OSA Newsline - January 27, 2014

The civil service newspaper, The Chief, announced another organizing victory this week. You can read the article by clicking this link. The Chief gave notice that our union now represents the title of Administrative Community Relations Specialist, Levels I, II and II.

Now, from our point of view, the Office of Collective Bargaining decision is very good news, but there is a problem. The problem is that the Office of Labor Relations has not yet given OSA the home addresses of our new members. For those for whom we have no address, the first they will learn of their new union is to read about it in the newspaper. Thatís cold.

Our attorney is seeking the addresses of all of our new members and, as fast as possible, we will be sending out letters welcoming them to OSA.

We are very, very pleased to be extending collective bargaining rights and protection to our new brothers and sisters, but we would have preferred to tell them ourselves.

It has been a cold winter, but the OSA offices are warm, so if you can make it, our general membership meeting is this week on Thursday evening. The location is at 220 East 23rd Street, Suite 707. The time is 6:15PM to 8PM and the pizza is on the union.

Finally, there are just a few days left to call your representatives and ask them to stop Fast Track on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a trade deal that has been negotiated behind closed doors, and has been called "NAFTA on steroids," and a "global race to the bottom."

"Fast Track" legislation is a way of ramming a bill through Congress without Congressional debate or the usual openness and accountability.

If passed in its current form, the TPP would be hugely destructive to workers' rights, our food supply, internet freedom, and the environment. Leaked drafts of the TPP contained provisions that would allow multinational corporations to sue governments over lost profits, forcing them to roll back protections for worker safety, eliminate information in the public domain, and pollute valuable resources.

At a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, OSA representatives stood with with other labor unions and organizations in speaking out against the TPP. The union has also signed a statement against Fast Tracking the agreement. You can read the statement, signed by more than 550 unions and groups by clicking this link.

You can learn more about TPP and Fast Track and take action here:

Stop Fast Track

OSA Newsline - January 20, 2014

As our members who regularly call the newsline are aware, there was a problem with the optional insurance right before Christmas.

The Prudential Company sent out quarterly premium letters to those of our members who are retired or in other titles. That was okay, but the premiums were not. Term life insurance is subject to steep increases in premium as we age and Prudential had not increased same age rates for ten years.

However, the decision of Prudential to switch from its Guaranteed Universal Life policy to an Optional Term Life Policy, plus the other two factors, led to outrageous increases in premium. Outraged, our union reached out to Prudential and we were offered some relief.

The companyís underwriters reexamined the proposed rate and agreed to reduce them very significantly. Unfortunately, the company has taken a long while to get the words correct for the follow-up letter showing the new rates.

We ask those affected to be patient. The letters should arrive this week, we hope. Overall, the experience was a bad one and we would hope to never see it repeated again.

Other news. The union will be meeting with the New York City Housing Authority tomorrow. As members are aware, NYCHA was full of bad news all of last year. Thanks to the end of the federal sequester, we are more hopeful for this yearís budget.

OSA Newsline - January 13, 2014

If you called the union office last week, you may not have been able to get through. Our old phone system was in need of replacement, but the replacing created problems.

During the transition, many members called and were told that all phone lines were busy, please leave a message. That would have been fine if we had an answering machine set to record your message, but we did not.

Off and on, until Friday, members were unable to get through to the union. This occurred unpredictably, since some did get through, but if your call was lost we do apologize.

News. We are still in negotiation over optional life insurance, but that matter should be resolved soon. We are seeking lower rates for our members.

Finally, also, the mail went out and should be received by you already. If you donít get it by Tuesday. Call George at the union office so he can check your address and send you a copy. The contents are on this website as the January OSA Newsletter.

OSA Newsline - January 6, 2014

A mailing was prepared and sent to the mailing house last week, but it will probably be a bit late getting out due to the holidays. The contents of the mailing are posted on this website as the January 2014 edition of the OSA Newsletter.

In the mailing, there is mention of a minor negotiating victory at the Transit Authority. We will take that small victory at Transit as a hopeful auger of things to come for 2014.

OSA had representatives at the mayorís inauguration ceremony. It was very cold, but there were two good shows presented to us.

First, there were the speeches by the invited presenters and the newly installed officeholders. The second show was former Mayor Bloombergís facial reactions to the words being said. One day earlier, Mayor Bloomberg had been continuing his victory lap right to the last minute, departing City Hall with tears in his eyes. He was mourning our cityís loss of him.

Then, on the steps of City Hall on January 1st, not one speaker seemed saddened by Mikeís departure from office and most seemed to think his departure had been at least four years overdue.

It was a sight worth seeing.

On the other hand, OSA retirees who had purchased optional life insurance from the Prudential Corporation were shocked by letters sent out during Christmas week. Prudential had increased premiums on those policies so dramatically that many retirees could no longer afford the premiums. Our union objected loudly and forced a reduction of those increases. The revised premiums will be sent out in the mail, but the cost of this term insurance for a retired population is still very high.

If you buy whole life insurance, there is often a level premium because you overpay when you are young and build up cash value. Term insurance, on the other hand, is very inexpensive when you are young, but premiums increase very sharply as the age of the insured increases.

If you were affected, wait for Prudentialís next letter lowering the premium required.