OSA Newsline - May 28, 2007

At the membership meeting last week, two special announcements were made.

First, Ken Berman, one of our most aggressive grievance representatives, is cutting back on his activities and was given an award - which you can view here - for his long service to our union. Kenís service to OSA precedes our actually becoming a union. Ken began helping our members in 1985.

Ken has represented hundreds of our members over the years, and his win/loss record was wonderful. We are losing a marvelous representative.

Younger attorneys Fausto Zapata and Meaghean Murphy will take over Kenís role and Ken has said that they are both excellent and that OSA is in good hands.

Our second announcement was of the hiring of a new general counsel for OSA. Len Shrier will now take on the role that Joan Kiok has played so well for us. Joan is not leaving yet, but will begin to pass the work along to Len while being available as needed.

Since we are currently claiming that the City is bargaining in bad faith and delaying our raises, the importance of our lawyers to all of us is clear. Good luck to our new warriors and our deep gratitude to Joan and Ken for their long service.

OSA joined more than 10,000 New Yorkers who turned out for last week's rally and demonstration for affordable housing at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Residents from every borough literally ringed the two giant developments which extend from 14th to 23rd Streets between the FDR drive and First Avenue. Below are three photos from the rally.

For more information on the campaign for affordable housing that was kicked off by the rally on May 23rd, visit www.newyorkisourhome.org.

OSA Newsline - May 21, 2007

A mailing went out last week and, if you have not received it by Monday night, please call George at the union office so we can check your address.

Members, a reminder that the membership meeting this Thursday night will be at 125 Worth Street, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 6pm sharp.

As members are aware, there is a crisis in affordable housing in New York City. A new luxury condominium seems to appear almost overnight on every corner, while existing affordable housing for moderate and middle income folks is constantly drained from the pool of available housing. Thousands of apartments are being removed from Mitchell Lama subsidized complexes as they pay off their mortgages and leave the program and thousands of rent stabilized apartments in buildings like Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in Manhattan and Starrett City in Brooklyn have either been de-stabilized or are in jeopardy.

This Wednesday, May 23, a coalition of housing groups and labor unions will be holding a rally for affordable housing on First Avenue between 14th Street and 23rd Street, starting at 5pm (alongside Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village). As members are aware, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were created as middle class housing, but are now becoming very high rent luxury apartments. A flyer for the rally can be downloaded here. Share the flyer with your friends, neighbors and colleagues and raise your voice in support of affordable housing in New York City.

OSA Newsline - May 14, 2007

We have sad news this week. Ken Asbedian unexpectedly passed away last week.

Ken was a long-time OSA member and activist. He retired from HRA as an Associate Staff Analyst in 2001. Many of our members got to know Ken because he was one of our teachers for our civil service exam preparation courses, especially for the most recent Associate Staff Analyst exam.

Ken was a popular teacher and he will be missed by many of us.

The OSA general membership meeting will be on May 24th and mail notice will be going out later this week, but the mail may be a bit late, so please mark the date. The same information is already posted on this website as the May 2007 edition of News From OSA. Included is the Item Analysis for the recent Associate Staff Analyst promotional exam.

OSA Newsline - May 7, 2007

Over one thousand of our members were called in to take the Associate Staff Analyst promotional exam this past weekend. The exam was held at two schools on Saturday, Washington Irving High School on East 17th Street and Bayard Rustin on West 18th Street. Sabbath observers were tested on Sunday down at 26 Washington Street.

The exam was tough, as Analyst exams usually have been over the years. A lot of math and a lot of very careful reading questions were given, and most candidates took three to four hours to answer the questions and a few were not able to complete the exam.

At least one question, number 45 on the Saturday exam, may have been asked incorrectly according to those leaving the exam. If so, the question will likely be thrown out during the test validation process.

Conditions were generally good for the exam. It was a nice day and the DCAS personnel ran a smooth operation. Two exceptions were brought to our attention. One monitor in one classroom forbade the use of any calculator other than the OSA calculators given out that day. It is reasonable to forbid the use of a text type of machine, but not reasonable to exclude non-text scientific calculators.

The other problem was room 428 at Bayard Rustin High School. Apparently, a family of mice was celebrating in the back of the classroom and had invited lots of friends. In that case, DCAS really should have stopped the clock for that one classroom and moved everyone to another classroom. Instead, candidates were distracted by the reactions to the mice, plus the need to sit with their feet off the floor and their purses and bags on the floor at the risk of being visited by vermin.

Union representatives have suggested complaints be sent to DCAS on this situation and we will follow up as well.

It was not an easy test.

Candidates are reminded, first, to request the right to review the exam. That request must go into DCAS this week. Second, please send OSA a copy of your answers (the ones you wrote on the pink sheet), so we can provide an item analysis showing how many candidates agreed, or disagreed, with your answers on each question. You may mail them to us in tne envelope provided in the green kits given out on the day of the exam or fax it to the union at (212) 686-1231.

Thanks also to our OSA Executive Board members who gave up a nice weekend in order to pass out the green pencil cases with the number two pencils, the calculators, and the tootsie rolls for emergency provisions.