News From OSA - November, 2006

Quicksilver. On October 19th, municipal coalition pattern-setting bargaining began, and on October 23rd, a mailing went out to the OSA membership. The letter explained the background history and ended with our hopes for a contract that did “at least as well as DC37 and … perhaps just a little bit better.” It took only eighteen days for Randi Weingarten to conclude a settlement that did a bit better for all of us.

At the start of coalition bargaining, the City threw in a monkeywrench. Since the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York has multiple employers (State, City, and Board of Higher Education), the City argued that PSC CUNY had to be left out of bargaining unless something was worked out. There were other objections by the City to our coalition bargaining as well.

Weingarten consulted with the coalition members and, with unanimous support of the unions concerned, swung into pattern conforming bargaining on behalf of the UFT. During those negotiations, Randi made it clear that the UFT expected that any gains made would be offered, as well, to the non-UFT unions involved in the coalition.

Now it is our turn. You can download a request for you to submit “non-economic” demands. Our bargaining will commence in December and, hopefully, will proceed quickly. Randi Weingarten has offered to assist the bargaining team of any union that is a member of the coalition. Given the swift completion of her contract in a single fortnight, her offer is very welcome.

Seasons Greetings.The OSA Holiday Party has moved again. Last year our party was in Queens and this year it’s Brooklyn's turn.

The Crystal Palace in Queens was lovely, but is now undergoing renovations. The Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn is an old Opera House and Ballroom. It is truly an architectural delight and has been beautifully restored.

There are a number of other halls available, including Antuns and Terrace on the Park in Queens, Marina Del Rey in the Bronx, and at least two fine sites on Sheepshead Bay, but all of these are hard to access by public transportation.

The Grand Prospect Hall is only a few stops from Manhattan on the “R” line of the BMT and only a couple of blocks from the subway. The building itself is one of Brooklyn's many, generally unknown, gems from the past.

The location may be new, but old friends and the Charlotte Russes will be both familiar and welcome. A flyer with public transit and driving directions can be downloaded here.

General Membership Meeting.The next membership meeting is set for Thursday, November 30th, since the fourth Thursday of the month is Thanksgiving. This month’s membership meeting is also a nominations meeting for officers for OSA/RT. A flyer can be downloaded here to remind you of the date and time.