News From OSA - April, 2004

Collective Bargaining. As soon as our union completes bargaining one series of contracts, the next one begins.

Actually, OSA still has some loose ends from the 3/1/00 through 6/30/02 period. The uniformed members are in impasse, but even they have received the percentage raises due already. The main OSA contract, covering about four thousand of our members is on its way to the printer and will be enclosed in the "bulk rate" mailings sent out each summer.

Next comes the period 7/1/02 to whenever.

As we are all aware, the Mayor has been promulgating dicta against any retroactivity. He is also in favor of all future raises being funded by us. Finally, he wants us to give him $600 million dollars in give backs.

We had been puzzled by how he came up with the number $600 million. We don't remember getting the $600 million, so don't know how we could be able to give it back. Even so, he has been talking about exactly $600 million for so long that many of us began to check our pockets to see if, just maybe, he was right.

Recently the mystery was solved. It turns out $600 million dollars is exactly the amount the Mayor wants to give to help build the Jets' Stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. As he has explained, we can easily afford to give the Jets' owners $600 million dollars.

Now it all makes sense. And, thereafter, doesn't Bloomberg want to do as much for the Yankees and the Mets? Of course he does, and who can blame him?

The cost of living, however, continues to rise for those of us who are due a contract since 7/1/02. The Municipal Labor Committee took 18 months to conclude the health benefit bargaining. We are paying a bit extra for doctors' visits, stays in the hospital and the health administrative fee. We did save the PICA Program, but we are all paying more for drugs and it is very noticeable. On balance, we came out ahead, but not enough ahead to justify any cheering.

The economic contracts have, as of this mailing, shown less progress, but this should be about to change.

The MLC unions did not opt for coalition bargaining on economic issues and as a result it is likely, but not certain, that DC 37 could end up setting a pattern at least for the civilian, non-pedagogical unions. OSA would have greatly preferred full coalition bargaining but...

In any case, enclosed you will find your opportunity to provide input to the OSA bargaining team. This year we are offering members a chance to discuss potential raises as well as other non-economic demands. Our only requirement is that you must respond quickly. Returns postmarked after April 30th will not be considered.

You must write legibly (or type) and points will be given for neatness. You are not limited to a single page but common sense dictates some measure of self-restraint. Any single submission beyond four pages will be eyed askance. Please use the form you can download here in PDF format for your submissions. Add pages as needed.

It will be the task of our negotiating section to read and digest all submissions. The negotiating team, as usual, will tend to include all non self-defeating demands in our final list. The City in turn will respond by saying "No," "No" a thousand times "No" to our every request. Finally, of course, we expect to obtain a contract.

A Special Note For Agency Shop Fee Payers. Finally, if, according to our current records, you have never signed an OSA voluntary union membership card and are what is called an "Agency Shop Fee Payer," you were sent a voluntary union membership card in the print verison of this edition of News From OSA.

If your reason for being an "Agency Shop Fee Payer" is religious or ideological (you can't or don't want to join a union), we can respect that.

If, however, your reason for being an "Agency Shop Fee Payer" is just because you were not aware of the need to sign a membership card, please complete the one that was enclosed with the print mailing.

Both OSA members and the non-member Agency Shop Fee Payers are represented by the union for negotiations, grievances, etc., but only members can vote for contracts and officers. If you do not object to belonging to OSA, and you do want your opinion to count in elections or vote on collective bargaining or other union issues, fill out and return the card.

We would like your opinion to be counted.