News From OSA - March, 2003

Twelve Thousand. As of this writing, our union is still aware of only two actual layoffs pending or due before the end of the month. The Mayor keeps saying that he will have to layoff 12,000 city workers unless we (the unions) can help him out to the tune of $600,000,000.

We offered volunteer furloughs... and got no response. (See letter from OSA Executive Director Sheila Gorsky in the February 14 edition of The Chief.)

DC 37 handed him a series of huge "white papers" and got no response.

We have met with the City frequently and many unions have offered suggestions that would help in one way or another. Meanwhile, the only response we seem to be getting is that the City needs "structural changes." The structural changes referred to are all ways of lowering the cost of city employees past (retired), present or future. The recent articles in the Village Voice by Wayne Barrett appear to be part of this campaign.

The first of the series of articles by Barrett can be downloaded here, along with a letter of response from our union to the article. The second article had even more "shocked" outrage and still less actual content.

Executive Director's Report. The ASA list has now been in existence for nearly two years. It is expected to be extended for a third year as well.

Nearly one thousand candidates have been appointed and many agencies have used their entire lists, appointing all candidates.

Fourteen agencies have one or two candidates on their lists still not yet appointed. In those cases, the agency, by law, is not required to appoint, although many agencies will do so out of sheer decency.

Seventeen agencies have refused to reinstate "passed over" candidates. A total of 72 candidates are being denied appointment on that basis. The "worst" agencies at present are the Department of Transportation (which discarded 20 candidates without a reason given) and the Department of Employment. Perhaps we should rename DOE to the Department of Provisional, Temporary and Political Employment.

Four agencies continue to have a score or so candidates on the list. One of these agencies (Police) is making appointments, but in three agencies, DDC (25 candidates), FISA (21 candidates), and DOS (Sanitation - 19 candidates), we have a problem. We will be addressing the problem.

The Organization of Staff Analysts is a civil service union. We can and will put the spotlight on any agency that seeks to abuse the system, as a few of the are now doing.

Our legislative efforts to close various loopholes regarding the use of the one-in-three rule are moving slowly but surely. We have considerable support from the City Council and the other municipal unions. The value to our members of a permanent career title is always there, but it is far more obvious to us all during times of threatened layoffs.

Other News. The City is planning to get back to us on the 1%. Do not, repeat, do not hold your breath while waiting, as it is dangerous to hold your breath that long.

We may soon have the correct information to pay out the drug rider reimbursement for those due that money. As usual, patience.

Our union lost a friend recently. See the enclosed letter to the editor of The Chief. Our union dues are the absolute lowest of all the municipal unions and it is due in part to the advice once given by Sal Cangiarella.

Our newsline is a service provided weekly or somewhat more often during crises. The newsline is available by phone and on this website. The phone number is 1-212-330-8833. At least one member in each office should call the hotline or visit the website regularly. It's fairly easy to do since both are 24-hour services.

Our Black History Celebration went off very well and thanks are due to the committee responsible. Photos from the event are available by clicking here.

This year's labor intern, Arnell Milton, is assigned to assist OSA's chairperson on the Express Scripts change and a dozen other tasks.

OSA General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting is to be held on Thursday, March 27, 2003 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 709.

National News. Normally the union mailings do not comment on national affairs. At present, however, it seems that we are going to invade Iraq because some Saudi Arabians based in Afghanistan attacked the World Trade Center. When we get done seizing the Iraqi oil fields (and before we democratize Iraq), we may or may not address North Korea and Iran and (lest we forget a place to which we are already sending troops), Colombia as well.

Domestic terrorism has been addressed by the President by banning union membership in the Department of Homeland Security. The anti-terror crusade has been partially funded by the President cancelling "location" salary differentials for federal civil servants.

The Administration is assisting the economy with the probable onset of a preemptive war (or wars) and a series of tax cuts for the rich. Our President may (or may not) have won election by a close vote, but he is sure that he has a mandate and Congress is mostly silent.

You can read the comments of one Senator Byrd of West Virginia. The Senator is a true, old-fashioned, pro-military, southern Democrat with a less than appealing record on race relations in years gone by. His recent words, however, ring true. By the time you read this, we may already be at war.

We hope not.