News From OSA - August, 2013

Politics.This year’s political doings have brought to memory a phrase learned in high school Latin class.

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” is a Latin phrase that raises the issue of who guards the guards. There is no easy answer to the question and it comes up every time we have reason to doubt the authorities. For example, now.

John Liu has evidently been subject to federal investigation, wiretaps and all, for many years. After long delays, the case went to court. Involved was a small amount of money “laundered” by an undercover agent acting as a contributor to the John Liu campaign. Such “laundering” undercuts the integrity of the Campaign Finance Law, is illegal and can result in jail time. Two members of John Liu’s campaign team have been found guilty of this act, but not, it turns out, John Liu.

That one incident, however, has caused the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to withhold matching funds from Liu’s campaign.

The next question is, who are the members of the Campaign Finance Board? The Campaign Finance Board is composed of individuals appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn.

Do we all remember the one million dollars Mayor Bloomberg gave to the Independence Party for (what was called) voter suppression in 2009? It was in the newspapers, but since Bloomberg was using his own money, the Campaign Finance Board took no notice.

When it comes to John Liu, however, an $1,800 “bundled” contribution accepted without his knowledge by two subordinates is sufficient for the CFB to deprive Liu of any matching funds.


For Mayor. The OSA leadership has endorsed John Liu because we like his actions over the past four years. The mayor lied about our pensions and John Liu told the truth. At the same time that the mayor was trumpeting his plan to lay off 20,000 teachers unless he got his way, John Liu was busy cancelling the mayor’s grant of $25 million to a vendor agency being paid to recruit new teachers (The right sort of teachers, of course).

There was also our health care, defense of prevailing rate wage rules and, of course, CityTime. No single one of the above issues would have guaranteed the support of the OSA leadership but, taken together, they make John Liu an outstanding candidate for mayor.

One minor note. We were astonished by Anthony Weiner’s proposal to combine the health care needs of uninsured New Yorkers and city workers. Apparently, he wants us to pay between 10% and 25% of the cost of his planned program, although he did not make clear what the uninsured would pay. We do not favor his plan.

For Comptroller. The OSA leadership has endorsed Scott Stringer. Scott has not ever had a single scandal attached to his name. He did good work in a variety of jobs; so much so that he nearly ran for comptroller unopposed. Then came Elliot Spitzer.

We are supporting Scott Stringer for comptroller because our city benefits from having honest officeholders. We are unhappy with candidates who believe that they do not have to obey the rules they set for us. This year, we seem to have a lot of such candidates.

For Public Advocate. Our union’s executive board likes Letitia “Tish” James. We can cite many speeches in which Tish spoke up for civil servants and we always are grateful to those who understand and respect us.

For Other Races. OSA does, rarely, put out a special mailing for one district or another, but mostly, we don’t.

We don’t, for example, have an easy time in the race for Manhattan Borough President. We have good reason to greatly admire Gale Brewer, but we also like Bob Jackson and Jessica Lappin and some of the other candidates, so it is awkward to endorse one candidate.

You can find the endorsements we have made locally on the Primary 2013 page of the Weekly Newsline section of this website.

In any case, all endorsements by the OSA leadership are just that, our recommendations to our members. You, as a member, may have an excellent reason to disagree with us, and we accept that. What is key is voting. Vote as you will, but please do vote.

Voter Registration. Of course, you can't vote in any election if you are not registered in your state of residence. Since OSA is especially concerned with New York elections and New York voters, below is a link to the New York State Board of Elections voter registration form which you can print out and complete. The registration form includes instructions for its completion and the addresses to which you should mail it when you are done.

To be valid, it must be mailed or delivered at least 25 days prior to the election (primary or general) in which you wish to first vote. This mailing will reach you early enough to register for the October 1, 2013 primary run-off (should one be needed), and it definitely will arrive in time to register for this year's general election on November 5, 2013.

You do not have to enroll in a political party in order to vote in the November general election. However, in order to vote in a primary election (or a primary run-off) you must choose a political party on the voter registration form.

Absentee Ballots. If you are registered to vote, but will not be in the city for a given election or are disabled and unable to reach the polls, you can request an absentee ballot, which allows you to complete a ballot and mail it in to your local board of elections. You can find a link to a copy of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application below. Follow the instructions to complete the form and mail it to your county board of elections no later than seven days before the election or hand deliver it to your county board by the day before the election. Addresses for the borough offices of the board in New York City appear in the instructions. If you live outside of the five boroughs, you can find your local board's address on the NYS Board of Elections website.

So, be sure you are registered, be sure you can vote in person or by absentee ballot -- and VOTE!

Get Out The Vote. The week between Labor Day, September 2nd, and the primary vote on September 10th is being marked by the NY City Central Labor Council as “Labor Get-Out-The-Vote Week.” There will be five rallies, one in each borough. In addition to speeches and refreshments, you will have the opportunity to door knock, phone bank and flyer for local candidates the Central Labor Council believes will advance labor’s agenda. If you can, please take part.

Seminars and Workshops. We provide the usual range of coupons that you can return to the union to take advantage of various workshops and seminars. They will encourage you to be a more effective writer, train you to be a better driver and help you plan for your retirement, among other subjects of interest.

Give Us Your Input. Don’t overlook the questionnaire seeking your feedback on workshops and seminars you might like to see the union present in 2014.

General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting will be held on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707, between Second and Third Avenues, starting at 6pm sharp. The one week delay in the meeting date is due to religious holidays which fall on the last Thursday of September. You can download a reminder flyer for the meeting by clicking this link.

Bits and Pieces.

  • October 3, 2013 General Membership Meeting Notice
  • NYC Central Labor Council Get-Out-The-Vote Rally in Brooklyn
  • NYC Central Labor Council Get-Out-The-Vote Rally in Manhattan
  • NYC Central Labor Council Get-Out-The-Vote Rally in the Bronx
  • NYC Central Labor Council Get-Out-The-Vote Rally in Staten Island
  • NYC Central Labor Council Get-Out-The-Vote Rally in Queens
  • 2012 OSA Welfare Fund Analysis
  • 2012 OSA and OSA Welfare Fund Annual Financial Report
  • Agency Shop Fee Payer Procedure
  • HIPAA Notice
  • Voter Registration Form
  • Absentee Ballot Application


  • Member Information Update
  • Website and Hotline Information
  • Quality of Work Life Committee
  • Transfer Request Form
  • Pre-Retirement Seminar
  • Driver Improvement Class
  • Effective Business Writing Class
  • Long Term Care Insurance Seminar
  • Medicaid Seminar on Home Care & Other Services
  • OSA PAC Deduction
  • Questionnaire on 2014 Seminars


  • Hightower Lowdown: 1 In 3 Americans Now Poor
  • CEOs Make 273 Times The Average Worker
  • Private Sector Caused Recession
  • Our Sad, Misunderstood Labor Unions
  • top