OSA News - January 1998

The start of a new year is not a bad time to recap our earlier years.

As an organization, OSA started in 1970 at the Department of Personnel, under the name of C.O.P.E. (Committee of Personnel Examiners). A few years later, the Analyst title was created and C.O.P.E. became OSA. All Personnel Examiners were reclassified into the Analyst title and eighty-seven other highly specialized prior titles were also "broadbanded" into a single series.

Twenty years ago, the campaign to provide Analysts with collective bargaining rights was under way and by 1985, the first thirty-eight members at the Board of Education were granted union status. (The vote at the time was three to one pro-union.)

Union coverage grew through recruitment and seemingly endless hearings and legal arguments. By 1988, OSA covered a further six hundred and fifty Analysts throughout the City. By late 1991, our mandate covered two-thirds of all Analysts in City service and on 12/17/91 the City finally gave up and awarded OSA representation rights for virtually all Staff and Associate Staff Analysts in City Service.

Our volunteer organizers arrived at the Health and Hospitals Corporation two months later. By 1994, we had been joined by the HHC Systems Analysts, Training and Development Associates and Planners/Production Control and Scheduling (EMS Motor Transport). A year later we added Senior Health Care Planning Analysts and Planning Scheduling Analysts. Along the way, the Campaign Finance Board was included in areas organized and in the future, we hope to welcome our Transit Authority brothers and sisters and the Administrative level of employees as well.

 We did not, over the years, lose sight of why we, as a group, sought to become a union in the first place. In some cases before, and often after unionization occurred, we have argued, lobbied, negotiated and\or litigated on issues of importance to the members of our title series.

We have obtained exams through the court. We, in one case, increased the number of candidates passing an exam by nearly sixty percent. We killed the bad idea of narrowbanding our title and we assisted each other through the Staff Analyst and Associate Staff Analyst exams.

We even, in one case, one year, gave up a day's work and pay each in order to secure the return to work of all laid-off union Analysts. The vote to assist those brothers and sisters in need was nearly four to one in favor, by mail ballot and with a high percentage of votes returned.

We have many tasks still before us. The increase in number of members who have permanent status is heart-warming but our goal is permanent status for all of our members. The financial gains through contract bargaining made by our first members have not yet been realized by our most recent members. The union has identified almost two thousand Analysts still not yet covered for collective bargaining or the regular raises, grievance rights or any of the other benefits associated with organized status.

As we start the twenty-eighth year since our group's founding, we can check our progress against the three goals set in 1970 to obtain collective bargaining rights, to obtain permanent status for our members through the Civil Service merit system and to assist each other in all ways, both professionally and fraternally.

Much has now been done, and much is still before us. Good. It gives purpose to our gathering.

 The Citywide Contract is a child of the New York State Taylor law and the New York City Tripartite Agreement that preceeded that law. "Tripartite" referred to the new system. Previously it was the Mayor facing the unions directly and many strikes occurred. The new system "centralized" labor as noted below, but also added a third party, the neutral "Office of Collective Bargaining". There have been less strikes since the tripartite system was installed.

In the old days (the late 1960's), each union negotiated all terms and conditions of employment for their own members. After "tripartite", the chief City union (that union which represented the largest segment of the City workers) led the rest of us on matters that were common across all or most titles.

If your work week is thirty-five hours, not even a Mayoral candidate can change the hours without negotiations, thanks to "Citywide".

Shift differentials, holiday premium pay, overtime rules and time and leave rules are all spelled out in the Citywide Contract.

If you use a car for work, car allowance is a negotiated item. If you wish to review your Personnel folder once a year, you need only cite the Citywide Contract and your boss will have to provide the time for you to do so.

If you should find in your folder any unkind words, you have the right to respond, in writing, to all such criticisms. Your response must, by Citywide Contract, be attached to the offending documents. (The union does not actually recommend that any member spend much time on their personnel folder since those folders are not given much credibility by management in any case.)

The Citywide Contract is, therefore, a serious document but it is also often late.

The current Citywide is dated 7/1/90 to 6/30/92 and was actually negotiated from 1987 through to early 1993. The nice thing about the Citywide Contract is that its terms stay in effect until the next contract is negotiated. Thus, when Mayor Koch was acting especially uncooperative, we did not settle until Mayor Dinkins arrived. Also, initially, the relationship with Mayor Giuliani was very uncertain, but as of now, it is as friendly as it has ever been.

The bad thing about the Citywide is that the City can also make demands to counter ours, so we will see where the negotiations go.

There are two other sorts of contracts negotiated by OSA: the local unit contract (in negotiation for the period 1995-2000) and the Municipal Coalition Agreement. The Agreement sets the broad financial pattern and the local contract nails down details (how much longevity, for what years, etc.).

Altogether, we tend to keep our negotiating teams busy.

More information will be provided as negotiations continue. For now it is enough to note that OSA, of the seventy or so unions participating, was singled out for submitting more good quality demands than any other union. Then at the very next session, our OSA bargaining team member Joan Doheny submitted still four more demands.

Good news. Our OSA family has been joined by a number of excellent volunteers during the past couple of months.

In chronological order, the first new arrival was Bea Eisenberg, widow of our greatly missed friend and co-worker Marvin Stern. Bea will be assisting the office in general.

Next, OSA was gifted with the talents, contacts, knowledge, skill and quiet assertiveness of Shirley Gray. Shirley, a former Grievance VP for SSEU Local 371, had been seriously ill for a long period. Now she is well and our union is far the better for it.

Finally, as the year came to a close, Tom Gorse, late of ACS and an overall thirty year veteran of HRA, arrived ready to help. Tom is a former grievance rep, a very long time delegate and a total union loyalist.

Our three newcomers join forces with our many good folks who enlisted early on. OSA is a bit unusual in that due to our history, our union relies more upon volunteers than most groups. We also give those volunteers the authority and resources needed to carry out their chosen tasks.

Among our volunteers, we find grievance mavens such as Steve Gregor, John Ost, Bernice Stephens and that best-of-all-arbitration-gladiators Jack Reubens. We are proud to note WEP worker advocates Willie Bowman, Stanley Cutchins, Bill Douglas, Maude Oliver and Phyllis Stothers. Our potential retirees benefit from pre-retirement counselling by Richie Guarino, Bob Hershkowitz, John Mazzarella and Jim McKeon.

Stan Granat assists at the Board of Education and our organizational staff is a group of dedicated and trained individuals who cut their eye teeth in the great organizing drives of the 1960's. From DC37 we are proud to claim Joel Leichter, and from our own and related locals we have netted Mike Altman, Lenny Friedman, Libby Mandel, Stan Maron, Joe Sperling and, on a less frequent basis, still others.

Our Political Action operation is run by John Harper, assisted by Jim Cleary and, until recently, George McKee.

General administrative tasks and special projects fall into the hands of Jean Anmuth and Dory Glicklich. Tracking the work in progress is Abby Collins and recording it in photos is Mel Wittenstein.

Most of our volunteers are retired New York City workers and they add depth to our union, and strength as well. OSA would be a very small union if all it had was its income. Instead, OSA has been a rather impressive addition to the local labor scene. Much, if not most, of the credit for that goes to our treasured "volunteers."

Welcome to Jong Kil Park. Mr. Park. a native of Korea, has been sent over to study our labor movement. Mr. Park is the Senior Secretary to the Republic of Korea's National Labor Relations Commission and has worked in the field for over ten years.

As per Mr. Parks' introductory letter from Dr. Marilyn Moch, Mr. Park is interested in experiencing the US labor movement. Our own Organization of Staff Analysts certainly qualifies as a part of the labor movement, and perhaps a more active part than some. We do welcome Jong Kil to our hiring pools, grievance hearings, arbitrations, negotiations, WEP conferences, Political Action meetings, Labor Party efforts, and especially to our organizing drives.

The Transit Authority's time has come. It looks quite positive that we may obtain the long delayed election during the course of this year. The various hearings and examinations of documents by the authorities have taken a lot of time, but Joan Kiok, our chief attorney, indicates that an election could be possible by late Spring or in the Fall.

OSA is, however, distressed that difficulties have arisen within Local 375, the DC37 local that is seeking to organize our brothers and sisters in the Transit Management Analyst series. Local 375 is a democratically run union and as such, has regular elections. At present there is a very close election proceeding and such affairs absorb much of a union's attention when actually in progress.

We look forward to a clear decision by the voters and a quick resumption of the locals' organizing drive. The bright side to this brief delay is the reaffirmation of union democracy that is demonstrated.

The ASA lists progress. The union has obtained a new batch of returned, annotated certification lists. Each agency is sent a "cert" list (on request or sometime automatically) of eligible candidates from each of the three ASA exams. The agency later returns these lists to Personnel, with notes showing which candidates were promoted, declined, passed over, or failed to report to the promotion pool.

The union requests copies of these annotated lists and analyzes the data shown. With luck we may have the most recent result available for the January membership meeting and certainly by the next mailing.

Meanwhile, a number of members have called with rumors that the ASA list would die soon. The Department of Personnel (a branch of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services) was called. The Personnel response was to reassure us that the City had no intention to "kill" any lists with candidates remaining on them.

Up-to-date information will be available at the January General Membership Meeting.