News From OSA - March, 2007

Negotiations. Until recently, our collective bargaining talks were going well for the main unit contract for 7/06 - 2008. We fully expected to conclude the 2% and 5% contract by Tuesday, February 27, but it did not happen.

Instead, the City chose to announce that we would have to give up the 1% left over from the 2002 - 2005 contract in order to get the new raises. The negotiating team reacted strongly. All of us on the union side were certain that we had been told otherwise in all of our prior negotiations. We were angry.

The One Percent. Our problem with the 1% started with the 02 - 05 contract. That contract provided a $1000 bonus but no raise for the period 7/1/02 - 6/30/03. The second year of the contract (7/03 - 6/04) was far better, with a 3% raise. The third year of the contract (7/04 - 6/05), like the first, stank to the highest heaven. It included 1% for free, but also 1% in return for serious givebacks of time, leave and money affecting new employees. A final 1% was also available, but was dependent upon agreement between the City and the unions as to further unspecified givebacks.

The Organization of Staff Analysts' leadership did not recommend a yes vote on that contract, even though we knew that, OSA alone, could do no better.

Our reasons for not recommending acceptance were as follows:

First: the 7/02 to 6/03 bonus was not a raise and inflation was at that time starting to increase. We did get $1000 as a bonus, but we fell 2.65% behind in our salaries due to consumer price index increases.

Second: by the last year of the contract, inflation ran at 3.5% for a period 7/04 - 6/05, while the offer was only 1% without givebacks and 1% more for prearranged givebacks.

Third: the wording on the clauses regarding a final 1% was odd and unprecedented. We could not imagine any union agreeing to the kind of givebacks this Mayor normally exacts for a 1% raise.

We had good reasons to be distressed by the losses to City labor represented by the 2002 - 2005 contract but we did not expect the members to vote against the contract nor did they. At the same time we did not expect to do worse than DC 37 by accepting the contract and therein lies the problem of the 1%.

As matters turned out, DC 37 was awarded the last 1% for givebacks that were painless; i.e., increased civilianization of the Police Department, contracting in of work previously done by vendors, and a promised reduction in sick leave usage.

Pleased, but astonished, OSA's negotiating team went back to the table to accept the same offer, only it turned out we were not being given the same offer. It is true that Analysts often work alongside uniformed police doing the same job and, in fact, the same situation also occurs with Analysts and uniformed Fire, Sanitation and Correction officers, but somehow our offered savings were of no further interest to the City.

We did get a chance to get the final year of Randi Weingarten's UFT four year contract, and the 3.25% for that year was better than the three prior years -- and with no givebacks at all. That took care of 7/1/05 to 7/12/06, but the final 1% for 7/04 - 6/05 was still unpaid.

Meanwhile, other unions were seeking to obtain that 1% as well and the results were awful. SEIU local 300 and IATSE both gave up ten months (delaying all future raises that long) for the 1%. The Civil Service Bar Association simply waived the 1% entirely.

OSA, CWA and local 237 of the Teamsters kept bargaining until, eventually, local 237 chose to bring an Improper Practice action against the City for bad faith bargaining. We did not do so as our bargaining on the 2006 - 2008 contract seemed to be going well, until Tuesday, February 27.

Our negotiating team is unanimous in their belief that we are due the old 1%, and the new 2% and 5%. Members attending classes at OSA (in preparation for the ASA exam) were polled on the nights of 2/27, 2/28, and 3/1. The questions asked were straight forward and the answers were unanimous. No one wanted to give up the 1%, and no one wanted to exchange a giveback of 10 months in return for 1%.

That leaves us with one option. We can go forward with the Improper Practice case, knowing that this will delay settlement on the 2% and the 5%. Note well, however, that once the matter is adjudicated we will be due the 2% and the 5% retroactively. If we win, we will also be due the 1% as well, retroactively to 7/1/04.

Postscript. There was some incidental fallout from our loss in the Enrollment Sales Representative campaign. You can download an article and an editorial from the "Chief" newspaper related to this election. It was a very nice editorial.

General Membership Meeting. This month's general membership meeting is set for March 29, 2007 and will, as usual, start at 6:00 PM sharp, but at a different place. Due to the ongoing training course at union headquarters, we are moving the meeting to 125 Worth St, second floor auditorium. Bring I.D. The security on the first floor is extensive. See you there. You can download a meeting flyer here for posting and to remind you of the date, time and location.