November 1998 Newsletter

Next Meeting - November 18

The regular monthly meetings of the Branch are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, except in July and August. The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be on Wednesday, November 18, 8pm. At the Colonial Manor American Legion Post home, 502 Colonial Ave., N. Woodbury.

Branch Officers, Executive Board Meetings - November 11

The Branch Officers and the Executive Board meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month. The Board of Officers meets at 7pm. and the Executive Board at 8pm. The next meetings of the Board of Officers and the Executive Board will be on Wednesday, November 11, at 7 and 8pm. respectively.

No Attendance Prize Winner
Prize Now At $50

Retired letter carrier, F. Back would have been the winner of the $25 attendance prize had he attended the October regular monthly meeting of the Branch on October 21. The prize advances $25 each month up to $250 until someone's name in attendance at a regular monthly meeting is drawn out of the hat.

Free Turkey Drawing

All members in good standing attending the November regular monthly meeting of the Branch on November 18 will be eligible, without cost, to win a 20lb fresh killed turkey that has been donated by the Branch COLCPE Committee.

Children's Christmas Party
Sunday, December 20

The annual Branch Christmas party for the children of active and retired members of the Branch in good standing will be held on Sunday, December 20, 1 to 3pm, at the American Legion Hall in N. Woodbury, where the Branch holds its regular monthly and executive board meetings. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for pictures; all the children will receive a gift, and there will be refreshments for one and all.

Found In Our Post Office Mail Box

An announcement that the US Postal Service is seeking temporary Christmas help. Applicants must be over 18 years old, and pass background criminal check and drug screening test. Salary is $10 per hour for clerks and mail handlers. The positions available are at the South Jersey Processing & Distribution Center, Bellmawr, and applications are being accepted at local post office and employment service offices.

Have A Happy & Enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Senate Cops - Out On Vote To Protect Old Glory

Although the flag protection amendment, has been debated by Congress for over nine years, a vote on the amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 40, was blocked on October 7, following objections by Senators Bob Kerrey and Patrick Leaky, who cited insufficient time to debate the measure. A parliamentary maneuver obstructing a vote on the amendment until after the November elections and convening of the next Congress.
New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Torricelli have advised that they did not support the resolution, which simply put, would have allowed Congress to pass laws to protect the flag, because passing of a constitutional amendment to protect the flag would violate their sworn duty to defend the constitution and freedom of individuals to express their views, no matter how unpopular and despicable.

Negotiations Hotline!

For up-to-date reports from President Sombrotto on the ongoing negotiations between the NALC and Postal Service for a new National Agreement, call the Union's toll-free hotline at:

January 1999 COLA Set At 1.3 Percent For CSRS and FERS Retirees

The 1999 cost-of -living adjustment for retired letter carriers and other annuitants covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee's Retirement System (FERS) will be 1.3 percent.

Blackwood Postmaster Hits New Low

The Blackwood Postmasters actions, against a carrier, at the office, on Columbus Day weekend, has to be addressed. The carrier, who 18 months ago was fighting for his life with cancer, since returning to work has had some good days, but probably more bad than good. This past holiday week was not one of his better ones, and he was forced to miss a few days of work. Since he was out of sick leave, he was forced to request 8 hours advanced sick leave. Normally, this would be no problem; well, this was not the case in Blackwood. The Postmaster showed what kind of callous and insensitive person she is by denying the carrier's request for 8 hours advanced sick leave. You do not have to look far to see why morale is at an all time low in the postal service-especially in Blackwood!

Premium Rates NALC Health Benefits

Employee Pays Decrease Annuitant Pays Decrease Self Only $30.22 -$4.66 $93.47 -$8.32 Self & Family $62.89 -$10.10 $185.88 -$28.80

NALC National Election Results

          Vincent R. Sombrotto                85,068
          Paul Roznowski                      17,584 

William R. Yates 79,678 Pete Marutiak 19,190
Director of City Delivery
Gary H. Mullins 76,058 Michael J. Willadsen 22,657
Director of Safety & Health
Alan Ferranto 62,633 Mike Alexander 19,542 Carl J. Bryant 16,312
Director of Retired Members
Joseph La Placa 68,204 Carl J. Soderstrom 30,252
Board of Trustees (3)
Lawrence (Larry) Brown Jr. 68,154 Daniel T. Rapp 62,765 Randall L. Keller 57,722 Paul "Rocky" Mauricio 22,524 Mike Woolsey 22,238 William J. Reynolds 20,274 Ray M. Tillman 19,981 Lenin V. Perez 16,672
(Bold type = elected)

Arbitrator Rules on 204b Assignments

A 204b whose assignment is posted for bid may be assigned to a residual vacancy following completion of the bidding cycle, so ruled National Arbitrator Carlton Snow on October 2, denying an NALC grievance. Snow ruled that the purpose of Article 41. Section 1.A.2. was to prevent 204b's from exercising seniority-based bidding rights. So long as management does not permit the 204b to bid, management may place the 204b "in an undesirable (residual) route….that no one wanted."

Handling of Unaddressed Flats Using Composite Bundle Work Method

Pursuant to agreement reached by the parties at the National Level, the national parties will conduct a joint study to determine the relative efficiency of the composite bundle and vertical flat casing work methods on park and loop routes and foot routes on days when the workload does not include unaddressed flats. Approaches for handling unaddressed flats on park and loop and foot routes using the composite bundle work method will not be subject of this study. Data collection will begin as soon after January 1, 1999 as possible. For instructions that will apply regarding handling unaddressed flats on parking and loop and foot routes using the composite bundle work method until the study is completed and the national parties jointly instruct otherwise, see NALC Bulletin No. 98-29, dated October 9, 1998, on your NALC Bulletin Board.

Request For Annual Leave Donations

A request for annual leave donations under the auspices of the US Postal Service Leave Sharing Program has been received for Oneida Rivera-Lopez, clerk/stenographer assigned the labor relations office, South Jersey District. Any career employee who is interested in donating annual leave (in increments of 8 or more whole hours), should contact their Personnel Office or Union representative and request Form 3970-D. Request To Donate Leave. The LSP Case number is 99-4B-080-0003. Forms 3970-D with completed parts I and II, should be sent to : Manager, Human Resources, US Postal Service, PO Box 901, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-9461. All donated leave must be earned annual leave, and must not exceed ½ of the donor's earned leave balance. Annual leave hours that otherwise would be forfeited under the maximum carryover rule can not be used for donation.

The Union Begins With You!

Thrift Savings and FSA Open Season Dates

Thrift Savings Plan Open Season: November 15, 1998 through January 31,1999.
Flexible Spending Account Open Season: November 19 through December 14, 1998.
The Thrift Savings Plan is considered an important component of the Federal Employees Retire System (FERS) program, providing an excellent method of increasing retirement benefits since the Postal Service will match all or part of the contributions made by FERS employees. Contributions are tax deductible. In addition, taxes on earnings are deferred until withdrawn during retirement. USPS does not match contributions for employees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System. Employee contributions, however, are tax deductible and taxes on earnings are deferred.
Flexible Spending Account Program: In this Program, carriers bank funds for use in paying health care or dependent care during the year and that money is not taxable for Social Security, Medicare or federal income tax purposes. However, any month that is deducted from your paycheck for FSA, but not used, will be forfeited.

Branch Grievance Settlements

Bridgeton - Letter of warning reduced to discussion. (98-3)
Deptford - Proposed 7-day suspension reduced to letter of warning to remain on file for 6 months. (090998A)
Deptford - Letter of warning reduced to official discussion. (092898A)
Deptford - Letter of warning to be held on file for 9 months from date of issue. (092898B)
Deptford - Employee assigned collection run on 8/31/98 will be awarded one hour straight time pay for custodian performing on-call pickup. (090998C)

Pre-Arbitration Settlements

Pennsville - 9 employees will receive $400 each for resolve of all overtime grievances involved.
Marlton - 3 employees will receive $500 each and another employee $50 for being taken off their bid assignments on a continuing basis. (031298, 042297B)
Marlton - 4 OTDL carriers, at the local Union's choosing, will receive 1 hour overtime each. (061698A)
Deptford - Grievance settled based on information that the grievant was given and did not sign a limited-duty job offer. (121997)
Bellmawr - Grievance settled based on fact that supervisor involved is no longer assigned, and the grievant's route has been properly adjusted. (031098)

Step 3 Settlements

National Park - Carrier craft employees will be compensated at the regular overtime rate for all hours used by clerks to perform letter carrier duties. Based on a total of 37.53 hours overtime involved, each carriers at the office received 12.51 hours OT pay each. (071698)
Pennsville - Letter of warning issued to be rescinded in 3 months. (081198)
Paulsboro - Proposed 7-day suspension rescinded due to improper procedures, including a FMLA related absence. (071698)
Westville - Letter of warning issue resolved at Step 2. (082798)
Penns Grove - Proposed 7-day suspension rescinded. (060998)
Voorhees - Management will provide the Union the current DPS percentages. If the 50-55% DPS continues, local management and the Union will meet again to discuss how to provide relief to the carriers. (061798)
Pitman - Management may not use an employee's "speed" as a determining factor when opting for a route is at issue. (062598)
Pitman - Grievant will be allowed to use sick leave for his absence. If the illness is related to a work-related condition, the grievant is advised to complete a CA2. (040998)
Paulsboro - When scheduled to work overtime on a non-scheduled day the grievant is required to work 8 hours, unless an emergency arises. Personal reasons are not acceptable. (081198B)
Pitman - The grievant will be paid 8 hours at the regular overtime rate. (070798)
Pitman - Grievant will be paid a total of 30 minutes at the penalty overtime rate.(061198)
Pitman - Because of unreasonable delays in implementing previous grievance settlements, the grievant will be granted interest at the Federal judgment rate from June, 1997 until payment is received. (052898)