OSA Newsline - March 31, 2014

Training begins this week for the Staff Analyst Trainee exam. Students will find the study materials on this website by clicking the button for "Exams, Lists and Training" at the left of this page.

For those candidates who prefer home study, the union offers a set of DVDs covering the material. The price of the discs is $40 for the set plus $5 if it is mailed. You can call George Morgan at the union office if you wish to purchase the DVDs or download this order form and mail it in with your payment to order the DVDs.

OSA Newsline - March 24, 2014

The material for the Staff Analyst Trainee exam training course is now up on this website. Click on “Exams, Lists and Training.” in the row of buttons at the left.

Training begins March 31st, Monday evening next week. Classes are taught at the OSA union office, 220 East 23rd Street, 7th Floor.

The OSA general membership meeting will be held this Thursday, March 27, starting at 6:15pm. Refreshments will be provided.

One more curious note. We have begun investigating the possibility of savings in the area of health, working alongside the city. For twenty years now, the Health Technical Subcommittee of the Municipal Labor Committee has met with the city on health issues, sometimes at union headquarters, sometimes at city offices.

So, the meetings are normal, but, in all prior years, coffee and bagels were offered by the union visits and nothing at all was ever offered when we visited the city offices.

As of now, however, the city has begun to provide coffee and trail mix for the meetings. Trail mix for breakfast is unusual, but it’s the thought that counts so thank you Mayor de Blasio.

See you at the membership meeting.

OSA Newsline - March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day. The Municipal Labor Committee meeting held last week was well reported upon in the mainstream press. Bob Linn, Labor Commissioner, spoke at length about the need for health savings. Many new and some old ideas were brought up. The city requested that the MLC have its health technical subcommittee meet with the city’s team to seek to find ways to save money without hurting our members. Harry Nespoli agreed to that plan. The first meeting is set for March 17th – and OSA will be there.

We posted this message on Friday, March 14th. Later that day, news broke in the New York Times of negotiations between the city and the United Federation of Teachers on a possible nine year contract. Details were absent on Friday and negotiations were apparently ongoing. As soon as we have more information, we will provide an update.

A second bit of news occurred last week when we learned that a disc drive may or may not have led to a security breach. It turned out that someone sold a used computer and the buyer refurbished it and the buyer later sold that disc drive to another person. The disc drive was purchased by a technology security official. That official discovered that the drive had on it a list of 15,000 active, retired, deceased and former NYC Transit employees, with Social Security numbers and dates of birth included. The drive was returned to the TA and, very likely, no information ever got into the hands of any bad folks.

Still, the TA is upset and so are we. We will be asking the TA about this incident and we would expect the TA to take actions to reassure those whose names were on that disc drive.

The application process for the Staff Analyst Trainee exam is still open until the 25th of March. If you are interested in OSA's training course for the exam, go to the "Exams, Lists and Training" section of this website and print out the relevant information and follow the instructions for signing up.

OSA Newsline - March 10, 2014

The big news this week is the Staff Analyst Trainee exam. Filing is now open. If you are a pure provisional analyst or other title and you want permanent status, this is an opportunity.

There is one set of instructions for union members and another set for non-union members. In either case, you can click for details. Non-union members will have to join OSART, our related professional association, in order to participate in the training classes.

The almost as big news is a letter you either have received or will receive this week. Our union has now left the Prudential Company and will be served by the First Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company.

In this change of companies, you will still be covered for your basic $50,000 life insurance policy for active members, and $5,000 policy for retired members. If you had a voluntary life insurance policy through Prudential as well, that policy will now be covered by First Reliance Standard and there will be no change in your biweekly payroll deductions.

There is also a one time offer of up to $100,000 coverage without a medical exam, but only from now until April 30, 2014. If you already have a Prudential optional life policy for, say $25,000, you can now add another $75,000 without an exam. You can also insure for amounts over $100,000, but that could involve a medical exam. If you don’t receive the mailing from First Reliance Standard by next week, call George at the union office. The same package of information can be reached by clicking this link.

Finally, the not very big news is that the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) will be meeting, as a group with Bob Linn, head of the Office of Labor Relations, this week. The reason why this is not really big news is that we learned of this topic of discussion by way of The Daily News. According to The Daily News, Commissioner Linn will be asking the unions to consider changes in our health program. We will listen.

OSA Newsline - March 3, 2014

Mayor de Blasio continues to slowly appoint his team of commissioners. His most recent appointment was Steve Banks as Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration. Steve Banks has a record and one that is fairly impressive. He started as a Legal Aid attorney and that is a tough job and one that definitely exposes you to the problems of the poor.

Eventually, he rose to head the Legal Aid Society based partly on his success in suing New York City when one mayor after another sought to avoid the problems brought on by poverty and homelessness.

So, then, after thirty years of arguing for the city to do the right thing, he is now responsible for seeing that it does.

Commissioner Banks has started well. He won’t actually start for a month, but on Friday, he called our union to notify us of his appointment. He pledged to do the very best he can for both the staff and clients of the city’s welfare agency and we believe him. It’s a good sign.