News From OSA - January, 2013

There are no current negotiations, but we continue to organize and to assist other unions.

Organizing. Administrative Staff Analysts Levels II and III are closer to being represented by our union for collective bargaining. In late November, we were promised lists of those analysts eligible and, although delayed, the city has now provided those lists. The lists we received are incomplete and inaccurate, but it's a starting point. OSA's success in obtaining fair treatment and due process rights for workers has always been based on hard work and patience. So, with a bit more of both, this is the year we expect to win those rights for Administrative Staff Analysts Levels II and III.

Solidarity. The storm surge that came with Hurricane Sandy completely flooded DC37's headquarters at 125 Barclay Street. The water caused major damage and the building is not to reopen until Spring. OSA, along with other unions, offered office space to our displaced brothers and sisters. As a result, DC37 has been able to continue functioning. For our part, we are hosting the DC37 Retirees Association and the DC37 Health and Safety team, as well as providing space to Local 375 for meetings.

We had the good luck to be located on East 23rd Street. Aside from a week of no power, our union was not seriously affected.

Lincoln's Birthday. City offices are open on February 12th, but the OSA office will be closed in celebration of Lincoln's Birthday. A number of years ago, that holiday was turned into a “floating” day off, to be used as an employee saw fit during the year. We chose to use that day on February 12th, because we were unhappy with the City's willingness to diminish the importance Abraham Lincoln had for our nation.

There is a movie about Lincoln that is now playing in the theaters, and it's a good movie. For many years there has been a great deal of disparagement of Lincoln's role in ending slavery in the United States. Southern historians wrote text books arguing that the Civil War was not about slavery, that the North fought to preserve the Union and not to free slaves. They argued that the South fought for freedom, and to resist Northern tyranny.

As a fifth grade student, your chairperson was taught that there were three causes of that war. In order, the causes alleged were: the economic difference between the industrial North and the agricultural South, the question of whether the U.S. was a federation or a voluntary confederation and, last of all, slavery.

It seemed odd that a war would be fought over the first two points, so your chairperson asked Mary McGrath Haggerty, his grandmother, born just after the Civil War, about the three causes of that war. She would know, since her father proudly fought as a volunteer throughout that war.

Grandma responded that she did not know the three causes of the “war to free the slaves.” Grandma was right. Abraham Lincoln died to free the slaves, and our office (except for emergencies) is closed for his birthday.

Grievances. Mayor Bloomberg's position on time lost due to Hurricane Sandy pretty much guaranteed a lot of grievances. The number of days of work affected by Sandy varied widely among us.

Some workers were only affected to a small extent, but most found it hard, or nearly impossible, to get to work for days.

Some of our members from Long Island, Staten Island and the low-lying areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan were not only flooded out of their homes, but were usually without public transport.

None of this was taken into account by our mayor when he formed his policy of demanding use of personal leave by anyone who could not make it in to work. As a result, our grievance section received many a phone call. A group grievance has already been filed, and the results will be determined by arbitration.

At the same time as our mayor was refusing excused leave time, no matter what, he was also praising our emergency service workers for their superb, and even heroic, actions. The praise was merited, but hollow coming from a mayor who refuses to negotiate cost of living raises for those same first responders.

Strike? In spite of Mayor Bloomberg's refusal to negotiate on contracts two, three, four, five, even six years out of date, there is no likelihood of our union or any of the municipal unions going on strike. He will soon be gone.

So, since the mayor can't provoke us to open strife, he chose to pick a fight with the school bus drivers. Make no mistake, we have a cruel man in City Hall. He provokes a strike that will create great problems for parents and children, not to mention the lost wages of the drivers.

By going out to bid without any provision requiring that experienced staff be retained, the mayor invites low bidders to factor in a decrease in salaries for those drivers, or else replace them with inexperienced but cheaper employees.

How does this help New York City's children? Our mayor wants to be considered the “Education Mayor.” He has spent eleven years closing schools, fudging results and bashing the United Federation of Teachers. Now the man who gave us Cathie Black is causing a job security strike by school bus drivers.

Our mayor will be remembered as “Wall Street's Mayor.” He has served the richest one-tenth of one percent of New York City well, the rest of us not so much.

Personal Note. The newly elected or re-elected officers of our Executive Board owe the membership thanks for the chance to represent them. We also owe thanks to the Chapter Chairpersons, Delegates and Alternates who represent OSA on their work locations. In return, all we can promise is our best efforts.

Toastmasters. The Baruch Chapter of Toastmasters International will be holding their next general meeting at the OSA office on Friday, January 25, 2013 starting at 6pm. Toastmasters meetings are learn-by-doing workshops in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere. Interested OSA members have been invited to attend. If you would like to attend, please call Carol Moten at the union office at 212-686-1229. You can download a flyer about the meeting at this link.

General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707, between Second and Third Avenues, starting at 6pm sharp. You can download a reminder flyer for the meeting by clicking this link.