From The President’s Desk….. 1/10/18

17 CCAs were converted to full-time status as of December 9, 2017. On behalf of all the officers and members of Branch 157, we wish you all the very best. Congratulations!
Currently, we have 34 residual vacancies in the Philadelphia Installation in which we have filed grievances to force management to fill those full-time positions. I absolutely expect we will be successful in our efforts. It is unfortunate that the Postal Service continues to drag its feet when it comes to staffing our offices. We will keep you posted.
Marge McCann, the NALC’s District Safety co-chair, has retired from the Postal Service after 32 years. She will remain active in the branch. I have asked Marge to stay on as your new health benefits representative replacing Jay Nichols. There is no doubt Marge will do an outstanding job as has been the case with any task ever given to her. Dave Napadano (Region 12 NBA) has appointed Jay Nichols to succeed Marge as the NALC co-chair of the District safety team. Jay has been a member of the safety team for ten years and has served with dedication and distinction throughout his tenure. Congratulations Jay! We know you will do a great job.
The cold weather continues to take a toll on all our members. I do not remember a time when Philadelphia and its surrounding counties have experienced such prolonged frigid temperatures. Please take care to protect yourself from these extreme temperatures. If the branch can be of any assistance, please give us a call. We will do everything we can to advise you on this harsh winter.
February is black history month. We ask everyone to take time to honor the vast accomplishments made by black Americans who have been so essential to our advancement as a society.

Joe Rodgers

Back Pay update as of 1/09/18

Back pay update- (from nalc.org)

Active letter carriers

All active career letter carriers received their back pay in today’s paycheck. This payment covers the period of time from Sept. 3, 2016, through August 18, 2017. During this period, career letter carriers received three wage increases: a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of $21 annually, effective Sept. 3, 2016; a general wage increase of 1.2 percent effective Nov. 26, 2016; and a COLA of $333 effective March 4, 2017.

Active city carrier assistant (CCA) letter carriers will receive their back pay in their Feb. 9, 2018, paychecks. A CCA’s back pay will cover the period from Nov. 26, 2016, through Sept. 15, 2017. This payment will include the 2.2 percent general wage increase and the addition of two $0.50-per-hour step increases in the new CCA pay scale where applicable. The two $0.50-per-hour step increases are payable at 12 and 52 weeks of service.

Letter carriers who converted from CCA to career during the back pay period received the career portion of their back pay today and will receive the back pay for their time spent as a CCA in their Feb. 9, 2018, paycheck.

Retired and separated letter carriers

Most career letter carriers who retired between Sept. 3, 2016, and August 18, 2017, and those career letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service, also received their back pay today. These former letter carriers received their back pay in the form of a paper check mailed to the last office in which they worked, and they should contact their former office to arrange getting the check.

The remaining 3,600 carriers in this category will receive their back pay the same way on Dec. 15, 2017. This unfortunate delay is due to a coding error related to the terminal leave payments made to these carriers.

Former CCA letter carriers who were active on August 7, 2017, and have since separated from the Postal Service should check back for further updates on when and how their back pay will be distributed.

Veteran’s Day

Veterans Day

Many of us will observe Veterans Day by flying the flag at our homes, spending time with our family and friends, catching up on chores, and watching patriotic movies on our TV(s). All of these things are good, but maybe we can challenge ourselves to do more.

You could go to a nearby cemetery and say a prayer over the graves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. You could visit a VA hospital and spend some time speaking with a veteran.  Perhaps, you could volunteer to help prepare a meal at the VA, or maybe write a check to an organization like the Wounded Worrier Program (WWP). 

In their literature, WWP reminds us that wounded worriers are more than the injured themselves. They are the husbands and wives, daughters and sons, fathers, mothers, and friends, — people who made great sacrifices for our country who now need assistance. People who deserve to get the help they need. We are reminded that our donations provide life-changing –often life-saving–programs and services free of charge to warriors, their families, and caregivers.

Never forget what Veterans Day is really about. For me, it is a time when I think about my brave 19-year-old cousin who was killed in Vietnam. Although I was just nine years old, I will never forget the Marines carrying his coffin. I will always remember running around the cemetery, with my cousins, collecting the shell-casing from the three-round rifle volley from the seven Marines.  Although I did not quite understand, I will always remember the tremendous grief displayed by those in attendance that day.

I will always remember CPL. Vincent J. Wargo, 3D Marine Division.  His family was kind enough to give me a copy of his diary recording his time in Vietnam. In his diary, Vinnie continuously wrote asking God to get him home safely.  He kept begging God to give him the strength to do his job as a Marine when the moment arose. He begged God to take care of him and his fellow soldiers. At one point he says in his diary, “ God help us and save us and be at my side always. Said my rosary last night as I say each night.”

On April 29, 1968, Vinnie wrote, “It is a cloudy evening at 8:15. Operation on May 1.  It’s really going to be rough. No one has been up there yet and definite Viet Cong. From what Kilo heard there will be blood on the LZ (Landing Zone).  I keep having these thoughts about this operation. Oh God, help me and protect me, please let me get through this with your help…Please, God, I have so much to live for God. I know you will give me the strength to do my job and I know I will do my job, but I have something inside me that seems that you want me.  Please God.”

Corporal Vincent J. Wargo was killed in action on September 15, 1968. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Medal. He was just 19 years old. He was the first graduate from Bishop McDevitt to be killed in Vietnam.

I will spend Veterans Day thinking about my cousin and all the men and women that served before and after him. I will think of them because they deserve remembering.  I will write a check to the Wounded Worrier Program and call it a day, wondering if I should have done more.

God bless our soldiers, and I pray that they get home to their families safely.