A Note From The Branch President

This is my first article since having open-heart surgery on February 18th, and it sure feels good to be able to write this. First of all, I have to thank everyone for the cards and expressions of good wishes that my family and I received during my recovery. During my 10 days in the hospital union brothers brought over food so my wife could stay at the hospital and didn't have to cook. Branches sent gifts so that my family could go out to dinner during my extended stay. These gestures of kindness will never be forgotten by my family or myself.
Once again, thank you for all of your well wishes and support during a very difficult time. I look forward to seeing all of you at the next regular meeting.
-Steve Lipski

Next Meeting – April 16

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, April 16, 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 9

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 9, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $100

Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, March 19, Phillip Procida, a member out of the Blackwood 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.

From The VP’s Case

For years people have been asking the question," why can't we be like the rural carriers and have evaluated routes?" I have always answered these people with the same response. You can't trust management to be fair in how they would evaluate your route. I have always said that sooner or later they would get to the rural craft and try to capture hours they knew they could get if they used the same method they used on us when controlling the mail flow to the offices during the count weeks.
If you haven't heard or are living in a bubble, this is what has happened to the rurals with their latest count. Management was able to pull every little trick they had in their bag to shut down the volume of mail the rurals received during their two weeks and boy did they finally get the results they had been looking for which they could never seem to get in the past.
I think just about every rural got the shaft in hour reduction and lost drop days thanks to the "fair" evaluation they received from management.
I understand they have filed a national level grievance on the inspection and I hope they win their appeal since they obviously got screwed during this count.
So when you ask the question the next time about evaluated routes remember the old saying about being careful what you wish for!
Just remember, we can never accept an evaluated route structure that doesn't always include an hourly rate. In a related issue about evaluating our routes I have some interesting news I will share with the membership at our next meeting about the testing of a new route inspection method that will probably be the future of route adjustments!
-Gary DiGiacomo

New Contact Number For Vice President

As voted on at the regular monthly meeting on March 19, the Branch has now purchased a cell phone for use by the Vice President. The new number is 856-906-2838. Please feel free to use this number to contact VP Gary DiGiacomo with any questions or problems.

Shop Steward Of The Year

Well, the nominations are over and the awards committee has made their decision. The winner of the Branch 908 Steward Of The Year for 2008 is………Sorry, that won’t be announced until the Banquet on April 19. So, if you nominated your Steward, come on out and support him/her and see who has earned this award.

Branch 908 Dinner/Dance and Retiree’s Banquet
Saturday, April 19 - Last Call

This year in place of the traditional Retirees Breakfast Buffet that we normally hold, the Branch has decided to honor this year’s retirees at a dinner/dance banquet. The banquet will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2008 from 6pm – 10pm at Nicolosi’s Catering, 1 Hessian Ave. Woodbury, NJ. For those of you who have never been to Nicolosi’s, you are in for a treat. It is a beautiful facility with excellent food. We have a DJ in place to make sure that everyone has a good time. So come out and enjoy a night of Good Friends, Great Food, and Excellent Wine & Spirits & Fantastic Music. 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 19 and your name is not on this list, contact the Branch Recording Secretary, Norm Spence at webmaster@nalcbranch908.com:
Mike Boston (Marlton) Gary Depew (Riverton)
Robert Doherty (Marlton) Rebecca Fergosi (Riverton)
Jennie Feyt (Atco) Michael Foley (Gloucester)
Christina Gray (Mantua) Harry Harrison (Sewell)
J. V. Hillman (Woodbury) Arnold Moore (Gloucester)
Jeff MacMahon (Bridgeton) Lee Wolbert (Bridgeton)
Michael Sheridan (Haddon Hts) Richard Sinclair (Marlton)
Mike DiGiacomo (Bellmawr)
Those being honored will receive one free ticket to the Banquet. All other Branch members, family, friends and acquaintances are encouraged to attend at a cost of $20 pp. Current Branch retirees will receive one ticket for half price ($10).
Tickets may be picked up from Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence at any Branch meeting, or by mailing the form below ASAP with checks made out to NALC Branch 908, to PO Box 45, Pennsville, NJ 08070.

(please print)

Check One:      Honoree (   )     Retiree (   )     Other (   )

Total Number Attending: _________

Honorees – Free          Retirees - $10          All Others - $20

Amount of remittance enclosed: _________

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

National Officer To Be At Banquet

NALC President Bill Young was invited to our annual Dinner/Dance Banquet; 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 16. Bottles of wine or other alcohol or craft items are examples of the type of door prizes needed.

30-Year Shop Steward

Congratulations to Jim Barlow for surpassing 30 years as Shop Steward of the Stratford office. Way to go Jim!

OPM Submits Proposal To Create Short-Term Disability Insurance Program

OPM issued the following press release:
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Linda M. Springer today submitted a proposal to both chambers of Congress to establish a short-term disability insurance program to protect federal employees who suffer an injury or illness, which temporarily prevents them from performing their normal job duties.
“If we are to maintain an efficient and effective Federal workforce, it is imperative to ensure workers are protected in the unlikely event of a short-term disability,” Director Springer said. “Health care costs can be economically devastating to many employees, especially those who have not yet accumulated sufficient sick and annual leave.”
OPM would leverage the purchasing power of the 2.6 million Federal employees in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, as well as the U.S. Postal Service, to obtain the best coverage at affordable premiums. Under the proposal, participation would be voluntary and insurance premiums would be fully paid by the policyholder.
Springer said an added benefit to this insurance product would be its ability to attract a quality work force. A sound short-term disability insurance benefit will fill the gap in an otherwise attractive and competitive Federal benefit program.
“Recent college graduates, or men and women only a few years removed from college campuses who are thinking about starting families will find this benefit to be an inducement to considering a career in the Federal civil service,” Springer said. “If they know they will not be penalized should something occur before they have had enough time to accumulate sufficient sick leave, they will be more likely to consider public service.”
Springer noted the program would benefit employees in a variety of short-term situations, including childbirth, adoption, unforeseen injury to the employee or a close family member, and emergency surgery.

Long-Term Care

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program was designed specifically for members of the Federal Family. It is sponsored by the Federal Government and backed by two of the country's top insurance companies. The Federal Program is designed to help protect enrollees against the high costs of long term care.
Long-term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks (activities of daily living) by yourself due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the aging process. Long-term care includes the supervision you might need due to a severe cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Long-term care isn’t intended to cure you. It is chronic care that you might need for the rest of your life. This care can span years and can be expensive depending on the type of care you need and location where that care is received. Long-term care insurance is one way of helping to pay for these expenses. For more information, visit the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program’s website at www.ltcfeds.com

USPS To Eliminate 2,400 Supervisor Positions?

In the past week, Postmaster General Jack Potter and members of Headquarters staff have had conference calls with each USPS district manager and district staffs with direct instructions to reduce supervisory positions within each district. Each district has been given a target number of supervisory positions that must be eliminated ranging from 26 to 47 positions per district. USPS is committed to reducing management positions (as reported in Hierofont News in December 2007) and this phase is expected to yield a total reduction of approximately 2400 supervisor positions.
The news of the reductions comes after the conclusion of a national mail count for rural routes; wherein supervisor positions were a critically important part of the logistics of conducting the national mail count. Although the decisions to force the elimination of supervisor positions was made before the mail count, the actual directions were withheld until now. News of the reductions is still not common knowledge and will come as a surprise to many supervisors thus targeted.
The editor expects increased use of temporary supervisors to fill local office requirements as needed. In essence, the plan is similar to using casuals in place of full time employees or using contract employees in place of full time employees.
In an editorial entitled an “Open Letter to Postmaster and Managers” and in similar editorials from November through the present, this editor specifically warned that a reduction in managers was coming and that it will continue to come, just as USPS will reduce the number of postmaster positions.
What happened to clerks and city carriers with automation and what will accelerate with FSS flat automation and later parcel automation, that will continue to happen to rural carriers, most assuredly will happen to supervisors and postmasters. The ranks of supervisors and postmasters have trended down (each year more positions disappear) and that trend will only accelerate. Managers who have done USPS dirt up to now; can look forward to having dirt done to them. It is as sure as a rainbow following a torrential rain.
source: Hierofont News

Drive Out Agreement Questions

Trustee Chairman Jim Comuso would like members to know that they can contact him with any questions regarding last month’s article on drive out agreements. He can be reached at 609-932-9913.

March Of Dimes March For Babies 2008 - Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Branch is looking for walkers to participate in the March of Dimes March For Babies 2008 (formerly 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. Check in begins at 8 am. To sign up or get more information about our team, contact Branch Trustee Donna Villec at 856-287-6215. Register with Donna and set a goal of at least $25. Bring a friend and walk!