News From OSA - August, 2008

Summer Mailing. Our summer mailing, which you should receive in late August or early September, as always, has a lot of reading. Be sure to check the notices and coupons to see which workshops you want to attend. Our pre-retirement seminar has now reached its 18th year. The Driver Improvement classes remain very popular. Some members have already attended these sessions twice, since you can update your qualifications for discounted insurance every 3 years. Our Long Term Care Seminar, which we recently added, explains what is covered, the cost, and the different policies. The Medicaid Seminar for Home Care has been helpful for those members who have aging parents or relatives who may be, or may become, eligible for Medicaid coverage, since the Medicaid laws are constantly changing. But, the most important coupon is the Member Information Update. This should be completed by all.

The content of the mailing is posted on this page and at the links that appear at the bottom of this edition of News From OSA. The registration coupons for all classes, as well as the information update form, are posted in the Member Services section of this site. Scroll down the center row of buttons to find the class that interests you, print out the registration form and mail or fax it in to the union office.

Negotiations. During the first half of 2008, we were able to complete all outstanding labor contracts. Naturally, that means we are now preparing for the next round. Wish us luck.

MCU. The Municipal Credit Union is considered by many civil servants to be “their” bank. The MCU was specifically set up for City employees and we annually do elect the MCU Board of Directors at the annual general membership meeting at the South Street Seaport.

We did not elect anyone this year because the Board of Directors cancelled the election. Not only was the election not held, the Directors also voted to cancel the nominations made by the nominating committee.

The Board of Directors finally voted to discharge the nominating committee, some of whom had served on this committee for as much as twenty years.

All of this was fought in court by Mark Brantley, himself one of the Board of Directors. Mark has now won. The court has ruled that the election should not have been put off, the nominations should not have been cancelled and both nominees and the nominating committee are now restored.

Even so, the election has not yet been held and it will be an interesting election when it is held. If you are a member of the MCU please fill out and return the MCU coupon in the summer mailing. You will be kept up to date by mail thereafter. You can also download the coupon at the link at the bottom of this page.

Why is OSA involved in an MCU election? Three reasons. First, about a third of our members are members of the MCU and their money is invested there. Second, OSA's Chairperson has been on the Nominating Committee of the MCU for about a decade and is distressed over what is occurring. Finally, one of our members, Samuel (Nana) Osei Bonsu from DHS is a candidate this year and now, thanks to the court decision, will have a chance to run.

Exams. The Admin SA list has very few candidates left to be promoted. These candidates are not necessarily on the current list, but can be restored if the agency plans to promote them. Therefore, most agencies are appointing provisionals at the present time. If you are a candidate not yet appointed, please approach your supervisor to require your restoration and appointment. The recent Associate Staff Analyst exam produced a very short list. DCAS did scale the exam upwards somewhat, but not enough. As a result, less than four hundred candidates passed and this list should be exhausted in most agencies within the year to come. OSA will seek another exam as soon as most lists are exhausted. The Staff Analyst list will reach its 4th year in January, 2009. OSA has been in contact with DCAS to plan for another Citywide Pool in September. We will update you as soon as we know. Also, the Staff Analyst Trainee list is out and moving, but slowly. Congratulations to those candidates who are awaiting appointment.

Affiliation. Last year’s summer mailing raised the possibility of our union affiliating with the AFL-CIO. The article also asked members for feedback and some did come in, but slowly. That’s okay. The leadership of OSA didn’t get around to actually visiting the AFL-CIO to ask about affiliation until January. Thereafter, the AFL-CIO took three months to “vet” us.

OSA survived the “vetting” process with flying colors, but a number of international unions asked the AFL-CIO headquarters to hold off so that they (the international unions) could make us an offer of affiliation with them.

The AFL-CIO folks then asked OSA to at least consider the offers being made to us by the United Federation of Teachers and the Office and Professional Employees International Union - and we agreed. Both UFT and OPEIU made initial presentations, with more to follow, so matters are not moving with great speed, nor should they. Affiliation is a serious step and will cost us an increase in our dues. If we are going to affiliate, we must know how that will help us - and if it is worth the price.

Ideologically, our union has always felt itself to be a part of the labor movement and we pay full dues to the Municipal Labor Committee without complaint. If we are presented with a good case for affiliation, that case will be brought before the membership for discussion and decision.

Noted. As many members already know, our union recently lost one of its founders. Richie Guarino was a part of the history of OSA since the 1970's. His deep commitment to the well-being of others was reflected in his work both for HRA and OSA. He was, for many years, one of our strong on-location leaders and, upon retirement from HRA, he continued his work at the union office. He was our main pension counselor, a member of our executive board, fund trustee and treasurer of the Union. He was also the most cheerful and hope-inspiring grievance representative imaginable. You would call Richie when the problems on the job were impossible and Richie would not only help you, he would cheer you up and make you smile as well. We miss him.

General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting is set for Thursday, September 25, 2008 and will, as usual, start at 6:00 PM sharp at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street Suite 707 NYC (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). You can download a meeting flyer here for posting and to remind you of the date, time and location.

2008 OSA Welfare Fund Booklet

2007 OSA Welfare Fund Analysis

2007 Annual Financial Reports

Agency Shop Fee Payer Procedure

HIPPA Notice (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)

New York State's Economic Outlook for 2008-9

Labor Pains

Next Failure of Health Care Reform

Care Won't Waste It's Money

Meet the Wealth Gap

Numbers Racket

Memorial Meeting for Richie Guarino

Municipal Credit Union