OSA Newsline - June 30, 2003

A number of our members have begun to wonder about the one percent equity award due to us for these past twelve months. Union leadership is also beginning to wonder. We had asked for the City's formulas for calculating the equity award possibilities nearly two years ago. We got the information only last August, responded quickly, and then waited while the City sat still for four and a half months.

After a quick exchange in December, the issue got hung up in contract wording from January to April. Finally we got a definite bad answer on our request to agree upon contract language. After the negative answer we went sideways and insisted upon a revision of the formula that would avoid the problem raised by the City.

Now, we have at last been given a verbal answer that our latest attempt to settle is not acceptable to the City. In this case, we have demanded that the answer be put in writing, along with their reasoning, since we are beginning to wonder.

We are beginning to wonder if all this "back-and-forthing" is simply a way of delaying payment. After all, until the last detail is worked out, the City holds the money, and also last year's increase in the welfare fund payments. So, at this point, the City owes our welfare fund over $1 million and growing more each pay period. Individual longevity raises delayed thus far top twice as much and no end is in sight. It begins to seem like a pretty good deal for the City to continue its apparent inability to conclude negotiating our contract. Meanwhile, we are accumulating a record at each stage of the delays. We will continue negotiating throughout this Summer or until there is no further point in negotiating.

With this update of the newsline we switch to a biweekly update schedule for the rest of the summer, so check back for the next update in two weeks.
OSA Newsline - June 23, 2003

A mailing is due out this week and should arrive at your homes by Thursday or Friday. If you don't get it by next week, please call Noreen at the union office (212) 686-1229 so we can check your address and send you a copy.

In the mailing is a reference to a roadblock that was finally overcome in our School Safety and Traffic Enforcement units. The offer of a paid uniform allowance will bring us back to the bargaining table as soon as the City is available, early next month. The contents of the mailing are posted on this website as the June 2003 News From OSA.
OSA Newsline - June 16, 2003

There was some good news last week and we are overdue for some good news. Our union has been insisting that our members working in School Safety and Traffic Enforcement receive a uniform allowance as a part of their contract.

Our members are the top level of supervision of the two separate uniformed forces, but all are considered civilian workers although they are actually required to wear police department uniforms.

If this seems confusing, it is. It became more confusing when, in our negotiations on our members behalf, OSA was told that the Mayor's Office of Management and Budget would not pay for those uniforms.

Now, we are not unreasonable. Times are tight. We offered to have our members arrive for work in suits and ties. Our members are known to their subordinates in School Safety and Traffic Enforcement. There is no pressing need for the uniforms at all as far as we can tell. Meanwhile, if the uniforms are required, and they have to be cleaned and pressed regularly, does not the City pay for it in all other cases?

The Police Department turned down our offer and insisted on the uniforms. OMB in turn insisted our members eat the cost. The union tried arguing the point through two sets of negotiators and through mediation, all to no avail.

So, we filed for impasse since we were never, never going to give in and OMB was holding up the entire contract.

Last week, OMB caved in. A bit over $500 per year was offered for the uniforms and if it's not enough, it's a good start.

Members are often impatient to see contracts settled and no one can blame them, since in New York City, negotiations move like molasses.

Even so, it is never a good idea to rush to sign a bad contract if a little more patience can win a better one.

For the 90 or so members of our police unit, patience is still required. Negotiations will now resume. Meanwhile things just got a bit better, and permanently so at that.
OSA Newsline - June 9, 2003

At last, there was a little bit of good news last week. Over one hundred of the laid off sanitation workers are due to return this month, a number of the firehouses will remain open and a compromise was reached on the four versus five man staffing of the fire trucks.

A great deal of credit is due to the unions of the Municipal Labor Committee who have fought back aggressively against the Mayor and the media's drumbeat of blame laid upon us.

We did not actually cause the fiscal crisis. They did. Credit in full measure is also due to the public who have not bought into the fibs being told by the Mayor and his minions.

It could be amazing to note how the Mayor can find money to restore services when he drops in the polls. But we're not really surprised. We had offered voluntary leaves of absence and he chose to lay off twenty two of our brothers and sisters. We will not forget soon.

He's used up his credibility.
OSA Newsline - June 2, 2003

The Mayor dropped his other shoe last week. If you recall, the Mayor had threatened to lay off thousands of workers unless civil servants accepted, in effect, a series of give backs resulting in an average loss to each of us of about $200 per month. Instead, we offered loans, voluntary leaves of absence, an increase in health deductibles and a whole bunch of things that in other years were accepted willingly. In response, this Mayor has laid off thousands of us already with thousands more due to be laid off at the close of the school year.

So, the case is closed? Well, no, not really.

The same Mayor who just laid off our brothers and sisters rather than allow voluntary leaves of absence is back.

This time, Bloomie wants us to contribute to our pensions or do other nebulous productivity things like working five extra hours a week for no pay.

Of course, we are still going to get no cost-of-living raises from him, ever. He is very clear about that. And never any retroactivity. And raises only if we ever come up with such productivity gains that he feels he must share a few crumbs with us.

We now have a Mayor who is going to demand give backs and then demand give backs and then demand give backs and give nothing whatever in return except the back of his hand across our face every time we open a newspaper.

So, why should we cooperate? Oh, yes, he has again threatened even more layoffs.

This is not effective labor relations, this is lunacy and it will lead us to a disaster for our City.