OSA Newsline - April 25, 2005

This past week, over one thousand members attended union training classes to prepare for the Administrative Staff Analyst exam.

It is always a special moment when our members gather together for any purpose. Our union membership is scattered across fifty agencies, a dozen hospital sites and the Transit Authority, OTB and the Housing Authority.

We can and do get to know one another over the years, since analysts often work with other analysts from other areas. Even so, our connection to one another can often seem tenuous as each of us does the work of our agency or our section of our agency.

Last week was special, as many analysts with twenty and even thirty years of experience came together and had a chance to renew friendships formed over the years.

It was rather nice.

OSA Newsline - April 18, 2005

The newsline is a few hours late this Monday, due to our Welfare Fund meeting this Monday morning.

We had a small emergency because our long term disability company, Union Central, was acquired by a larger company that was not qualified to practice in New York State.

The trustees moved quickly and coverage should now be in place by the end of this month.

It was not clear by Monday morning, but by Monday afternoon it is clear that we are okay. The new company will provide a slightly better deal at slightly less cost. Details will follow next week.

The Administrative Analyst Exam training course is starting as this newsline is being made and looks to be very well attended.

Finally, thanks to those members who sent in a contribution to the Transport Workers Union Strike Fund. If anyone else would like to send a check for a few dollars, please do so, as we will be forwarding the money soon.

Make the check out to the TWU Strike Fund and on the envelope mark it attention Bob Croghan. The address is OSA, 220 East 23rd Street Suite 707, New York NY 10010.

OSA Newsline - April 11, 2005

This past week, unions have been maneuvering to insure that some recurring monies are added to the welfare funds for the next contract. Next contract, not this one.

During the course of this contract period, the welfare funds' income from the City has not only been insufficient, it has also been wildly erratic.

The only monies actually allocated above the rate set five years ago, have come from the PICA negotiations.

As of January, 2004 the rate for OSA was $1475 per member covered. By July, 2004, it had risen $65 to $1540 per member. As of this July, 2005, we lose the $65 for six months in order to save PICA, but get, instead, $100 in rate due to the negotiated split of PICA into P&A and I&C. Our new rate is $1575 from July until December 31st of this year. Confusing, huh?

As of January 1, 2006 our rate re-adds the $65 lost to make a new total of $1640, but this only lasts until July 1st, when the rate drops back to $1540 unless something changes between now and then.

Of course, something will change between now and July of 2006. Drugs will go up in price, the Medicare Part D will or will not be of help to us all, and the Mayor will or will not be talked out of having the workers carry the increased burden with no help from him.

In the meantime, the trustees of the OSA Welfare Fund are, thanks to existing reserves, only slightly inconvenienced by the wildly fluctuating income. Last year, we actually did a bit better than break even, at least for now.

OSA Newsline - April 4, 2005

The fate of the PICA drug card was decided last Friday. The P and the A of PICA, the psychotropic and asthma drugs will go back into our drug riders as of July 1st. There will probably be an increase in the rider premiums as a result, but nothing definite regarding that possibility is final.

The I and the C of PICA, the injectable and the chemotherapeutic drugs will continue to be largely paid for by the health stabilization fund. Thus, the PICA card will, as of July 1st, become either the "ICK" card or the "I-CEE" card, depending on how you choose to describe it.

There will continue to be no premium for the new card, as there was none for PICA. The bad news is that the old PICA co-pays will now be doubled after July 1st. Where it used to be $5 for a 30 day supply of generic drugs, it will now be $10, etc. and, of course, more for the non-generic and still more for the non-preferred or non-formulary drugs.

As of January 1st, as well, there will now for the first time be a $100 deductible starting in 2006.

All of this is not good news, but it could have been worse. The City had threatened to discard PICA entirely and the IC portion of the card is the part where very few of us use the drugs but the drugs are both life-saving, literally, and insanely expensive.

So, while there is no reason to jump for joy at the increased costs, an important benefit is being kept in place at rates we can afford. The actual vote of the MLC accepting this proposal will occur this Wednesday.

There will be more details in the mail.