News From OSA - August, 2014

NEGOTIATIONS. We did expect the De Blasio administration to negotiate contracts with the city workforce, and we expected there would be retroactive pay, in spite of all the nonsense spouted by his predecessor. We did not expect it to go so fast. Based on previous contract bargaining experience, we fully expected to start OSA bargaining late in the fall, or even early winter.

Instead, negotiations have been concluded with the two largest unions, the UFT and DC37, and we will begin bargaining soon, in early August.

LABOR DAY PARADE. We certainly hope if you are reading this before Saturday, September 6, you will attend the Labor Day Parade this year. We mailed you a parade flyer with the June mailing and another in the August bulk mailing. We are gathering at 12:30pm on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Look for the union banner. You can download a flier with the details by clicking this link. Invite your friends and family to join us.

We probably should explain why the parade is both important and fun for those who do attend. Our organization spent fifteen years trying to be recognized as a union, and for many years thereafter we were too small to be invited to march in labor parades. Finally, we were asked to march by the NYC labor unions, and each year that there has been a parade some of us have walked up Fifth Avenue. We wear t-shirts and hats with the bold OSA symbol, and, sometimes, we get cheered for an odd reason.

The intertwined OSA of our insignia was designed by a member, John Rhode, forty years ago. We wear it proudly for what it means to us…a union that invented itself, whose members would not take no for an answer. The occasional astonished cheering we receive on Fifth Avenue is due, however, to the fact that our symbol has a close resemblance to the international symbol of the anarchists.

No one expects a phalanx of uniformed anarchists to be parading up New York City's main street. In actual fact, we are more likely, by far, to be Democrats or Republicans. It still is fun to get cheered, even if it is due to a misunderstanding. And it is equally important to stand together with the other unions to demonstrate New York City remains a union town.

So, we hope you won’t miss the Labor Day Parade this year, but if you do, there will be another next year or the year after. Come and join us and share the cheering, get free clothes and a bit to eat, and spend some time with friends.

PIKETTY. The recent book by Thomas Piketty (Capital In The 21st Century) has been the talk of this year, and most of us have not read it. It is an economics text and, as such, it is complete with tables and formulas and many charts as well. This does not make for light summer reading, even if what he is saying is very, very important.

Since the last Gilded Age, there has been a truism that says concisely, "The rich get richer, the poor get poorer." As Piketty’s book points out and documents, it was not always so. Our own country became more egalitarian during and after the Depression. The effects caused the average American to become richer in real dollar terms, year after year, until the late seventies.

A change began, certainly by 1980, and it is continuing to this day. The anti-tax crusade was launched and, as you may have noticed, after 34 years our taxes are still high. The rich, the corporations and Wall Street did get tax relief. A lot of tax relief.

Governors Cuomo and Christie are both anti-tax for the rich, businesses and corporations. They are both in favor of you and me paying for government. We should reduce our salaries, pay for our healthcare and diminish our pensions. If more is needed, the money can come from doubling the Port Authority tolls for bridges and tunnels.

On a national level, globalization has been great for business. For the rest of us, it has meant a loss of union jobs, lower wages, and loss of jobs in general. Our government was lobbied into agreeing to give tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, and it goes on to this day.

The leadership of OSA was pleased when Occupy Wall Street called attention to our country's growing financial inequity. We are also pleased that Tom Picketty wrote his book and said the same thing with all his charts and formulas. We did notice what was being done to the working class, but it's nice when others notice as well.

It has to stop.

WE WERE THERE. Candidates for the Staff Analyst Trainee title were examined in July using a touch screen computer instead of an "IBM" sheet of paper. Civil Service exams have gone from ink and inkwell, to fountain pens and ballpoint, to number 2 pencils and IBM sheets to, now, computers directly.

Testing occurred at Lafayette Street, near Foley Square, and at Joralemon Street, near the Brooklyn courts. The process took two weeks, and OSA was there. We gave out the traditional green pencil cases, but without pencils on this occasion. Candidates did get candy and a calculator and both were appreciated.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. The next general membership meeting will be held a week later than usual, on the first Thursday in October, to avoid a conflict with a religious holiday. You can download a flier for the meeting to remind yourself of the date, time and location by clicking this link.

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS. You can download the following items by clicking on the links.

  • Labor Day Parade - September 6, 2014

  • 2013 OSA Welfare Fund Analysis

  • Agency Shop Fee Payer Procedure

  • HIPAA Notice

  • Voter Registration Form

  • Absentee Ballot Application

  • One Big Seminar Signup Coupon

  • Transfer Request Form

  • Quality of Work Life Committee

  • Member Information Update

  • Website and Hotline Information

  • Short Website Overview

  • OSA PAC Deduction Form

  • Articles of Interest
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