OSA Newsline - June 24, 2013

Last week, the Municipal Labor Committee took action against the current Dependent Health Care Audit. It is being done by AON, a company hired by Mayor Bloomberg,

There is nothing wrong with an audit done to learn if all of those receiving city health benefits are eligible to do so. There is a great deal wrong with doing the audit as AON has chosen to do it.

Members who had already submitted full documentation years ago are being asked to resubmit the same documents, frequently at considerable cost to the members and always with some inconvenience.

We still donít know what AON plans to do with all the highly personal information after the audit is over, but we have asked... and asked ...and asked.

There is also an issue of amnesty. We are not happy about the fact that the mayor is choosing to retain the right to go after any of our members who made an error, for example, of not removing health coverage immediately from their former spouse after a divorce.

We have started unfair labor practice proceedings agaiinst the mayor for his action in this matter. Members will be informed as the matter progresses.

Finally, public housing in New York is under attack. An emergency rally has been organized by our brothers and sisters of Teamsters Local 237 on Tuesday, July 2nd at 5pm at City Hall to call attention to the challenges facing public housing and its employees. If you work downtown near City Hall, join us. We especially encourage our members in the Housing Authority to attend. A flyer for the rally can be downloaded by clicking this link. Circulate it to your coworkers. More on next week's Newsline.

OSA Newsline - June 17, 2013

The rally last Wednesday was generally pleasant. The weather was fine and about 10,000 members of labor unions came out to protest our lack of contract.

OSAís attendance was better than usual, but we were probably hampered by the 4pm to 6pm schedule. Some of our members had trouble making it before it was over.

Then, after the rally, we learned of cutbacks occurring at the Housing Authority. The newspapers reported a loss of 500 jobs with many programs being cut. This news is alarming, but we have not yet had any details. The Authority will have to give us thirty days notice if we are affected by these cuts and we have received no notice yet. There has also been mention of unpaid furloughs, but that too is subject to collective bargaining and we will see what we can do. The reality, as we learned in 1974, is that when things are very very serious, cooperation between management and labor can be a help. We will know more by the end of this week.

You can view two clips from the contract rally below. The first is OSA Chair Bob Croghan addressing the crowd (clip courtesy of the Municipal Labor Committee) and the second is an interview with Bob and other labor leaders. (courtesy of Labor Press. Photos from the rally will be up shortly in the OSA Photo Gallery section of this website.

OSA Newsline - June 10, 2013

Need a raise? Want a raise? Overdue for a raise? Remember the rally this Wednesday, June 12th from 4pm onwards Ė at City Hall, of course.

Come on foot or by bus or rail, but come to the rally after work on Wednesday.

Other news. One of our grievance reps has spent over 40 years helping others and not just in grievances. Tom Gorse helped to found a volunteer emergency response team, in older terms, an ambulance unit, for his town in New Jersey. He did this many years ago and it worked. The service grew and became a local institution. After many years, Tom retired from an active role due to his own physical problems.

Then, on Memorial Day this year, the current leaders of the rescue corps asked Tom to attend a meorial ceremony for members of the corps who had passed away.

He and his wife attended the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony the current corpos members pulled the covering off the new emergency response truck that had been purchased for the unit. On each side of the truck in bold letters was the name Tom Gorse, honoring his role in the founding of the volunteer service. The townís Memorial Day Parade included Tom riding in the unit named after him.

One more thing. Tom Gorse wants you to attend the rally on Wednesday and Tom, as his town in New Jersey has just noted, is a very nice man.

You can download the flyer for the rally at this link.

You can view a short video below of various municipal workers all speaking about why they plan to turn out for the June 12 contract rally - and why you should too. They're from many different city agencies and members of many different city worker unions.

Finally, if you were injured or made ill by the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 and you are interested in applying for the re-opened Victim's Compensation Fund, you may wish to attend a forum being hosted by AFSCME District Council 37. OSA members are invited to attend, but you must call 212-354-6231 to register. The forum is this coming Monday, June 10th starting at 6pm and will be held in midtown at DC1707, 420 West 45 Street, New York NY in the auditorium. You can download a flyer with more information by clicking this link.

OSA Newsline - June 3, 2013

Members who cover their dependents for health insurance will soon receive the first of up to seven letters being sent out by AON. Thatís A-O-N. These letters are part of an audit that seeks to remove dependents improperly enrolled.

Our union is very distressed at the way this audit is being done. We have been meeting with AON and we asked for answers to our questions in writing. Instead, they respond with a slide show. Is the information we send back necessary and , if it is, is it secure? Thus far, AON has not given us acceptable answers, so this is a problem.

We favor the concept of an audit, but AON had it all figured out before they even told us, and they donít seem open to our advice on needed changes in procedure. There will be more on this in the weeks to come.

We had some very bad news last week. Cecelia McCarthy passed away after a 20-month fight with breast cancer. Celia was our chapter chairperson at the Department of Design and Construction for 12 years and was a very strong chairperson indeed. She formed an all-union coalition at DDC and was chosen as president of the group. At her memorial service were representatives of other unions, including President Claude Fort of Local 375, DC37.

Cecelia was an excellent representative who fought very hard for her members. We are diminished by her loss. (She is pictured to the right, along with husband Kirk Bigelow, in OSA's contingent at the 2012 Labor Day Parade.)

And donít forget we have a rally due for June 12th. If you donít want or need a raise, donít bother coming. If you do want or need a raise, you really should be at this rally. See you there.