OSA Newsline - May 26, 2009

Last week, there was a meeting of the Municipal Labor Committee with the City to discuss health givebacks. We have been in discussions for perhaps a year now. Last week’s meeting was inconclusive, since the City took offence and broke off the meeting early.

It is rather hard for union negotiators to be expected to focus on negotiations while the City is laying off our members. Layoffs, of course, are proceeding in many agencies and the unions are especially furious because in many cases, the issue is privatization of current government jobs, not the fiscal downturn.

On a brighter note, over a dozen city unions gathered to testify at Miguel Martinez’s City Council committee hearings on residency. The Committee on Civil Service and Labor is expected to recommend passage of an amendment to the law requiring residency of City civil servants. The amendment will permit members from 27 unions, including OSA, to live in the nearby New York counties.

The OSA testimony thanked the City Council for supporting the amendment, but went further and pointed out that the 20-year-old law has always been offensive, dishonest and ineffective. We urged the Council to exempt not only OSA members, but also any of the remaining civil servants still covered by this dumb law.

This and other matters will be discussed at this Thursday’s general membership meeting. The meeting will be at 220 East 23 Street, 7th floor. The meeting starts at 6pm sharp. See you at the meeting

OSA Newsline - May 18, 2009

On Monday of last week, the Office of Labor Relations began sending out layoff lists to the unions. We began contacting the affected members to notify them of the fact that they were in serious danger of layoff.

The city is following its normal practice of laying off provisional employees with no regard for length of service whatsoever. Two months ago, it was the turn of a PAA who was laid off from her provisional position after 35 years of provisional service.

This month, it is provisional analysts with 10 and 20 years of service who are being laid off. Actually, the layoffs are for June 27th and OSA will be seeking to avert them through bargaining. On the other hand, we can offer furloughs and early retirements and whatever, but this administration has not been very interested so far.

You know, at a very minimum of decency, you would think that Mayor Bloomberg would insist that long service provisionals would be laid off last and recently hired and inexperienced provisionals be laid off first. You would think so.

On a different topic, OSA representatives will be testifying at the City Council this Thursday. The topic is the residency bill that we hope will be passed in the near future. If passed, it will allow us to reside outside NYC in Nassau, Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland or Putnam counties after two years of service.

OSA Newsline - May 11, 2009

One piece of good news this week is the results of the Municipal Credit Union election. The 2008 election, which was held in 2009, was a case of better late than never. There was an unusually large turnout with over eleven hundred members voting on a dismal, rainy Tuesday.

Re-elected were Shirley Jenkins and Mark Brantley for three year terms on the board of directors. Newly elected were Judge Sylvia Ash and Samuel Nana Osei-Bonsu, also for three year terms.

Angel Luis Audiffred was elected for a two year term as director and Almeta Coaxum for the post on the supervisory committee.

Actually, the terms of office are misleading, since the election had been delayed for a year, so the three year terms are really two year terms, etc.

Members who went to vote in spite of the weather deserve credit for braving the elements in a good cause. Thanks to their efforts, everything came out well when the vote was counted.

Less happy news is coming from the mayor’s office as he proceeds with layoffs in spite of ongoing negotiations about give backs.

Both the MLC and our own union will be fighting against these layoffs, but hard times do seem to have arrived for workers in many titles.

Finally, the unions met last week on the Transit Authority plan to create their own civil service. It’s a bad idea, inefficient, costly and probably illegal in its present form. It is also being put forth by the Transit Authority only because the New York City DCAS reorganization plan tries to discard the TA for remarkably stupid and indefensible reasons. So, one really bad move by DCAS forces a second equally insane action by the Transit Authority.

We do not particularly fault the TA for coming up with the bad plan presented last week. We fault the TA for not telling DCAS to do the job DCAS is supposed to do.

Mayor Bloomberg seems to think that inefficiency and duplication of function is okay as long as he doesn’t get the blame. Well, he does.

OSA Newsline - May 4, 2009

We are still meeting with the city over layoffs, but again no further actual layoffs yet. The mayor recently lowered the number of potential layoffs from 7,000 down to 4,000 and he continues to talk as though we had not already offered $200 million in health related concessions. We await developments.

There is no need to await the Municipal Credit Union elections. The 2008 election is, at last, being held this Tuesday. It’s a year late, but better late than never. If you are a member of the MCU, it is very important to go in person to the site of the voting, Bridgewaters Restaurant, at 11 Fulton Street, in the center of South Street Seaport. Voting is from 10am to 7pm.

We urge you to vote for the New Unity Slate - Shirley Jenkins, Mark Brantley, Samuel Nana Osei-Bonsu and Sylvia Ash for a three year term as directors, Angel Audiffred for a two year term and for Almeta Coaxum, who is running for the supervisory committee. Rain is predicted for Tuesday and members are asked to bring umbrellas and vote anyway. It took two court cases in 2008 and 2009 to get you the right to vote in this election and for these candidates. Even if there is a snow storm this Tuesday, please make every effort to cast your ballot. It is that important.

You can read more about the candidates we are endorsing by clicking here and here and here.