News From OSA - November, 2005

NEGOTIATIONS REPORT. Negotiations, as of this writing, are stalled in regards to the 1% due on the remainder of the 2002 - 2005 contract. The Mayor gave the 1% to DC37 and DC37 endorsed the Mayor although, as we all know, there was no connection.

Subsequently, all of the DC37 civilian unions that are bound by the pattern of the DC37 settlement requested to negotiate quickly for the final 1% and OSA, as it happened, was the first union at the bargaining table.

As of now, we have had only two negotiating sessions, the second of which we had to demand. We offered the same savings as DC37 and added some new ones as well. The City voiced reluctance to give us credit for the newer parts of our offer since the City did not want to save money in that fashion. The City also asked us to cite areas of specific dollar savings creditable to OSA in those areas that exactly matched DC37. Our response was both specific and at length. The City promised to get back to us.

They have not.

Negotiations on our uniformed forces unit, School Safety and Traffic Enforcement, are now overdue to commence. The problem for the City will be that employees subordinate to our members in Traffic Enforcement were given the DC37 pattern while subordinates to our School Safety members will now receive the more generous UFT settlement. This discrepancy will call for some creative negotiating to resolve.

Negotiations with the Transit Authority over the missing 1% have not yet begun and may or may not be dependent on the outcome of the City negotiations. DC37, as of this writing, has not yet obtained the 1% for their locals within the TA.

Finally, there are negotiations proceeding with both the NYC Housing Authority and the Department of Education. These discussions are on non-monetary (but still very important) topics.

FINAL REPORT ON THE ASA LIST 2001 - 2005. During the four-year life of the Associate Staff Analyst promotional exam list, a total of 1,171 members were promoted, and 49 others who had passed the exam retired before being promoted.

Since 1,285 candidates passed the exam, the percent appointed of those available sounds good at 94.7 percent. In twenty-six agencies, every candidate was appointed.

The union's problem is that good, in this case, is not good enough. There is a great deal of unfairness in who gets passed over. We need not cite the story of any one candidate to make our point. The chart you can download here from 10/24/05 makes the point neatly. Any candidate who had the misfortune of working for DDC or DOT or Law or Finance was at a disadvantage. The two candidates from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority were not just at a disadvantage, they had no chance at all. (TBTA Analysts are not covered for union representation by OSA or any other union.)

Many members are unfamiliar with the problems of "moving" a promotional list. Most don't care unless and until it affects them. OSA, as a civil service union, is always concerned with our members' advancement through the exam process.

If OSA is unhappy for every candidate who was never given a chance, we are also proud of the intense efforts made to get the Agency lists moved, to restore those "considered but not selected" and to persuade the Agencies to do the "right thing".

Most agencies did respond favorably and hundreds of appointments were made that would not have been made if there was no OSA. Our union is made up of individuals and special note must be taken of Sheila Gorsky and Mike Schady who devoted themselves to this cause. They were greatly assisted by our Agency Chapter Chairpersons and our political action activists, and even by two separate members of the City Council who took our side, Alan Jennings and Joe Addabbo. The Civil Service Chief gave us fine coverage.

Any satisfaction we can take in a job well done is tempered by the lost five percent of the candidates who had passed a tough exam, but were never given the chance they deserved. That was wrong and we will not forget those Commissioners.

MEDICARE PART D (MED D). If you are retired and/or over 65 or hope to be so some day, take note.

The Medicare Part D information is becoming a bit more clear. As expected, persons already enrolled in a City health plan with prescription drugs will need to take no action. GHI and HIP, etc., are all going to offer "equivalent" drug plans which means you can stay with your current carriers without incurring a subsequent penalty for joining "Med D" late.

Neither we nor apparently anyone else has the full details yet. The City recently sent out a letter to Medicare-eligible retirees explaining what was known and referring retirees to the different health plan websites for details. When checked by Rob Spencer of our office, it turned out the plan websites actually had no details as of yet. Okay.

One point that is clear is that premium costs are going down. GHI, for example, now has a drug rider premium of over $2,160 per year, partially offset by the OSA contribution of $600 per year. As of 1/1/06, the premiums will drop below $1,000.

We will be sending out a separate mailing to OSA retirees as fast as we learn more.

The following chart was prepared by our research staff using numbers obtained from the MLC health subcommittee. It compares Med D with the new version of GHI'S drug rider but it does not factor in any subsidy by the OSA Welfare Fund.

There will almost certainly be a subsidy but the Trustees are, like everyone else, awaiting the full plan details.

Plan Med D Cost GHI Cost
Annual Premium $420 $972
Deductible $250 $0
$0-$2250 up to
(max out of pocket)
$500 $563
$2251-$5100 up to
(max out of pocket)
$2850 $1710
$5101-$7313 up to
(max out of pocket)
$110.65* $1327.80*
TOTAL COST $4130.65 $4572.80
*Med D copay5% *GHI copay 60%

A Member Spending Med D vs GHI
$1000 on drugs is better off with Med D $857 vs. $1222
$2000 on drugs is better off with Med D $1107.50 vs. $1472
$3000 on drugs is better off with Med D $1920 vs. $1985
$4000 on drugs is better off with GHI $2920 vs. $2585
$5000 on drugs is better off with GHI $3920 vs. $3185
$6000 on drugs is better off with GHI $4065 vs. $3785
$7000 on drugs is better off with Med D $4115 vs. $4385

The costs are the same for both GHI and Med D for dollars spent on drugs after $7,313. Both have a copay of 5% thereafter. One unanswered question is which drugs are covered.

GOOD & WELFARE. Bill Douglas, the former Executive Vice-Chairperson of OSA, is a graduate of the Metropolitan Institute for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Bill has a New York State License and is a fully-qualified Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist.

The Analysts of OSA do not normally have expertise in this sort of analysis, but Bill does and the one thing we do know is that for all his life, Bill has been a good and attentive listener. That, of course, is at least one part of his role. Bill can be reached at 56 East 87th Street, New York, NY 10128. Telephone: (212) 876-6787. All calls are confidential.

OSA GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. The next General Membership meeting is to be held on Thursday, December 1, 2005 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.