A Note From the Branch President

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Recently there has been a rash of Letters of Demand sent to our members. It is important to remember that the Postal Service has contractual obligations that must be met before an employee is required to repay a debt. First, the Postal Service must issue a timely and official Letter of Demand. Simply handing an employee a buck slip with the amount owed scribbled in red ink will not suffice. Nor would it be proper to issue a letter for a debt that was owed years ago. Second, the letter must contain a detailed description of the amount of the debt owed and how the Postal Service calculated the figure. The Postal Service cannot simply state "please be advised that you have been overpaid by the USPS and will be required to repay this debt." This is a violation of Article 28 of the National Agreement. In addition to filing a grievance, members should file form 3074, "Request for Waiver of Claim Form from Erroneous Payment of Pay," contained in section 437 of the ELM. Furthermore, as a result of the 1994 National Agreement, the Post Office must cease and desist from collecting any money until all grievances are resolved. In closing, it is not the grievant's responsibility to prove that the money is not owed. Rather, the Service must prove that there is adequate reason for the debt. Please contact your Steward immediately if management attempts to collect any funds from your hard-earned paycheck.
Steve Lipski

Next Meeting Regular Monthly Meeting - October 20

The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, October 20, 8 PM, 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, 8 pm, except during the months of July and August.

Next Branch Officer & Shop Stewards Meetings - October 13

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, October 13, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.

Attendance Prize Stands At $50

Had he been at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on September 14, W. A. King, a member of the Branch working out of the Blackwood office, would have been the recipient of the $25 attendance prize. The attendance prize now stands at $50, and will accumulate at the tune of $25 each regular monthly meeting of up to a maximum of $250 until someone in attendance at a regular monthly meeting has their name drawn. Branch Officers and Shop Stewards not eligible.

Get Out And Vote On November 2

Removal Of Carrier Overturned at Blackwood

The removal of a member at the Blackwood office for alleged improper conduct subsequent to an injury on duty because he did not accept an offer to come in and answer the phone in a limited duty status, was reduced by an arbitrator to a 6-month suspension with all benefits restored upon his return to work.

Pitman Member Sent Back To Iraq

Larry Trimmer, a Branch member out of the Pitman office is back in Iraq for a second time. Larry, a Marine reserve sergeant whose unit first served in southeastern Iraq, near Nasiriyah, is now in the far west of Iraq in a place called Al Rutbah, just west of Fallujah. He was recently involved in a Humvee accident, but is doing fine.

New Branch Retiree

Congratulations to the following member of the Branch who has retired and decided to retain his membership in the NALC and the Branch: William F. Alcott (Marlton).

Thanks For The Kind Expression Of Sympathy

"S. J. Letter Carriers 908" - 8/14/04
Dear Brothers:
Your gift to our mother's beloved church is greatly appreciated. Gifts like this have made the "new roof" a reality. Construction will soon begin. Once again thank you:
Sam Fox (Haddon Hts.) and the children of Frances C. Fox."

Letter Carriers Not Eligible For "Early Out"

The Postal Service has informed NALC President William H. Young that city letter carriers are not eligible for "early out" retirement because they do not meet the necessary requirements set down by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for such an option. The NALC will continue to pursue the retirement option pursuant to a resolution adopted at the Hawaii Convention to ask USPS to seek such approval from OPM.

Uniform Items Of Dress Available At Hall

The Branch has available at the Union hall pre-owned items of uniform dress. Just come to the Hall on meeting nights and choose from the many items of Uniform dress that we have available; all cleaned, laundered and ready for wear.

Welcome New Branch Members

J. A. Kilgore - Marlton
N. J. Martino, Jr. - Hammonton
B. J. Holland III - Williamstown
Mike Powell - Gloucester
L. J. Liebermann - Deptford/Woodury

2004 Pay Days Remaining

Pay Period

Pay Period Ending

Pay Days

22 Oct. 02 - Oct. 15 October 22
23 Oct. 16 - Oct. 29 November 05
24 Oct. 30 - Nov. 12 November 19
25 Nov. 13 - Nov. 26 December 03
26 Nov. 27 - Dec. 10 December 17
27 Dec. 11 - Dec. 24 December 31

NALC Convention Delegates Endorse Kerry - Edwards Ticket

Delegates at the 64th NALC Biennial Convention in Honolulu July 20 gave overwhelming and rousing support to the candidacy of Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts for President and Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina for Vice President. The action came by voice vote as the convention considered a resolution calling for the endorsement of Kerry by the Massachusetts Association of Letter Carriers. The motion to back the Kerry-Edwards ticket was seconded by North Carolina carriers.

2005 NALC Health Plan Maintains High Benefits
"Open Season" November 8 to December 13

Despite soaring medical costs, active and retired letter carriers can be proud that their Union's health plan - the NALC Health Benefit Plan - will retain all of the same high level of benefits for enrollees in 2005, while continuing to offer rates competitive with others in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program (FEHB). Employee contribution rates effective January 2005 for active letter carriers and annuitants in the NALC Health Benefit Plan are:
Self Only Self & Family
Active Carriers (biweekly) $ 34.65 $ 52.65
Annuitants (monthly) $ 126.34 $ 230.75

For further assistance or information contact Branch Health Plan representative Fred Mendel.

In Memoriam

Our condolences to member Rose Burke, who works out of the Magnolia office, on the death of her mother on August 12.

Charles A. Kyser - Former member and retiree out of the Woodbury Heights PO. Father of Charles A. Kyser III, a member out of the Mantua office.

New Branch Officers Appointed

Due to the recent death of Financial Secretary John Vito, the Branch President, with the consent of the Branch Executive Board appointed the following officers to fill the void until the next Branch elections in 2005:
Norm Spence - Financial Secretary
Mike McKiernan - Trustee

Medicare Increases At A Glance

Part B monthly premiums
    (doctors and outpatient services)
    rises from $66.60 to $78.20, a 17.4 % increase of $11.60 a month or $139.20 a year.
Part B annual deductible 
    rises from $100 to $110 and will be pegged to rising Part B costs in future years.
Part A annual deductible 
    rises from $876 to $912.
Hospital charges
    go up from $219 to $228 a day after a 60-day stay in the hospital and from $438 to $456 a day after a 90-day stay

Note: These are standard charges for people in traditional Medicare. Those in private Medicare Advantage plans could be charged differently, maybe less. (taken from AARP Bulletin)

Kids Christmas Party - Sunday, December 12

The Branch's annual kids Christmas party will be held on Sunday, December 12, 1 to 4 pm. As usual Santa will be on hand, children's gifts will be distributed, pictures taken with Santa, and food, refreshments and snacks for all.

NALC Retirement Department
Toll-free number: 1-800-424-5186
Available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday only
From 10 a.m. to noon & 2 to 4 p.m. (Eastern time)
This toll-free number is answered ONLY during these hours on the days indicated.

Branch Scribe Article worth Reviewing

In case you missed it in the August/September issue of the NALC Postal Record, the following article of our Branch Scribe, Gary DiGiacomo follows:

"Arbitration for all removals!" Branch 294 from New York proposed this resolution at the National Convention in Hawaii, and it was defeated overwhelmingly by the delegates. This lack of support for an issue of this magnitude scares the devil out of me. I know on the surface you say that we can just not unilaterally send all removals to arbitration, since this would be defeating the intent of the Dispute Resolution Process. But if we look at the why this is not such a far-fetched idea, maybe we should take a long look at this premise. The day someone can explain to me why we have to have one of our own "union" brothers be the judge and jury when removing another brother, I would be willing to listen. I am sick and tired of hearing our supposedly union leaders tell me that they agree with the decision of our DRT representatives when they uphold a removal. When someone can show me the last time a postmaster, supervisor, POOM, or district manager was ever "fired", then please come talk to me and I will start to agree that we can work together to try to fix some of the internal problems. We have a laundry list of "scumbag" managers continuing to graze the plains who, if they were carriers, would have been removed a long time ago. So why should we be "sleeping with the enemy" when dealing with removals. It really upsets me that this union doesn't think the due process rights of its members aren't the most important rights that we have. Not allowing an accused member his day in court in front of his accusers is just not right. I hope everyone will re-think this idea before following the heard to the slaughterhouse.

Non-Member Listing As Of 8/26/04

H. A Martin III (Glassboro) S. E. Smith (Glassboro)
D. G. Hargreaves (Gloucester) D. G. Earling (Voorhees)
A. D. Kuttruf (Maple Shade) F. Donacheva (National Park)
J. T. Eden (Paulsboro) B. J. Samuels (Pennsville)
W. T. McAllister (Pennsville) W. A. Breitenstine (Runnemede)
T. J. Leisner III (Stratford) C. M. Ford (Stratford)
T. P. Butler-Gaines ( Stratford)

Branch Expenses June Through August

Printing, Branch News $90.10
Postage 235.00
Phone 182.26
Office Supplies 1,466.09
Hall Rental 990.00
Refreshments 1,267.60
Grievances 57.87
Charity Events 3.85
Branch Picnic 2,987.60
Convention 51,374.00
Seminars 200.00
Labor Functions 11.65
Officers' Salaries 12,036.52
Shop Stewards Comp. 10,260.00
Employer Taxes 1,070.95
Employee Taxes 1,622.90
Employers' State Taxes 119.98
Employee State Taxes 129.50
Employees State Inc. Taxes 210.03
Attendance Drawing 250.00     
Total Expenses 84,566.78

Letter Carriers Are #1

City letter carriers be proud! For the first time in modern history, you are now the largest craft in the U. S. Postal Service. According to the August payroll report of the Postal Service, dated September 6, there were 228,016 city carriers on the rolls and 226,984 clerks, making city carriers the largest USPS craft.
What you were told for years about the future of the Postal Service becoming a delivery institution is occurring right before your eyes. NALC President Young stated that he takes no delight in the fact that they are downsizing the clerical craft.