News From OSA - February, 2007

The year has started off with a mixture of good and bad news. The good news was the moving of the Staff Analyst list and the bad news was a collective bargaining election we did not win. We’ll start with the good news.

Lists: Staff Analyst. Many agencies have received the Staff Analyst list recently. We assume this is because of the upcoming Associate Staff Analyst exam.

Each person who is appointed before the exam must ask their agency to submit the ASA exam application to DCAS for them. Even though the ASA exam application filing has already passed, a special rule exists for persons appointed between now and the actual exam. If you have already been appointed or your list number is 650 or less, and you haven’t registered for the ASA training, please call OSA and register for the classes which begin February 26th.

Lists: Administrative Staff Analyst. Our Admin promotional lists have been moving well, often due to union pressure. There were less than 900 successful candidates for promotion on the various agency lists when the lists were established in May of last year. By November of 2006, the agencies had promoted 277 candidates to the position of Admin Staff Analyst (non-managerial) and 327 candidates to various managerial positions. The actual percentage of appointments made worked out to over 68 percent of all candidates still available (some had retired by the time an appointment was offered).

While the overall results were good, promotional lists are by agency and results were not good in some agencies.

Sheila Gorsky, who had been gently encouraging cooperative agencies at the start of the process, now began to turn up the heat on the uncooperative agencies. Sheila, and her associate Mike Shady, began writing letters stating the facts and demanding action by the recalcitrant agencies. Sheila also worked closely with DCAS in making sure that certification lists were sent out, again, to those agencies that had not fully moved their lists on the first go round.

All of this led to more candidates being appointed.By early February, our success rate in getting candidates appointed had increased from over 68% to 87%. At present, 395 candidates were appointed to Admin Staff Analyst (non-managerial) and 371 to managerial positions, and we do expect more appointments soon.

We will not get to 100% any time soon since Agencies do have the right to pass over candidates - and a few agencies have done so. In November, our records showed 28 candidates being considered but not selected. Happily, by February that number had declined to 20, as some who had been CNS’d were later appointed upon reconsideration.

As you can see from the chart you can download here, some of the agencies have appointed all candidates and a few have appointed none. Clearly, our team will need to concentrate on the remaining holdouts. We seldom mention lawyers and/or City Council in the early stages of moving a list, but our patience is not without limit.

There was a point, years ago, before we were a full-sized union, when our members were 80% provisional in title. If this has changed, it is due to a lot of hard work and the strength of our union. Many thanks and our deep gratitude to our civil service exams and lists team.

Election Defeat. Our union has won most of its collective bargaining elections over the years. On February 2nd, the vote went decisively against us, and for DC37, in the Enrollment SalesRepresentative election.

It was a strange election. Apparently AFSCME, the parent body of DC37, had taken an enormous interest in this election because of reasons having little to do with New York City. The ESR’s actually work for MetroPlus, a private employer, although their pay checks are Health & Hospitals pay checks and they usually work in a hospital.

The national office sent money, organizers and consultants to win the election, and they did win. It could be noted that the ESR’s were quite different in their job duties than most Analysts and that may have had an impact, but basically AFSCME did an excellent job throughout the campaign.

We are not clear as to why this particular election was so important to the International, but it bodes well for the ESR title that AFSCME itself has taken an interest.

OSA went after the title in the first place because, in 1992, they were called Health Care Program Planner Analysts. Our interest was simply to extend union coverage to a group of (then) Analysts. The unionization of most HCPPA’s by 1995 left this group behind, and the title was changed at that point. OSA never forgets any group left behind, and we reopened the issue of their right to a union a few years ago. At that time, no other union was showing any interest. A major effort was made by our team of volunteer organizers. Also, many officers, retirees, staff, and on-location leaders, worked hard throughout December and January, but finally, we lost.

Well, in a sense, we did not lose entirely, since our goal, from the onset, was to provide union rights and protection to a group of exploited workers. If we had not done our part first, the ESR election would never have occurred, but since we did, 300 more men and women have entered the ranks of organized labor, gained civil service status and the right to due process.

So, we did good.

Negotiations. OSA is involved with many negotiations, but two situations are worth noting at present. Our main unit negotiation, affecting most of our members, is on track with a bargaining session set for next week. Some members do call in to complain that they haven’t had a raise in "many years," but that’s usually a matter of a faulty memory. In 2006, most of us got the 3.25% raise retroactive to July 2005. We only began current negotiations after the UFT settlement set the preferred pattern, and we hope to conclude a new contract before this summer.

However, for one set of workers it is true that it has been years since the last raise.

Our Police unit, the upper echelon of School Safety and Traffic Enforcement workers, were last given a raise in the 2000-2002 contract period. The negotiations for 2002 to present have been a waste of time.

In OSA’s first negotiation on behalf of the Police unit, we finally settled for a tiny bit of extra money in return for a one month extension of the contract. The result was that our Associate Supervisors of School Security were able to say they made $81 a year more than their subordinates.

Subsequent to completion of the first contract for the unit, two things happened. First, the UFT, who represents the lower title, got a raise for their Supervisors of School Security - which has not been offered to our higher title. That put the subordinates' title once again ahead of their supervisors in salary. Second, an exam was given for promotion to Associate Supervisor and a list was established. Then, most candidates turned down the promotion due to the lower salary of the higher job. (Supervisors also often get overtime paid, but Associate Supervisors seldom get paid overtime.)

The City, for years now, has blithely maintained that in order to increase the salary of the Associate Supervisors of School Security, OSA should divert the raises due to the Traffic Enforcement unit. OSA ‘s response included some mention of the chances of a snowball in a very warm place.

The City has also repeated the Mayor’s mantra of self-funded contracts, until we almost believe they are serious. The one bright spot in this disgraceful travesty of collective bargaining is our members and their superb negotiating team. With five years between raises, most workers might be ready to cave in and take any crumbs offered. Our Police unit, on the contrary, is standing strong and insisting on the full measure of raises due to them. This entire mess is headed to impasse and we will let the arbitrators decide if it makes sense to pay the higher ranks less than the lower ranks.

Training: Associate Staff Analyst. The Associate Staff Analyst Exam date is 5/5/07. The training starts Monday evening, February 26th. If you are eligible for the exam and have not yet registered for the training, please call George, Vojna, or Elba - and they will register you.

Training: Staff Analyst Trainee. The Staff Analyst Trainee Exam date is 6/16/07. The training starts the weekend of March 24 and weekdays start Monday, April 16th. As soon as DCAS publishes the Notice of Exam (NOE), the applications for the SAT exam and the registration form for the SAT training will be mailed to non-permanent members (as recorded in our data base) at the beginning of March, the official start of the filing period for the SAT exam. If you are eligible for the SAT and do not receive the application package, please call George, Vojna, or Elba.

Training Material.Training DVD’s and Tapes are being prepared for sale. Please complete the coupon you can download here if you wish to purchase them.

Come to the Party. Our Black History Month celebration is on track and coming soon -- Friday, February 23rd to be exact. See the flyer you can download here for more information.