OSA Newsline - January 31, 2011

On December 26th, the Mayor did not tell City workers to stay home, but the snow made it impossible to get in for most workers.

On January 27th, the Mayor did tell non-emergency City workers to stay home but, as conditions improved, he also told them to come in, if they could.

Matters, on January 27th, were further confused as the New York City Housing Authority both quoted and then contradicted the Mayor’s orders.

All of this, on December 26th and January 27th, led to many phone calls to the union office seeking direction. Fortunately, a small number of union workers were able to make it in to the office, so the calls were answered.

Since the calls on this topic are still coming in, it would be appropriate to respond on this newsline.

First, in December, given the number of train and bus lines that were entirely out of action, it was clear, at a minimum, that if you came late you would have lateness forgiven and, if you did not come in, the City would ask you to use annual leave. Many members would like any absence on December 26th to be forgiven entirely, but the City does not seem inclined to agree. The unions are considering a grievance on the issue, based on the argument that since the Mayor did not call a snow emergency in time, we should not pay for that error.

Members have an even clearer case regarding January 27th, since we are supposed to obey orders and the Mayor told us to stay home just before we would normally be going to work. Also, he did not tell us to stay tuned for later developments, so we missed his tentative, later, modifications. Again, a grievance is being discussed and will likely be filed.

Finally, some members who did make it in are wondering if they should be rewarded financially for their efforts and a good argument could be made on their behalf.

At the same time, as the members and the unions are focusing on the snow days, we should keep in mind that the City is seeking to reduce our pensions, cut back on our health benefits and destroy the competitive civil service.

At a surprisingly well-attended general membership meeting on January 27th, the discussion was generally about the Mayor’s attempt to destroy civil service and what we plan to do about it.

Members are being asked to download a copy fo the Mayor’s Workforce Reform Task Force Report. Check it against last week’s mailing to be sure it is as bad as we say it is. Bring it to work and discuss it with your co-workers. The New York Times, on January 22nd, endorsed the report in their editorial. We don’t actually think they read it, but they endorsed it anyway.

Folks are lining up against us. Wall Street meets the Tea Party with us in the middle. If we are not aware of what is being proposed, we will not be able to make our voices heard. We need to be heard before the New York Times gives Boss Bloomberg the green light to corrupt the City entirely.

OSA Newsline - January 24, 2011

The Mayor’s war on the civil service, our pensions and our unions goes forward and is recorded in the OSA Newsletter arriving in the mail this week. If you don’t get the mail by Wednesday, please call George at the union office and we’ll get you another copy and check your address.

Also in the mailing is the notice for this Thursday’s general membership meeting, to be held at 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707.

We will have copies of the Mayor’s task force report on civil service at the meeting and, in fact, the meeting will be almost all about the attacks on us.

The first part of the meeting will be a bit more pleasant, as we will be swearing in our officers for the next two years.

OSA Newsline - January 17, 2011

We met again, last week, with the City and the Municipal Labor Committee. The most recent bad news was regarding the City’s finances. We were told civilian employment will continue to shrink and the City assumes we will agree to no salary increases. All of this we are told is not enough. Still more bad things may occur.

The Municipal Labor Committee representatives pointed out that we have not agreed to giving up a raise at all.

Possibly, last week’s meeting could be considered the start of collective bargaining, but probably not.

The Mayor seems more interested in Albany right now. His civil service deform, in all its glory, is being proposed legislatively. Hopefully, it will soon be stopped.

Our January general membership meeting will be on Thursday, January 27th. The new officers will be sworn in that evening. Mail is due out this week and the contents of the mailing will be on this website shortly as the January 2011 edition of the OSA Newsletter.

OSA Newsline - January 11, 2011

Retirees - this month's OSARC meeting (originally set for tomorrow 12:30 to 2:30 at the union office) has been canceled!

With a foot of snow now projected to be on the ground and still falling at the mid-day meeting time, the officers of the Organization of Staff Analysts' Retirees Club (OSARC) have decided to cancel the January OSARC meeting. The guest speaker, Mary Ginsburg will be rescheduled to make her presentation on computer security on the second Wednesday in March. And don't forget to pencil in the second Wednesday in February, when OSARC will present a session on tax planning for seniors.

OSA Newsline - January 10, 2011

You are not going to believe this. We learned on Friday that Mayor Bloomberg is proposing a wide variety of changes that, if implemented, would give him more power than the infamous Boss Tweed ever had. The so-called "Workforce Reform Task Force Report," can be downloaded at this link.

First, he wants to move titles, like ours, out of the competitive class so he can appoint more talented people. Then, if there are any competitive permanent positions left, he wants them to be tested for by education and experience exams, so even these jobs are awarded to the well-connected candidates.

And, if, for some reason, competitive civil service exams are allowed to continue, he wants band scoring and selective certification to enable him to skip over high scorers until the agency heads reach their friends lower down on the list.

He also wants to get rid of both the Test Validation Board and the release of test answers after an exam. This would reduce transparency and invite cheating but he would be in charge.

Mayor Bloomberg is also asking that he be allowed to keep employees at our level out of unions so, as he mentions, he can avoid paying overtime.

Incidentally, if this goes through and your boss orders you to work unpaid overtime, the Mayor’s new disciplinary rules would make objecting dangerous. He wants the impartial arbitrators to be so limited in finding in favor of the employee that due process would turn into a joke.

Mayor Bloomberg also has plans for older workers who might never have run afoul of his proposed kangaroo courts. Those totally innocent souls would be laid off under a number of his proposals, not by seniority, but at the will of management. This is the current practice for non-competitive titles at the Health and Hospitals Corporation and it stinks. Twenty year veterans are laid off and newcomers are retained.

Also, once laid off, your right to reinstatement if hiring resumes, would, under his proposals, be cut from four years to two years because you might no longer have the skills needed.

So, then, our mayor wants to destroy the civil service as it now exists and to replace it with a system so open to corruption as to make the CityTime scandal look like small change.

As you might expect, the members of the Municipal Labor Committee did not respond favorably to the Mayor’s proposals. He did not mind. He had not shared the report with us until after he had it in the newspapers, so it is clear he has contempt for civil service employees and their elected leaders.

We will respond on behalf of a stable, honest career workforce and, also, on behalf of our City. The name of our City is New York, New York not Bloomberg, New York – at least not yet. We can and will oppose this mayor’s proposed rush to institutionalized corrupt cronyism.

We will oppose him publicly as well as legally and politically.

The people of the City of New York deserve better than what this mayor is handing out. As we have said before, We are in for an interesting year.

OSA Newsline - January 3, 2011

The big story last week was the snowstorm. Most members had trouble getting to work on time and many could not make it in at all.

The New York Post used the snowstorm as another chance to criticize civil servants, but Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News was more accurate. Juan faulted Deputy Mayor Goldsmith for his wacky ideas and his role in creating low morale and great resentment within the work force. In addition, the City made a number of errors and delayed decisions until the problem was enormous.

We are grateful that the Sanitation workers were finally able to clean the streets so we could all get back to work.

Below, a video clip of OSA Chair Bob Croghan speaking at the rally against layoffs organized by Local 375 of DC37 two weeks ago at City Hall. It was a cold day, but the crowd was heartwarmingly determined.

To play the clip,you need to be sure that you have a flash browser plug-in. If you don't, you can download it from the adobe site at this link.

Thanks to Suzannah Troy who videotaped the rally. More of her work from the rally is available at this link.

It looks like an interesting year for us all.