News From OSA - November, 2015

CONTRACT. Our main unit agreement was accepted by our members, voting 1,608 to 19 in favor. A couple of the members voting against the contract clarified their vote by saying the percentage raises were too low, but that the rest of the contract gains were welcome.

We agree. On the other hand, the fact that this contract has also maintained the practice of providing basic health coverage without any charge of premium somewhat offset our disappointment over the percentage of the raises.

One area of confusion was made apparent at the time of the voting. Since it has been so long since the last contract, many members lost track of the fact that unions have different contract dates.

For example, DC 37’s contract expiration and anniversary dates, as of the last contract, were five months earlier than OSA’s. Meanwhile, OSA’s contract date was nearly two years earlier than the UFT’s.

One result was that, in 2008, as soon as DC37 finally agreed to its contract, OSA was ready to accept the same deal immediately and we got the 4% and 4%. That contract ran from August 25, 2008 until August 24, 2010.

Unfortunately for the UFT, since its contract came later than ours, Mayor Bloomberg had already been elected for his last term. Once he was safely in office, he rejected pattern bargaining. Instead, he offered zeros. There were no further negotiations.

Once Bloomberg was gone, pattern bargaining resumed and the UFT finally got its 4% and 4%. It also added the 1%, 1%, 1%, 1.5%, 2.5% and 3% and signed a nine year contract.

Our own contract is for seven years, from August 25, 2010 to August 24, 2017. Our contract, following the citywide pattern, started with no raise for eighteen months (although there was an absurd non-recurring $1,000 signing bonus). Thereafter, raises were scheduled each February 25th.

Exactly why there are different contract dates for different unions is due to the history of collective bargaining. One key point in our union history is that, in spite of attempts between 1978 and 1982, DC 37 and five other unions were unable to succeed at obtaining union status for Analysts.

Instead, after years of effort, by 1989 the Analysts succeeded in achieving collective bargaining status as an independent union. As soon as our union was recognized, we began to collectively bargain. That led our dates to differ from DC 37’s.

It should also be noted that as of this (2010 to 2017) contract, our contract dates will move closer to DC37’s. Our bargaining team was dissatisfied with the one half of one percent extra offered by the City for a contract extension of four months. DC 37 accepted their offer (0.52% to be exact) and is applying it to equity allocations.

The OSA negotiators noted that the rate offered for the four months is below the rate of inflation and, since it was not a required part of the pattern, it was refused. Instead, our next raise in 2017 will be due four months earlier.

One final point is that, during the just-concluded contract negotiations, the City had originally insisted that OSA use the offered four month contract extension to pay for longevity payments for Administrative Staff Analysts Levels II and III. After many months, as we arrived at “impasse,” the City “improved” its offer. They now suggested that the City would fund half of the longevity for the Admins if OSA would fund the other half by extending our contract by two months.

As members are now aware, the final contract saw the City funding half the demanded longevity payment with no contributions by OSA and no extension of the contract at all.

ARTICLES. from the Chief about the new contract and OSA’s recent addition of a number of training titles in the Health and Hospitals Corporation can be downloaded by clicking this link.

MORE. Our union now has four other contracts to conclude – School Safety and Traffic Enforcement, the NYC Housing Authority, the Transit Authority and the Department of Education. Since our own pattern has been set by our main unit agreement, these contract negotiations should go faster.

COMPRESSED WORK SCHEDULE. It is nice that the City has agreed to a pilot project to go back to the four day week so often worked by Analysts in the 1980’s. The agreement, by itself, does not actually implement anything at all. To turn this gain from theoretical to real, we will need your help.

It took Ed Koch, as Mayor, many years to spread the idea of the Compressed Work Schedule to all the agencies. In this case, the impetus is from the bottom and not the top, so it may take even longer.

The OSA leadership is starting to approach agencies that have already openly supported this proposal, but members should become involved right away.

You can start by evaluating your own situation. Is the work you normally do able to be done as well – or even better – using four 8¾ hour days a week, rather than five 7 hour days? If the answer is yes, would you personally be better off with one work day off each week?

If the answer is again yes, begin to talk to your coworkers. At some point ,you will need to move the discussion up to your supervisors and managers. Keep in mind that, in the past, areas of concern such as supervision, coverage for emergencies and other details were worked out amicably and probably can be worked out well this time around as well.

Keep in mind also that a Compressed Work Schedule can, with the approval of management and your coworkers, be offered to members of other unions as well. At present only our contract mentions the topic, but at the same time no other contract forbids it if workers and management agree. Once you have had these discussions, please send us a letter recounting your results. We will want to follow up on any successes and we also may be able to provide answers to any objections raised.

We will need a lot of effort from our own members if the four day week is to become as widespread as it was a quarter of a century ago. We believe it is worth the effort.

A VICTORY. We welcome approximately 280 new brothers and sisters in the Senior Consultant (MIS) title at the Health and Hospitals Corporation into our union. On November 2nd, the Office of Collective Bargaining tallied the ballots in the online representation election held between OSA and DC 37. OSA received 115 votes and DC 37 received 81 votes.

We are gratified by the trust that Senior Consultants (MIS) have placed in our union and hope to live up to that trust in the years to come.

We congratulate Local 2627, its president Robert Ajaye, and DC 37 for a hard fought campaign. Bringing union representation to previously unrepresented workers is a very good thing.

VIDEOS. In the Senior Consultant election, DC 37 emphasized the “fact” that they were offering free drugs. That was not the whole truth.

Both OSA and DC 37 get the same $1,700 per member per year for our Welfare Funds, but OSA follows the Management Benefits Fund model. So, yes, we do have to pay a premium out of each paycheck for drug coverage, but in return we are better covered for drugs, life insurance, dental, optical, hearing aids, disability, excess medical costs and even survivor benefits.

In order to make this point, Rob Spencer, Director of our Media Department has made a series of brief videos that can be found on this website at the links below. Many members are unclear as to how valuable our Welfare Fund benefits are to them. These campaign videos, (brief at 2 to 5 minutes each) make the points concisely.

Why OSA's Dental Benefits Are Better

Why Your Eyes and Ears Will Thank You For Voting For OSA

Why OSA's Disability, Death and Survivors Benefits are Better

OSA's Major Medical Benefit Protects You From Fiscal Disaster

Another option is simply to go to the following URL:

Senior Consultant (MIS) Campaign Page

So, if you have any questions about why our benefits are, in many ways, better, check out the videos. You can, incidentally, see our campaign in action as well. OSA has done more organizing over the past thirty years than any other municipal union. We are pleased that we won in the current election. Our next campaign, for the Staff and Associate Staff Analysts of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority starts in November.

We believe that when a union stops organizing, it starts to die.

JOHNNY APPLESEED. A Walt Disney cartoon in 1948 told the tale of a colonist who traveled about in the mid-Atlantic states and even as far north as Canada. The colonist carried a large supply of apple seeds at all times and showed others how to plant them. The result, by the time of his death, at over 70 years of age, was that apple orchards had sprung up everywhere he had traveled.

At present, our union is beginning to merit comparison with Johnny Appleseed. We have spent over forty years proving that employees termed managerial or confidential are, in fact, often neither, but also we have begun to influence other unions. Most recently, in its October 23rd issue, the Chief had a report of about 300 more employees being granted union status and, on this occasion, the union was Local 375 of DC 37. The article from the Chief is in the file of Chief articles available at the link further up this page.

Local 375 filed to represent Administrative Architects, Engineers, City Planners, Investigators, and other Administrative titles. It won its case at the Office of Collective Bargaining and will soon represent Admins Level I. Admins Level II and III, by agreement, will be addressed three years from now.

The president of Local 375, Claude Fort, speaking at a recent Civil Service Merit Council affair, was kind enough to give credit to OSA for his local’s victory. We had shown the way.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. Our general membership meeting in November falls on Thanksgiving, so it has to be scheduled earlier in the month, in this case on Thursday, November 19, 2015. The meeting starts promptly at 6:15 with pizza available before the meeting. You can download a flier for the meeting to remind yourself of the date, time and location by clicking this link.

HOLIDAY PARTY. On Thursday, December 17th, the Organization of Staff Analysts will celebrate its annual holiday party at the Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. As always, there will be food and drink aplenty, and our DJ will be returning again this year. For more details, including the address and the cost of tickets for you and a guest, look at the flier you can download by clicking this link. Directions can be downloaded by clicking this link.