OSA Newsline - April 26, 2004

Terms of the DC37 settlement were spelled out clearly at last Thursday's Municipal Labor Committee meeting. DC37 did accomplish some goals that the Mayor had sworn would not be achieved. For the first year, a flat $1,000 will be paid out as a signing bonus although, of course, we know that that does not constitute retroactivity.

It does look like it, it will feel like it when the checks are cashed, but it can't be retroactivity because the Mayor says it is not.

For the second year, there is a 3% raise which will be paid... er.... um... um... does anybody know another word for retroactively?

For the third year, there is an automatic 1% raise plus a second 1% raise in return for a diminishment of time and leave benefits for employees hired after this July 1st. Also, those new hires will be asked to accept lowered salaries for the first two years. A final, third, 1% may or may not be awarded, dependent upon future productivity savings.

The second and third percents in the last year of the contract, in effect, crossed a line normally drawn between unit bargaining and citywide bargaining. DC37 and the City were aware of this and unions that were not part of DC37's negotiations are being offered the opportunity to waive those parts of the settlement or to negotiate alternatives.

Most members are aware that OSA solicited bargaining demands from our members a few weeks back. This was done in expectation of a possible DC37 settlement and it turns out to have been well-timed.

OSA will now seek to enter collective bargaining for the period that started way back in July of 2002. We might all like matters to proceed swiftly, but the reality is that there will now be a great many independent unions all seeking to bargain at once. We would hope it will not take us another 22 months to conclude a contract, but the timing of this settlement has probably ruined our hope for a summer vacation for members of OSA's bargaining team.

It was actually OSA's preference from the start for the entire Municipal Labor Committee to bargain jointly as a unit. Chairperson Randi Weingarten had suggested as much, but it did not occur. This is regrettable and has probably cost us all somewhat.

There will be a contract after this one. We may yet live to see municipal labor bargain as a single unit on economic issues. It would be difficult but rewarding.
OSA Newsline - April 19, 2004

Registration for the Staff Analyst training course passed fourteen hundred students as of last week. Classes start on Monday, so hopefully virtually all who wish to register are already registered.

On a different topic, Executive Director Sheila Gorsky and Mike Schady, two of our strong supporters of civil service, met with potential witnesses last week. OSA has obtained a hearing before the City Council Committee on Civil Service set for May 4th on the topic of the "1 in 3" rule. It is our belief that some agencies, especially the Department of Transportation, have been abusing the rule by refusing to restore passed-over candidates. If you have a good story, call Sheila at the union office and you may find yourself testifying before the City Council.

Finally, our efforts to avoid the layoff of our provisional members at the New York City Housing Authority have resulted in only one member being placed on another permanent member's leave line. We deeply regret our inability to save more jobs through a Citywide furlough system. We are also very grateful to the New York City Housing Authority for having had the chance to exchange leaves of absence for layoffs within at least that single agency.
OSA Newsline - April 8, 2004

A mailing is being sent to the mailing house today and should be received by active members by next week. The mailing asks members to submit bargaining demands for this contract period.

The decision to solicit demands stems from our taking note of the progress made in contract negotiations by the state unions. It does not mean the City is ready to settle with the City unions, but it is a positive sign.

Those members interested in considering enrollment in the Queens College Worker Education program may wish to take advantage of open houses in April and May on both the Manhattan and Flushing campuses. You can download a flyer with detailed information about the open houses by clicking here.
OSA Newsline - April 5, 2004

The April 1st changes in the PICA program did not go off smoothly. In many cases, members had not read the warning and were taken by surprise by the new mail order requirement for prescriptions. As noted in two prior mailings, members had been cautioned that after 4/1/04 recurring prescriptions would only be covered by PICA if mail order was used.

A second and more serious problem arose when some members were denied chemotherapeutic or injectable drugs due to those drugs' dual function as fertility drugs. Shirley Gray, Tom Anderson and Michelle Rivas are taking complaints and seeking to assist wherever they can.

The only other news concerns the DC37 negotiations. These were broken off in frustration late last week. More data as we learn it.

Finally, registration coupons for the training classes for the Staff Analyst test should be sent in no later than April 9th. They can be downloaded by clicking here for the cover letter and clicking here for the signup information.