A Note From the President

Just a reminder that Health Benefit Open Season ends on December 10. As in the past, where there is a lot of plan switching, benefit cards become delayed. You must obtain a duplicate of your SF 2809 (plan selection form) to show to your medical providers. Your 2809 will act as a substitute card until your new one arrives. In addition to your 2809, it is a good idea to contact all of your medical professionals and explain to them that your identification cards have been delayed. Hopefully, this will eliminate any serious problems.
On a different note, the contract has been extended until after the holidays. All contractual articles, handbooks and manuals remain the same and are totally enforceable. This is an extension, not an elimination of the current agreement!
In closing, on behalf of the Shop Stewards and Officers of Branch 908, I would like to sincerely wish every member a safe and happy holiday season.
Steve Lipski, President

Critical Vote On USPS Future Set.
Call Now: (202) 224-3121

NALC members are urged to call their US Senators immediately to urge support for the $1.1 billion to be included in the Defense Department Appropriations Bill for Postal Service sanitizing of mail. Call the US Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. This is a critical vote to provide the Postal Service with the tools to regain the confidence of the American people in light of the anthrax threat. If the Postal Service does not obtain the money it needs now, it faces the prospect of drastic reductions in service that will affect every letter carrier and other postal employees as well as all postal customers.

Christmas Meeting - December 19

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 8 PM sharp. The regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, except for the months of July and August.

Branch Officers & Executive Board Meetings - December 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 meetings of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, December 12, at 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Branch Election Committee

Mike Fitzgerald - Deptford Paul Poniatowski - Runnemede
Andy Dealy - Deptford Eric Walter - Gloucester

John Hall - Sewell

Children's Christmas Party
December 16, 1 to 3 pm

The Branch's annual Children's Christmas Party will be held on Sunday, December 16, 1 to 3 pm, at the Branch meeting hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. As usual there will be food and refreshments for all, including gifts for the children and a picture taken with Santa Claus.

Vince Schoppy Benefit - December 9

The Echelon Hair Cuttery, in the Echelon Village Plaza, White Horse Road, next to the new Genuardi's food market, Voorhees, is sponsoring a $5 hair cut-a-thon on Sunday December 9, 6 to 9 pm, all the proceeds of which will go to the family of Vince Schoppy, the former shop steward at Magnolia who passed away suddenly. The participation of all your family and friends (males, females, children) would be appreciated.

Dues Change - 30 Cents Per PP

Article 7, Section 2 of the Constitution of the National Association of Letter Carriers provides that each member shall pay monthly dues equal to 2 hours pay for a NALC Grade 1, Step D, letter carrier. Accordingly, due to pay increases generated by way of the current contract, there will be a bi-weekly dues change that will be deducted from Active Member pay checks beginning January 4, 2002. The increase will amount to 30-cents, from $17.02 to $17.32 per pay period. Twenty (20) cents will be reimbursed to the Branch and 10 cents will be retained by the National Union.

Branch Retirees' Dues Going Up By $2 Per Year

Due to a change in the Branch By-laws in June, recommended by the by-laws committee and approved by the Branch membership, monthly dues of our Branch Retirees will increase effective January, 2002, to $1 per month from the .84 cents per month presently being withheld.

Counting Of Branch Election Ballots
December 13

The Branch election committee has announced that it will commence with the opening and counting of Branch election ballots on Thursday, December 13, at approximately 6:30 pm at the Branch Union Hall. All nominees are invited to come and observe the opening and counting of the ballots. The results of the Branch election will be announced at the December regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 19.

Attendance Prize Stands At $175

Had he been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on November 21, Ed Legenski, a member of the Branch working out of the Wenonah office, would have been the recipient of the $150 attendance prize.

NALC Health Benefits Plan Brochures

Anyone in need of an NALC Health Benefits Plan brochure can obtain one by calling our Health Benefits Plan Chairman, Fred Mendel. If no answer, leave name, and phone number on answering machine.

2001-2002 Leave Year - Annual Leave Carryover - 440 hours (55 days)

The Postal 2001 leave year ends on January 11, 2002. The 2002 leave year begins on January 12, 2002. The maximum amount of annual leave that employees may carry over from 2001 to 2002 is 440 hours (55 days) for bargaining unit employees. As of January 12, 2002, no provisions exist for employees to carry over annual leave in excess of the applicable carryover maximums. Employees should coordinate with their supervisors to schedule any excess leave before January 12, 2002.

Federal Spending Accounts Open Season
November 12 - December 18

The open season for Federal Spending Account (FSA) program for career employees is November 12 to December 18. Enrollments made during this open season are effective January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2002. FSAs provide employees with the ability to set aside a portion of their pre-tax earnings for certain types of out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. The money withheld for FSAs are not subject to income, Medicare, or Social Security taxes.

Contract Bargaining Extended

Due to the combination of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC, as well as the continuing anthrax threats which consumed the attention of the negotiators and prevented them from focusing on key contractual issues, bargaining for a new contract to replace the 1998-2001 National Agreement has been extended through the holidays and into the new year. The old contract was to expire at midnight November 20.

Branch Expenditures For October

Printing, Branch Newsletter $79.50
Phone $55.23
Postage $38.08
Office Supplies $1416.75
Hall Rental $330.00
Grievances $22.75
Postal Bulletin Subscription $155.00
Balance Due, Branch Picnic $217.97
Scholarship $500
SJ AFL-CIO 4th Quarter Dues $216.00
Employees Salaries Less Deductions $1609.41
Balance Due, Fishing Trip $27.00
NJ State Taxes, 3rd Quarter $232.40
FICA, Medicare, Income Taxes Combined, 4th Quarter $1514.80
Total Expenditures $6414.89

Branch Fund Reports For October

Cash Reserve Fund $3469.21
Building Fund $35083.33
Convention Fund $30545.73
Checking Account $22998.33
Optical Fund $1306.38
Sick & Welfare $1361.90
Death Benefits $1023.90
Drew Walter Scholarship $5889.53
Total $101678.31

Christmas Meeting Entertainment

The Branch membership present and voting at the November regular monthly meeting of the Branch on November 21 voted overwhelmingly to continue the tradition of having some adult entertainment at our Christmas Meeting on Wednesday, December 19.

Branch Grievance Results

Step 1 Settlement
Paulsboro - Notice of 7-day suspension issued 10/27/00 will be reduced to a paper suspension with no loss of pay and will be removed from OPF 6/27/01 if no further like violations occur. (092700)
Paulsboro - Management agrees to return a completed 3996 to any carrier who files a 3996 in duplicate. (112700)
Paulsboro - Management agrees to cease and desist from approaching carrier craft employees and asking them to forfeit their right as established in Article 15. (120700C)
Paulsboro - The employer will designate an official outside of the installation as the Step 2 designee. (122600)
Step 2 Settlements
Paulsboro - Management agrees to abide by the National Agreement Article 41.1C4 regarding T-6 working on his assignment. (082900L)
Paulsboro - Management agrees to abide by the National Agreement Article 41.1C4 regarding the T-6 working on his assignment. (082900M)
Paulsboro - Grievant to be paid $7 for working over the 12-hour limit. (120200E)
Paulsboro - Management will review the location of relay boxes within 90 days of the latest date on this settlement agreement. (112500)
Paulsboro - Grievant will paid 4 hours of overtime total. (110400, 111300, 112100)
Paulsboro - Case labels will be reviewed and corrected within 30 days of the date of this settlement agreement. (103000)
Paulsboro - Per the National Agreement, Step 1, Article 1, Section 2, "grievances will be filed at Step 1 with the immediate supervisor within 14 days. (112700B)
Paulsboro - Safety hazard forms PS 1767 will be placed in a location on the work room floor where they will be readily available to all employees. A safety talk will be given relative to the use and availability PS Form 1767. Employees are reminded that they may anonymously file PS Form 1767 directly to the District Safety Office. A service talk will be given concerning reprisal from co-workers against any employee who submits a PS Form 1767. (120400, 121500)
Paulsboro - Management agrees that the Union is entitled to information even after a Step 2 decision has been reached, and also agrees to release such requested information. (121100)
Paulsboro - Management will make every effort to handle unsafe conditions in an expeditious manner. (122300)
Paulsboro - Management will reimburse the grievant $15, doctor's co-pay, upon receipt of receipt of co-pay for grievant's doctor's visit. (123000)
Paulsboro - PTF grievant will be paid one hour and 59 units overtime. (090700A)

Attention Shop Steward, Branch Officers

Anyone wishing grievance results to be published in the Branch newsletter should send the results of same to the Branch Newsletter editors prior to the 1st of the month.

Happy Holidays!

The Officers and Shop Stewards of the Branch would like to take this opportunity to personally wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a healthy and prosperous New Year