News From OSA - January, 2015

ELECTIONS. The Organization of Staff Analysts schedules its union elections every other year, but in some years there is only one candidate nominated for each office. When there is no contest, there is no election.

This year, there was a contest because three candidates were nominated for the position of Vice Chairperson of OSA. The three candidates (alphabetically) were Thomas Anderson, the incumbent Vice Chair, Stanley Cohen, Chairperson of the Department of Environmental Protection Chapter, and Serena Freeman, Chairperson of our Department of Design and Construction Chapter.

Each was nominated and seconded. As soon as nominations were closed, each was given the option of using the union’s mailing house to send out one or more campaign mailings at their own expense. This year, one of the candidates did send out a letter on his own behalf.

The counting occurred on December 26th in the union office, after 6:00PM. The results were that Tom Anderson led with 422 votes, Stanley Cohen had 28 votes, and Serena Freeman had 53 votes. We are grateful for the candidates who showed enough interest in our union to wish to seek to serve the members, to those members who cared enough to vote, and to the volunteers who came in on a holiday evening to witness and/or count the ballots.

BASEBALL. Some of our members are fanatics on the topic of baseball. (For the sake of brevity, we’ll call them fans.) One of our baseball fans is David Rothstein, Co-Chair of our DEP chapter. He had a novel idea, so we are trying it out. Mets Baseball is willing to offer us a group discount if we, as a group, can pull a number of us together to attend a baseball game.

There are two dates on offer:

  • Saturday, August 1st at 7:10PM: New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals ($38.00)


  • Saturday, September 19th at 1:00PM: New York Mets vs. New York Yankees ($50.00)

    In both cases, the location is CITI Field, Pepsi Porch (Left Field) Section 304. This location comes with access to “Caesar’s Club”. We will need at least 15 members interested in order to qualify as a “group” and, if we get more, the Mets office states they may be willing to reduce the prices a bit. OSA will play the part of middleman and collect funds in advance, obtain and mail out tickets and refund any rebates the Mets send to us. The Saturday night game in August is also expected to provide a fireworks display along with the game. If you are interested, fill out the coupon you can download here and send it to Katie Guarino at the union office, along with a check or money order for the number of tickets desired. If we do not get enough interest, your money will be returned.

    NEGOTIATIONS are going well, but slowly. As soon as pattern bargaining and retroactive raises were reestablished in 2014, our focus shifted to those demands that were not addressed by pattern bargaining.

    To our pleasure, the De Blasio Administration seems to be willing to consider some of our demands that had been previously spurned by both the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations. The City is now open to discussions of voluntary furloughs and to opening an investigation of the possibility of helping permanent non-competitive class employees move into the competitive class.

    FURLOUGHS. On the first item, voluntary furloughs, OSA pioneered use of voluntary furloughs during the Dinkins Administration. It was used to restore previously laid off Analysts to their jobs with the City. Thereafter, succeeding Mayors used layoffs as a weapon, so they were not open to non-hurtful cost-saving ideas. Even so, we did save one job at the Housing Authority using a voluntary furlough. NYCHA’s “fiscal problem” actually was a fiscal problem.

    We have our own goal here, separate from any cost-saving for our city. We would like to have the city agree to our members being able to take a leave of absence from the job, above and beyond the Family Medical Leave Act’s 12 weeks, even if our member does not have sufficient leave time to cover the desired leave.

    For example, we do allow maternity leave already, which is good (even if it is not paid leave here as it is in Europe). Yet, we do not allow a child to take a year off to care for an aged parent who is seriously ill. Our bargaining demand seeks the right for a portion of our membership to have the right to take up to a year off for any reason. It is not a financial demand because the leave would be unpaid, and thus it does not affect the “pattern” settlement.

    The City will argue that leaves of absence are already available upon application to one’s Agency. We will point out that theory and practice are far apart on this issue. Over the 45-year history of OSA we have all noted that only two tiny segments of the work force are ever approved for an extended, voluntary leave of absence; the friends of the authorities and those workers the authorities want to go away.

    For most of us, obtaining a year off is absolutely impossible and this is wrong. We are civil servants on a career ladder. If we absolutely need a leave of absence, and it is denied and we are forced to resign, the City asks us to start all over again if we return. Only a few of us face this tough choice each year, but it is terrible and unfair when it happens. It should not happen.

    We are seeking a specific (limited) number of furloughs per year, ones that will not be unreasonably denied by the member’s Agency. We have hopes that the De Blasio Administration, which has expressed interest in this topic, will accommodate us.

    HHC NON-COMPETITIVES. Some of our members, especially in the Health and Hospitals Corporation, were hired as “at will” employees, allegedly because they were Rule XI (managerial). They were not, and as a direct result of their becoming members of our union, they picked up rights as permanent non-competitive employees.

    Is that important? Very important. Any one of us can go ten years pleasing our boss or even many different bosses, and the next year we might run into a new boss who hates us. As a Rule XI employee, the new boss can fire you at will. As a permanent non-competitive union member you are safe from such job loss unless there are layoffs or you are charged, tried fairly, and found guilty of actual wrong-doing. So, the permanent non-competitive civil service status provided by union membership is good, but it is not as good as the competitive class. “Non-compets” have no chance to promote by exam as do all competitive class employees.

    Changing this is possible and has been done before, but it requires cooperation between labor and management. For the first time in 20 years we believe we have an administration that might be in agreement with us on this topic. If we get the City’s agreement to begin a good-faith effort to see what can be done, we will be content.

    NEWSFLASH! We have recently learned that employees in HHC that are OSA members who choose to transfer to a city agency will have their time at HHC transferred to the city agency. For those members who are appointed Staff Analysts or Associate Staff Analysts, if at HHC for two or more years, will begin at the minimum salary for the title rather than the lower hiring salary. Please note that this changes the information previously reported.

    OTHER ITEMS are also under discussion. For example, we are clear that our newly arrived Administrative Staff Analyst levels II and III are due whatever longevity payments are due to the level I Admins. The City seems not to have considered that point at all. We do not feel our other members should be asked to pay, out of the proposed contracts, for the Admin IIs and IIIs. Also note that there are significant funds being paid out under both the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators contracts that do not appear to be offered to us and we find that to be a violation of the pattern.

    We have still other items as well, but we are far from expecting to get all we are seeking. Nonetheless, we do plan on getting more out of this contract than the City first offered. It will take us longer to get the extras, but once the principle of retroactivity of raises was reestablished, there was no good argument for surrendering gains we have been seeking for years.

    Both the union and the De Blasio Administration are eager to complete our contract. We look forward to completing the contract, one that is good for us all.

    EXAM APPLICATIONS. As you know, all of the exams for the Analyst series are coming up. The Staff Analyst Trainee exam was given last year. OSA is giving help for the on-line application process from February 7, 2015-February 22, 2015. Please call George Morgan is you are interested.

    The process is rather easy. If you are taking the open-competitive exam, you will have to complete the Education and Experience exam at the time of your application. You choose from a list of tasks provided to you online for your experience qualification. You need two years as an analyst for the Staff Analyst exam, three years for the Associate Staff Analyst Exam, and four years for the Administrative Staff Analyst exam (which includes eighteen months as a supervisor).

    If you are taking the promotional exam, you only need the permanent lower title to apply. If you are a permanent Staff Analyst, you can apply for the promotional Associate Staff Analyst exam. If you are a permanent Associate Staff Analyst, you can apply for the promotional Administrative Staff Analyst exam. You should also apply for the open-competitive exams in those titles. It is the same exam, but you will appear on both promotional and open-competitive lists. If you choose to do this, you will have to file for the open-competitive and promotional exams separately, even though you will only be taking one test.

    Please pay attention to all of the instructions provided to you by DCAS in the application and the Education and Experience exam. You MUST NOT open the application or E&E exam using Safari as your web browser, or attempt to apply using your smartphone or tablet, as the website will not support either function. You cannot file for multiple exams at once by opening the site on separate tabs. You must apply for each exam separately. If you need any further information about applying on-line or in person, for any exam, please go to

    The Staff and Associate Staff Analyst exams will be given on May 30, 2015. If you are currently on the Staff and/or Associate Staff Analyst lists and are appointed before that date, you can “late file” for the appropriate promotional exams with DCAS. The key word here is “appointed”. Please call OSA if this occurs.

    EXAM TRAINING. The OSA training classes will begin on February 23, 2015. The materials for the classes, including the schedules, will be available at the end of January. Please go to the "Exams, Lists and Training” tab on this website, for more updated information.

    GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. PLEASE NOTE. This month’s General Membership meeting will be on WEDNESDAY, January 28th at 6:15PM. We are deviating from our usual pattern of holding the meetings on every fourth Thursday of the month due to scheduling conflicts in the office. We hope to see you there. You can download a flier for the meeting to remind yourself of the date, time and location by clicking this link.

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