OSA Newsline - March 25, 2002

It is the practice of our Union to hold general membership meetings on the last Thursday of every other month, starting in September and ending in May. Summers are quiet and there are no meetings. This month, we will postpone the meeting for two weeks due to religious holidays and other events. The next meeting will be Thursday, April 11th.

A mailing is due late this week and will be posted as the April, 2002 News From OSA on this website shortly. The mailing will include notice of the new meeting date plus updates on contract negotiations, movement of the Associate Staff Analyst list and an advance announcement of the OSA labor film series now scheduled to begin this May.

If you do not receive the mail by Tuesday, April 2nd, call Noreen at the Union office so we can correct your address and send you a copy.

There was an HRA hiring pool for Associate Staff Analysts this past week and a number of members were promoted. This was a very good sign. The pool was covered by OSA Executive Director Sheila Gorsky.

Finally, the early reports of our Welfare Fund audits look very positive. We improved benefits in 1999, yet our bottom line remains healthy. The OSA Trustees will be considering further improvements this year since the City's contribution increases, by contract, on July 1st of this year.

OSA Newsline - March 19, 2002

The ballot counting went smoothly last night. Almost 700 ballots were received, but the issue was a simple yes or no and thus easily counted.

The issue concerned an update to our Constitution and was fairly non-controversial. We were actually surprised that over 20% of the eligible voters cast a ballot.

The vote was 610 in favor, 63 opposed, three persons voting but abstaining and five challenged ballots. Of the five challenged ballots, three were not counted because the member had successfully obliterated the number on the ballot envelope, one because the member had sent it in an unnumbered envelope, and one for a strange reason. The strange one was a ballot allegedly returned by the Commissioner of HRA! The envelope return address gave Commissioner Eggleston's name and correct work address. At first, we thought it was an innocent joke and called the member to whom that numbered envelope was issued. She, in fact, was not the one responsible and had not received her mail on the vote. How her envelope fell into the wrong hands remains a mystery to her and to us alike.

In other news, there is legislation moving forward in Albany to authorize an early retirement offering granting one bonus month's credit for each year of credited service. This is similar to most of the prior buyouts. No other details are available at this time.

Also, the Transit Authority negotiating team met last week and voted that if this week's details are properly worked out, OSA can move thereafter to present the contract to the members for a vote.

OSA Newsline - March 11, 2002

The news this week is mostly Transit news. First, the New York City Employees Retirement System has begun to stop deducting the 3% Fourth Tier deduction from the paychecks of our unionized Analysts at that agency, so long as the member has completed over ten years of paid membership.

Under the rules laid down by Rudolph Giuliani, NYCERS was to continue those deductions until each labor contract was signed. OSA has not yet signed at Transit, but NYCERS, now that Rudy has gone, has chosen to halt those deductions anyway. Three heartfelt cheers for John Murphy, head of NYCERS. Refund checks for those who overpaid will be mailed out soon.

Speaking of the TA contract, the union negotiating team for the TA will be meeting late this week to decide if the terms offered can now be put to a membership vote.

Finally, the vote on our Constitutional revision will be counted on Monday evening, March 18th. Anyone inclined to help or just to watch the process is invited to come to the union office that evening. Please call Marzie Eisenberg in advance so we know how many are coming.

The next update will be on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. That way we can give the voting results on the newsline. Meantime, Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of us.

OSA Newsline - March 4, 2002

There is little chance that our Black History Month Committee will be able to top their performance of last Friday. The highest ranking African American elected to Citywide office, City Comptroller Bill Thompson came by. He was joined by the African American New York City Labor leader who now leads the largest municipal union, newly elected DC37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts.

Awards were presented to Allan W. Jennings, Jr. of the City Council, Albert Van-Lare from CWA Local 1180, Lenora Gates of Local 1549 AFSCME DC 37, Tony Wells of Local 371 AFSCME and our own Troy Johnson. Troy Johnson‘s role in the 9-11 aftermath was to be the Director of the Mayor's Crisis Call Center. He did well. A special award was made to cartoonist Aaron McGruder for his extraordinary work in his comic strip "The Boondocks" in the period since the World Trade Center tragedy.

Special thanks are due to Shirley Gray and co-chairpersons Kim Vann of the OSA Police Department chapter and Frances Fultz of the OSA Health and Hospitals Corporation chapter.

The food was good, dancing and music enjoyable and the photo exhibition by our member Noel Jefferson most impressive. Noel's pictures of the actual impact as the World Trade Center was struck were deeply moving.

Other news. There is a Child Care Information Fair set for next Saturday March 9th, 10am to 2pm. You can learn about free or affordable summer camp programs, summer youth employment programs, day care, etc. All this is at the UNITE headquarters, 275 Seventh Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets 10th floor. RSVP before Saturday to Sante Du Cote at 212-494-0544. There will be light refreshments and face painting for the kids.