Branch 908 June 2000 Newsletter

A Note From The President

As you are probably aware, there will be no formal meetings in July and August. However, I have decided to open the Union Hall on the third Wednesday of each month (July 19 and August 16) between the hours of 7:30 and 10 pm. Anyone interested can stop by and stock up on supplies or purchase tickets for the Branch Picnic and fishing trip. In addition, if you have any questions or problems we'll be able to talk about them in a relaxed atmosphere over a cold drink. Secondly, over the Summer months the Branch will be conducting a Branch census and voter registration drive to update our mailing list so our members receive all the information they are entitled to. In closing, I hope everyone has a safe, peaceful and enjoyable Summer....
In Unionism: Stephen J. Lipski

Next Meeting - June 21

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be on Wednesday, June 21, 8p.m. Regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, except for the months of July & August. This will be the last regular monthly meeting of the Branch until we meet again in September. Have a happy and safe Summer.

Branch Officers & Executive Board Meeting - June 14

The Branch Officers and Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of officers at 7:30p.m., and the Executive Board at 8p.m. The next meeting of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, June 14. This will be the last meeting for Officers and Shop Stewards until we meet again in September.

Attendance Prize Still At $250

Had he been there, Mark Smith, a member of the Branch working out of Swedesboro, would have been the recipient of the $250 attendance prize. The attendance prize now stands at $250 and will remain at that figure until someone in attendance at a regular monthly Branch meeting wins it; Branch Officers and Shop Stewards not included.

Housing - National Convention Delegates

The Branch's National Convention Delegates will be staying at Downtown Chicago's Essex Inn on Grant Park during the week of the National Convention, July 30 to August 5. While there, the Delegates, if necessary, can be reached at 312-939-2800.

In Memoriam

In your prayers please remember Joan M. Walder, the sister of Joe Walder, Branch Vice President and Shop Steward at Deptford and Marlton, and Christina Campbell, the daughter of Bob Campbell, a Branch member working as a clerk at the Deptford office.

Have a peaceful, happy, safe Summer

Proposed Amendments To Branch Constitution & By-Laws

The following proposals to amend the Branch Constitution and By-Laws were submitted to the By-Laws Committee, were read by the Chairman if that Committee at the May regular monthly meeting of the Branch, and will be debated and voted on at the regular monthly meeting on June 21:
Proposed to amend Article 4, Officers, Section 1, to read that the elected officers of the Branch shall now include a 2nd Vice President.
Proposed to amend Article 6, Duties of Officers, by adding a new Section 2a, to provide that the 2nd Vice President shall be the assistant to the President and shall fill such duties as the President deems fit.
The purpose of the amendments is to allow the Branch to have another elected officer to better spread the duties of the Branch.

RIFs And Cost Cutting

According to the May 22 issue of the Postal Employees News Digest, "by 2004, the Postal Service is planning to reduce its workforce by about 9,000 jobs - through leaders of postal unions and associations expect that the cutbacks' effect on their members will be minimal because most of the reductions will occur among administrative staff."

Some Convoluted Reasoning

The EEOC recently ruled that a transitional carrier who successfully complained that her termination was tainted by sex discrimination was not entitled to be returned to the USPS in a part-time flexible position because that would have placed her "in a position greater than that which she was at the time of her termination."

NALC Health Benefit Plan Online Services:

New online services at have recently been added to the NALC prescription drug benefit.
New Prescription Request. You can request a new prescription online, or have your physician contact Caremark at 1-800-378-5697 (this number is for physician use only) to request a new prescription order form. Your physician simply completes the form and then faxes the prescription request directly to Caremark.
Transfer Prescription from Retail to Mail. Maintenance prescription currently being filled at your local retailpharmacy can be transferred to Caremark's mail service pharmacy to be filled for up to a 90-day supply.
Update Prescriptions that have no refills or have expired. Update your mail service prescriptions where there are no refills remaining or the prescription has expired.

Free Online Manuals & Information

Access to various handbooks and manuals including the 1998-2000 NALC Contract are available online at Unionweb:

Thrift Savings Plan Open Season
May 15 Through July 31, 2000

Career employees must use the PostalEASE telephone enrollment system (call toll free 1-800-477-3273) during the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) open season if they wish to begin contributions to TSP, change the current TSP contribution amount or percentage, change the investment of future TSP contributions, or cancel TSP contributions.

You Wanna Bet!

According to a newly released 1999 annual report by the Postal Inspection Service, one of the Inspection Service's primary responsibilities is to protect postal employees from criminals and acts of violence committed by members of the public.

Register To Vote By October 10

Members unregistered or having moved must register to vote by October 10 if they want to vote in the general election in November.

The Government (Public) Pension Offset

Under current law, federal retirees cannot collect both a government annuity based on their own work and social security benefits based on their spouse's work record. The law provides that two-thirds of the government annuity must be counted as an offset against whatever spousal social security benefits would be payable to the retiree.

Some New Branch Members

K M Mithcell - Gloucester
T J Leisner III - Paulsboro
L W Trimmer III - Pitman
U Codey - Runnemede
N L Franchi - Swedesboro
W N Taylor - Riverton
D S Foster - Salem
D E Tisa - Bridgeton
S McClain - Bridgeton

Happy Retirement

F E Cole - Stratford
T Price - Glassboro
W E White - Pitman

Allegheny Area Arbitration Panels Appointed

Richard Dissen
William A Donnelly, Jr.
Arthur P Fisher
John M Hamrick
William J Miller
Stephen D Owens
Susan G Ruben
Peter C Schaumber
Dwayne L tinsley
Joel S Trosch
Mollie H Bowers
Raymond Britton
Martha Cooper
Thomas J DiLauro
William A Donnelly, Jr.
Nicholas Duda Jr.
Harry E Graham
Jonathan S Liebowitz
Mark I Lurie
Philip W Parkinson
Lawrence Roberts
Mark A Rosen
James F Scearce
Joseph A Sickles

Branch Fishing Trip - August 20

The annual Branch fishing trip will be held this year on Sunday, August 20. Contact Bill Baitinger for further details.

Branch Picnic - September 10

The annual Branch Picnic will be held this year on Sunday, September 10, at Clementon Lake Park. Contact Bill Baitinger for further details.

Branch Scholarship Drawing
June 21

Pay Differential Not Maintained For VOMAs

According to meeting notes from the Committee of Presidents' Meeting in Seatle, Washington, the differential between Grade 5 and Grade 6 carrier craft employees will not be maintained for VOMAs. The reason that T-6 employees do maintain the differential and VOMAs don't is because the DPS working environment has impacted the way the T-6 employees work and has not affected VOMAs. There are only 900 VOMAs in the Postal Service. Of that, only 300 are carrier craft employees.

Branch Candidates Graduate Union Counselor Program

The following Branch members recently graduated from the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO and Union Organization for Social Services (UOSS) sponsored Union Counselor Course which taught volunteers from seven locals to access public and private services to assist fellow union members and their families. The graduates can be contacted at their offices of employment listed after their names below:
Vince Castagna - Blackwood
Norm Spence - Penns Grove
Donna Villec - Riverton

Final FMLA Rules Effective June 7

(Federal Employees News Digest, May 15, 2000)