OSA Newsline - January 26, 2009

The January 15th mailing should have been received by the January 24/25 weekend. If you did not receive it, please call George at the union office, so we can check your address and send you a duplicate mailing. The same information is on this website as the January, 2009 edition of News From OSA.

One late breaking development not in the mailing is that the steering committee of the Municipal Labor Committee is now set to meet with Council Speaker Christine Quinn on February 2nd. The two topics on the agenda for that meeting are residency and pensions.

Our own general membership meeting is set for this Thursday, January 29th, at the union office at 6pm sharp. It will include our own local inauguration ceremony for the OSA and OSART officers for 2009 and 2010.

See you at the meeting.

OSA Newsline - January 19, 2009

A number of members have been calling the office to ask when the raises are due from the 2008-2010 contract. The city says March of this year for the main city contract, although they often miss a date, so think of March as likely. As we get closer to March we should know the scheduled pay dates. We are working on the remaining contracts at the Transit Authority and on behalf of our uniformed members.

Other news is enclosed in the mailing due out this week. Itís a big mailing, but not to worry. Start with the letter on white paper and the rest of the mailing just adds more details to the main letter. The same information is already posted on this website as the January, 2009 edition of News From OSA.

OSA Newsline - January 12, 2009

We had sad news last week. Willie Bowman, former vice-chair of our union, passed away. Hundreds of mourners attended services this past weekend and we are all diminished by her loss. The work of the union that Willie helped build is continuing.

The Citizens Budget Commission(CBC) , our own local anti-civil servant watchdog lobby, is yapping again. Using pension costs to inflate salaries, the CBC has announced that we cost $107,000 per year each. They cite soaring pension costs as the main factor.

They donít mention, as they do know, that the reason why costs have gone up is that the City under-contributed over the past dozen years. Thatís okay. The CBC is the proverbial Johnny One Note. They raise money from business by arguing they are the advocates of low cost government and their press releases are always shocking, unbelievable and unreliable. Of course, major newspapers print them anyway.

More seriously, Mayor Bloomberg is seeking givebacks from us as of last week. On January 5th, the Municipal Labor Committee steering committee met with the Office of Labor Relations on proposed health benefit cost sharing or cost saving. We were, as a group, in favor of cost saving but not cost sharing. These negotiations have just started and more will follow.

Finally, the next time you go to the supermarket or deli hungering for something sweet, pass up the Stella D'Oro cookies. We know it's going to be tough, but solidarity demands sacrifices. More than 135, mostly female, workers at the company have been replaced by scabs. Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 50, the union which represents workers at the Bronx cookie maker are asking folks to boycott the company's products (yes, even their breadsticks).

The workers have been on strike since August of 2008, forced out when the private equity firm Brynwood Partners, which purchased the company from Kraft Foods in 2006, decided to try to slice wages, eliminate holidays, vacation and sick pay, eliminate extra pay for Saturday work, and impose sharp increases in healthcare premiums. You can read more about the issues behind the strike and what you can do to help by clicking here. A New York Times article about the strike can be found here.

So, don't buy Stella D'Oro products until they settle a fair contract with their workers and, in the meantime, fax or email Stella DíOro management and tell them it's time to negotiate a fair deal. Pass the information on to your friends and neighbors. Brynwood may not understand fair labor practices, but we have no doubt they understand their bottom line.

OSA Newsline - January 6, 2009

With deepest regret we announce the passing of Willie Bowman. Willie was elected as vice-chairperson of OSA in 1984 and served for many years prior to her retirement. During her time in office, OSA progressed from a voluntary organization seeking to become a union into a fully established union covering all Staff and Associate Staff Analysts in City employ.(She is pictured at left receiving an award for her service to OSA at our 2005 Black History Month celebration.) Willie was active all throughout her life. She was always involved in church, community or political activities in the Northeast Bronx, in addition to her role on behalf of OSA. Willie once ran for City Council and, although she did not win, she received the endorsement of all three major New York City newspapers. She was also a lifetime member of the National Council of Negro Women.

Visitation will be this Friday, January 9, 2009 from 4pm to 7pm . A community tribute ceremony will follow from 7pm to 9pm. Funeral services will follow on Saturday, January 10 at 11am. All services will be held at Community Protestant Church, 1659 East Gunhill Road, Bronx NY.

Our sympathy to her family. We'll all miss her very much.