A Note From The Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The NALC at the national level has partnered with management to establish a new joint route inspection process. NBA Bill Lucini has chosen Paul Poniatowski to be the NALC representative in our district. Paul has already attended training classes and will brief the membership at the November meeting. Without going into the technical details of the process, it is safe to say that the team will be using representative street times of the regular combined with fixed office time and route volume figures. Once these figures are established the math is done and your route is adjusted as close to eight hours as possible. As I said, this is the condensed version. Paul will explain the complete program at the next meeting. Please try to attend this meeting because this inspection program will be a complete change of how we do our jobs.
-Steve Lipski

Next Meeting – November 19

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, November 19, 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 – November 12

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, November 12, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Now At $75

Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, October 15, Steven Smith, a Branch member working out of the Glassboro office, would have been the recipient of the $50 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $75 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

Decisions, decisions! If you haven't been approached as of this printing you will be shortly. What I am referring to are the "route eliminators." These are the clowns who will be coming in to your office looking for a "handout." The handout being at least one of your routes, if not more based on their bogus numbers. Once again the targets are on the backs of the carrier craft, because the shrinking volumes just don't justify the amount of routes you should have in you office, so they say! This may be the case in some low volumes areas, such as Camden and Clementon, etc. I am not too sure it applies to all of the offices in our local. Time will tell.
I want to give you the reason why the service is trying to eliminate as many routes as they can.
There was a video released by chief operating officer Pat Donahoe entitled "field updates" where he laid out his brutal attack on the carrier craft. Even though he praised his people on doing a great job in cutting cost, it still was not enough! Go figure! He then goes on to say that "we have to get after the fixed cost in delivery" since we have this massive drop off in volume. That is us boys and girls, and some of the ideas he poses are absolutely ridiculous. I won't go into all of them here, but here is a sampling.
They figure they can save $1 billion in eliminating routes in low volume areas, which I guess means everyone! He states if "we" can reduce 1 route out of 20 we would be reducing 3750 routes, which would equate to a savings of $253 million. I am not sure how and where he is getting all of these numbers, but I am sure he is smoking something good to run these numbers out there.
This brings me back to my opening statement about decisions you are going to be forced to make involving your offices.
They will be trying to get you to do minor route adjustments by showing you numbers that says they can get so many routes out of your office if they do a full blown inspection. They will try to BS you into believing if you "give them one" they will be out of there with no hassles for anyone. Don't buy it for a minute.
What really bothers me the most is how no one wants to make these people work for their numbers? Do you really believe if they told you they can get more routes out of your office, but will be nice by only taking one, if you let them do a minor adjustment?
WAKE UP PEOPLE! Any time you lose a route, that is not a minor adjustment that is MAJOR! Minor adjustments are that, minor, small maneuvers from light routes relieving heavier routes, not eliminating routes. That's what inspections are used for.
So once again I am asking all of you to consider a full-blown inspection instead of taking a deal. I really believe it is the best way to get updated info for all those items you never got credit for and are not included in your routes daily workload!
-Gary DiGiacomo

Class Action Suit Filed For Rehab Employees

Our new Branch OWCP Attorney Tom Uliase attended the regular monthly Branch meeting on October 15 and gave those members present an overview of the services he will be offering the Branch. Tom has passed along the following information about a class action lawsuit, which would cover any rehab employee from March 24, 2000 to present.
Employment Discrimination Class Complaint Against The Postal Service, (Edmond Walker and James Archie v. John E. Potter, Postmaster General, U. S. Postal Service, EEOC Case No. 320-A2-8390X; Agency Case No. CC-800-0359-03, 4E-800-0240-02 and 1E-801-0070-08
The issue in this case is whether present or past employees of the Postal Service, who are disabled within the meaning of the Rehabilitation Act and who were assigned a permanent rehabilitation position anytime from March 24, 2000 to present, were discriminated against based upon their disability and permanent rehabilitation status when they had their duty hours restricted by the Postal Service.
For purposes of this litigation, the phrase “permanent rehabilitation employee” includes any rehabilitation program employee whose Postal Service employment records reflect an employee status code of LDC 69 and/or an employee status code of RC and/or RD.
The phrase “duty hours restricted” includes: (1) restrictions limiting the number of hours generally worked; and (2) restrictions which allegedly resulted in the denial of overtime.
If you meet the criteria to be a potential member of the class, you are not required to do anything at this point in order to remain part of the class. However, there are certain matters you should consider if you are a member of the class: The commission does not allow any class member to “opt out” or choose not to be bound by a class complaint decision.
A final agency decision finding discrimination is binding on all members of the class and on the Postal Service. A finding of “no discrimination” is not binding on a class member’s individual complaint. While you may not exclude yourself from the class (“opt out”) you do not have to participate in this class complaint. If liability is found, you will have to file a claim to receive individual relief.
For additional information about this case, you may contact the Class Counsel. The following are the representatives of record for this class complaint:
John Mosby, Esq. Marilyn Cain Gordon, Esq.
Elisa J Moran, Esq. John W. Davis, Esq.
Class Contact Information:
621 17th Street
Suite 925
Denver, CO 80293
Telephone: 800-280-8301
E-mail: walkerclass@msn.com

Penalty Overtime Exclusion Period
12/6/08 to 1/2/09

In accordance with Article 8, Sections 4 and 5 of the National Agreement, the December period (during which penalty overtime regulations are not applicable) consists of 4 consecutive weeks.
This year the December period begins pay period 26/08, Week 1, (December 6, 2008), and ends pay period 01/09, week 2, (January 2, 2009).

Branch Children's Christmas Party - December 7

The annual Branch children's Christmas party will be held on December 7, from 1:00 to 3:00. For more info visit nalcbranch908.com/xmas.html or contact Trustee Donna Villec at 856-287-6215.

Branch Picnic Report

Sunday September 7, the Branch held it's annual picnic at Clementon Lake Park on a picture perfect day with lots of sun and low humidity. The park has had many improvements made to it under the new ownership. Too bad we only had 139 tickets sold! I would like to thank all that came out that day with their families; I hope they all had a good time. I also want to thank all of the members who helped out all day setting-up, cooking and packing-up. Special thanks go to the wives who all worked so hard to make the picnic a success. Hope to see more of you next year. Stay tuned.
-Jim Livingston, Picnic Chairman

Non-Member Listing As of 9/26/08

L. A. Stauffer (Atco) P. Phillips (Clayton)
S. M. Reber (Clayton) D. R. Sanders (Glassboro)
R. C. Severino (Gloucester) J. A. Dodge (Gloucester)
D. E. King (Hammonton) W. J. Lyons (Hammonton)
L. K. Luciana (Voorhees) S. W. Bockman (Voorhees)
W. P. Green (Maple Shade) M. W. Jones (Maple Shade)
S. A. Washington (Marlton) J. M. Rafferty (Riverton)
W. T. McAllister (Pennsville) P. A. Canales (Riverton)
F. Doncheva (National Park) M. E. Marley (Sewell)
W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede)

Thank You Branch 908

Thank you for the generous donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of my mother’s passing. Your kindness and thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated. – Fred Budesa
Thank you so much for the donation to Dave’s church. We appreciated your thoughts. I also want to thank the members for the gift they sent me personally. Dave really enjoyed his work at the P.O. (at times, ha!) That was our life for many a year. – Norma Williams
I am writing to thank you for your contribution to our church’s Expansion Fun In Memory of Dave Williams, Sr…. The funeral on Monday was a fitting tribute to a generous man who was loved by people far and wide. Uncle Dave’s smile was contagious and his enthusiasm warmed the hearts of all who knew him. In his last few years, he reconnected with this church family; and many of us loved him. – Dan Cooper, Church Of Christ
Dear members, Thanks for your support in the local college scholarship award program. This year I finish up my degrees at Richard Stockton College. I am especially grateful to Steve Rutkowski for his help on the administrative portion of your scholarship. – Jennie McCluskey

Take Charge of Your TSP

By Tammy Flanagan, National Institute of Transition Planning
With all that's going on in the financial system these days, many federal employees are concerned about whether they can count on their Thrift Savings Plan funds to provide for a healthy percentage of their retirement savings. Some people view the TSP as a complex and risky place to save. They're not comfortable making important decisions about planning for retirement without help from their employer.
In fact, some folks seem to be under the impression that Social Security will provide for their retirement needs. Here's a reality check on that notion, courtesy of the Social Security Administration:
“Social Security was never meant to be the only source of income for people when they retire. Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average wage earner's income after retiring, and most financial advisers say retirees will need about 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably. To have a comfortable retirement, Americans need much more than just Social Security. They also need private pensions, savings and investments.”
For newer civil servants covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System, Uncle Sam provides not only a basic pension benefit but also what amounts to a company-sponsored savings plan -- the TSP. In comparison to the average company retirement plan; these two elements constitute a very generous supplement to Social Security.
Last time I checked, the TSP had an almost 90 percent participation rate among FERS employees. One of the factors that contribute to that high rate is its simplicity. There are only five investment choices in the TSP, and to make things even simpler, the life-cycle funds take these five choices and diversify them automatically based on an employee's anticipated retirement date. Overall, that helps provide diversification, low administrative expenses and minimal risk.
Of course, even having just five investment choices can be daunting for some employees. But especially in times like these, it's important to understand what each fund invests in and their underlying risks.
Take Responsibility If you're lucky, your agency offers a midcareer financial planning or retirement seminar. If not, you must take responsibility to educate yourself. Here's how to begin:
I'm sorry to say it, but this is your responsibility. And if you have children who are about to graduate from college or recently began a career, it is your responsibility as parents to teach them that they need to save part of their income for their future retirement. That's the reality of the world we live in.

Health Benefits Open Season – Nov. 10 – Dec. 8

All members are urged to take a look at the NALC Health Benefit Plan, 20 new benefits were added this year that are targeted at specifically helping Letter Carriers. We are anticipating 20,000 new members in the plan this year which will help put us on the path to an all Letter Carrier Plan in 2011.For information concerning our Plan we have extended our customer service hours. Effective October 27th through December 12th between the hours of 8:00 AM EST till 5:30 PM EST our friendly customer service representatives will assist you. The number to call is 1-888-636-NALC (6252).

Dates To Remember

December 7, 2008 Branch Children’s Christmas Party
January 4 – 6, 2009 Branch 38 Rap Session
February 22 – 24, 2009 Region 12 Rap Session
March 4 – 5, 2009 Congressional Breakfast
May 31 – June 2, 2009 NJ State Convention