OSA Newsline January 29, 2001

The Technical Health Sub-Committee of the Municipal Labor Committee met last week to work upon the delivery system for the PICA drugs.

PICA is an acronym for four major categories of prescription drugs – Psychotropic, Injectable, Chemotherapy and Asthma. These categories are, in the future, to be provided to all city workers at little or no cost, but exactly how that will be accomplished is uncertain.

The two general possibilities would be either a new MLC drug card for PICA drugs or alternatively to have our basic health carriers provide their own drug cards.

The goal is to drive down the cost of our prescription drug riders, and once everything is in place, that may happen. Long term, however, the soaring cost of prescription drugs remain a serious national problem.

OSA Newsline January 22, 2001

The January edition of "News From OSA" should be up on this website within a few days. Click on the "News From OSA" icon to the left. A print version has been mailed to members and should arrive today or tomorrow.

If you want more details, please come to our January general membership meeting – this Thursday at 220 East 23rd St., Suite 707. Meetings generally last from 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM.

OSA Newsline January 16, 2001

The Health Benefits bargaining is now completed and was approved by all of the unions participating in the negotiations. A Daily News article last Friday stated that under the agreement workers would have to wait ten years to receive health insurance after they retire. The article was in error.

The agreement is for the unions to cooperate with the City on seeking legislation to extend the time a worker has to work from five years to ten years to be eligible.

Such legislation is always prospective and thus would affect no current employees at all. It will however, affect any employee hired after the law is finally passed.

The agreement to support this legislation is considered a give back since the City wanted it. But, there are arguments in favor of the legislation, even if it were not a part of our negotiations. There is a real question of the long-term impact of the five-year vesting for old age health benefits. Now there are about two active career employees for each retiree. The five-year vesting could double or triple the number of eligible retirees over the next few decades. There might very well be an impact on all of our health benefits if the number of persons eligible to receive them grew larger than the work force.

There are a great many other provisions of the agreement which will follow in the mail. High points are that the welfare funds will receive, in most cases, an extra $175 per year for the period and a $200 rate increase at the end of the period. Also addressed were the spiraling costs of prescription drugs.

In some fashion not yet worked out, a large number of drugs are being or will be taken out of Welfare Funds or drug rider coverage and be provided at little or no cost to members.

There are also improvements in other areas envisaged but not yet accomplished. 401K membership for City workers was one item in the agreement. The details will be in the next mailing.

We have a job offering this week. There is an Associate Staff Analyst job available at HRA. You would be the supervisor of their vendor payment unit located at 250 Church Street.

You would have to be able to supervise staff, to formulate procedures and train staff to use the procedures and the equipment available.

You can apply for this position if you are an Analyst at another agency since they have hiring authority for the position. If interested, you must act quickly. Call Richard Beck at 212-274-4722 for further information and good luck.

Finally, there will be a meeting of the Black History Committee this Tuesday evening at the union office. Interested members should call Bernice at 212-686-1229.

OSA Newsline January 8, 2001

At 7:30AM on Thursday of this week, the Municipal Labor Committee will gather to – hopefully – complete bargaining on the Health Benefit negotiations for this contract period. Nothing is final, but it looks like a generally favorable package of benefits, mostly aimed at cutting the price of prescription drugs for city workers. We may have a final settlement by next week.

On a slightly related topic, the Transit Authority has begun to charge non-represented Analysts a biweekly fee for their health coverage. A few of our own members have been charged as well, but we believe those few cases to be simple errors.

One bit of good news on the upcoming ASA exam. We have been informed by Personnel that there will only be one exam this year, rather than the excruciating set of three that had to be taken in 1995.