News From OSA - July, 2004

The Staff Analyst exam of 2004 was given, the Administrative Staff Analyst exam of 2005 is now scheduled and the new OSA contract for 7/1/02 through 6/30/05 is being presented by the negotiating team to the members for their tentative approval.

Find the topic of your interest and read on.

ANALYST EXAMS, 2004. The Staff Analyst, Education Analyst and Assistant Transit Analyst exams of 2004 were given on June 19th and 20th of this month. The exams were the same test for all three titles. OSA and OSART had jointly prepared a training class series that assisted over fourteen hundred candidates.

A total of eight thousand candidates were examined either in the AM or PM on Saturday or else the AM on Sunday.

As is our union tradition for the past dozen years, union officers, staff and volunteers were at all test sites distributing pencil cases, sharpened #2 pencils, candy, last-minute tips, and a union return envelope. This year, in deference to the June weather, the candy was not a Hershey's bar but Tootsie Roll Pops instead. Also, this year, for the first time a numeric calculator was included in each package.

The exam was held on Saturday at four test sites: Murry Bergtraum in Manhattan, Theodore Roosevelt in the Bronx, John Bowne in Queens and Brooklyn Tech in...okay, that one's obvious. On Sunday, the exam was held at the 2 Washington Street, test site of Personnel (D.C.A.S.).

Hundreds of candidates sent us copies of their answer sheets. As a result, we were able to do an item analysis and the findings are available by clicking on the links below. Even before the Analysis was done, anecdotal remarks by hundreds of candidates exiting after the exam had convinced us this had been a typical Analyst exam, i.e., very challenging.

The union will be seeking to discuss the exam in the near future with the City Personnel Director. We have a number of compliments we owe to a mostly professional staff that carried out a demanding and complex task more smoothly than has occurred in other years. At the same time, we will bring a few complaints to his attention as well.

For example, in Queens, one classroom monitor seems to have gone over the edge entirely. A candidate in Queens was taken out in a wheelchair. Another classroom monitor is alleged to have refused to give out the reference booklets. Some classroom monitors in the Bronx are alleged to have asked hall monitors to keep the noise down in halls and been ignored to the distress of candidates being tested. Some monitors forbade absolutely any writing in test booklets or issuance of more scrap paper, others gave no such prohibitions at all.

In short, there were some problems this year but, actually, a bit less than are recorded for ordeals suffered by the candidates for earlier Analyst exams. No test, this year, started two and a half hours late (1978), no test takers were held from nine in the morning until nearly eleven that night (1992) and no test takers were subjected to football games outside the window or a noisy crime scene or the host of potential distractions that have bedeviled past test takers.

Since this was probably the largest number of Staff Analyst candidates ever tested at once, it went (with the exceptions noted) rather well.

Item Analysis Overview

Most Frequent Answers -- Saturday, June 19th AM Session

Most Frequent Answers -- Saturday, June 19th PM Session

Full Item Analysis -- Saturday, June 19th AM Session

Full Item Analysis -- Saturday, June 19th PM Session

Full Item Analysis -- Sunday, June 20th Sabbath Observer Session

ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF ANALYST EXAM, 2004. The Admin promotional exam is now scheduled for next June. About three thousand permanent Associate Staff Analysts should be eligible. We will be seeking to work closely with Personnel in advance of this exam since we do not want a repeat of the last exam.

The very last exam given, back in the 1980's, was a disgrace that was purchased from an outside contractor. OSA took the matter to court and won, easily if not quickly. We do hope for a more cooperative relationship on this exam since OSA and Personnel can and should share the goal of creating a permanent professional and competitively tested workforce at the Administrative level.

Please note that since the Associate Staff Analyst list is still active, a new Associate Staff exam is not likely before 2006.

CONTRACT 2002-2005.The negotiating team of OSA, on Friday, June 25th, agreed to bring to a membership vote the contract being offered by the City. (Note the TA contract is separate as is School Safety/Traffic Enforcement, etc.) Ballots are enclosed in the print version of this edition of News From OSA which was mailed to you. Finally, if you are an Agency Shop fee payer, you will find a union designation card enclosed in the mailing you received instead of a ballot. (Only voluntary union members can vote but you can guarantee your right to vote on all issues by signing and returning the enclosed card.)

Caveat. The union is proceeding to a vote without a final detailed document in hand. This is being done to enable a membership vote before most members depart for vacation. That noted, should the members vote in the affirmative and the City thereafter proffer a contract not in concert with the understanding of the negotiating team, that contract will be further delayed. We do not expect that the City will act in bad faith in this matter, but a warning statement is only prudent.

Terms. The terms offered are those of the DC 37 settlement except that the vacation days are different. Click here for a copy of the proposed terms. OSA, entering these negotiations, had 13 more vacation days than DC 37 or any other civilian non-pedagogical union. DC 37's contract gave up a total of 34 vacation days over the course of the career of an employee hired after 7/1/04.

OSA was definitely not willing to surrender the extra 13 vacation days on behalf of the not-yet-hired employees in order to obtain the DC 37 settlement.

The City accepted our refusal but insisted on moving round the vacation days so that OSA future members would "lose" one vacation day on years one and four, "gain" two days (versus DC 37) on years five and six and one day on year seven. This would give us a net "loss" of only 31 days so the Office of Management and Budget insisted we also "lose" (versus DC 37) one day in our future members thirteenth year of service and two days in their fourteenth year of service.

(Our negotiators responded with appropriate sarcasm to OMB's insistence on saving three days pay from employees not yet hired who would suffer the impact no sooner than July of 2017 and 2018.)

Evaluation. This is not a good contract. DC 37 felt it was the best they could get with a tough Mayor. We are offered $1,000 in the first year, "3% in the second year (now completed) and 2% in the third year with a possible (but don't plan to ever spend it) 1% in addition. This contract loses ground to inflation, provides no equity money to improve longevity and adds not one penny to the Welfare Fund. There are other aspects, still more dismaying.

It was the belief of the OSA leadership that a better contract could have and would have been obtained through "Coalition" economic bargaining and this was publicly stated. That said, it is dubious that OSA as a civilian non pedagogical, non uniformed union can successfully break the "pattern" now set. We do promise to work even harder to promote the idea of MLC Coalition economic bargaining next time. In unity, there is great strength.

If the membership votes to reject the agreement, the OSA leadership will resume negotiations and while the final agreement could be worse (by 1 or 2 percent) it could not be much worse given the pattern. If the membership votes to accept, the OSA leadership will accept and try to do better next time.

The decision is yours.