OSA Newsline - June 21, 2016

The recent health scare at Lincoln Hospital has receded. The water system has been flushed and properly treated, but members might want to continue using bottled liquids for a while.

The Health Services Manager exam period ended today and no other exams are ongoing at present.

Our next negotiation will be with the Housing Authority at the OSA office on July 7 but, otherwise, things are quiet so the newsline will move to its biweekly schedule.

Meanwhile, do not forget the upcoming primary election on Tuesday, June 28th. Vote as you will, but, as always, please do vote.

OSA Newsline - June 17, 2016

Thursday afternoon, we were informed of a problem with Legionella bacteria being found in the water on the premises of Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. We were also told that the variety found was weak and not airborne. Also, we were told the staff would be sent an email and that there was remedial action underway.

This is all worse than awkward. The area of the Bronx had similar problems last year but at that time the area affected was a small hotel and, on this occasion, we are talking about the main hospital for the entire South Bronx.

We do hope that the assessment of the authorities is accurate and there is little risk to staff or patients. Obviously, at present, it is advisable for those at that location to stick to bottled liquids.

OSA Newsline - June 13, 2016

If any of us write a letter to the Daily News, it may or may not be printed. If the Citizens Budget Commission writes an argument for cutting the benefits or salaries of civil servants, the essay is given double column op-ed status and placement.

Last Friday, they did it again. These are the same guys who, 14 years ago, assured Bloomberg that we would accept a $2,000 per employee cut in salaries. As you would expect, we did not accept.

Again, the same folks convinced Bloomberg, four years ago, that we would accept Gold, Silver and Platinum Health Plans, any of which would have gotten rid of our longstanding practice of free coverage of basic health benefits for city employees. We did not accept.

Now, once again eager to please their sponsors, the CBC is insisting that we cost too much and, even it all their prior predictions of fiscal disaster have not come true, it is still vital to cut our benefits. And the Daily News prints their arguments.

We donít like their point of view, but we especially do not like it when they play with statistics to paint an absurd, wildly inaccurate picture of our situation. Did you know that you are, on average, due to be up to $158,000 in pay and benefits by 2020. Donít spend it just yet.

Rob Spencer, who keeps track of such anti-labor propaganda for our union, sent a note along with the article. His note said: ďSuch a dishonest piece. She compares the median household income with the average city worker salary and benefits. Even assuming the numbers are correct (which I do not) anyone with junior high school level math skills knows that the average of a distribution will skew much, much higher than the median. Then, throw in the value of benefits for one group and not the other. They should compare apples to apples. But that would be too much of a leap for the Rich Citizens Budget Commission.Ē

On this we do agree.

OSA Newsline - June 6, 2016

This evening, there will be a memorial gathering on behalf of Shirley Gray. Shirley passed away recently, but before that she had a half century career working on behalf of others.

Shirley began as a Welfare Department worker, later was a grievance representative for the Social Service Employees Union, later Vice-President of that local and then finally as a managerial employee of the Department of Homeless Services.

She left that job due to ill health but, when her health improved, she came to help us out at OSA and worked alongside us for a dozen years. She was recruited back to SSEU Local 371 by its late president Charles Ensley and ended her career there as an Assistant to current President Anthony Wells.

Members who knew and loved Shirley are invited to the memorial, this Monday evening at 6pm at DC37, 125 Barclay Street, Room 1.

Other news relates to our current health benefits agreement. One neat bonus of that agreement is a subsidized membership in Weight Watchers. Members can sign up for 50% off as New York City employees at NYC.join.weightwatchers.com.

Also, our union is providing help for those taking the Health Services Manager exam over the next two weeks. If you are interested, call Carol at the union office.

Finally, there is a Municipal Labor Committee meeting this week and this one relates to the health benefits agreement.