OSA Newsline - March 30, 2009

After weeks of distressing fiscal news, we had one piece of very good news last week. As members are mostly aware, a problem arose in 2008 at the Municipal Credit Union (MCU). About one third of our members belong to the MCU and, as a result, we care about the institution.

Last year, the MCU board of directors chose to cancel the nominations for office made by the MCU nominating committee. They also canceled the nominating committee as well.

Mark Brantley, one of members of the MCU board of directors took the matters to court, arguing, in effect, you can’t do that. The court agreed and ordered the reinstatement of nominees and the nominating committee.

Instead, the MCU board of directors appealed the lower court decision. On March 24th, four appellate judges ruled unanimously in support of the lower court’s decision.

This past Friday, OSA was notified that the 2008 election for the board of directors will be held on May 5th of this year, 2009. It’s about time.

If you are a member of the MCU and need to know more about what has been going on at the Credit Union, call Katie Guarino at the union office, so she can add your name to the “Friends of the MCU” mailing list.

The one judge of the lower court and the four judges of the higher court have done their job. Now it is up to us.

Directors who will engage in illegal actions in order to stay in office should not be allowed any further role in a fiduciary institution.

There will be an election at last. The election will be in person, downtown, at Bridgewaters Café, 11 Fulton Street at the South Street Seaport on May 5th. Voting will be from 10am to 7pm. If you are a member of the MCU, please make a note of that date.

The MCU is a marvelous idea. We must vote to insure that it stays good.

Finally, on another subject, those of you who work for the New York City Housing Authority should have received your 4% increase for August 25, 2008 in last Thursday's paycheck. A lump sum retroactive payment should also have been in that check. Last week's newsline included a formula for checking the calculation of the increase and the retroactive amount due you. The same formula applies to NYCHA members with one exception. When calculating the retroactive payment due you (again assuming no days of leave without pay), divide your gross biweekly increase by 14 and multiply by 195 calendar days, rather than 188, since NYCHA pays a week later.

OSA Newsline - March 23, 2009

Mail went out last Friday and should be received by you early this week. The mail was delayed in production, due to our need to attend the ACS layoff meeting on Friday the 13th. Now, as it turned out, we dd not learn that much at the meeting, but we did not know that in advance.

The mailing covers many topics and also provides notice for this month's general membership meeting, this Thursday evening at the union office. The same information has been up on this website since last week as the March 2009 edition of "News From OSA."

One topic not covered was how to calculate the raise and the retroactive monies that were due on March 20. Instead, we are putting the information below. The raise was only received by some of our members on Friday. NYCHA members will receive it this week and we are still awaiting negotiations for the Transit Authority and our uniformed members in school safety and traffic enforcement. TA negotiations, at least, are now set for early April.

Most of our members who are due the 4% raise retroactive to 8/25/08 will have received the increase in this week's check, along with a lump sum for the retroactive amount.

The way you check the city's computation of the raise this time in a non-leap year are as follows. You will need your old and new pay stubs and a calculator. These calculations will give you your new biweekly gross, your biweekly increase, your increase per day of work, and your retroactive payment.

Divide your old regular biweekly gross salary (your salary on your last full paycheck before this one) by 14 and multiply that result by 365. This is your old annual gross salary to within a dollar. Round off the result to the nearest dollar.

Subtract the 20 year longevity, if applicable, of either $520 or $1680, depending on which applies.

Multiply the result by 1.04. Round that answer to the nearest dollar.

If you subtracted $520 or $1680 as instructed above, now add it back. This is your new annual gross.

For your new biweekly gross, divide the new annual gross by 365 and multiply the result by 14. Round off by dropping any digits three or more places after the decimal. This is your new biweekly gross.

To figure your biweekly increase, subtract your old biweekly gross from your new biweekly gross.

To calculate your daily increase, divide the biweekly gross increase by 10.

To figure out the retroactive pay due to you (assuming no days of leave without pay), divide your gross biweekly increase by 14 and multiply by 188 calendar days.

That calculation will work, but it's hard to explain.

See you at the meeting on Thursday.

OSA Newsline - March 16, 2009

The Agency for Children’s Services held a meeting last Friday to unveil their proposed layoff plan. Six hundred positions are targeted, or about 7% of the current workforce, but the plans are only tentative. If Albany gives extra money, some or all of the layoffs will be averted.

There were no names given at this point. On or before May 27th of this year, we will be given the required official thirty day warning. It is not good news, but at least it is not definite yet. A letter will be going out with more details.

Members should be aware of a hoax being circulated in city offices. A phony, but fairly convincing memo, allegedly from Dennis Sullivan to Lillian Roberts, discusses the terms of an early retirement incentive. It’s not true. Dennis did not write the memo, nor did it come from DC37. We do hope the Department of Investigation tracks down the cruel prankster who created and circulated the false document. There is no word, at his time, about an early retirement incentive, although we all do hope that such a program will be offered prior to any staff reductions.

Next week, the OSA leadership returns to Albany to lobby against the DCAS reclassification scheme. DCAS wants to replace competitive class workers with congenial, hire and fire at will, patronage workers.

OSA Newsline - March 9, 2009

Along with our worries over layoffs and health benefit givebacks and new pension tiers, we have a new worry.

A list of 3,470 of our members was lost or mis-delivered by the Post Office. Names and Social Security numbers were on the list, which went astray in November.

The Office of Payroll Administration sent a letter out last week to each of the affected members. OPA recommends contacting one of the major credit reporting agencies, just in case the data fell into the wrong hands and the OPA letter gave the phone number. Neither we nor the Office of Payroll Administration have reason to believe that the data did fall into the wrong hands, but OPA is being cautious and that is good.

OPA, for over a quarter of a century, has been using certified return receipt mail, and up to now, without a problem. From now on a designated staff person will pick up the information in person. Moreover, they are going to stop putting the Social Security numbers on the list that is sent.

Something similar happened to all City retirees a couple of years ago and no fraud or identity theft did occur in that case

Still, make the call to the credit reporting agencies just to be sure.

Now, that’s enough bad news for this week. A bit of good news is that the Transit Authority negotiations will finally commence the first week in April.

OSA Newsline - March 2, 2009

The good news first. The March 20th pay date looks likely for those members covered under the main city contract.

Now the bad news. Layoffs go forward at the Department of Homeless Services. The agency’s refusal to consider voluntary furloughs instead is disappointing.

Also, the City met with the steering committee of the Municipal Labor Committee on Friday. As you may remember, four months ago and again two months ago, the city came to us seeking $200 million in givebacks in the area of health. Then, while we were negotiating, the city raised the ante in the tabloids and began demanding $550 million in savings plus pension tier five, etc.

At our meeting on Friday, Randi Weingarten proposed a one year agreement that would include savings for the city, but asked in return for items such as “no layoffs” and a share of any savings identified. The city agreed to cost out the proposals and get back to us. I am sure they will.

Meanwhile, Budget proposals being floated by Albany and City Hall would threaten public sector employment and essential public programs. Tax reforms that would make the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes would go a long way toward preventing harmful budget cuts.

This Thursday, March 5th, starting at 4pm at City Hall, a range of community groups, non-profit organizations and labor unions, including the New York City Central Labor Council, the United Federation of Teachers, SEIU 1199, DC37 and the Working Families Party are staging a "Rally for New York."

OSA is supporting the rally and will be there with our banner. We encourage OSA members to turn out and take part. A copy of the flyer for the rally can be downloaded by clicking here. Make a copy for yourself and your friends and colleagues. Join us on March 5th in letting our elected officials know there is widespread support for a better, fairer way to ensure fiscal stability in a difficult time. Public sector workers did not create the financial crisis and we should not be asked to bear the overwhelming burden of its solution.

Meanwhile, take a peek at this short video: