium on "any new subcontracting in offices in which city letter carriers are currently employed.
Other Provisions: The tentative agreement includes a wide variety of additional provisions. These include but are not limited to the following:

Branch Picnic Another Success

On August 26 the Branch held it's annual picnic at Clementon Lake Park. It was a hot and humid day that threatened thunderstorms, but luckily, the rain never came. We had a total of 173 tickets sold, and I didn't hear a complaint from anybody. There was plenty of food and cold beverages for everyone and between the amusement rides and the water park, most everyone managed to stay cool. Picnic Chairman Jim Livingston did his usual great job organizing this year's event and he would like to thank the following people without whom the day would not have come off as well as it did: Gary DiGiacomo, Norm Spence, Tom Barnett, Jim Comuso, Fred Mendel and Mike Louden. Special thanks also go out to Laura Livingston, Trudy Spence, Clinie Barnett, and Jeanie Mendel for all of their help. We hope to see everyone again next year!

CIGNA To Become NALC HBP Provider In 2008

The NALC Health Benefit Plan has announced that CIGNA HealthCare will be the new network provider for doctors and hospitals for Plan members beginning January 2008.
Members should take a moment to check the NALC Health Benefit Plan website at www.nalc.org/depart/hbp to verify that your doctors are in the new network. For those without access to the Internet, call the HBP at 877-220-NALC(6252) to verify your doctor's participation.
If your doctor is part of the new network, you should inform him or her in January that NALC HBP has changed to the CIGNA HealthCare Shared Administration Network, and provide him or her with a copy of the new membership card that you will receive later in the year.
If your doctor is not part of the network, download a "Nomination Form" from the website or write to the HBP to receive a hard copy. Once the form is returned, the HBP will submit it to CIGNA for possible consideration to the network. However, there is no guarantee that your doctor will become part of the network. In addition, the HBP recommends finding a doctor in your area who is part of the new network in order to have an alternative planned in advance of the new year.
If you have any questions, please call the NALC HBP at 888-636-NALC(6252).

Non-Member Listing As of 7/19/07

The following carriers wish to thank our members for paying their way to a new contract. They will gladly take the raises and other contractual benefits that the NALC negotiated in the new agreement. If they are from your office, please try to make them see the error of their ways.
L. A. Stauffer (Atco) R. Phillips (Clayton)
W. J. Lyons (Hammonton) S. M. Reber (Clayton)
M. W. Jones (Maple Shade) D. R. Sanders (Glassboro)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede) D. M. Reaves (Haddon Hts)
S. W. Bockman (Voorhees) D. E. King (Hammonton)
W. T. McAllister (Pennsville) M. E. Marley (Sewell)
F. Doncheva (National Park)

97.5% Organized

Schedule Awards

Letter Carriers who suffer on-the-job injuries or illness have a right to certain benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA). Such employees are entitled to necessary medical care, reimbursement for transportation needed to secure that care, wage-loss compensation when the injury results in disability from work, and in certain circumstances, other benefits.
One such benefit is known as a schedule award. This provides payment for permanent impairment of certain body parts. Permanent impairment is defined as the loss, or loss of use of, a part of the body. The degree of impairment is determined by medical evaluation using the AMA GUIDE TO THE EVALUATION OF PERMANENT IMPAIRMENT 5th EDITION in order to qualify for a schedule award.
You should ask your physician if he or she does evaluations of permanent impairment using the AMA GUIDE. It has to be the 5th Edition. If your doctor does, ask him to do the evaluation after you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement). If your doctor does not, have him recommend another doctor that does.
The medical report must 1) state the date you reached maximum medical improvement, 2) describe the impairment and 3) give a percentage evaluation of the impairment in terms of the affected member. The percentage impairment by specific reference to the charts and tables in the AMA GUIDE that were used to make the determination.
When you receive the medical report, send it to OWCP with a cover letter requesting a schedule award. Also complete a CA-7, check "schedule award" and submit it to the Postal Service. Request a completed copy of the CA-7 from the Postal Service.
Remember, you are entitled to this award!
(-Reprinted from The Parlor City News, NALC Branch 373)