Wishing You A Happy, Healthy And Prosperous New Year

Next Meeting – January 21

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, January 21, 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.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings Wednesday – January 14

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 14, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $25

Joe Foreman, a member of the Branch out of the Marlton office, was in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, December 17, and was the recipient of the $100 attendance prize. The prize now stands at $25 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

Happy New Year everyone! With the New Year upon us I can see many interesting things ahead we will be dealing with affecting our jobs. I won't go in to those issues now, but need to address some things that have occurred right in my own office at Blackwood.
As we approach the second year after our office route inspection, I want to update you on how "their" brilliant move of eliminating a route has worked out in our office.
We originally had 29 full-time routes. They insisted prior to coming in they would eliminate at least two routes and maybe three. As you all know, as I have previously stated, they took out 1 route, which I said was a mistake. I said time would tell if I was right. Well with almost two years under our belt, I think this is a good timeframe to judge how "they" did.
As a result of the inspection we had two unassigned regulars and two PTF's. You would think by now the workforce would have been adjusted to reflect the workload right?
Oh yea, it has been adjusted. We still have two unassigned regulars, two PTF's, and 4 full time TE's We also have employed as many as 9 TE's at one time in order to "cut" the overtime of the carrier craft. The amazing statistic is they still can't eliminate the overtime!
Why do you think this is? I will tell you why. This office needed that other route to balance the workload. The majority of routes in our office are all over 8 hours, thanks to their removing our other route!
I agreed that some routes were light and some were heavy, but eliminating that route was not the right move. I am not going to rehash the past, but I must point out management's errors when they are so apparent.
My question is to those who are watching the numbers. How in the world is it efficient to employ TE's from other offices, who don't know the area, just to say you cut down on overtime?
It appears to me your spending thousands to save pennies! Is it that TE hours don't count? If that's the case then all managers should be replaced immediately, since the postal service is trying to reduce hours, and these geniuses are using more hours than needed!
Hopefully, with this new route inspection program, we will be able to get back the route they took out, and get our office back to 8-hour routes!
-Gary DiGiacomo, Vice- President

2009 Branch Budget Approved

Those in attendance and eligible to vote at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch held on December 17th unanimously approved the Branch 2009 Budget. The budget estimates the receipt and expenditures of the Branch at $305,471.00 for 2009.

Retiree Direct Dues Payments

For those retirees that pay their dues directly to the Branch, the dues for 2009 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!

Shop Steward Of The Year

This year the Branch is continuing it’s Shop Steward of the Year Award, to be awarded at the annual Branch retirees banquet. There is a nomination form available online at nalcbranch908.com/sofyear.pdf. For those of you without computer access, you can pick up nomination forms at the Branch meetings or simply write on a piece of paper the following information: Name of Steward being nominated, Office, Person making nomination (must be from Steward’s office), and a brief statement as to why you feel this person should be the Branch 908 Steward of the year for 2009, including accomplishments, knowledge of the contract, ability to deal with co-workers and management, communication skills, and dedication to the NALC. In other words, what makes this person special?
All submissions must be received by March 15, 2009. The winner will be selected by the awards committee and kept confidential until the presentation at the banquet.
Mail completed submissions to:
Branch 908 Steward Of The Year
PO Box 45
Pennsville, NJ 08070

From The Health Benefits Officer

Don't forget open season was extended until Jan 31, 2009.

OPM Permits Belated Open Season Period – Enrollment Opportunity Extended to January 31, 2009.
Good news all around for the NALC Health Benefit Plan!!! Open Season enrollment figures are pouring in and, as of December 8, we have already surpassed the Open Season enrollment for the 2007 Open Season. Over 20,000 new enrollments have already been received at the Plan!! However, this is just the beginning. Look for BIG numbers to be tabulated before the end of the enrollment period.
-Fred Mendel

Children's Christmas Party A Huge Success

The Branch held it's annual children's Christmas party on Sunday, Dec. 7th and once again, it was a huge success. The party was well attended and all the children received American-made presents and a photo with Santa. A big thank you goes out to Trustee Donna Villec for organizing the event and Branch Officers Norm Spence, Tom Barnett, Paul Poniatowski, Joe Walder, Jim Comuso, Atco Shop Steward George Greenwood as well as Trudy Spence, Clinnie Barnett, Peggie Poniatowski, Erica Poniatowski, Jeannie Mendel, Marge Walder, Annette Metz, Bill and Marie Revak and Sophia Villec for all the hard work they did to make the day special for the children and grand children of our members.

Membership Pin Issued

At the December 17th Branch meeting Jim Serock, retired Branch member and former Branch Officer from the Woodbury office received his 35-year membership pin.
Congratulations and a big thank you to Jim for all of his years of service.
The NALC Constitution provide that: "When receiving proper notification by the Branch Secretary that a member has completed twenty-five (25) years, or thirty (30) years, or thirty-five (35) years, or forty (40) years, and forty-five (45) years of membership, the National Association of Letter Carriers shall provide a suitable lapel pin for such member". 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.

Thanks Branch 908

Thank you for the generous donation on behalf of my father, William Sharkey. Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, John Sharkey (Sewell)
On behalf of Comprehensive Cancer & Hematology Specialists, P.C., I would like to thank you for your most generous donation to the William J. Sharkey fund, which we have instituted. This fund will be used to defray the cost of chemotherapy for some of our patients that cannot afford the cost of such treatment due to lack of adequate insurance. We want to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your thoughtfulness of others by remembering Mr. William J. Sharkey. – Judith Hall-Laughlin, Executive Director

Route Adjustment Process Update

As most of us are aware the NEW Interim Route Adjustment Process, is upon us. There have been many questions and concerns from our membership and nationwide as the process is not limited to our district. I could not be able to address them all in this article. The Parties have extended the deadline to finalize adjustment packages to February 20, 2009 from the previous date of January 16, 2009. The process was rolled out to us in late October and quickly implemented! With falling mail volume a downward spiraling economy and the growth of E-Mail the postal Service is financially in Dire Straits and obviously trying to find savings rapidly, and from a business stand point, rightfully so, condensing territory, eliminating designated collections etc. Those of you who are now engaged in the process have become more familiar with it. The old way of inspecting routes are probably a thing of the past. I can’t tell you what the future holds! What I will tell you is that nothing has changed as far as doing a professional job and a “Fair day’s work for a Fair days pay” nor has the ancient old cliché “Do your job everyday as if you were being inspected, because you are”!!! It is so important for all carriers to be their own route inspector everyday, you are that inspector. It’s imperative that you make all your clock rings properly whether your casing another route, doing street assistance, express mail, collections, etc. and keep in mind that no one can protect your route better then you. For the past few years carriers have agreed with our national leaders to encourage the Postal Service to give us our times, well our National leaders have succeeded. Every carrier at the local level has an opportunity to agree or disagree to the times presented to them, if a carrier disagrees it must be for just cause that can be researched, identified and substantiated, any reason for disagreement should be researched jointly at the local levels between management, the local NALC representative and the carrier (all together) and duly noted on forms provided, if the local parties find just reason to correct the proposed times, the new times should be notated on the worksheets provided. Times presented to carriers are based on May & Sept. 2008 data i.e.: mail volume& clock rings. If anyone has any questions in regards to the process please feel free to contact me at Paul@nalcbranch908.com. Many thanks for all the hard work done by Matt Carroll President Branch 540 Camden and Fran Meader who is the NALC Lead District Team Representative and Vice-President of Branch 1977 Newark, De. These individuals worked very hard to make sure that letter carriers best interests were properly represented and that the district teams stayed within the parameters presented by the National Parties, which I can tell you was not always EASY!!
-Paul Poniatowski, Financial Secretary

What To Do In Case Of An Active Carrier’s Death

  1. Notify employee’s immediate supervisor.
  2. Notify postmaster.
  3. Notify personnel section (if any)
  4. Contact the following for accounts or benefits:
    1. The local NALC union office
    2. If veteran, the Veterans’ Administration local office
    3. Local bank or Postal credit union
    4. Social Security Administration local office
    5. Insurance companies for policies on life (if NALC Mutual Benefit Association, write 100 Indiana Ave., NW, Room 510, Washington, DC 20001-2144 or call 202-638-4318; if Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, contact local personnel office): hospitalization (if NALC Health Benefit Plan, write 20547 Waverly Ct, Ashburn, VA 22093 or call 703-729-4677); house; and automobile
    6. Internal Revenue Service local office
    7. US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Employee Service and Records Center, Boyers, PA 16017 or the NALC Retirement office, 100 Indiana Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001-2144. You can phone the NALC retirement office toll-free at 800-424-5186 on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 10 a.m. – 12 noon and 2 –4 p. (Eastern time)
  5. Change name on all important papers to survivor’s name.
  6. Notify station superintendent (or supervisor) or postmaster of the time and place of memorial services.
  7. Have mortuary officials obtain enough certified death certificates for your needs. They can advise how many.
  8. Give immediate supervisor locker keys and badge.
  9. Fill out these forms (available in some post offices from personnel section or postmaster): SF 2800- Application For Death Benefits; SF 1153 – Claim Of Designated Beneficiary For Unpaid Compensation; SF 1155 – Claim For Unpaid Compensation, no designated beneficiary; FE 6 – Claim For Benefits, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance.
  10. Check with USPS personnel section or postmaster for annuity for yourself and any minor children.
  11. If previous marriage, have divorce papers. If present marriage, have marriage license.
  12. Contact the station’s personnel office about your potential eligibility for Annuity Protection Plan payments.
Next month – What to do in case of a retired carrier’s death.