OSA Newsline - November 25, 2013

It’s Thanksgiving. We give thanks for our mention last week in the New York Daily News. Reuven Blau, a reporter for that tabloid, contacted us for comments on the mayor’s “Workforce Reform Task Force Report.”

That report had been recently re-reissued after apparently being buried by the city after the abrupt, unlamented departure of Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.

If you recall Goldsmith was one of Mayor Bloomberg’s brilliant third term appointments. He was appointed in April of 2010 and immediately explained that he was going to change everything. He wanted an end to all longevity payments. He also wanted a giant increase in managerial employees or at least a huge increase in positions exempt from civil service competitive testing.

He explained, in his report, that when managers went into the career and salary workforce due to union petitions, it resulted in a major increase in paid overtime for those employees. Therefore, it should be forbidden.

He peaked as a superstar by unilaterally reducing supervisory personnel at the Sanitation Department, just before the snow storm of 2010.

When the mayor flew back from his island vacation, he found the city paralyzed, but he did not blame Goldsmith for this, although many others blamed both him and his deputy.

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith, however, did resign nine months later, after his arrest on an unrelated matter. It took Mayor Bloomberg five days to get around to telling us that Goldsmith was gone, and for that the mayor was criticized, but we did not mind. We figured the good news was better late than never.

Thereafter, the deputy mayor ‘s proposed civil service reforms apparently got lost for a couple of years and just now resurfaced.

If you want to read the Daily News article, search the web under Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and the current article and a lot more good stuff is made available. You can also reach the article alone by clicking this link.

It’s all old news, but it is important.

Anyway, we’re thankful that OSA got mentioned and we’re also thankful for the upcoming Thursday. Both Thanksgiving and Hannukah fall on the same day. Happy holidays.

Finally, a reminder that the general membership meeting will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2013 because of the holidays this week. We will be offering food prior to the meeting, so starting time has been moved back to 6:15pm at the union office.

OSA Newsline - November 18, 2013

A general membership mailing is going out today and should be received by you this week. The content of that mailing is already posted on this website as the November edition of "The OSA Newsletter."

A number of our members participated in last week’s rally protesting potential layoffs at the New York City Housing Authority. The rally was called by Local 375 of DC37, but properly expressed the anger of our Housing Authority unions. Local 237 Teamsters last week before called a meeting about the long term Housing Authority problems. The Organization of Staff Analysts had representatives at the meeting, but also attending were members of Congress from the City area. Congressman Jerry Nadler has agreed to take the lead on this serious issue. Something needs to be done about the problems affecting the Housing Authority.

OSA Newsline - November 11, 2013

Many New York City employees are covered for prescription drugs by their unions’ welfare funds. We are not, nor are managers, nor are members of about a dozen other unions.

Now, thanks to the rules set by Obamacare, some prescription drug plans offered by some unions may not meet the law’s requirements.

Normally, this could lead to a union so affected opting to drop their drug plan and to have their members join the prescription drug riders offered by the city health plans.

Normally. This year, we have been informed by the mayor’s Office of Labor Relations that they will not allow any union to take that step unless the union agrees to give the city back part of their welfare fund payments.

What? Why?

Members of unions that do not have prescription drug plans pay the full cost of their own drug riders. The city does not pay one red cent.

This is all a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s last gasp efforts to hurt city employees. It does not make any sense to play this game six weeks before he is out of office, but he still does.

He will not succeed.

He did not succeed in 2003 when he first tried to pick our pockets and he did not succeed over the next ten years. He has been doing a lot of failing lately – on the dependent healthcare audit and on his proposed and awful new health plan for all city employees. Now, his attempt to deprive some union members of prescription drugs on January 1st of 2014 will also fail.

It’s hard to imagine a 30 billionaire being such a loser, but Mayor Bloomberg has accomplished just that. Rich as Croesus and yet still a mean hearted loser, trying to hurt any or all of us right up to the last minute.

Turning to another matter, this Thursday at noon there will be a rally to preserve and protect the New York City Housing Authority to be staged in front of 250 Broadway. The City Housing Authority is a spectacularly valuable resource for our city, especially at a time when affordable housing is in shorter and shorter supply. Unfortunately, NYCHA has suffered from national policies of underfunding for decades as well as management problems within the agency. Local 375 of DC37, the architects and engineers, are organizing the rally to call attention to all of the problems besetting NYCHA at the moment, including the outsourcing of many jobs that could be more easily and economically done by civil servants. Layoffs are currently threatened that may affect community center staff, including some newly unionized OSA members. We ask that you turn out for this rally if at all possible. It's during lunch time and should be convenient to a number of downtown work locations. A decent turnout would be welcome. Look for the OSA banner. You can download a flyer for the rally by clicking this link.

OSA Newsline - November 4, 2013

Tuesday is election day. The Organization of Staff Analysts’ leadership has endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor, Tish James for Public Advocate and Scott Stringer for Comptroller. We have other friends running for office. Melissa Katz for Queens Borough President, Gail Brewer for that post in Manhattan, Ben Kallos for City Council and so forth.

Most of our endorsements concern candidates who seem to be likely to win this year but even so, it is very, very important to vote.

To cite the most obvious reasons, four years ago a mayor was elected by only a very small margin. That mayor spent the past four years acting vengeful and irresponsible toward all city workers.

We can’t control the world, but we can and should use our vote to influence it as best we can.

Voting is important. Vote as you will, but please do vote.