OSA Newsline - November 26, 2012

Our Welfare Fund uses a vision care vendor, DavisVision. Members are normally due up to one pair of glasses per year per member plus one each as needed for spouse and dependent children.

Active service members also receive an extra pair called the VDT glasses if the job requires use of video display terminals (computer screens) and most jobs do require at least occasional such use.

So, it is a really good benefit but, what if you just lost everything due to Superstorm Sandy. You normally would have to wait until the start of the next optical benefit year, which is March.

Thanks to DavisVision, you can now get replacement for lost eyeglasses without waiting until March.

If you live in one of the flooded zones and lost your eyeglasses due to Sandy, call 1-800-999-5431 and DavisVision will send you a new authorization so you can obtain a pair of new eyeglasses right away and at no cost to you.

Since the insurance forms have small print, the new pair of eyeglasses will come in handy.

The City has not yet authorized new VDT glasses for the year so the offer is only for one pair for each covered person affected by Sandy.

The membership meeting is this Thursday and nominations will be held for all OSA/OSART offices. This is our biannual election period.

OSA Newsline - November 19, 2012

Last weekís newsline instructed members on how to handle Superstorm Sandy related absences from work. Members are to request excused absence first and then, if turned down, are to submit annual, sick or compensatory leave forms as appropriate. After that, they are to call the unionís grievance office at 212-686-1229 and answer a few questions. Thereafter, the union will file the appropriate grievances as indicated by the circumstances.

Now, the interesting thing is that, as mild a set of instructions as these were and are, at least one management person objected. At an agency based in Queens, one boss flatly contradicted our chapter chairperson and ordered the members to ignore her and the union. Management had alreadfy made up their mind not to pay and had said so, therefore, any statements disagreeing with management were wrong and must stop. Eyeah.....although exactly when we agreed to let management run our union escapes us.

Leaving aside objections from overenthusiastic managers, OSAís instructions still stand. Better yet, please post notices on the union bulletin boards for OSA members at your location to call 212-330-8833 or check the newsline page of this website for instructions about leave related to Sandy.

Finally, we provide some information for those who may need assistance in dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Please click on the links below for a variety of fact sheets and web resources:

New York Committee For Occupational Safety and Health: Caution - Hurrican Sandy Cleanup Can Be Hazardous!

New York Committee For Occupational Safety and Health: Protecting Worker and Occupant Health From Sewage In Floodwaters

New York Committee For Occupational Safety and Health - Other Resources

Hurricane Sandy Relief Resources

Federal Emergency Management Agency Website for Sandy

NYS Division of Homeland Security Website - Hurricane Sandy Hotline Contacts and Numbers

NJ Office of Emergency Management Website - Hurrican Sandy Recovery Info

NYC Restoration Centers

NY Catholic Charities Sandy Survivor Fact Sheet

OSA Newsline - November 12, 2012

Our union is pretty much recovered from Sandy, but large parts of our city are not and the after effects are awful with many, many personal tragedies. It was bad.

There were many phone calls last week from members asking about what, if any portion, of the period before, during and after the storm should be considered as excused absence.

Our advice is to have any member who lost time from work for reasons directly due to Sandy, put in for excused absence in writing, giving the reasons.

If your request is turned down, keep the answer and submit the normal form requesting to use annual leave or, if you were ill, sick leave. Please keep copies of all denials or approvals.

Then, call our grievance office at 212-686-1229 and you will be asked a few questions. The union will assess the incoming calls to determine if we have a grievance.

By this time, everybody should have received the union mailing sent out just before Sandy, although many got it late. If you did not get it by now itís probably lost in the mail, so call George at the union office and he will send you a copy. Please call George if you did not get the print version of the mailing, even if you read the contents on this website. We do need an accurate assessment of how many people did not get the physical mailing.

OSA Newsline - November 2, 2012

The storm disrupted our union, along with everything else. On Monday, a skeleton crew made it into the office, but on that day most members could not make it to work and the phones were very quiet.

By Tuesday, the Con Edison plant at 14th Street had blown its fuse and the union phones were dead, along with the lights and elevators.

It was arranged for calls to be forwarded to Tim Collins, who lives in an area still served by light and phones, so members could again get in touch with the union.

A mailing, due out this week, will arrive later than planned, but that is the least of our problems. The contents can be read on this website at this link.

Meanwhile thanks and a lot of credit are due to those workers who have done what they could to mitigate and alleviate the crisis.

Do not forget that the union office will be closed on Tuesday, November 6, for Election Day. Look for an update when things get more settled.