News From OSA - March, 2017

NATIONAL NEWS. Our mailings do not normally spend much time on national news. This is because, at present, we don't know where to start.

As expected, this new administration is favoring big business in area after area – regulation, taxes, and plans for the future. We also had an immigration order signed that specifically targeted individuals based on religion. That was stopped in court.

As of this writing, the President has tweeted that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Plaza and, as a result, his predecessor is “bad” or “sick.” The FBI denies the wiretapping, of course, but at present facts are less important than they were before we elected a President who spent years accusing Barack Obama of being a non-citizen.

Our local news pales in comparison, but it is more cheerful.

LOCAL (AND GOOD) NEWS. Members are aware that our union has been organizing Analysts in the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA). All such efforts are time consuming and our MaBSTOA campaign is no exception.

We had obtained enough union designation cards a while back, only to be delayed by other collective bargaining elections involving New York City Health + Hospitals and the Police Department. Even so, after winning both earlier contests, we were able to file cards showing sufficient support for a union election at MaBSTOA last August.

The situation at MaBSTOA is complex. Both DC 37 and the Transport Workers Union were seeking to represent employees at that agency, leading to a conflict among the three unions. OSA's leadership spent much of last year seeking to resolve the conflict and, to an extent, we were successful.

We had been seeking a grand coalition of unions to make a joint effort to organize all the unorganized, but our vision did not reach fruition. DC 37 did, however, drop out of their current effort at MaBSTOA and asked OSA to take on that organizing work instead.

DC 37's departure from the campaign did not slow the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) election process down, but it did require OSA to scramble to obtain extra unit designation cards to cover the added titles we were now seeking to represent. These cards were obtained by our team of volunteer organizers and have already been filed with PERB.

There was also the normal nonsense as MaBSTOA management sought to exempt some employees from union coverage based on their supposedly managerial/confidential duties. MaBSTOA management claimed, among other silly claims, that a Staff Analyst Trainee was crucially involved in policy-making on MaBSTOA fares. If this is true, the Governor has more free time on his hands than we ever thought.

Assuming that management's list of alleged managerial/confidential employees does not slow us down, we are expecting the PERB Administrative Law Judge to set out the timetable for the long-awaited vote on union status this month. With luck, voting may occur before this summer. This is good news for all of us involved in the campaign – and even better news for our brothers and sisters at MaBSTOA.

We are also involved with organizing the Assistant and Associate Directors of Hospitals at NYC Health + Hospitals, as well as the Health Services Managers at the NYC Health Department. Each of these campaigns is going well, if slowly. We have never stopped organizing and, hopefully, never will.

Most recently, at their request, we have filed to represent the Assistant and Associate Directors of Nursing at New York City Health+Hospitals. So, as we hopefully bring one campaign to a successful conclusion, we start another.

TOP SECRET. We have long been unhappy about the decision (under Ed Koch) to keep civil service exams secret. We know the reasons given for that decision and the reasons do not justify the lack of transparency in what should be a public process.

Now, DCAS has gone further and, as we learned last year, they began keeping exam answers secret, starting in 2013. Finally, this year, in response to the union’s questions about the generous marking of the recent Administrative exam (versus the Associate exam), DCAS informed us it has decided to keep the marking system secret also.

Our union will be taking this matter to the Civil Service Committee of the Municipal Labor Committee. We have no reason to trust the City to be honest in matters of hiring because we have so often won cases in court where the City cheated.

Our very first Administrative Staff Analysts exam was a cleverly designed cheat from start to finish. The marking system on that exam was designed to reduce the number passing. We overturned the marking system in court and 155 more candidates passed. Under the new set of rules, with secret exams, secret answers and secret marking systems, we can't go to court at all.

We will not let such a perversion of the Civil Service system go unstopped.

EXAM REOPENER. As most are aware, there was a strange reopening of filing for the Administrative Staff Analyst open competitive and promotional exams last year. It was strange because it occurred after the exam's results were known. Then, a candidate who had passed either exam could, for $69, at no risk, pass the other exam retroactively and be placed on a list.

It was also foul in execution because some, but not all, candidates were told of this opportunity. Thus, those untold were disadvantaged versus those told and from such unfairness by management come many lawsuits.

We are suing the City for their actions. We had tried to work out a fair solution, but the City talked to us for a month and, finally, offered nothing. Okay, let us hope the judge is more reasonable.

If you passed the Administrative Staff Analyst exam, but only filed for the open competitive or only filed for the promotional, you should have been notified (if you were eligible) to file for the other exam after the Admin exam was given. Any OSA/OSART member who was not so notified and, as a result, is on only one of those two lists should have been told to apply for the other exam.

If this has affected you negatively, we want to know about it. If you have been passed over on the promotional list or have lost the opportunity to change agencies, you have been affected negatively. Please call John LaGuardia at the union office at 212-686-1229 to alert us. You will be called back.

P.S. Some members were told to file for the promotional exam retroactively by their agency. DCAS then, in some cases, disqualified those candidates who followed the direction of their agencies. DCAS is arguing that no refund is due since it was the candidate's error. (No, it was the joint error of DCAS and the agency.) We believe a refund is due and will fight to obtain it for any so affected. If this is you, contact Christina Wong at the union office.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. March 30th is the date for our next general membership meeting. Food will be available as early as 5:30pm. The meeting will be held, as usual, in the union office and starts at 6:15pm sharp. A flyer can be downloaded at this link to remind yourself of the date, time and location.