OSA Newsline - February 23, 2015

We have now completed assisting approximately 1,000 members who sought help on the filing of their Open Competitive Analyst Exam applications. Some who did not seek help initially made errors in the filing and were disqualified. We believe many of those disqualified were victims of their unfamiliarity with the new system. We urge them to file appeals.

The Analyst Exam training classes will start this evening and will go on for weeks to come.

Negotiations proceeded last week and will do so again this week. This is the third week of quiet negotiations with large formal negotiating meetings being set for early March. Progress, last week, centered on the Cityís discussing a need for a sunset clause to any agreement for use of alternate work schedules. The union was open to the request and we expressed satisfaction that the De Blasio administration had put some serious thought into the matter.

Members who call the newsline and read the mailings are aware that there are a number of non-economic but vitally important issues on the table and that those issues are of great importance to the members of our union. Unfortunately, there are other members who do not normally pay that much attention to what we are doing and then call the union to ask what is taking so long. We understand, and explain, but those calls do take quite a bit of union staff membersí time. We do hope that those members will start to pay a bit more attention to the union's normal methods of communication - newsline, website and mailings.

The recent victory of CWA Local 1180 in winning a settlement without in any way diminishing their rights to a victory on the issue of a minimum salary for administrative employees is a perfect example. CWA held firm and the De Blasio Administration finally agreed to the justice of their position. Our congratulations to Arthur Cheliotes and the negotiating team of CWA who refused to agree to less, but sooner.

Negotiations are not all that frequent and should always be done carefully and well. We would much rather conclude a contract of which we will all be proud than to rush to complete one that is bare bones, imperfect and fails to fully help our members.

OSA Newsline - February 16, 2015

The first of our classroom sessions training for the upcoming Analyst exams will begin next week on Monday, February 23rd. Those attending should bring their registration form with them.

We are currently assisting members who are filing their education and experience papers online as a part of the application process. If you want that help, call the union office first, then come in.

Negotiations are proceeding quietly at this stage, but a return to full bargaining committee sessions is expected soon.

Members will be pleased to learn that CWA Local 1180, which had reached a bargaining impasse in late December, has now had the matter resolved. The resolution was in the union's favor and they are proceeding to a vote on their proposed contract.

Finally, there was a problem with a cyber-attack on Anthem, the parent of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the carrier for a great many of our members. The corporation's response will be in the newspapers, but we will quote it at length here:

ďEmpire Blue Cross/Blue Shield Cyber-Attack Update"

Last week, we made you aware that Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated, external, cyber-attack. Since that time, we have been working around-the-clock continuing our assistance in the FBI investigation; analyzing the data to understand the impact to our members; responding to questions from our clients, members and partners; and securing a best-in-class vendor to provide identity protection services to our members as quickly as possible.

To that end, we understand that you and your employees are eager to receive more information about how to enroll in the credit protections we are providing.

Starting this Friday, February 13, current and former Anthem members whose information was included in the database that was compromised, can visit AnthemFacts.com to learn how to enroll in two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft repair services provided by our vendor - a leading and trusted identity protection provider. Members can access these services starting Friday, February 13, prior to receiving a mailed notification from Anthem, which will be sent in the coming weeks.

The free identity protection services provided by Anthem include two years of:

  • Identity Repair Assistance: Should a member experience fraud, an investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore the memberís credit, and ensure the memberís identity is returned to its proper condition. This assistance will cover any fraud that has occurred since the incident first began.

  • Credit Monitoring: At no cost, members may also enroll in additional protections, including credit monitoring. Credit monitoring alerts consumers when banks and creditors use their identity to open new credit accounts.

  • Child Identity Protection: Child-specific identity protection services will also be offered to any members with children insured through their Anthem plan.

  • Identity Theft Insurance: For individuals who enroll, the company has arranged for $1,000,000 in identity theft insurance, where allowed by law.

  • Identity Theft Monitoring/Fraud Detection: For members who enroll, data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and emails will be scanned against aggregated data sources maintained by top security researchers that contain stolen and compromised individual data, in order to look for any indication that the member's data has been compromised.

  • Phone Alerts: Individuals who register for this service and provide their contact information will receive an alert when there is a notification from a credit bureau, or when it appears from identity theft monitoring activities that the individualís identity may be compromised.
  • This problem would be more upsetting, except that it has happened before, a couple of times. In the prior cases, there were no subsequent problems caused by the security breach and, hopefully, there will be none this time either.

    So, donít get too upset, but do take advantage of the free offers being made online, or about to arrive in our mail boxes.

    OSA Newsline - February 9, 2015

    We were busy all weekend helping members complete the required Education and Experience papers needed for the upcoming analyst exams. An E&E paper can be an easy requirement to satisfy, but the novelty of a computerized E&E is confusing to many members.

    We have already had members make an error, then hit the submit button and be told, first, that they are disqualified and then, second, that they are not allowed to refile with the corrected or more complete information. Those so disqualified only have a brief period to appeal.

    Our union is providing free help on completion of the E&E paper because we are aware it can be confusing. Many have signed up, but we do worry about those who have not. Most of them will complete the computerized E&E paper correctly. Some, however, will not and that will disqualify them when they are actually qualified.

    If you are applying for any of the exams, you should call the union office and schedule yourself for a bit of help. Also, this is a strange year, with many of the Analyst exams being given all at once. We are advising our members to file for more than one exam for a variety of good reasons. This opportunity is only open for a short time, so please pay attention yourself and reach out to your coworkers as well. Union activists especially - take note - act today.

    On the negotiation front, the City put off formal negotiations once more due to snow storms, etc. We are now set for late this month, unless they further delay.

    OSA Newsline - February 6, 2015

    We have posted the Notices of Exam for the various 2015 Staff, Associate, and Administrative Staff Analyst tests, along with the NOE for Education and Associate Education Analyst and Education Officer in the "Exams, Lists and Training" section of this website.

    Last week's general membership meeting included the swearing in of the new OSA and OSART officers for 2015 and 2016. Thanks to members Sam Sills and Esther Blount for the photos below of the swearing in ceremony and executive board members.

    Left to right: Assistant General Counsel Adam Orgel, OSA/OSART Chair Bob Croghan, and OSA and OSART board members Dolores Parson, Stephen Parker, Jeanne O'Sullivan, Ron Lehman, Tom Anderson, Alice Moise, Tony Lee, Sandra Thompson-Reid, Jay Warshofsky, and Alfred Milton.

    OSA Newsline - February 2, 2015

    We note the start of Black History Month.

    Of great importance for many of our members is the reminder that the application period for the upcoming analyst exams starts this week on February 4th.The new application process can be tricky, so our union will be helping applicants at the union office in the evenings. If you want that help, call George at the union office at 212-686-1229 so that he can schedule you.

    Training materials for the exams are now up on this web site along with a training course registration form. Visit the "Exams, Lists & Training" section.

    The mayor has issued an order covering managerial raises for the period covered by the DC37 contract. The raises are the same as those received by DC37. This decision by the mayor is appropriate and is more generous than the recent raises offered to managerial and non-represented workers at the Transit Authority and MABSTOA.

    Our own next negotiation was delayed by the city from this week until the next. However, we will be meeting with the Municipal Labor Committee Steering Committee today and the full MLC on Wednesday. We expect to be receiving favorable reports from the Health Technical Subcommittee. As members should recall, we are currently finding health cost savings in order to avoid an increase in health care premium payments. Our efforts so far have been completely successful and all goals have been met.