OSA Newsline - August 31, 2011

There are several important special elections on Tuesday, September 13th, as well as primaries in some districts. As always, we urge you to pay attention to these races - and if you have a race where you live, please vote. Between now and September 13th, there are many opportunities to volunteer to assist in phone banking and canvassing, as well as election day work on September 13 itself. If you have the time and would like to volunteer, call Sean Mackell at the NYC Central Labor Council. He can be reached at 917-273-9426. Let him know you are a member of the Organization of Staff Analysts and you have time to devote to one or more of these campaigns.

Here are the key 9/13/11 elections:

  • NYS Assembly Member David Weprin is running for Congress as a Democrat for the Queens and Brooklyn 9th District seat formerly held by Anthony Weiner. His opponent, Bob Turner, is a wealthy businessman who recently questioned whether 9/11 volunteers deserve federal health assistance.
  • Philip Goldfeder is running for Assembly in District 23 in Queens.
  • Mike Simanowitz is running for Assembly in Distribt 27 in Queens.
  • Dan Quart is running for Assembly in District 73 on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

    If you have time, give Sean a call and let him know your availability.

  • OSA Newsline - August 29, 2011

    That was some storm. Fortunately, most members should have received the OSA mailing by now and the wet weather did call for sitting at home in a dry place and reading.

    Unfortunately, in some cases, the power was out. Still, if you are reading this either the power has returned or you are using a laptop powered by nicely charged batteries, so donít forget to check out the articles that were not put into the print mailing. You can find them on the August, 2011 OSA Newsletter page of this website.

    The mailing does include a lot of coupons, so be sure to send in for any of the classes or offers that interest you.

    Also, the Labor Day Parade is coming up for September 10th. Please call Katie or Steven at 212-686-1229 to tell them if you are coming to the Parade. We are gathering at 10am on West 45th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It would be great to see you (and your family and friends) there.

    OSA Newsline - August 18, 2011

    Whoever said Albany was an easy place to deal with?

    Restoring health benefits for OTB retirees continues to encounter new snags. Last Thursday, we were informed by DC37's Retirees' Association that the bill to restore those benefits would be transmitted to Governor Cuomo on Friday, August 12th. We were asked to have members and retirees urge the Governor to sign the bill before it would be automatically vetoed on August 22nd.

    We responded immediately here on the website and on the phone hotline and asked you to support your brothers and sisters.

    Well, now it turns out the bill was not, in fact, sent to the Governor - and we donít know when it might happen.

    According to the DC37 Retirees,it became evident that the Governor's staff has a very different cost estimate for the bill than its proponents do. So, they have asked the State Comptroller to provide an official cost estimate. And, in the meantime, they have agreed that the bill should not be sent to Governor Cuomo until the cost issue is resolved.

    DC37's Retirees inform us "the union wants to do everything possible to ensure that he will sign the bill when it finally gets to him. No phone calls or letters to the Governor are needed at this time." In addition, DC37 "is fighting the loss of health insurance in court and the case has been accepted by the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state. The case is scheduled for the courtís fall term which means it will be months before we have a decision."

    Meanwhile, OTB retirees continue to be without health insurance.

    As soon as we know the next step, we will let you know.

    OSA Newsline - August 15, 2011

    We ask OSA members and retirees to take action immediately on a matter of urgency affecting some of your OSA brothers and sisters. You have a chance to help OSA retirees from the Off Track Betting Corporation regain their retiree health benefits. When OTB ceased operations in 2010, not only did active employees lose their jobs but OTB retirees lost their retirement health benefits.

    Our brothers and sisters who worked for OTB now have no health coverage. For a while, they were able to pay COBRA rates to continue that coverage, but COBRA is time limited. Purchased at current prices, private health insurance is very, very expensive.

    OTB retirees, like all of us in other agencies, were promised these benefits for themselves and for their dependents when they entered service. Now, these retirees, of advanced age and more limited means, have been left to face severe financial hardship and danger to their health and lives without these anticipated and promised benefits.

    So, our friends in Albany have introduced and passed legislation to restore those retirement health benefits, but the Governor has not yet signed the bill. It is now up to Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing and sign this important bill into law. He only has until August 22nd midnight to sign the bill or it is vetoed. So, he needs to hear from each and every one of you.

    You can call the Governor at 877-823-4343 to ask him to sign Assembly bill 5785/Senate bill 4489.

    Alternatively, you can send him a letter, either a personal letter or the one you can download at this link. We ask you to sign it and mail it to the Governor at the address on the letter. Ask your colleagues, friends, relatives and neighbors to do the same.

    Think for a moment about how unfair the loss of health benefits in retirement is for our fellow analysts who spent their lives working for a New York City government operation. It could be you or me tomorrow if the forces that donít like us have their way.

    Please take the time to make the phone call or write the letter. We must stand up for each other, since no one else will fight for us.

    A reminder about the Labor Day Parade in New York City. The OSA contingent will be assembling on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10am on 45th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

    If you want to fight on your own behalf and on behalf of your families, a march up Fifth Avenue alongside your brothers and sisters is a fine place to start. Come yourself and, yes, we would love to have you bring your families as well.

    These are tough times and we really need each otherís help even more than usual.

    You can download a flyer to remind yourself of the date and time of the parade by clicking this link.

    And, if you are coming, please RSVP to Katie Guarino or Steven Gewirtz at the union office at 212-686-1229.

    Finally, a couple of interesting articles can be found at the following links:

    8 Union Victories

    The Verizon Strike As The Next Wisconsin

    OSA Newsline - August 1, 2011

    The interesting question at present is how the New York State employees (who are members of the unions CSEA and PEF) will vote on their five year contracts. As far as we know, both contracts require a 50% plus one yes vote to pass.

    In one prior year, OSA was faced with a similar situation. DC37 had already accepted the contract and we really had little realistic choice but to accept the two years of zero increase within a five year contract. That year, under Giuliani, OSA members voted 60% yes and 40% no, even though most of the two year period of zeros had already expired before we voted.

    In that case, of course, it later turned out that the earlier DC37 vote in favor of that contract had only won acceptance through the use of mail fraud by some staffers at DC 37.

    So, our only prior experience that is at all similar to 2011 would cause us to wonder how the state unions'vote will go.

    We do have a role to play here even though, at present, we are not even negotiating, since all the mayor wants is give backs. We can, and should, make very effort to be present at the Labor Day Parade in New York City.

    The OSA contingent will be assembling on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 10am on 45th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

    If you want to fight on your own behalf and on behalf of your families, a march up Fifth Avenue alongside your brothers and sisters is a fine place to start. Come yourself and, yes, we would love to have you bring your families as well.

    These are tough times and we really need each otherís help even more than usual.

    You can download a flyer to remind yourself of the date and time of the parade by clicking this link.

    And, if you are coming, please RSVP to Katie Guarino or Steven Gewirtz at the union office at 212-686-1229.