News From OSA - March, 2006

The first draft of this edition of "News From OSA" ran on so long it finally reached over twenty pages, at which point a second draft was obviously needed. This, the second draft is considerably more brief, but for those of you who like a lot of reading, the sections condensed or left out from the first draft will be added to this summer’s bulkrate mailing.

RELIEF FUND. Over two hundred OSA members, and many of our OSART & OSARC members, responded generously to the appeal for aid to the transport workers. Our staff is preparing the certificates. The funds, now over six thousand dollars and growing, will be presented to the TWU strike relief as details are worked out.

Kimberly Vann, member of OSART’s executive board, reported that members of OSA’s Black History Committee have asked that the monies usually expended to support Black History month celebrations be devoted entirely to the Transport Workers Union aid. This will be done.

Many letters were received as well and a few severely criticized the strike because it was illegal. To respond to that criticism and to illuminate an interesting topic as well, the summer mailing will include eleven pages telling the story of the 1919 IRT strike. That strike was not illegal and, oddly enough, was called by the company “union” with the company’s blessing.

NEGOTIATIONS. The School Safety/Traffic Enforcement and Transit Authority contract negotiations continue, and for the 1% for all our folks as well. OSA took the lead and formed the 1% Solution Club that consists of those unions still due that 1% raise. The Club has been a welcome source of information already as each union shares its negotiating difficulties with the group.

LISTS. The Staff Analyst list has now moved to the 400's. If you are below 400 and were not appointed yet, call Sheila Gorsky at the union office. You may have inadvertently been knocked off the list and now need to restore your name for future consideration. Those whose numbers are in the 400's may want to call Sheila as well, since candidates may benefit from advice on the hiring pools before attending one.

The Administrative Analyst list should be out soon and the union has requested a meeting with DCAS on that topic.

HELP WITH HOME CARE. Many of our members have loved ones within their family who need long term home care. The need for such care can come from age, disease or disability and does affect most families at one time or another. Now, we can help. OSA is pleased to offer a new benefit to our member in terms of advice regarding long term care issues. The information regarding home care, home health care, nursing homes and Medicaid eligibility rules is very complex. You can now call John Turley at the union office on Tuesday or Thursday during the day. He will try to assist you in this complex and emotionally difficult area. John has worked in the home care field for over thirty years and has developed extensive contacts, which may prove beneficial to our members.

MED "D" REVISITED. The OSA Welfare Fund was required to suspend drug coverage from the Superimposed Major Medical benefit for those of our members covered by Medicare. The requirement grew out of the Med “D” rules related to “True Out-Of-Pocket Expenses." Now it turns out, we may be able to restore the benefit so long as it only kicks in after a member has reached $3600 in out-of-pocket expense.

At that point, members are still required by Med “D” to pay 5% of all additional drug costs. In the most severe cases, in our experience, that can be as much as five or ten thousand dollars more, per year. The possibility that the OSA WF could assist, legally, in such extreme cases is welcome. The Trustees will vote on the matter at their next meeting.

PROTECT MEDICAID. We are asking our members to complete, stamp (24 cents) and return the two post cards enclosed in this mailing to Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver in the State Legislature. Governor Pataki plans for funding cuts and service reductions to public hospitals and nursing homes in HHC. These cuts will severely limit HHC’s capacity to provide services to the most vulnerable citizens.

BLACK HISTORY 2007 PLANNING MEETING. The next meeting of our Black History Committee to plan for next year’s celebration will be Thursday, April 6, 2006. If you would like to be involved, please come to the OSA office at 6 pm.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. The next General Membership meeting is to be held on Thursday, March 30, 2006 starting at 6pm sharp in the union office at 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707. A meeting notice can be downloaded here to remind you and other brothers and sisters of the date.