OSA Newsline - March 31, 2003

The only good news this past week was the visit of Councilman Bill Perkins to our membership meeting.

Bill Perkins is not only the Council Deputy Majority Leader but also a former Staff Analyst and one of the founders of the Organization of Staff Analysts. He has pledged his support to our effort to amend the "one-in-three" law and that is excellent news.

The other news was all bad, as the Mayor proceeds to prepare layoff lists in spite of the savings offered by the unions.

The newsline will be changed mid-week if we do receive any notifications of additional layoffs

And let's hope the war in Iraq is over soon.
OSA Newsline - March 24, 2003

The March mailing went out late last week due to delays related to negotiations. As the mailing notes, negotiations are not going well, but we held the mailing waiting for positive news and finally there was none.

The mailing should arrive at your home Monday or Tuesday evening and is already posted as the March 2003 News From OSA on this website.

This gives unusually short notice for the March membership meeting on this Thursday and that is a shame since this month's meeting will be addressed by City Councilmember Bill Perkins, the chair of the City Council's governmental operations committee. His visit to our meeting is very timely.

If you don't receive the mailing by Wednesday, call Noreen at the union office, so we can check your address and send you a copy.

On a sadder note, our thoughts are with our men and women overseas and with all those affected by the current war. We all hope it will be over soon.
OSA Newsline - March 17, 2003

Happy St. Patrick's Day. There were a number of meetings on the fiscal crisis last week. The City and the unions met on pension suggestions. We did not like the City's suggestions at all, and we offered a few of our own. Scotto of the Detectives discussed a program that would allow police to retire, but continue employment. The major discussion centered around allowing the City to fund our pensions more slowly than scheduled.

The City also met with the unions regarding lobbying and, as expected, we found their suggested legislation far from appealing, so we countered with some of our own. The City at first assured us the commuter tax was a done deal but immediately reconsidered and asked for union help on the issue.

The union committee met without the City to discuss health savings and, here at least, there may finally be some agreement.

Meanwhile, The Village Voice series of attacks on union welfare funds continued, but OSA's letter of response was not printed, nor were any other responses.

It is a busy period for meetings and the lists of layoffs are apparently being assembled. The national news isn't good either.
OSA Newsline - March 10, 2003

There is an article in this week's Village Voice by Wayne Barrett. If you get a copy of this week's issue you will read Mr. Barrett's article demonizing union welfare funds and suggesting the unions hand them over to the City.

If you get a copy of next week's Village Voice, hopefully you will see a letter from OSA challenging Mr. Barrett's reporting of the facts and ridiculing his conclusions.

We are now in a fiscal crisis due to profligate tax cutting by both the City and the State in favor of the rich in a time of prosperity. Mr. Barrett's solution to the crisis is to take the money out of union hands and give it back to the City to manage. After all, our politicians do such a good job managing money. The unions will give serious consideration to such a wacky idea as soon as a certain place freezes over.

More seriously, the Municipal Labor Committee steering committee met with the City and discussions are underway to seek ways to avoid layoffs. Our major fear is that the City is not being entirely sincere with us. Various pundits are encouraging the Mayor to lay off large numbers of us in order to make the unions come to their senses. Those giving such advice are heartless and cruel excuses for humanity and foolish indeed. In all the Municipal Labor Committee, there is probably not one union that is so craven as to cave in to such ugly behavior.

We are supposed to be working together on behalf of our City. We have offered voluntary furloughs. They have not yet even responded.

On a more cheerful note, the OSA Black History Celebration committee outdid themselves last Friday night. The celebration took over the union office for that evening and about two hundred members and their families attended. The credit for the event goes to the hardworking committee that put the evening together and our thank you to each of them for their efforts.

Finally, our changeover from NVA back to DavisVision appears to have gone smoothly. We have received only a couple of calls with problems. Two years ago, the phones would not stop ringing when the original switch to NVA occurred.

If your optician is not a part of the Davis panel, encourage them to sign up. If they don't know how to go about it, you can have them call Rose at the union office to assist them.
OSA Newsline - March 3, 2003

The Mayor has accepted the offer of the Municipal Labor Committee to assist in seeking ways to resolve the fiscal crisis, well, sort of. We have been asked to serve on one of three committees. There is a committee studying pensions, another on health insurance and a third for the joint lobbying of Albany and Washington DC.

The obvious problem with two of the committees, pensions and health benefits, is that the Mayor seems to view these committees as a source of easy givebacks and we don't share his vision.

The third committee seems potentially helpful, but we do notice no mention of committees for reducing the number of City consultants nor of considering voluntary furloughs. Perhaps these committees will be formed later.

The Organization of Staff Analysts has not yet received an answer on our offer of voluntary furloughs to substitute for layoffs. This makes us unhappy and begins to make us suspicious. Now its true that each laid off Analyst costs the City thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits and each Analyst on voluntary leave costs the City.... nothing. The Mayor says we have a fiscal crisis and we believe him, so why does the City not want to save money?

Our Union will keep pushing on this point, perhaps even harder as time goes on.