A Note From The Branch President
JUST A REMINDER
We will be conducting our third annual Eagles Season Ticket Raffle for political action. The tickets will be distributed to all shop stewards at the May executive board meeting. This is our only fundraiser for COLCPE for the entire year therefore Shop Stewards are expected to sell all tickets. If you can't sell 25 tickets the entire summer then buy them. Last year’s winner was Chris Walder out of Runnemede. Next year, you could be watching Eagles football from fantastic seats for a meager 2 bucks!
Next Meeting – May 20
The next regular monthly meeting of the Branch will be held on Wednesday, May 20, 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 – May 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, May 13, 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively.
Attendance Prize Now At $125
Had he been in attendance at the regular monthly meeting of the Branch on Wednesday, April 15, J. R. Mader, a retired carrier out of the Gloucester office, would have been the recipient of the $100 attendance prize. The prize now increases to $125 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
Last month I told everyone how this district, through its arrogance and ignorance, was, and continues to pay through its noses, on Article 8 grievance violations. I also figured once they had their labor- management meeting the violations would stop once they heard how much free money they were paying our craft members. Well surprise, surprise! We had our labor-management meeting last month with all local union presidents and the business agent along with all management higher-ups to discuss the issues at hand. Although I wasn't invited to this meeting, I had enough people in attendance that filled me in on what the "KING" had to say!
Why am I calling the DM the king, you may ask? Well, all the kings I know of have thrones. It seems our DM can't go anywhere without his throne. The meeting was originally scheduled for his conference room, but with the amount of people in attendance the meeting had to be moved to another conference room. Since he isn't one of the common folk, he had his minions move his chair to the new meeting room. Why am I even mentioning this you ask? It just goes to show the arrogance displayed by this new administration. Who in their right mind needs to bring their own chair to another room? I am embarrassed for the people who moved his throne for him!
Doesn't anyone have any shame or courage to stand up to this bully?
Once I heard of this escapade I knew there wasn't going to be any satisfaction from the meeting. I was correct, since the presidents in attendance informed me the DM couldn’t care less about the thousands of dollars they have lost in grievance settlements. He was tap dancing around every issue the union officers presented him with no answers to any of their concerns.
I guess as long as you are making your numbers, no matter what cost monetarily, you think you are doing your job. I can tell you one thing, you may be making your personal numbers to feather your nest, but as far as I am concerned you are a dismal failure in dealing with the workers in this district!
-Gary DiGiacomo, Vice – President
2nd Annual Branch Banquet
On April 11th the Branch held our 2nd annual Banquet at Nicolosi’s Banquet Hall in Woodbury. If you weren’t one of the 80 members who showed up, you missed a great night!
Branch Recording Secretary Norm Spence, acting as the emcee for the night, kept the business part of the evening short while still getting everything accomplished.
Invited guest attending included National Assistant Secretary – Treasurer George Mignosi, who brought greetings from National President Bill Young, and National Business Agent Bill Lucini.
After the business part of the evening was concluded, that left plenty of time for enjoying the terrific food that Nicolosi’s is known for and drinking, dancing and socializing.
Special thanks go to Jake “the Snake” Evison, a Branch member out of our Woodbury Office. Jake is an outstanding DJ and he donated his services for the evening. Jake kept the party going and made sure that an enjoyable time was had by all. Anyone who’s looking for a DJ for his or her next event, can’t go wrong giving Jake a call; he can be reached at 856-853-0419, or through his website at www.TheHotSounds.com.
Special thanks go to Branch Trustee Donna Villec for acting as our greeter/ticket taker and photographer for the night. Thanks also go to my wife Trudy Spence for all of her help organizing this event and to everyone who came out for this special night. I know everyone I talked to had a great time.
Mark your calendar now, next year our 3rd Annual Branch Banquet will be held on April 17, 2010.
Shop Steward Of The Year
At the Branch Banquet on April 11, we awarded the second annual Shop Steward of the year award. The winner, chosen from nominations made by the membership, was Atco Shop Steward, George Greenwood. The nominating letter by Atco Branch member Michael Cromer was a truly moving one and he made a special trip to the Banquet to see George receive his award and to read the nominating letter to all those in attendance. After he was through, there was no doubt that the awards committee had made the right choice in selecting George Greenwood as the 2009 Shop Steward of the Year. Congratulations George! Keep up the great work!
Branch Scholarship Drawing In June
The Drew Walters Memorial Scholarship for 2009 will be drawn at the regular Branch meeting on June 17, 2009. This scholarship fund of $2,000 ($500 a year for four years) was established in 1991 and is available to all children, grandchildren, step-children (living with a member) and adopted children of active or retired members. Applicants must be a high school graduate eligible for college or vocational school admission. Applications for this drawing are available on the branch web site at nalcbranch908.com/scholarship.pdf, at the monthly meetings, by calling Scholarship chairman Steve Rutkowski at 856-542-0027 or 856-582-5089, mailing a request to Steve Rutkowski, 36 Long Bow Drive, Sewell NJ 08080 or by e-mail at Rutkowski@nalcbranch908.com. Applications are accepted up until the drawing on June 17, 2009.
The modified interim alternate route adjustment process has been negotiated and signed off on by the national parties and as you read this the process has probably already began and maybe even in your office, every city route nation wide will be adjusted under this process. The previous issues in the initial process are addressed and the parties have agreed on ways to handle them. I don’t know if this is the best process but it’s the one we have now. Although I will be working on one of these many district teams I remain cautiously optimistic. There will be a lot of questions in the future but for right now the best quick reference that can be found is by going to the following link http://www.nalc.org/depart/cau/pdf/mrs/M01703.pdf
-Paul Poniatowski, Financial Secretary
NALC Auxiliary Branch 2164
Annette Metz, the “significant other” of Atco Shop Steward George Greenwood, is in the process of reorganizing Branch 908’s Auxiliary Chapter, Auxiliary Branch 2164.
The National Ladies Auxiliary - forerunner of today's NALC Auxiliary - was established in 1905 by a group of women interested in letter carrier issues because of their relationships as the wives, daughters, mothers and sisters of letter carriers. Their aim was to assist in gaining favorable legislation to provide better working conditions for letter carriers, including laws providing for Sunday closing, shorter work days, sick leave, compensation for injuries received while on duty, salary increases, and annuities for widows and survivors.
Today, the membership has expanded to include both female and male spouses, relatives and friends of letter carriers, but the basic goals of promoting the interests of letter carriers and their families’ remains the same.
Eligibility for membership as a regular member shall be spouses, family members, and significant others, over the age of 16, of regular or retired members of the NALC.
Spouses, family members, and significant others, over the age of 16, of deceased NALC members are eligible for membership provided the deceased was an NALC member in good standing at the time of death.
Letter carrier retirees in good standing with membership in the NALC.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of the Chapter, or taking part in any way please feel free to contact Annette at 856-346-2654.
From The Health Benefits Officer
OUTSTANDING OPEN SEASON RESULTS!
Now that the 2009 benefit year is firmly under way, we have calculated our final Open Season numbers nationally. We have been able to bring in an overwhelming amount of 26,080 new members!!! This is an incredible achievement, especially during hard economic times. Tim O'Malley our National Health Benefit Officer is doing an excellent job in Washington. Keep up the good work Tim.
-Fred Mendel, HBR
From The Trustee Chairman
To all Branch Officers and Shop Stewards, effective June 1, 2009 all bills must be submitted on a monthly basis and no later then 45 days from the time that the bill is incurred. Any bill submitted after 45 days will not be considered for payment. The trustees and myself have a monthly meeting to review all bills. In July and August, when there are no meetings the Trustee Chairman will consult with the other Trustees and maintain the time frame of any bills submitted. This is being done to maintain proper book and record keeping within the branch.
-Jim Comuso, Trustee Chairman
Thanks Branch 908!
Your thoughts and support are really appreciated in this difficult time. – Thank you! – With Sincere Gratitude, Kritsta Astfalk
Dear Letter Carriers, Thank you! Your business is very important to us. We appreciate having you as our customer and look forward to serving you again. – Alfred & Michael Nicolosi
FERS Annuity Supplement
By Tammy Flanagan, National Institute of Transition Planning
If you are covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System and are looking forward to retiring before you turn 62, this column was written with you in mind. If you retire this young, you won't be able to collect Social Security. But there is a special payment under FERS that can help bridge the years between your retirement and when you qualify for Social Security.
The legislation creating FERS more than 20 years ago created a special supplement to the FERS basic retirement benefit to be paid to retirees in this situation. The supplement is included in the FERS basic annuity payment and is computed and paid out by the Office of Personnel Management after you retire.
The supplement, along with the basic FERS retirement benefit and distributions available from a Thrift Savings Plan account, the TSP makes it possible for FERS employees to plan to retire early. But, of course, there are conditions.
To be eligible for the FERS supplement when you retire you must have at least one calendar year of FERS service and must be entitled to retire with an immediate annuity. This means that if you're at least 62, you must have five years of service. If you're at least 60, the requirement is 20 years. And if you're younger than that but still at the minimum retirement age, you must have 30 years of service. The minimum retirement age varies from 55 to 57, depending on when you were born. (Other groups of employees also are eligible for the supplement under various special provisions.)
Some retirees are eligible for the special supplement when they reach the minimum retirement age, but may not receive it immediately upon retirement. This includes people who have at least one calendar year of FERS service and retired before the minimum age involuntarily or through an official federal early retirement program.
Other retirees are not eligible for the FERS retirement supplement at all. These include:
How Much Is It?
- Those retiring under the FERS Disability Retirement.
- Those receiving an "MRA+10" benefit (that is, those who retire between the minimum retirement age and age 60, with at least 10 but less than 30 years of service -- or those who retire at 60 or 61 with between 10 and 20 years of service).
- Anyone applying for a deferred annuity.
- People retiring at 62 or older.
The easiest way to estimate the supplement is by using the following formula: Number of civilian years under FERS (military service is not included) divided by 40, times Social Security benefit at 62.
So, for example, suppose Sal works 20 years under FERS and is entitled to $1,200 per month in Social Security benefits at 62. He would be eligible for a supplement of about $600 per month.
If you're getting close to your retirement date, you may want to request a retirement computation from your agency's human resources office that will include the supplement estimate.
When Does It End?
The supplement is never payable after age 62, whether or not a retiree is entitled to or applies for Social Security benefits at that time. For some, it will end sooner.
If a retiree's earnings exceed an annual earnings limit, the supplement will be reduced by $1 for every $2 that is earned above that amount. The earnings limit for 2007 is $12,960. OPM asks each retiree who has reached the minimum retirement age for a statement of earnings each year he or she is eligible to receive the annuity supplement.
The reduction for excess earnings does not apply to employees who retire under the special provisions for law enforcement officers, firefighters, air traffic controllers and military reserve technicians until they reach the minimum retirement age.
How About a COLA?
Sorry, the FERS annuity supplement is not increased by cost-of-living adjustments.