News From OSA - August, 2009

Our summer mailing, as always, contains a lot of reading. Be sure to check the notices and coupons to see which workshops you may want to attend. Our pre-retirement seminar has now reached its 19th year. The Driver Improvement Class remains 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.

Local Negotiations. We are still seeking to negotiate the 2008 to 2010 contract for our School Safety and Traffic Enforcement members, as well as for our members at the Transit Authority. Our other members are due the second 4% raise as of 8/25/09. It should be received in the paycheck of 9/18/09 if all goes well but, as always, don’t spend it until you get it.

Citywide Negotiations. Our health benefit givebacks were limited but unwelcome. We agreed to modify the HIP/HMO program in three ways that affect our members. First, there is now a $50 co-pay for emergency room visits (unless the patient is subsequently admitted to the hospital). Second, there is now a $100 co-pay for hospital admissions and, third, there is a $50 co-pay for ambulatory surgery. Finally, in an area that did not affect our members at all, the “preventive” dental benefit option is no longer available. Our members’ dental benefits are provided through our welfare fund.

More than a half dozen other givebacks were also agreed upon, but some of these were technical matters, such as subcontracting of coordination of benefits and implementing a minimum premium funding arrangement to reduce the NY State premium tax for BlueCross, etc.

The non-technical givebacks for BlueCross go as follows. BlueCross is establishing a $50 emergency room co-pay for the BlueCross/Senior Care plan -- waived if the patient is admitted to the hospital. That cost, if unpleasant, is at least clear and obvious.

Not so clear, but potentially far more expensive is the fact that at some point this fall, BlueCross will require you to go to a participating hospital in order to be fully covered. Most NYC area hospitals are participating hospitals, but this is not always true outside this area. A phone line will need to be set up to inform you if the hospital to which you are going is participating or not.

Similarly, in the future, when your doctor prescribes ambulatory surgery, such as a colostomy, or if you are diagnosed as in need of hemodialysis, you will need to seek out a participating facility. Actually, there are lots of participating facilities. You will just need to remember to ask if the facility is participating or not.

In return for these givebacks, the mayor was able to close his budget gap and we were allowed to take monies from the Health Stabilization Fund. We used the funds to delay the layoffs of over a thousand City workers for three months and to add a $200 per member one time addition to our welfare fund.

Unfortunately, this does not end the story, since it is expected that the mayor will return to the bargaining table after the fall election. The mayor really wants us to pay a premium for our basic health insurance. Let us hope that the leaders of the Municipal Labor Committdfee do not accept his demands.

Exams. There will be a number of exams covering our title series during 2010. The single largest exam will be the Associate Staff Analyst exam, promotional, and (for the first time in thirty one years) open competitive as well. And another Staff Analyst open competitive exam. All exams have application filing dates from 12/2/09-12/22/09 and the same exam date, 2/27/10.

The ASA “open competitive” will be of interest to any member earning below the ASA salary grade. The ASA salary range, as of 1/1/10, will be $59,536 (new hire rate), or $68,466 (incumbent rate) up to the $88,649 title maximum.

There will also be an open competitive Associate Education Analyst exam on the same day, so some members will want to file for both. The AEA’s are represented by the UFT. OSA will probably be running a training course for the AEA’s alongside our own course since the Associate Staff Analyst and Associate Education Analyst exams are usually identical.

The SA and ASA exams cover the same topics and the exams might be similar. The training classes use the same materials. It looks like we will be running test preparation classes this winter.

Affiliation. The 2007 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 of 2008. 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.

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.

The UFT has actually “passed the ball” to the American Federation of Teachers, since it is believed the AFT is a better fit for OSA. The AFT is the national union and the UFT the NYC local. The UFT is well-designed to serve teachers but, for example, their governing body sits once a month from 4PM to 6PM and Analysts would mostly be unable to attend.

We did have a chance to attend an AFT conference in Washington DC in June and the operation was impressive. Hundreds of non-teacher AFT members gathered for lobbying and training over a long weekend. Both the UFT/AFT and the OPEIU unions are also seeking to organize Analysts, or Analyst-type employees, on their own and this does make a very favorable impression.

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.

General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting of the union is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, 2009 starting at 6pm sharp at the union office at 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707, between Second and Third Avenues. You may download a flyer here to remind you of the date and time of the meeting or to post at your location.

Bits and Pieces. These are posted in pdf format. You can download them by clicking on the links.

  • 2009 OSA Welfare Fund Booklet

  • 2008 OSA Welfare Fund Analysis

  • 2008 Annual Financial Report

  • 2007 Annual Financial Report

  • Agency Shop Fee Payer Procedure

  • HIPAA Notice (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)

  • OSA 2008-2010 Contract


  • Residency Bill Info and text.

  • Health Care Reform

  • The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)

  • Rebuilding Healthcare Without Middlemen

  • Testimony of Former CIGNA PR Exec Wendell Potter Before Congress

    Coupons and Flyers.

  • 2009 Labor Day Parade Notice

  • Trainers Needed for Staff Analyst/ASA Exams

  • Quality of Work Life Committee

  • Transfer Request

  • Pre-Retirement Seminar

  • September Membership Meeting

  • Driver Improvement Class

  • Effective Business Writing Class

  • Long Term Care Seminar

  • Medicaid Seminar for Home Care and Other Services

  • Member Information Update

  • Hotline Phone Number/Website URL

  • OSA PAC Deduction
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