OSA Newsline - May 27, 2002

Last week's phone hotline (but not this website) gave June 16th as the date for the session for those members considering taking the early retirement incentive. A dozen members called to tell us that June 16th is Sunday, Father's Day. You are right. The correct date for the session given by Richard Guarino and John Mazzarella is Tuesday, June 18th. If you are interested in attending, call George Morgan at the union office (212) 686-1229.

All the other news is contained in the May News From OSA which you can find elsewhere on this website.

The membership meeting is set for this Thursday evening at 6pm, 220 East 23rd Street, 7th Floor. See you there.
OSA Newsline - May 20, 2002

First, a small bit of good news. Crain's New York Business, a weekly that comes out each Monday, mentioned us last week. OSA, our own tiny union, was presented as the third fastest growing union in the entire City, at least in terms of percentage of growth.

Since we were also simultaneously listed as being the 18th largest union local in New York City, we are forced, as Analysts, to question the validity of their research methodology. However, even if they are not exactly correct in their details, we are pleased to be noticed. Members who rush out on Monday to get a copy have to ask for the May 13th issue. Copies of the two pages of local union data will be available at this month's membership meeting.

Now, a somewhat larger bit of good news. The "early-out" incentive-to-retire bill has now been passed for 2002.

OSA has received a copy of the law (S7431)authorizing the early retirement incentive needed to close this year's budget gap. Final details will not be available until the City fashions its exact version of all the possibilities permitted by the bill.

Meanwhile, the key points noted are:

Dates
Papers requesting the incentive requirement can be filed as early as July 3rd.

Filing
The filing period itself can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days long.

Departure
The law allows the government to delay the retirement date until as late as 3/31/03, but this is not expected in New York City. We think it will be sooner than that

Eligibility
There are two possibilities 25/55 and 10/50. A member who has 25 or more years of service plus attainment of age 55 will probably be allowed the chance to retire, but a strange provision was written into the law. If the authorities insist your work is essential, they can deny your application but you apparently have a right to an appeal of any arbitrary or capricious decision.

A member with ten years of service aged 50 or older may also be allowed early retirement, but this appears to be at management discretion. Thus many, but perhaps not all, of our members will have this option.

Sugar Plums
The standard offer is being made of a month's additional pension credit for each year of credited pension service.

Exclusions
Only persons in active service from 2/1/02 onwards are eligible. We assume active service includes paid sick or annual leave.

Penalties
Persons retiring under the 25/55 provisions who belong to a tier that required a later retirement age (62, for example) but who are not yet at or beyond that age will lose their retirement bonus of one month per year. They will, however, not be hit with the normal 5% per year penalty on their early retirement.

Persons retiring under the 10/50 provisions will get the month per year bonus but will have their pensions reduced by five percent prorated for each year they are below their plan's normal retirement age.

Members penalized under 25/55 plan can choose the penalty assigned to the 10/50 category if it benefits them, as it would a 30-year veteran 61 years of age or older. Terminal leave will be paid out in 3 equal portions spread over a 24-month period.

Copies of the actual law will be available at this month's membership meeting and can also be downloaded from the State Assembly website by clicking here:(S7431).

Also, a special session will be held at the union office on Tuesday, June 18th at 6 p.m. for those members considering taking the incentive. (The phone hotline says Tuesday the 16th. The 16th is actually a Sunday. The 18th is the correct date.) The session will feature Richard Guarino, OSA's chief pension expert. Please call George Morgan at the union office to reserve your space. (If you previously called and did not leave your name for our count, please call again.)
OSA Newsline - May 13, 2002

Here's a bit of interesting news. All City employees are entitled to a basic health plan paid for by the City. We do pay extra if we have a drug rider and still more if we choose a health plan that costs more than the basic HIP or GHI HMO. Even so, by long arrangement, the City pays most of the cost.

Last July, the Mayor chose to pay only 4% of a nearly 12% increase granted to HIP by the State Insurance Department.

The result was that the difference between a 12% increase and the 4% increase given was passed along to all members in health plans other than HIP and GHI HMO.

This year our new Mayor chose to retroactively meet the City's obligation to pay the full rate increase.

Those who overpaid in Aetna or Cigna or one of the others are now paying reduced rates until July to refund their overpayment. That's very good and a tip of our hat to the new Mayor for doing this.

One problem left is those persons who paid the high rate from July to December last year and then switched to GHI or HIP HMO in January. There is at present no mechanism set to refund their overpayment. More as this develops.

The Organization of Staff Analysts gave awards to a number of quiet heroes last week. At a large chapter meeting of the HRA chapter, awards for close adherence to both the letter and the spirit of the Civil Service Law were given to those personnel staff who are holding that agency's Analyst hiring pools.

Commissioner Eggleston heads an agency that has done a fine job honestly moving the promotional list. The story will probably be in this week's Chief newspaper.

Finally, this Friday, May 17th, the union will kick off our LaborFilms series with Bread and Roses, the story of a young Mexican immigrant who comes to work as a janitor in the high rise offices of Los Angeles and the conflicts and dilemmas she faces as she joins the effort to unionize the janitors. The screening starts at 7pm at the union office, with informal discussion afterward. Light refreshments will be available.
OSA Newsline - May 6, 2002

To quote from a New York Times article of May 3rd by James McKinley, Jr. on the budget negotiations in Albany:

"One thorny problem still unresolved is how to offer early retirement to state workers. Several plans were floated at the bargaining table, but legislative leaders and the governor could not agree. Union leaders have proposed several plans, but so far none has satisfied the demands of the Democratic speaker and the Republican governor. Mr. Silver has advocated a program under which any employee who had reached 55 years of age and served 25 years would be eligible. The governor insists managers should be able to pick and choose who would be let go."

Well, okay, that's clear enough. Those of our members denied prior buy-outs based upon their agencies' refusal to participate might now want to write the governor a letter. The union will write such a letter on your behalf as well, but the more the better.

So long as the City unions permit transfers to back fill vacancies created by an early out and we do the City is protected. Allowing the personal motives of managers to decide the issue is neither fair nor just to the workforce.

Other news. OSA's Film Committee has asked us to note that OSA's labor film series begins on Friday the 17th. The first film will be Bread and Roses.
OSA Newsline - May 1, 2002

We have some bits of good news this week. First, after completion of technical details, our Transit Authority contract is at last on its way to the MTA Board Finance Committee. Once that committee has signed off, the T.A. will be able to pay the retroactive monies due. Nothing goes fast around here so it is likely that actual checks will not arrive until early this summer.

Also, the Uniformed Sanitation Chiefs have finally been able to conclude their very difficult bargaining on their first contract. The chiefs have asked to be covered for welfare fund purposes by the Organization of Staff Analysts and our union will be amending its trust documents to cover them.

Finally, the City Office of Labor Relations has dropped its objections to our petition to represent the Administrative Supervisors of Maintenance at the Department of Transportation. As a result, this new group will be added to our bargaining unit prior to the next contract period.