News From OSA - November, 2001

The Contract. On May 15th, OSA was offered a fiscal settlement that, for most members, was worth 4% on 4/1/00 and a compounded 4% again on 4/1/01. The "equity" portion was to come on the 27th month of the contract and would be worth another 1%.

We were unable to accept the 5/15/01 offer to bring back to our members for a vote since over 500 of our members were not covered by the offer. Two separate groups of newly unionized members were in danger (if OSA signed off premature-ly) of getting no raise from either the union or management for the year 2000.

On August 30th the Managerial Pay Order came out and, as feared, did exclude all of our unionized Admin Staff Analysts from the pay raise due on 7/1/00. Our counsel was instructed to file an immediate claim of an unfair labor practice with the Office of Collective Bargaining but, as it turned out, there was no need. On September 6th Joseph Lhota's letter clarified that our members would be included in the raise after all.

Shortly thereafter, the Health and Hospitals Corporation Managerial Pay Order was also written and this one gave no one a raise for 7/1/00 through 6/30/01, but up to 8% effective 7/1/01. This was certainly not very generous by the HHC. Still, once it was published, we could now complete our own fiscal contract and did so.

The impact of the September 11th attack on our City delayed the process by over a month thereafter.

Normally OSA puts all membership decisions out for a mail ballot, but normal is some other Fall. This Fall, a membership that had stood solid with their union until all members' raises were preserved was now very, very anxious over the settlement. The City Office of Labor Relations also would not begin to implement the raises until membership approval had been secured. We had to vote, and to vote quickly if we wanted the money this year.

Members are asked to call the newsline or visit our website each week. About ten percent of the members do so every week. In times of excitement, the number rises to close to half the members calling and probably no larger percentage reads the mail.

In any case, our only hope for a quick vote, since we are scattered over hundreds of work sites, was to use the union office and notify members by the 24-hour newsline. Members were warned two weeks ago to begin calling daily as of Wednesday, October 17 and on Friday afternoon of that week, October 19, members were told of the vote to be held on Monday evening, the 22nd, from 4:00 pm till 8:00 pm.

The vote was, as expected, lopsided. Our union, both members and leadership alike, had been willing to settle before the summer. Now that all of our members' needs had been taken care of, the vote was 99.37% in favor. Out of 320 votes cast, 315 were in favor, 2 against with 3 challenged ballots.

A later mailing will hopefully go into more detail. For now, it is probably enough to note the following points:

1) If you were a member of this union on 4/1/00 and are still with us, you are due a 4% raise for the year 4/1/00 through 3/30/01 and (thanks to compounding)a further 4.16% raise from 4/1/01 through to payment now targeted for 11/23/01.

2) If you are an Admin Analyst recently unionized, or a Supervising Systems Analyst, you did more poorly than those who were part of the union before 4/1/00. Meanwhile, partially thanks to your righteously intransigent union, you are doing better than those still called managerial.

The Admins get the expected raise (of 0%, 2% or 4%) as of 7/1/00, but also get a guaranteed 4% as of 4/1/01, three months sooner than "managers".

The Supervising Systems Analysts don't do quite as well since HHC stiffed all their managers for the year 2000. Still our folks get first 4% on 4/1/01 and the second 4% on 7/1/01.

3) The NYCHA, Board of Ed and OTB contracts will all follow the City pattern. (BOE has three months earlier anniversary dates as usual.) Our Transit Authority contract is still missing the 1.37% equity of the last contract but the TA has cleared the 4%, 4%, and 1% portions of this settlement. We meet again with TA in two weeks.

4) All non-economic issues as well as the conversion of the 1% equity into longevity have been set aside for now, but should be concluded fairly soon. The City has indicated it will look favorably on our request for a labor-management committee to study the creation of a career path for those of our members holding non-competitive jobs.

The Exam. The Associate Staff Analyst exam was given just before the summer. It has been graded, appeals studied, the final answer key issued and scores mailed out.

If you were scored as falling below 70%, you can ask to have your exam paper "rescored", as stated on the back of the score card under "appeals". If you kept the copy of your exam answers and match it against the enclosed final key, you can grade your own paper. Count your correct answers and divide the total correct by 87. The result is your final score.

As of this letter we do not know if a "curve" was used but we will inquire further.

Members who passed the exam have a chance to be appointed within their own Agency, but there are no guarantees. The process of getting appointed can be long and, for some members, very difficult. Executive Director Sheila Gorsky, our civil service list maven, is setting up a mailing run of the 1,270 successful candidates. The union will be sending out details on how to handle hiring pools, etc.

The Mayor (...and one other). Next year, and the year after, may be very serious ones for our City. Due to the World Trade Center attack, we are left with a huge and unexpected loss in tax income from the disaster and its repercussions.

In a time of trouble, we need a Mayor who has a background in governing, who has a track record and who we can hope will understand the needs of a large and complex city government. The Organization of Staff Analysts' Executive Board has endorsed Mark Green for Mayor. Mark's record of learning the job is a good one. He has spent about twenty years learning how to do the task and he learned well.

To cite two incidents, both connected, both pertinent to us and both of interest, there were, once, two sets of "departmental" Police.

Mark Green listened well a dozen years ago when Nick Mancuso of Local 237 argued on behalf of 300 Welfare "Special Patrolmen". The Welfare Police were a career force and were to be replaced by minimum wage guards. Mark did not have the power then to save the Welfare Police. They were to be replaced by last hired, first fired, fresh from Rikers Island rent-a-cops. Chaos increased at Welfare Centers and most especially at shelters. Recently, the City acknowledged its error and has begun to investigate re-recruiting a career force.

Meanwhile, recently, the Health and Hospitals Corporation had chosen to go the original Welfare route and replace their trained career Civil Service Hospital Police Force with the same casual labor used by Welfare. Mark Green came on like a tiger...He stood alongside OSA activists on platforms all across the City and spoke with the conviction of a convert in favor of civil service and its value to the citizens and taxpayers of our fair City.

Mark Green's opponent may be a very nice guy, or not...we really don't know. He has the money to ignore campaign spending limits, has run a firm and made money for himself but that is all. His mantra is that he knows business...but we, as Analysts, know government. Knowing business is valuable for a Mayor, but knowing government and how to properly lead 300,000 government workers is the require-ment for the job.

...and one other. The race for Public Advocate started off with a number of good candidates seeking the Democratic line. Unfortunately, none of them won. Scott Stringer, a member of the State Assembly from Manhattan, is running on the Liberal party line for Public Advocate. He would be worthy of support even if he was not running against a woman who laid off older career workers in order to bring in and exploit younger welfare clients. A vote for Scott, in this contest, is a matter of importance to all union supporters.

General Membership Meeting. The next general membership meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 29, 2001 at 6:00 pm at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 709, Manhattan (Between 2nd and 3rd Ave). See you there.