OSA Newsline - January 26, 2004

There is bad news this week. The New York City Housing Authority has released a budget showing a major shortfall due to cuts by Congress in aid to housing. This has actually been going on since the Bush administration took over the White House, but prior years have been handled by spending down reserves.

This year, there is a projected need to cut over 600 jobs and that could mean between four and five hundred layoffs. Our organization will join with the other unions representing Housing Authority employees and will seek to divert or diminish the impact on our members. OSA's contribution to the effort will be a full court press on the issue of voluntary leaves of absence instead of layoffs. This will obviously be a major topic of discussion at the Thursday general membership meeting.

Our congratulations to our member Judith Lovell, Associate Staff Analyst at the Transit Authority. Judith won the prestigious 100 Year Association Award for $2,500. Her work on reduced fare transportation for the disabled led her to note the number of applicants due to HIV or AIDS-related disability. She wrote a play, "More Than We Bargained For," to raise awareness and the play has been performed throughout the City, with proceeds being donated to AIDS charities. Very good work, Judith.

See you at the meeting.
OSA Newsline - January 19, 2004

Only one member called in last week to note that we had the wrong date on our phone hotline message. It was Monday the 12th not Monday the 13th. We were going to give that member a prize of three, count three, full size Municipal Credit Union calendars for 2004. These would have been presented at the upcoming membership meeting. Fortunately, John Mazzarella, grievance rep, pointed out that many others may have noted the error, but were simply too softhearted to mention it.

John's right. Every member arriving at the membership meeting on Thursday the 29th will be offered one or more full size MCU calendars, ideal for work or home.

A mailing is due out early next week, including details on the one percent (1%) equity award and the health benefits agreement. If you don't receive it by Monday the 26th, call Noreen at the union office so we can check your address. The contents of that mailing are already posted on this website as the January, 2004 "News From OSA."

The Sanitation Department's annual awards ceremony was held last Tuesday and our folks did quite well. Videotaped being recognized as finalists were Sanitation Department analysts Mary DePierro, Mark Edelson, Diana Henry, and Sandra Vega. The actual winner of the plaque and a $500 award was Filippa "Phyllis" Barcia, Staff Analyst at Administration. Not videotaped was ASA Mike Barbarotto, winner of an award for 25 years of perfect attendance. He was there, of course, but he had to stop videotaping the ceremony to accept his award.

Congratulations to all of the Analysts and others honored or promoted at the Department's annual event. Sanitation does a fine job at ceremonies as well as at snow removal.
OSA Newsline - January 12, 2004

We are back up to speed on meetings again. The recent health benefits agreement will take effect on April 1st of this year. You, as a member, have every right to know how the changes affect you, but that requires GHI and the City and the drug companies to send out letters giving the details. Before those letters go out, labor gets a chance to look over their shoulders and we do, we do.

An odd memo surfaced at Transit. It seems the MTA is giving its non-represented workers a 3% raise in 2004 and adding another 1% pool for merit increases. Now, certainly, they deserve every penny and we hope they can find it in their hearts to do just a bit better for the represented workers as well.

The only thing is... has anyone told Mayor Bloomberg yet.
OSA Newsline - January 5, 2004

The last two weeks have been very quiet. The full Municipal Labor Committee met and approved the health benefits contract recommended by the steering committee, but even that had been expected.

Otherwise, the holidays seemed to bring most activity to a halt and the union phones were mostly quiet. It's a new year, 2004, and work, as always, will resume.

For those of you concerned about affordable housing in NYC, we bring to your attention the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal's proposal for a 17.2% maximum base rent factor for rent controlled apartments, equivalent to a 7.5% increase in each of the next two years. If you are a rent controlled tenant you might wish to take part in a demonstration scheduled for 12:30pm on Tuesday, January 6th outside of 22 Reade Street in lower Manhattan. A public hearing on the increase is being held from 10am to 4:30pm at that address in the Dept of City Planning's Spector Hall. Take the 4,5 and 6 train to City Hall.