News From OSA -- May, 2000
It's been a busy April. We started collective bargaining talks on the prior contract (1995- 2000) on behalf of our Transit Authority members, and have been working closely with the Municipal Labor Committee on the current negotiations. We are also engaged in a campaign pitting us against DC37 for the hearts and minds of Supervising Systems Analysts at the Health and Hospital Corporation.
There is not much to discuss about TA negotiations as yet, but the current MLC negotiations are getting more interesting.
Givebacks. The Mayor started the negotiations by putting aside not one cent in his budget for labor negotiations. If we were to judge by his budget alone we are not due one penny this year.
He continued by proposing merit increases instead of across-the-board increases and then went further. The Mayor's demands at present include the following points:
1. A proposal for the loss of three days annual leave at all levels of accrual.
2. A change in sick leave rules so that the employer will only pay half pay for the first three days of usage each year. This is a curiously unproductive demand at best. It penalizes those who seldom take sick leave more than those who take it up to full accrual rate.
3. A change in the rules to allow the employer to demand "out of title" work in higher titles on a "temporary" basis with no recompense for the increased obligation and responsibility. The word "temporary" is not defined. Judging by current "out of title" complaints, the "temporary" period envisioned is anywhere from a few months to one's entire lifetime career.
4. A new definition of the word "night." The Mayor is proposing that the night differential begin at midnight. It is said that an ancient proud king once sat in a chair by the ocean and commanded the tide to withdraw, but even that king went home after his feet got wet and the sun went down. Not our Mayor.
5. Payroll decreases due to:
a) A new health insurance co-pay, 10% for individual and 20% for family coverage, based on the HIP HMO rate. Whatever happened to family values?
b) Deductions to pay for the salaries and rent, equipment, supplies and deep pile carpet costs (PS and OTPS costs) of the retirement systems and/or health insurance providers.
c) Increased administrative fees for checkoff items.
d) Elimination of ITHP, the increased take home pay provision that was won by contract over 30 years ago. Loss of it would require increased pension contributions by those affected of either 2% (civilian) or 2 1/2% (uniform forces).
There is more, of course, but much of it is of only minor annoyance. The Mayor would like a redeployment agreement, but no mention of protection against layoffs. He would like to wipe out released time for training programs, cut union releases by half (only half?) and eliminate weekly payrolls. He would like to micro-manage our welfare fund, cut the amount he is giving us by excluding more part-time employees and in return for all this he is offering a five year contract.
Not to worry. We don't have to, nor do we want to, nor would the membership ever allow us to agree to such givebacks. This is a time of prosperity for our city. We gave up a lot when times were lean and our MLC leader Randi Weingarten is holding strong cards.
The New York Post is attacking the teachers these days just as they attacked the principals last year, but finally, it is the union members who will vote and decide. If the Mayor thinks we will yield before an avalanche of critical but dishonest newspaper editorials, he is wrong.
Newspaper editors write to please their publisher/owners. Have you ever met a poor newspaper publisher? We haven't. There's no money on the table at present but we can wait. At the same time we will not wait forever. We are Labor and we make the City run.
Campaign Time. It is campaign time again for OSA. This year, we're engaged in a collective bargaining election seeking to be the representative for the Supervising Systems Analysts of the HHC. We are up against DC37 of AFSCME and expect a tough campaign. If you'd like to participate, you could write a brief letter describing your own (hopefully favorable) impression of OSA and mentioning any particularly wonderful thing the Union ever did for you. Please send the letters quickly, if at all, since voting starts 5/21/00. Please note on the outside of the return envelope, ATTN: Bob Croghan.
In all fairness, we should win the election. OSA did all the work that led up to this election and this is known to be the case by many of the HHC Analysts.
OSA General Membership Meeting. Our next membership meeting is to be held at 6pm Thursday, May 25, 2000 at the OSA office, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 709, in Manhattan. As usual refreshments are served.