OSA Newsline - Special Edition - April 28, 2003

Monday's New York Daily News editorial savaged the unions for not agreeing to long-term permanent give-backs and called the municipal union leaders cowards for not agreeing to betray our members.

Well, whatever we are, we are not cowards nor will we run from a fight. I urge all members to arrive at City Hall tomorrow afternoon after work. There is a major labor rally at City Hall from 5:30-7:30pm to show the Mayor exactly how much we love his dishonesty.

We offer furloughs, he offers layoffs. He wants these layoffs.

Let's all show up tomorrow and tell him how much we don't want him.
OSA Newsline - April 28, 2003

There is a meeting of the Municipal Labor Committee scheduled for this morning. We don't know what the meeting is about. The newsline will be updated later today just in case the news is significant and relates to any of the things that affect us, such as layoffs or the fiscal crisis.

And don't forget to make plans to join us tomorrow, Tuesday, April 29th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at what promises to be a massive fightback rally at City Hall. Entrance to the rally will be via Broadway and Chambers. Let's send a unified message that the Bloomberg administration can not balance its books on the backs of City workers and our poorest citizens. We need to cut waste, restore fair taxes and make the corporations and wealthy pay their fair share. As we said in the newsline last week, be there. Our jobs and the quality of life in our City may depend on it.

Download and print out a flyer for the rally by clicking here. Please make copies, post them and hand them out. A large turn-out on April 29th will help send a message to Albany and City Hall.
OSA Newsline - April 21, 2003

Our efforts to avert layoffs have not yet borne fruit, but the effort will continue. We'll be meeting with C. Virginia Fields, Borough President of Manhattan this Tuesday. We hope to enlist the Borough President's aid in urging the City to substitute voluntary furloughs (to the extent that members want them) for involuntary layoffs. President Fields has used voluntary furloughs in her own office to avoid layoffs there.

The first unofficial response to our furlough proposal came indirectly from Jim Hanley of the Office of Labor Relations to a question posted to him from the Civil Service newspaper the Chief. Commissioner Hanley responded that voluntary furloughs do not necessarily save money.

Oh yes they do. Each laid off employee costs up to $7,800 in unemployment benefits, a volunteer on leave of absence costs the City zero.

We have a good idea and we will keep pushing it until the City gives us a good answer.

In the meantime, District Council 37 has organized a mass rally for Tuesday, April 29, 2003 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at City Hall Park. We encourage all OSA members to attend the rally and bring friends, colleagues and neighbors.

There are solutions to the current fiscal crisis that do not involve the massive service cuts and layoffs proposed by Mayor Bloomberg. Let's raise our voices in unity so our politicians hear us when we call for the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and for the elimination of outsourcing of jobs to costly private contractors. Attend the rally because Analyst jobs may depend on it. Attend the rally because the quality of life in our City may depend on it.

You can download and print out a flyer for the rally by clicking here.

Please make copies, post them and hand them out. A large turn-out on April 29th will help send a message to Albany and City Hall.
OSA Newsline - April 14, 2003

Executive Director Sheila Gorsky led a team that called all of our 69 members targeted for layoff. They got through to most of our members except for a few members at Fire and ACS for whom we don't have phone numbers.

Those on the list who are permanent will be redeployed to another agency and this may or may not lead to other workers being bumped in turn. A meeting on the details of the process is set for the week of April 21st, but this week is devoted to trying to stop or ameliorate the layoffs.

On Monday, OSA's leadership will join Randi Weingarten of the Municipal Labor Committee for a trip to Albany for intense lobbying. Later this week or early next, OSA is scheduled to provide a panel member for a discussion on Inside City Hall carried on Manhattan Cable channel one. We will, of course, push our idea of voluntary furloughs in lieu of layoffs.

There is a lot of work being done to avert these layoffs and whether any of these efforts will bear fruit, we will have to see. If the Mayor will not accept our offers, layoffs will occur.

Finally, and on a lighter note, OSA's labor film series continues this Friday night, April 18th at 6:30 in Room 709 at the union office with Marcello Mastroianni in The Organizer, the story of an itinerant school teacher and organizer who unites a group of textile workers in turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Turin, Italy. Director Mario Monicelli's satiric approach to working class struggles offers, according to Jonathan Rosenbaum in the Chicago Reader "Marcello Mastroianni in one of his best roles...(in a) powerful film (that) had a sizable impact when it came out in 1963..it cries out for rediscovery." The film runs a little over two hours. As usual informal discussion will follow and light refreshments will be available.
OSA Newsline - Special Edition - April 8, 2003

OSA has received tentative layoff lists from ten agencies. The longest lists are Fire with 35 layoffs and ACS with 16.

There are a total of 18 additional layoffs scheduled from the other eight agencies reporting HPD, DOF, DOT, DOITT, DOS, DCAS, DOH&MH, and the Brooklyn Borough President.

Executive Director Sheila Gorsky will assign staff to call each of those whose names appear on these lists to notify them in case the agency does not.

Please do not, repeat, please do not tie up the small number of union phone lines calling in to ask if you are on the list. We do have 4,000 members who are not on the lists and if they all call, the union will be unable to work to avoid the layoffs. If you think you are due to be laid off, and you can't wait to find out, call your agency personnel section.

Layoffs from this date are scheduled to occur no sooner than May 17th, so we still have time to argue against them.
OSA Newsline - April 7, 2003

This past week most of the news continued to be dismal, with the City rejecting every move the unions have made. It would seem that the 600 million dollars in help the Mayor is requesting must be provided through the lowering of the long term cost of civil servants. If we, the unions, offer anything that would only help this year or for the next ten years, it is not good enough.

In the meantime, while the unions resist absurd demands, the Mayor continues to reject what help we do offer, including OSA's plan for voluntary furloughs.

It would begin to appear the Mayor is planning to do the layoffs and blame the unions.

There was one bright note last week, an interview, on New York's "Channel 1" on Manhattan cable. David Goldin was interviewing Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. It turns out that President Fields was able to respond to her own agency's budget cut by instituting a voluntary furlough system for her better paid staff members.

Interviewer Goldin asked the Borough President if she felt that any of the municipal unions might be interested in discussing such an option and President Fields responded, properly, that that was up to them. OSA Media Director Rob Spencer immediately notified Channel 1 that very evening of our own proposals. Interviewer David Goldin of Inside City Hall has expressed interest. We may or may not get our union's story told.

The OSA newsline will be updated midweek if we are scheduled to be on TV this week.