A Note From the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
If you read the Branch items in the Postal Record, including our own scribe, Gary DiGiacomo, you'll notice a common theme running throughout the Country: The improper use of DOIS. As we have preached in the past, and will continue in the future, DOIS is a management tool. Only you can determine the workload on any given route on any given day. At the next Executive Board meeting we will pass out posters to be hung on the NALC bulletin board in each office explaining our position on DOIS.
Just a reminder, the Christmas Meeting on December 17 will be an abbreviated meeting so that our members can enjoy the festivities. We will have a special menu, music and cash door prizes.
From all the officers and shop stewards, we would like to extend our sincere thanks for all the support you have given us in the past year. Have a safe and Merry Holiday season.
Steve Lipski

December 17 - Christmas Meeting

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch, the Christmas meeting, will be held on Wednesday, December 17, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. Since there will be no adult entertainment, the Branch has opted to provide for some extraordinary food and drink, the business session of the meeting will be expedited, round tables will be set up and covered, and a juke box will be rented for the entertainment of all.

December 10 - Next Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings

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, December 10, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Four-Week Penalty Overtime Exclusion
December 6, 2003 - January 2, 2004

The Post Office has advised the NALC that under the National Agreement (Article 8, Sections 4 & 5), the December period during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable will begin December 6, 2003 (Pay Period 26-03 - Week 2) and end January 4, 2004 (Pay Period 02-04 - Week 1).

Health Benefits Open Season for Active Employees Extended to December 29

The Postal Service has extended to December 29 the deadline for active employees to make Open Season Health Plan choices due to a delay in mailing the 2004 Guide to Federal Employees Health Benefit Plans. In addition to making health plan choices by filing Form 2809 with the USPS Human Resources Department by December 29, active employees can also make elections using PostalEASE during Open Season. Use of PostalEASE, however, is optional. During the Open Season eligible employees may make any one, or a combination of the following changes using PostalEASE:
  • Enroll if not enrolled.
  • Cancel Enrollment
  • Change from one plane to another plan.
  • Change from one option to another option.
  • Change from self only to self and family.
  • Change from self and family to self only.
Enrollment changes and new enrollments made during the 2003 Open Season will be effective January 10, 2004 (Pay Period 03-04). New premium payments will be reflected in paycheck dated January 30, 2004.

Other Open Seasons

Thrift Savings Plan - Open Season ends December 31
Flexible Spending Account - Open Season ends December 21
(For further information see pages 12, 13, 14 of the November Postal Record)

Biweekly Paycheck Contributions To COLCPE

NALC members can now contribute directly to the Union's Committee on Letter Carrier Political Education (COLCPE) from their paychecks! See details on the inside back cover of the December issue (or Click Here) on how to set up an allotment using PostalEASE.

National Dues Deduction Change

Effective pay period one of 2004 (December 13-26, 2003) beginning with the January 2, 2004 paycheck, $18.34 (an increase of 45 cents per pay period) will be deducted for NALC membership dues. Article 7, Section 2 of the NALC constitution provides that each NALC member shall pay monthly dues equal to two hours base pay for an NALC Grade 1, Step "D" letter carrier employed by the United States Postal Service. Taking into account the 1.2 percent increase effective November 15, 2003 an NALC Grade 1, Step "D" letter carrier will be earning $19.86 per hour on January 4, 2004. The national per capita tax is increased only once a year regardless of any wage increases implemented during the calendar year. Of the $18.34, $6.13 is retained by the National Union and the rest goes to the Branch.

California Wildfires

It has been reported that six members of San Diego Branch 70 and one member of Ontario Branch 1439 lost their homes in the wildfires that hit California recently. If you can see your way to spare a few bucks for our less fortunate brother and sister letter carriers, send them to the Branch at 6620 Flanders Drive, San Diego, CA, 92121-2976.

Attendance Prize Stands At $250

Had he been there brother J C Manzo, a member out of the Maple Shade office, would have been the recipient of the $250 Branch attendance prize. The prize now stands at $250 and will be awarded to the first member in attendance at a regular monthly meeting whose name is drawn.

Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah

Children's Christmas Party - Sunday, December 14

The Branch Children's Christmas Party will be held this year on Sunday, December 14, 1 to 4 pm, at the Branch meeting hall, American Legion Post 100, 502 Colonial Ave., Woodbury, NJ. Doors open 12:30 pm. Santa will be there from 1 to 3 pm for pictures and to distribute gifts to the children and grand children of Branch 908 members. There will be face painting for the children, food, snacks and beverages for all. For questions or information, call Donna Villec at 856-772-9164.

Branch Elections

The Branch Election Committee, consisting of Mike Fitzgerald, Joe Forman, George Greenwood and other members of the Branch not running for office who would like to volunteer, will commence with the checking and counting of Branch election ballots on Thursday, December 11, at 7 pm. Members running for office are welcome to come and observe the check and count of mail ballots. Election results will be announced at the December 17 regular monthly meeting of the Branch.

Proposed Branch Budget

The Branch Board of Officers has met and came up with a proposed Branch budget for the year 2004. The proposed budget will be printed and distributed to the membership present at the December 17 regular monthly Branch meeting for their review, discussion, consideration and vote at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, January 21, 2004.

Branch 100th Anniversary Celebration

Serious consideration is being given to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Branch 908. According to discussions at the Board of Officers meeting it is contemplated that the celebration will take place in conjunction with the Annual Branch Awards and Retirees' Brunch that is usually held in April. Any suggestions or ideas from the membership would be appreciated.

Managed Service Points (MSP)

MSP does not set performance standards, either in the office or on the street. MSP data may not constitute the sole basis for disciplinary action. City letter carriers have the option of using a personal identification number (PIN) other than the last four digits of their social security number. (M-01458)

No NALC Boycott of Survey, Butů

The NALC has not implemented a boycott against the employee opinion survey being conducted by the Postal Service. Participation in the survey is strictly voluntary. Members are not compelled to answer survey questions if they do not want to participate in the survey for any reason, nor should they feel pressured against filling out the forms if they wish to participate. However, individual Branches are free to make their own determination on whether or not their own members should participate in such surveys.

Handling Suspicious Mail Pieces

From Postal Bulletin 22114 (10-30-03): Managers must continue to ensure that employees follow policies and procedures for handling suspicious mail pieces. The most recent incident involved the biotoxin Ricin, a biochemical substance that is a potential terrorist threat.
Here's what you should do if you see a suspicious letter or package:
  • Don't touch it!
  • Isolate the area, and keep others away.
  • Tell your supervisor, postmaster or manager.
  • Notify the Postal Inspection Service, local Law enforcement officials or community First responders immediately.
And if you have any questions, please ask your Supervisor.

** Happy New Year **

Thanks, Branch 908, For the Generous Gifts

Dear South Jersey Letter Carriers, Branch 908:
Many thanks go out to you for your generous gift of $40 given in loving memory of Rose M. Serock.
This is a very beautiful way of perpetuating her memory as this gift will be used to help our mentally challenged children and young adults to develop to their fullest potential.
Please know that we will continue to remember Mrs. Serock in our masses and daily prayers. With renewed thanks.
Brother Bernard Farrell, O.H.

Extra Turkeys Needed At the Food Bank

"The Food Bank of South Jersey Board of Directors and staff knows how hard postal carriers work, not only throughout the year, but especially during the Annual NALC Postal Food Drive every May. If not for the hard work of all postal carriers the Food Bank of South Jersey would not be able to provide food to the many, many families in our four county service region.
With the holidays upon us, you can only imagine how busy we are at the Food Bank of South Jersey trying to get enough turkeys and holiday meal items together. Having said that, if you or anyone at the post office has an extra turkey they would like to donate, please call Jackie Galarza, our Food Drive Coordinator, at 662-4884 ext. 10. She will be only too happy to take it off your hands.
Once again, congratulations on a job well done to you and all of your letter carriers."
Bedzaida Mendez, Executive Director

Non-Member List as Of 10/29/03

H. C Schappert - Gibbstown J. J. Ebinger - Glassboro
S. E. Smith - Glassboro R. L. Gaff - Gloucester
G. A. Brown - Haddon Hts. K. Albinson - Haddon Hts.
J. G. Guerra - Haddon Hts. T. D. Lofton - Voorhees
B. J. Bocchicchio - Voorhees L. R. Sampson - Voorhees
D. G. Earling - Voorhees W. G. Griffith, Jr. - Mpl. Shade
A. D. Kuttruf - Maple Shade F. Donacheva - Nat. Park
J. T. Eden - Paulsboro B. J. Samuels - Pennsville
W. T. McCallister - Pennsville C. J. Porch - Pitman
A. W. Rossell - Riverton W. A. Breitenstine - Runmd.
T. K. Cooper - Sewell T. P. Butler-Gaines - Stratford
J. R. Reese - Wenonah E. B. Harris - Williamstown

Buy American

u American: Arm & Hammer cleaners and Clorox Bleach.
        Avoid: Easy OFF oven cleaner and Lysol, made in England.
u American: Days Inn, Doubletree or Radisson Hotel.
        Avoid: Motel 6, owned by the French, and Holiday Inn, owned by the English.
u American: Circuit City, Lechters, Office Max, the Gap.
        Avoid: Spencer Gifts, France; Talbots, Japan; CompUSA, Mexico.
u American: Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Explorer.
        Avoid: Ford Escort, Mexico. Nissan Altman, Japanese car fashioned in the United States by non-union labor.

Courtesy of Web Site: howtobuyamerican.com

Branch Expenses For October

Printing Branch News $90.10
Postage $86.57
Phone $65.33
Office Supplies $300.29
Hall Rental $330.00
Refreshment Fund $500.00
Grievances $95.43
Labor Activities $113.91
Officers Salaries - Net $2147.33
Bank Charges $142.25
Fica, Medicare Taxes $2638.36
State Taxes $467.76  
Total Expenses $6977.36