OSA Newsline - December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story. OSA Chair Bob Croghan speaks at a rally against layoffs this past Tuesday organized by Local 375 of DC37. Thanks to Suzannah Troy who videotaped the rally. More of her work from the rally at this link.

OSA Newsline - December 20, 2010

Three pieces of related news this week. First, we had layoffs in the Department of Finance. Finance is a revenue-producing agency, but Mayor Bloomberg cut Finance’s budget just like every other agency. He knows they will be able to do more with less, because he is a super manager and he just knows this.

Now, as it happens, one of the provisional analysts laid off has given twenty-one years of her life to Finance, and is four years away from retirement. This is sad, at Christmas time, but not very important to a truly great manager like our mayor.

The mayor has recently created a new position, Chief Human Capital Officer. He had to go outside the City workforce to find someone to fill the slot since, clearly, none of the mayor’s one-third of a million current employees could fill the job. The new job’s goal is to attract and retain top talent.

So, we are laying off experienced workers while seeking to attract new, inexperienced workers who will be designated as top talent and we will develop and retain them, until the next mayor arrives. This can be considered either modern management or the old spoils system, since both designations fit perfectly.

One piece of modern, up-to-date management, using more flexible hiring practices, has led to a small problem with CityTime.

Once upon a time, long before the most modern management style was perfected, the City used to use time clocks to keep track of City employees’ working hours. The old system did work well, but it was not modern.

The unions were against spending $64 million dollars of the taxpayers’ money to replace the old system. Later on, as the new system turned out to be screwed up and a time waster for everyone involved, the City unions became still more upset.

By 2010, the project had cost ten times as much as originally bid and was still not fully implemented and was rife with complaints from all agencies that had implemented the system.

The frosting, on this particular cake, arrived last week as US attorneys brought charges against the CityTime folks for stealing $80 million.

How did they do this? How could they fool the top talent recruited by the mayor’s office. Time sheets. They falsified the time sheets.

Credit is due to Local 375 and DC37 and OSA and other City unions, as well as Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News, Comptroller John Liu and the US Attorney’s office. No credit is due to the top talent, none, none at all.

And so, as Christmas approaches, the Organization of Staff Analysts’ leadership wishes the best for all our union families. We will face a major challenge next year. City Hall will seek to cut our salaries, short us on our health benefits, destroy our pensions, and also end 100 years of civil service.

If we were alone, management would be free to carry out its full program with no opposition. We are not alone. We have a right to fight for fair treatment and we will do so as a union, in concert with our brothers and sisters of the Municipal Labor Committee.

One way you can start to help in the fight is to join a rally against the mayor's layoffs being organized by Local 375 of District Council 37 tomorrow, Tuesday, December 21, 2010, from 12 noon to 2pm at the edge of City Hall Park, across from the Municipal Building. You can download a flyer with information on the issues and location by clicking here. If you work downtown, take the time to help tell the mayor that layoffs are not the answer and stand up for your fellow workers.

And, please check back next year.

OSA Newsline - December 13, 2010

The failure of the legislature to help the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation has cost one thousand workers heavily. Not only are layoffs costing jobs, the issues of pension and health coverage are unclear.

The pension part is likely not to be a problem, but we are very concerned over the need to continue health benefits for these workers.

We were very proud to celebrate our union’s fortieth anniversary last Thursday evening. The speakers spoke well and said very nice words, the food was good, and the Grand Prospect Hall is a very nice place for a party.

It is a shame that the party had to fall in a week where a tragedy the size of OTB occurred. Even so, it was wonderful that many of the OSA chairpersons from our early years were able to attend the anniversary party.

Our union is a good idea shared by many of us.

OSA Newsline - December 6, 2010

All of last week was consumed by efforts to avert the close-down of the Off-Track Betting Corporation. The news at OTB has gone from bad to worse over the past year and recent steps to declare bankruptcy have left our members at OTB concerned for their jobs, pensions and health benefits in retirement.

OSA, along with DC37 and the Teamsters, has been lobbying on behalf of our members and we have reason to hope for a last minute reprieve this Tuesday. A bill which will salvage a large part of OTB is due for a vote. We have been in touch with Senators Diane Savino and Liz Krueger and other State Senators and we are hopeful that this may work and the bill may pass. We certainly hope so.(OSA Chair Bob Croghan is pictured at the left after his return from an impromptu protest on Friday against the potential closure.)

On a far happier note, don't forget the Anniversary/Holiday Party on Thursday.