OSA Newsline - October 25, 2007

The site for gathering Saturday to protest against the war in Iraq is set for the southeast corner of 19th Street and Broadway. The rally begins at 12 noon and the march at1pm. If you are coming, it may be wise to bring an umbrella.

On a different topic, members are all asking about negotiations and the monies that we are due from the City. We are able to go into more details at meetings than on the newsline, but what is clear is that we are due the one percent and members are aware of the fact.

It is difficult for us all, members and officers alike, to have to fight for so long for monies that we know we are due, but it is the City that is causing this problem, and not us.

OSA Newsline - October 22, 2007

Our union has been asked to endorse an anti-war rally and march from Union Square to Foley Square set for next Saturday, October 27, 2007. OSAís leadership had openly opposed the invasion of Iraq even before the first soldier was sent into harmís way, so, yes, we do endorse the rally. More information about the rally can be obtained by clicking on the "National Mobilization" button to the left. The labor contingent is gathering on Broadway between 17th and 19th Sts. and on 18th St. between Park and Broadway and 18th St. between Broadway and 5th Ave. The rally begins at noon and the march at 1pm. We will try to identify a gathering place and time for OSA members who wish to take part, so please check back later this week. You can download a flyer by clicking here.

On a different note, this monthís membership mailing will announce a change in the rules for our December holiday party. This year, we will use tickets to limit attendance at the party .The logic of the situation is inescapable. Every time OSA has moved to a larger site for the party, larger and larger crowds of non-members show up for a free meal and entertainment. The problem, aside from the cost, is that our own members often suffer from the crowding, insufficient food, and overwhelmed service workers. Last year, in fact, many members did not get their expected once-a-year desert, a Charlotte Russe. That must not happen again. So, this year, tickets for our members.

OSA Newsline - October 15, 2007

Members with long memories may recall a dispute six years ago between Empire Blue Cross and North Shore Hospital. A consortium of ten hospitals, most on Long Island, insisted on a large increase in rates from Empire at the time of contract renewal.

At that point, many members became concerned because the dispute was very hot. Newspaper ads were being taken out and there was a real possibility of a break between North Shore and Empire Blue Cross. If it had occurred, many of our members would have been unable to use their regular hospitals and the hospitals themselves would have been devastated financially.

Finally, the dispute was resolved

Now, it's North Shore Hospital contract time again and we have been warned that matters are heating up. Hopefully, matters will be resolved without a repeat of the furor of six years ago. The Health Technical Subcommittee of the Municipal Labor Committee will keep track of developments.

Also, retired members should be aware that, for Medicare Part D purposes, the TROOP number is going up next year. TROOP or True-Out-Of-Pocket expenses, refers to the dollar amount that a patient must have spent on drugs before Medicare begins to reimburse at the 95% rate.

One year ago, TROOP was $3,600, this year it's $3,850 and next year it has now been set at $4,050.

Our Superimposed Major Medical benefit does pick up the cost of our membersí co-pay after reaching TROOP, but obviously as TROOP is raised by the Feds, our members are getting stuck paying a bit more each year.

There were no other negotiations last week.

OSA Newsline - October 8, 2007

The Health and Hospitals Corporation is offering its employees no-cost flu vaccinations. Actually, HHC is going further and is actually providing a gift card worth $100 for the winner of a lottery to be held after November 4. To be eligible to win, get vaccinated at your hospital.

It does make sense, especially for health care providers, and our members work daily with patients and medical staff. Since the offer is free and the location convenient, members should seriously consider getting that shot.

There were no negotiations last week, formal or informal, and we are awaiting the City's answers on our last proposals.

OSA Newsline - October 1, 2007

Last week's membership meeting heard reports on exams and lists and the impact of the City of Long Beach decision. Assistant General Counsel Meaghean Murphy reported on a legal victory for one of our members and an in-depth negotiations report was given by Vice-Chair Tom Anderson.

Negotiations on the one percent are continuing while the union is awaiting action by the Office of Collective Bargaining on our complaint over the City holding our contract hostage until we agree to give up the one percent.

CWA 1180 has now settled their contract for the 2006-2008 pattern plus one half of one percent for productivity back to July of 2004.

The City has not yet offered us anything for productivity, but we do continue to come up with good ideas for productivity or cost savings. Thus far, the City is still not interested.