A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Let me first apologize for the delay in the newsletter. We were waiting for news of a new contract, however as you all know we're going to arbitration. The sticking point in negotiations was the postal service's insistence on contracting out of letter carrier work. The Postal Service ill-fated misconceived notion that our company must follow the concept of "Global Business Models" and cut costs through outsourcing is absurd. I can understand when your product line is automobiles and you outsource alternators to company XYZ, no one would be the wiser! However, when your product line is only service any idiot would surmise that your customers would insist on the best. And the best is the backbone of the greatest delivery service in the world, an NALC Letter Carrier! Now Brothers and Sisters its time to teach the lazy parasites that comprise the Board of Stooges a lesson. The American public demands it and Letter Carriers deserve it!
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - April 18

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, April 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 - April 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, April 11, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $100

Had he been in attendance (on time) at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, March 21, J. P. Sharkey, a carrier out of the Sewell office, would have been the recipient of the $75 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $100 and will increase $25 per meeting, up to a maximum of $250, until a member in attendance has their name drawn. (editor's note: Brother Sharkey arrived at the meeting several minutes after the sign in book was closed and his name was drawn. Branch rules for winning the door prize stipulate that you must be present when the sign in book closes and the winning name is drawn at 8:15 - sorry Brother.)

From The VP's Case

"Desperate times for desperate men!" That is the only way to describe the conduct and behavior of the route inspection leaders during their two-week stay in the Blackwood Post Office during our recent route inspections.
I understand how they must feel, since they have been informed their services will no longer be needed, but to act the way they did was absolutely unacceptable and downright pathetic!
I knew this was going to be a long two weeks when the first comment made to the carriers during our abbreviated and poorly held dry run was how they boasted as never having any grievances filed in the 6 and a half years they have been conducting these tests! REALLY!
I found that comment to be utterly laughable, since they had already violated the M-39 in handling the dry run.
The fun had just begun when carriers were informing me of the daily and constant street harassment by the leaders, even though they were being walked with a high paid examiner! I guess they didn't even trust these guys to get them their numbers.
I guess after reviewing their DOIS projections, which are not correct, they couldn't understand how carriers were staying out on the street longer than they should be, according to DOIS! They figured if they followed the carrier long enough they surely would be finishing their route early. Boy were they wrong. The carriers did a professional job all day long and that really bothered them, since DOIS said they should be back early!
Since this form of harassment didn't work they figured to try something else. How about monitoring where each carrier took his or her comfort stop? It got so bad they were driving into private businesses asking permission on the carrier's behalf to use their facilities because it may save a couple of minutes! This is how pathetic it got. The carriers felt like children being told where to go "potty!" Hey, if it could save a minute here or there lets do it!
The final low point, but not the last one, I will mention was when the one leader actually got out of his car and was running next to a carrier on his curbside delivery trying to embarrass him as to the speed he was driving from box to box! If this is not the sign of a desperate man then I don't know what is!
The results of the count are still being processed as I write this article so I can't give you the findings. I will tell you this however; the real numbers are very good as all carriers beat standard for the week and the majority of routes were around the 8-hour or better mark.
Let's see how the "boys" try to manipulate these figures to try to show their bosses they shouldn't abolish their positions. I will report next month on the results.
Gary DiGiacomo, Vice President

Jack Bittner - A Peoples Person

We are very sad to announce the passing of our Trustee Chairman Jack Bittner. Jack was a good Union man and even more, a good friend. Jack's longtime friend and coworker Tom Barnett wrote the following:
Jack was born on 2-15-1932 & died 3-20-2007. In between, the world was lucky to have Jack as were we. For he touched many lives. Jack served in the Army during the Korean War.
Married a girl, Erna Kratzer from Germany and together they had six wonderful children. Lived in Lindenwold, NJ.
Jack was a member of the Army & Navy Garrison #52 & American Legion Post 100. Jack served 3 years as commander of Post 100 and was presently Post Finance Officer as well as Gloucester County Adjutant.
Jack was a man of action. Some activities included: putting flags on veteran's graves at Englington Cemetery, running the 200 club and selling poppies for needy veterans and the veterans home in Vineland.
Jack was a retired Letter Carrier from the Wenonah Post Office, where he was also a Shop Steward. Jack, as a member of SJ Letter Carriers Branch 908 held the position of Chief Trustee and Shop Steward of Lawnside. Jack was very active in the Branch, attending many conventions, seminars and always there to help his fellow Letter Carriers.
Jack was also a Deputy Grand Knight of the Woodbury Knights of Columbus Council #1994. Again running a 200 club to help worthy causes. Jack was always finding ways to help others. Jack was a Eucharist Minister at Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Church. He went to hospitals and assisted living homes to give communion, gifts and any help that he could. He personally raised quite a bit of money for the church and other charities.
The night he died, he was at the Knights of Columbus meeting discussing the children's retardation drive coming in April. As he left, we said, see you Wednesday at the Union meeting.
Jack made it to his driveway.
There, the Good Lord took him to His house. Jack's wife found him at peace in his truck. Life is short, no matter how long we live. Jack did as much as he could, and more, always trying to help others. We will all miss a wonderful worker and friend. May God bless and keep him in His heavenly house.

New Branch Officers Appointed

Due to the recent death of Trustee Chairman Jack Bittner, President Lipski, with the approval of the Board of Officers has made the following appointments to fill out the rest of the term until the next election. The Board of Trustees has selected Jim Comuso to be the new Trustee Chairman. To fill the vacant Trustee position, Fred Simpkins was selected out of the many qualified and willing candidates. Fred's experience as past President of Atlantic City Branch 370 made him a good fit to fill the vacancy. Congratulations to both Jim and Fred.

Branch Retirees & Awards Breakfast Buffet Sunday, April 22 - Last Call

The Branch Annual Retirees and Awards Breakfast Buffet will be held on Sunday, April 22nd, commencing at 11 a.m., at the Best Western West Deptford Inn, 101 Grove Road, Thorofare, just off of exit 20 of I-295. Anyone wishing to nominate a member for a Branch award please contact the Recording Secretary, Norm Spence ASAP. The following members of the Branch who have retired since our last Breakfast will be honored and presented with tokens of appreciation. If you have retired since the last Breakfast or you will retire before April 22 and your name is not on this list, contact the Branch Recording Secretary, Norm Spence at webmaster@nalcbranch908.com:
G. Haliburton (West Berlin) W. A. LeConey (Glendora)
R. M. Hurst (Paulsboro) H. A. Bowen (Pennsville)
W. H. Shaffer III (Blackwood) R. P. Bacon (Bridgeton)
J. C. Hall (Sewell)
Those being honored, their spouses and current Branch retirees will not be charged for their attendance. All other Branch members, family, friends and acquaintances may attend at a cost of $10 pp, $5 for children under the age of 10. For reservations, complete the following and submit it with payment for those attending at cost. No other notices will be sent. Honorees, retirees, members and others planning to attend must complete and submit the following reservation form by April 10, 2007:

                          Please Print
Check one: Honoree (  ) Branch Retiree (  ) others (  )
Attending with honoree free of charge: spouse (  ) other (  )
Number attending with you at cost: Adults_____ Children_____
Total attendees including yourself:________
Amount of remittance enclosed: Adults ______Children______

Send to PO Box 45, Pennsville, 08070 by April 10

National Officer To Be At Retirees Breakfast Buffet

NALC President Bill Young was invited to our annual Retirees Breakfast; unfortunately, his schedule would not permit him to attend. However, he did assign National Director of Health Benefits Tim O'Malley to attend on his behalf. Come out and meet with one of our National Officers as we honor our retirees.

Door Prizes Needed

Anyone wishing to donate door prizes for the Branch Retiree & Awards Breakfast Buffet please contact Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence. You can bring any items to the regular monthly meeting on April 18. Bottles of wine or other alcohol or craft items are examples of the type of door prizes needed.

Dates To Remember

March Of Dimes WalkAmerica - April 29
NALC Food Drive - May 12
NJ State Convention - May 20 -22 (Hilton, Atlantic City)
Branch Picnic - August 26 (Clementon Park)

Our Newest Gold Card Member

Congratulations to our newest Gold Card member, Dave Williams. Dave is a retiree out of the Woodbury office. 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 Dave!
If you believe that you have attained the requisite amount of year's membership for the receipt of a suitable lapel pin, or your Gold Card, contact Branch membership chairman Paul Poniatowski at Paul@nalcbranch908.com.

March of Dimes WalkAmerica, Sunday, April 29

The Branch is looking for walkers to participate in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica to help fund research on a new epidemic threatening our babies - premature birth. Each year, more than 40,000 babies are born too soon. It's the leading cause of newborn death and many disabilities. The 5-mile walk starts out at Challenge Grove Park, Cherry Hill, 9 am. For further information and details, contact Branch Trustee Donna Villec at 856-287-6215.

Postal Service Reservists Eligible for Back Pay

As many as 100,000 military reservists who worked at the U.S. Postal Service between 1980 and 2000 could be eligible for thousands of dollars in compensation because they were improperly charged for their military leave, under a new ruling. Matthew Tully, a New York attorney who is representing affected employees for free. He said complying with the decision could cost the Postal Service upwards of $200 million. Tully said the average back payment has totaled $3,500, although employees have received anywhere from $400 to $14,000 depending on how long they were in the reserves and their pay grade. Reservists who believe they are owed back pay must file their case with MSPB.
The Postal Service could appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, although that court in 2003 issued the landmark decision that employees were entitled to back pay because federal agencies improperly charged reservists who were on military leave for days they were not scheduled to work. Subsequent decisions by MSPB expanding the scope of the appeals court ruling have not been challenged.
The policy, which was changed in 2000, had charged reservists for every calendar day they were on military leave, instead of charging them for the actual workdays they missed. Reservists who used up their military leave because they were charged for weekends or other days they weren't scheduled to work instead had to use their own vacation days or take leave without pay to complete their annual military training.
The court decisions require agencies to restore annual leave to current employees or provide back pay to retired workers to make up for the lost compensation or leave that employees incurred because of the policy.
(Source: Federal Times)

Investment Advice

Brothers & Sisters those of you who may not know, there is proposed legislation popping up nationwide for "Do not mail lists". If any of this legislation ever makes it through the house and senate our investment (OUR JOBS) will surely be in jeopardy. In addition, top Postal brASS already started giving Letter Carrier work to contractors (Br. 1100, Ca.) who in turn hire just anyone off the street; workers need only meet 2 requirements: 21yrs. of age, & a resident of the county. They need not have citizenship or a clean criminal record! I'm TIRED of hearing from Letter Carriers "It doesn't matter, their going to do what they want"! WAKE UP! STEP UP! This is your family's investment (YOUR CAREER)! We need to support our elected officials who support US, like it or not, this is not a Dem. or Rep. problem this is a letter carrier problem. Give to COLCPE the job you save WILL be YOUR OWN!
- Paul Poniatowski, Financial Secretary