OSA Newsline - March 27, 2006

Last week’s mailing had been reduced from 22 pages to two. We may have gone too far. The brief item on Medicare Part D resulted in many phone calls from active members and non-Medicare-eligible retirees. Actually, what’s going on with Medicare Part D does not affect the rest of us and will, almost certainly, change over the next couple of years, so if you are wasting time worrying about the program in advance, don’t bother. It is going to change.

Meanwhile, the article reported a positive change in that we now expect to be able to re-institute coverage for drugs in the most extreme cases for our Med-D-eligible retirees. Originally, the Management Benefits Fund, OSA and a number of the other unions had cut major medical coverage entirely for drugs in response to provisions in the Med D law. Now, it turns out, we can restore that coverage any time out-of-pocket expenses reach past $3,600 on drugs alone.

Now, it is rare indeed when any of our members has to lay out that much, but it does happen and it is good we can help in such a case.

The membership meeting is this Thursday and there are a lot of negotiations in progress. For details, come to the meeting, starting at 6pm sharp.

See you at the meeting.

OSA Newsline - March 20, 2006

A mailing is due out this week. If you don’t receive it by the weekend, please call George to check your address, and he’ll mail you a copy as well. The content is up on this website already as the March, 2006 edition of "News From OSA."

This particular mailing took a while to prepare, since the first draft was written over the course of two weekends and the mailing eventually reached twenty-two pages. Fortunately, the second draft came out to only two pages and that was the final version. That’s the one you are getting.

A meeting has been scheduled to discuss the citywide contract and that is rather a surprise. We do have unit negotiations in many areas covering various time periods, but it is surprising that citywide negotiations are being started at this point. We’ll see.

OSA Newsline - March 13, 2006

The Staff Analyst list is moving slowly, but surely. Candidates whose list number is below 400 and who have not yet been appointed are invited to call Sheila Gorsky to discuss the process. Some candidates have been removed from the list and are not aware of it and others can benefit from a pre-employment pool briefing. That is list numbers below 400.

Please note that many of these candidates are not OSA members yet, but are often our co-workers already. Thus, they may not call the newsline to hear this invitation, but you can pass the word to them and you should do so. Helping our members before they become members is a long-standing OSA practice. The value of a few words of advice before attending a hiring pool can be enormous in many cases.

The Examinations Division of DCAS is giving sure signs that our Administrative Staff Analyst list is nearly ready to be published. We can look forward to results as early as this month or more likely in April.

Our grievance section did not receive a lot of phone calls on Friday, so it would seem that the City agencies did pay the 3.25% raises as expected. The union is working on the areas not yet complete on the 3.25%.

OSA Newsline - March 6, 2006

The union has been in touch with payroll division and, with a little luck, the monies due to both city agency workers and members in the Housing Authority should be received this month, possibly as early as the next paycheck.

Also, the agreement of the MTA to approve the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) contract does, somewhat positively, impact on our own efforts on behalf of our Transit Authority members.

Finally, OSA was graced with a visit last week from Bert Rose. Bert, as only the oldest members probably are aware, was the Director of Organization for Local 237 of the Teamsters during the years that 237 assisted OSA. Two major unions greatly assisted OSA in becoming a union, and Bert was the lead man for one of them. Bert retired from the Teamsters in the early 1980s, but returned for the victory celebration in the early 90s, when we had finally achieved success in a fight that dates back to 1954.

Bert toured our offices, met the volunteers and staff and expressed his satisfaction with our operation. Hank Lenz, our volunteer archivist had a long discussion with Bert. As a result, he plans to ask Rob Spencer to record an oral history interview with Bert. Bert Rose's labor career started in the 1920s, when he stood on his father's picket line outside a bakery. Fifty years later, Bert was helping us to become a union