A Note from the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Over the holidays I had the horrible misfortune of losing a good friend of mine to suicide. The pain and confusion this has caused in my life is indescribable, the thoughts of what could have been done, haunting. This friend of mine is a friend of yours, he was a brother carrier. If anyone needs help for any difficulties in their life we have a mental health net through EAP. If you don't trust going through EAP, for whatever reasons, you can give me a call 24-7 and the union will arrange help for you. If you are aware of a co-worker who is having trouble coping, reach out to that individual and let them know that there is help. Getting involved in someone's life could be uncomfortable for a minute, losing a friend lasts a lifetime.
Thank You,
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - January 17

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, January 17, 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 - January 10

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, January 10, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $25

Milton Grundlock, Branch Gold Card member and retiree out of the Haddon Heights office was in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, December 20, and was the lucky winner of the $250 attendance prize. The prize now prize now starts anew at $25 and accumulates at the rate of $25 each regular monthly meeting up to a maximum of $250 or until someone's name, in attendance at a regular monthly meeting, is drawn.

Ham And Turkey Drawings

Branch Financial Secretary Paul Poniatowski donated a ham and turkey to the Branch at the regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 20 where they awarded to two lucky winners. Jim Costello, Branch member out of the Riverton office, was the winner of the ham. Bill Dougherty, Branch member and Shop Steward out of the Glassboro office was the winner of the turkey. Congratulations to Jim and Bill and thanks to Paul for donating the ham and turkey.

From the VP's Case

It amazes me how this district continues to roll out programs that are only designed for one reason and one reason only; to make sure they meet their own performance related numbers so they can achieve their "bonus" goals which in turn will give them a higher raise at the end of the year. These programs have nothing to do with customer service, because if that were the case they wouldn't be implementing this latest and definitely not greatest idea!
I am sure everyone is aware of the latest method of handling DPS missorted errors. Management now has the ability to detect these errors in our DPS mail and locate where they are and has the carrier go out to his DPS mail and try to retrieve these pieces. God forbid we find a way to kick these pieces out of the stream. Oh yeah I forgot, that would bring up our percentages of cased mail and we can't have that! It's all about the numbers people, not service.
When researching into this latest program I wasn't surprised to find out what was really behind this lunacy. It seems that the target letters that are constantly dropped in the mail stream, which measures our on-time delivery, can be captured by this program. So this goes to show you what matters most to this district. NUMBERS!
One side bar I would like to throw out there with this latest system. With route inspections approaching this year do you think we will be allowed to perform this function during the week of inspection? I bet the answer is NO, because this will be more office time and that is the one item they are trying to reduce. I am sure they will scrap this system until after the counts and bring it back later on after they make all of their adjustments. What a joke!
Gary DiGiacomo, Vice President

Postal Reform Passes

On December 20, 2006 President Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 into law. NALC President Emeritus Vincent R. Sombrotto first called for a new Postal Reorganization Act in 1994, almost 13 years and seven different Congresses later; we finally have comprehensive Postal Reform.
The bill as passed preserves our collective bargaining rights--rights that many workers at Homeland Security and the Department of Defense lost earlier in the Bush years--and maintains universal, six-day delivery financed with a regulated monopoly.
In drafting the bill, Congress rejected all but one of the dozens of anti-labor recommendations of the President's Commission on the Postal Service while significantly improving the Service's long-term financial stability by resolving the military pension and escrow account issues in a favorable manner. It is not a perfect bill, but it will definitely help the Postal Service survive to fight another day.
On the other hand, the bill includes one provision that the NALC does not like. That provision will require injured postal workers--not all federal workers, just postal workers--to wait three days before qualifying for Continuation of Pay benefits. This provision, which was recommended by the President's Commission, is totally unjustifiable. Although its advocates argue that it was designed to "discourage frivolous OWCP claims," no one in Washington has been able to explain to me why this provision should be restricted to postal employees. Frankly, it's insulting: the implication is that only postal workers file frivolous compensation claims. But Senator Susan Collins maintained that she and the Bush administration absolutely had to have this provision in the bill.
NALC National President Bill Young vows to do everything in his power to have this portion of the bill overturned as soon as he can.

2007 Branch Budget Up For Vote

The proposed Branch budget for the year 2007 will be discussed and voted on by the membership present and voting at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on January 17. The budget estimates receipts and expenditures of approximately $282,782.

Greetings From National Secretary Treasurer & Family

South Jersey Branch 908 Officers and Members,
"Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season and a New Year of Peace and Happiness."
The Broendels - Jane, Katie and Reid and John Miller

Retiree Direct Dues Payments

For those retirees that pay their dues directly to the Branch, the dues for 2007 are now due. Retirement dues remain at $12 per year. Please make checks payable to NALC Branch 908, and send them to PO Box 45, Pennsville, NJ 08070. Thank You!

Contract Delivery Services

President Young has vowed to fight against the outsourcing of Letter Carrier job by the Postal Service. Many carriers feel that this is just an idle threat from the Postal Service brought up at contract time to use as a bargaining chip. But, the Postal Service has a plan and that plan is called Contract Delivery Services. Formerly called Highway Contract Routes (HCR), the Postal Service has changed the name but not the intent.
The stated purpose is "To control costs by documenting guideline, procedures and policies for the purchase and installation (USPS or customer) of centralized delivery equipment for new growth in single family residential areas, residential building/apartments, condominiums, manufactured homes/RV parks, and business delivery.
The Postal Service's plan is that they may want to contract out any new delivery that consists of four hours of work. They feel that they can do this in the middle of city delivery and even in downtown areas. These contract carriers will be called "suppliers" and will not really be postal employees. They will not wear our uniforms, but are required to wear blue shirts with the logo "US Mail Supplier." Navy blue outerwear and dark colored pants and shoes are preferred.
Article 32 of our National Agreement is titled "Subcontracting" and provides some very sketchy guidelines for contracting out. The Union must be notified and there are some requirements to provide information, but there's not much to this article of our contract.
The reason the Postal Service is trying to increase these Contract Delivery Services is cost. It costs the Postal Service over $200 per delivery per year for a City Letter Carrier to deliver the mail. It costs them approximately $158 per delivery per year for a Rural Letter Carrier to deliver the mail. It only costs approximately $100 per delivery per year to have a contract supplier deliver the mail.
Who would these suppliers be? Working for probably not much more than minimum wage, with no union protection. Would you trust these non-postal employees with your mail? I certainly wouldn't want one delivering my mail.

Thanks Branch 908

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My family and I would like to express sincere gratitude for the fruit basket you sent to us for the death of my father.
Thank you respectfully,
Karl Schluth and family

Dates To Remember

Branch 38 Rap Session - Jan 7 - 9 (Bally's, Atlantic City)
Region 12 Rap Session - Mar 4 - 6 (Tropicana, Atlantic City)
NJ State Congressional Breakfast - Mar 13 - 15 (Wash., DC)
NJ State Convention - May 20 -22 (Hilton, Atlantic City)
Branch Picnic - August 26 (Clementon Park)

Used Uniforms Available

The Branch has an assortment of cleaned, used uniforms available at the Union Hall for members of the Branch in need of replacement or additional items of uniform dress. See your Shop Steward to find out how to obtain them, or pick them up at the regular monthly meetings of the Branch.

Non - Member List As Of 12/02/06

The following carriers don't think that they should have to help pay the costs for our upcoming contract arbitration. But, they will gladly take any raises or other contractual benefits that the NALC wins.
L. A. Stauffer (Atco) R. Phillips (Clayton)
D. R. Sanders (Glassboro) D. E. King (Hammonton)
W. J. Lyons (Hammonton) S. W. Bockman (Voorhees)
F. Doncheva (National Park) W. T. McAllister (Pennsville)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede) M. E. Marley (Sewell)

T. P. Butler-Gaines (Stratford)

Retirement And Military Time

Getting credit for active duty service in the military used to be a simple thing. It still is for anyone whose service was performed before January 1, 1957. If you are one of them, you'd get credit for that time in your annuity computation without paying a deposit. Everybody else with military service has to wrestle with the matter.
This being the federal government, there are two sets of rules that govern whether you are required to make a deposit in order to get credit for your period(s) or military service. If you were first employed before October 1, 1982, you have two options. The decision you make hinges on whether you expect to be eligible for a Social Security benefit at age 62 (or later if you retire after age 62). If you don't expect to be eligible for a Social Security benefit, you can decide not to pay the deposit and your annuity will remain unchanged.
If you do expect to be eligible for a Social Security benefit, it's probably in your interest to make a deposit. If you don't, those years of military service will be dropped and your annuity recomputed downward. And it's highly unlikely that what you'll receive from Social Security will come close to matching what you will lose in your CSRS annuity.
On the other hand, anyone hired after October 1, 1982, must make a deposit for their military service time in order to get credit for it in their annuity computation.
The amount to be deposited is based on two things, the amount of your military base pay (not including allowances) and a percentage. If you don't know what your base pay was, you can get that information by completing OPM form RI-20-47 and sending it in to your military finance center. You can get a copy of the form from your personnel office or download it from OPM's website at www.opm.gov. Just click on the Federal Forms icon.
The percentage of base pay required depends on the retirement system you are in. If you are covered by CSRS, it's 7 percent for all periods of military service between 1957 and 1958. For periods of service in 1999, it's 7.25 percent; for 2000, it's 7.40. For all periods of service after that, it's back to 7 percent. For FERS during the same time periods, it's 3 percent, 3.25, 3.40, and 3. If you transferred to FERS from CSRS, and your military service occurred before or during the time you were covered by CSRS, you'll follow CSRS percentage rules. If after transferring, you'll follow FERS rules.
If a deposit for military service isn't made within two years after you first became employed, interest will be charged to your account one year after that two year period ends. In effect, you have three years minus one day to complete an interest-free deposit. After that, interest is added. So, the longer you wait to make a deposit, the bigger the bill will be. Note: If you decide to make a deposit, it will have to be completed before you retire. If you don't, the amount you deposited will be refunded to you and you'll get no credit for that time.
One last point. Some of you will have retired from the military. In most cases, you will not only have to make a deposit for that time but you will have to waive your military retired pay. Only those who were awarded that pay on account of a service-connected disability either incurred in combat with an enemy of the United States or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war will be allowed to receive both their military retired pay and their civilian annuity without a reduction in either. Your branch of service will have to determine if you meet that criterion.
Source - PostalReporter.com

Wishing You A Happy, Healthy And Prosperous New Year