A Note From the President

Just a reminder that there will be no Branch meetings during the months of July and August; however, the Union hall will be open every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30. You will be able to pick up tickets or sign up for our Casino Bus Trip and Camden Riversharks game (see newsletter). In addition, any steward who wishes to discuss a problem or grievance and needs materials or supplies should come to the hall on those days. If anyone has any questions on these issues or any other, please contact me. I hope that everyone has an enjoyable and safe summer and I look forward to seeing everyone in September.
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting - June 18
Last Meeting Till September - Annual Shrimp Night

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, June 18, 8 PM, at the American Legion Hall, 502 Colonial Ave., North Woodbury. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month except in July and August. June 18 is our last meeting before the Summer months. In appreciation to all members we will be having our 3rd Annual Shrimp Night. We will be having tasty shrimp, hoagies and cold beer. Everyone is encouraged and welcomed to come out. Hope to see you there.

Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings - June 11

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, June 11, 7:30 and 8 PM respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $250

Had he been there, R. R. Hager, a member of the Branch working out of the Woodstown office, would have won the $250 attendance prize drawn at the regular monthly meeting held on Wednesday, May 21. The attendance prize now stands at $250, and will remain at that level until a member in attendance at a regular monthly meeting has their name drawn.

Food Drive Report - 129,200 Pounds Collected

Thanks to participating Branch members, the Branch 2003 Food Drive collected 129,200 pounds of food. Chairman Steve Rutkowski again thanks all of those who made this drive such a great success.

Branch Scholarship Drawing

The Branch 908 Scholarship drawing will take place at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on June 18. Applications will be accepted until the night of the drawing. Applications are available at the Branch web site: NALCbranch908.com, or by contacting Steve Rutkowski.

George Crynick - Deceased Member

It is with great sadness that we report the death of George Crynick, a retired member of our Branch. To the best of our knowledge George was the first and only member of our Branch who transferred to our Branch after having retired from another NALC Branch at Donora, PA. Although he could not come to our meetings because of poor health, George was proud to be a member of the NALC and Branch 908.

Nominations for the Election of Branch Officer, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Nominations for the election of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards, and Convention Delegates will be called for at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, October 15, 2003. Nominations shall be made from the meeting floor or in writing to the Branch Recording Secretary, mailed or presented to him prior to or at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on October 15. Each eligible member of the Branch nominated for office shall accept or reject nomination for the record, in person or in writing, prior to the adjournment of the October 15 meeting. Failure to accept nomination prior to adjournment of the October 15 meeting will invalidate the nomination. Shop Stewards shall be nominated and elected by the membership he/she will represent from the office where he/she works. Elections shall be by secret mail ballot of the eligible Branch membership held as soon as possible after nomination. All Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates will be elected to a term of two (2) years. Offices up for nomination and election include that of the: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Assistant Recording Secretary, Chairperson Trustees, Trustees (4), Health Benefits Representative, Housing Chairperson, Sgt. At Arms, Shop Stewards (38) and Compensated Convention Delegates (approximately 21).

Proposed Change of Branch Constitution and By-Laws

The following proposed change to the Branch Constitution and By-Laws was submitted to the By-Laws Committee at the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch and will be read, discussed, debated and voted on at the regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 18, 3003:
Proposal to amend Article 5, Section 14, Elections, to read as follows: Delegates to be compensated for their attendance at a National Convention shall not exceed two (2) percent of the Branch membership. Where more than two (2) percent of the Branch membership is nominated for National Convention Delegate, all the names of those nominated shall be placed on the secret mail ballot for the election of Branch Officers, Shop Stewards and Convention Delegates. The number, not to exceed two (2) percent of the Branch membership, receiving the highest number of votes, shall be compensated for their attendance at a National Convention.
Submitted by: Norm Spence, Tom Barnett, Mike DiGiacomo, Ed Friel.
Current language provides that Delegates to be compensated shall not exceed three (3) percent of the Branch membership.

Removal at Westville Reduced To A 30-day Suspension

The removal of a carrier at Westville for alleged unacceptable conduct, behavior and personal habits was reduced to a 30-day suspension by Arbitrator Walter Powell. Powell found that there was a serious question as to the admissibility of hearsay evidence in the matter and the value of such evidence. All the evidence presented in charging the aggrieved was based on the testimony of witnesses that never testified before the Arbitrator nor was the Union given the opportunity to cross-examine the two witnesses that accused the grievant. Powell sustained the grievance in part, reduced the removal to a 30-day suspension, and reinstated the grievant with full seniority, all benefits and back pay for the difference in the time between the removal and the reinstatement less the 30-day suspension. As part of the award Powell provided that the grievant be transferred to another Post Office within the region.

Riversharks Game & Branch Picnic
Sunday, September 7

In lieu of holding the Annual Branch Picnic at Clementon Lake Park this year, the Branch has decided, because of the continuing failures of the management at Clementon to honor its commitments with us, to hold our picnic at the Camden Riversharks stadium. The cost of the ticket to see the game and picnic buffet is $19 pp, children 5 and under free. Buffet starts at 12:30, game at 1:30.
Cash bar for drinks.
Tickets can be picked at the Union Hall or through your Shop Steward. Tickets must be purchased by 8/13/03. To accommodate the membership in this regard, the Union Hall will be open every Wednesday in July and August between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30 pm.

Welcome New Member

Edward C. Dominisac - Mt Ephraim

COLCPE Casino Bus Trip
Sunday, October 12

The Branch COLCPE Casino Bus Trip has been scheduled for Sunday, October 12, the day before the Monday Columbus Day Holiday. The bus will leave the hall at 11 am for Caesars Casino and return at 6 pm, after which there will be a free 2-hour beef and beer at the Union Hall. Tickets for the trip are $20, which includes $11 back in coins at the casino, the bus trip and the beef and beer.

Disability Retirement and Accommodation

One of the threshold issues which a disability retirement applicant must overcome is the issue of whether or not the Agency can "accommodate" the individual's medical disability.
C.F.R. Sec. 831.1203 (a) (4) states that the "employing agency must be unable to accommodate the disabling medical condition in the position held or in an existing vacant position." This definition was further clarified in the case of Bracey, when the Court therein stated unequivocally that if the Agency wants to "accommodate" you it must be so that you can do the job you are presently slotted for. Thus, keeping you "officially" slotted in a given position, but in reality having you do some light-duty, "other" kind of job, is not considered an "accommodation". As the Court clearly stated, an agency cannot stop a disability retirement application "by assigning an injured employee to an ad hoc set of light duties as long as it continues to pay the employee at the same level as before." (Page 1362 in Bracey) This is especially important for Federal employees who are being relegated to odds & ends jobs in some corner desk and declared by their Agency as to have been "accommodated". The law clearly states that this does not constitute legal accommodation. (Robert R. McGill, Attorney At Law)

FSA Health Care Limit Increased

NALC President William Young signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Postal Service on May 7 to increase the Flexible Spending Account health care contribution maximum from $3,000 to $5,000. Under FSA money is deducted from each paycheck and deposited into an account. Less tax money is withheld because the contributions are not subject to taxation. The account can be used to pay health care bills not covered by insurance, including health plan co-payments and deductibles, and charges for costs not covered by your health plan.

Thrift Savings Plan Open Season
April 15 to June 30

This is just a reminder that the Open Season for the Thrift Savings Plan is April 15 to June 30. During the open season employees can start or increase their TSP contributions. This can only be done during the "Open Season". FERS employees are allowed to contribute up to 13% of their basic salary, and CSRS employees up to 8%.

RMD (Resource Management Database)

Under RMD employees are directed to call an 800 number to notify the Postal Service when they are unable to report for work due to an illness and/or absence. Supervisors, called ACS (attendance control supervisors), answer the calls, and are instructed to ask certain information to identify the employee and the facility where they work. The information is then entered into a computer, which immediately generates a PS Form 3971. The 3971 is then emailed to the employee's immediate supervisor. The ACS supervisor's role is a limited one. They cannot hassle you, ask whether you can come in and case, or whether you think that you have been sick enough this year. Under the Privacy Act you are not required to provide your social security number. They can ask you what the nature of your illness is, but they cannot ask you for a diagnosis, or for you to explain your illness. They do not have the right to request that you bring in medical documentation. They have a complete record of your attendance, as well as your days off, and your scheduled leave.

Cleaned, Used Items of Uniform Dress Available

There is a large amount of cleaned, used items of uniform dress available at the Branch Office for new and current members of the Branch who might need them. The items of dress include pants, short and long, shirts, sweaters, jackets, and even some rain gear. Anyone interested can pick and choose prior to or after the Branch meetings on the 2nd and 3rd Wednesdays of the month, or any Tuesday evening between the hours of 7:30 and 9:30 pm.

City/Rural Disputes

The NALC, the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association and the United States Postal Service have resolved a North Carolina dispute concerning management's unilateral conversion of deliveries from city to rural. In conjunction with the resolve, the three parties agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding, which establishes a joint task force to expedite resolution of the backlog of held grievances on all city/rural jurisdictional disputes. The parties are to meet within 60 days to set guidelines and a process to facilitate resolution of outstanding grievances.

Suspicious Mail Pieces

A mail piece is considered suspicious if it has more than one of the following characteristics:

What to Do If You Observe Suspicious Mail Piece

What Supervisor Should Do