OSA Newsline - July 20, 2009

Some, but not a great deal of news this week.

First, Transit Authority negotiations are set for today. As Transit Authority members may remember, we did have a first session months ago, but the TA was then in financial crisis. It has taken until now to get the TA back to the table. So, this looks like a long, hard negotiation. Meanwhile, our TA members are due raises from last year and this year.

Second, as expected, Mayor Bloomberg has vetoed the city council bill relaxing residency requirements. He didnít have to veto the bill. We did not ask him to and his veto does not help us one little bit.

Now, we do understand that the mayor is making a point to the city council, but if anything goes wrong it is our members who get hurt, not the mayor and not the city council.

If nothing does go wrong, the city council will now override the mayorís veto later this month. We hope so.

Twenty-three years of this hypocritical and dishonest law is quite enough. Incidentally, even after our members are allowed to live in the adjoining counties, there will still be one or two percent of the workforce who are required to live within the five boroughs.

The leaders of the 220 law/prevailing rate workersí unions did not sign on to the citywide pattern a few years ago, because it would have cost their members money. Those workers were due a larger raise as prevailing rate workers during the then-current private sector building boom.

But, by not taking the citywide pattern, those unions were not given the mayorís okay to live outside the five boroughs and are not covered by the city council bill.

Third, the health give backs of last month are nearing implementation. A letter is going out to HIP members notifying them of the new charges, especially the $50 emergency room fee.

HIP members with non-life threatening issues that can not wait for normal office hours can go to the special units that have been set up at no cost for care in the evenings, as mentioned in the letter.

Members going for ambulatory surgery will soon be required to use participating Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield facilities or pay huge fees instead. There is no problem at all so long as you do not let yourself be steered to a non-participating facility. There are huge numbers of participating hospitals, clinics and stand-alone facilities.

Finally, our August pay raise is still expected to be paid; exact dates as fast as we know them.

OSA Newsline - July 6, 2009

We actually have some very good news this week. Our unionís executive director, Sheila Gorsky, has been pressuring DCAS to give exams for our members who are serving provisionally. We had learned that the city was considering giving a Staff Analyst exam soon, but Sheila was insisting on an Associate Staff Analyst exam, because that was more clearly needed. More of our members are provisional Associates than are provisional Staff Analysts by a factor of about five to one.

DCAS apparently took our arguments into consideration and, as of December 2nd of this year, filing will open for both a Staff Analyst and an Associate Staff Analyst exam, as well as for an Associate Education Analyst exam.

Also, for the first time since 1978, both the Associate Staff and the Associate Education Analyst exams will be given as open competitive exams, as well as promotional exams.

Members who pass the promotional exam are guaranteed the right to be considered by their agency for promotion before any candidates from the open competitive exam, so thatís good.

Also, assuming you file for both exams, if you pass the promotional exam, you will also pass the open competitive exam and then you will have the option to leave your agency and go to another of your choosing when your name comes up on the open competitive list. Our members in non-competitive titles, as in HHC, will also have a chance to compete for the open competitive ASA exam, and thatís good too.

The newsline page now goes on a bi-weekly schedule, as happens most summers. As always, if something dramatic Ė good or bad Ė occurs, the information will be updated more frequently. Otherwise, we will update this page every other week until Labor Day.