OSA Newsline - October 25, 2010

The class last week on disciplinary training turned out to be very popular. Those attending the class were a mixture of union activists and members working in unfortunate offices with some pretty predatory managers. The class taught by Adam Orgel and Lauren Shapiro set forth the rules we are all required to follow, both labor and management.

The class was very popular and, if Adam and Lauren a are up to it, will probably be repeated this spring.

Another class is set for this week. The topic of Long Term Care will be covered this Tuesday evening, starting at 6pm at the union office. This has also been a popular class in earlier years, so it is being repeated.

The only other news is that the City is now seeking to give our jobs away to the private sector, either before or after they freeze our salaries, diminish our health benefits and attack our pensions.

Naturally, there are a few obvious problems with privatizing government. The practice leads to entirely massive bouts of bribery, low pay for workers, very high profits for owners and a replacement of illegal patronage with corruptly arranged contracts.

We understand that this may be the Mayor's last term, but does he have to completely mess up our City before he goes?

OSA Newsline - October 20, 2010

In late September, the struggle for 9/11 health justice took a major step forward when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 847, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act - which would protect the health of tens of thousands of people affected by the worst act of terror in our nation's history. Sometime in November, the Senate will take up the bill. It is vitally important for Senators to understand that folks all over the country want to see this legislation passed. Below is a link to a petition to your Senators, asking them to vote to pass this important legislation.

After you have signed, please forward the link to friends, family members and contacts, especially those outside of New York State. Please ask them to sign the petition too and ask them to pass it on to their friends, family members and contacts. If you are on social networking media, please direct people's attention to the petition. For example, please post the link to your Facebook status. With your help, by the end of the year we may have a bill ready for the President's signature.

Link to 9/11 Petition to Your Senators

OSA Newsline - October 18, 2010

Our union representatives met with MTA officials last week. There were two topics of interest. Our contract at Transit is overdue approval by the MTA board Ėand we expressed our feelings on that issue.

Second, our members have become very concerned over the Business Center being set up by the MTA at 333 West 34th Street. The MTA officials largely calmed us down by announcing that our members would be going to the new center with both civil service and representation rights intact.

The Transit Authority had offered non-civil service jobs on flyers distributed at our work locations, but not surprisingly, no one accepted the offer.

There are four members of our union affected for this January and more will be transferred to 34th Street by 2012.

That problem, having turned out to be no problem, we are left with the overdue contract raises. More later as that matter develops.

This Tuesday evening, October 19th, at the union office, a new seminar organized by our Grievance department will present an overview of some of the things that you need to know to avoid disciplinary action and termination at work. Among the topics to be covered are theft of property, time, and services; time and leave violations; insubordination; misconduct, including sexual harassment; and use of the employer's property.

OSA Assistant General Counsels Adam Orgel and Lauren Shapiro will jointly present the seminar starting at 6pm at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, 7th Floor.

It should be a worthwhile evening. If you have not yet registered, call George at the union office (212) 686-1229. The class is free to all members of OSA or OSART.

Finally, there will be a live gubernatorial debate at 7pm Monday evening. It will be on New York 1 for Time Warner and News 12 for cable viewers in the Bronx and Brooklyn. For more information about the debate visit this site. Who knows, maybe one candidate will say something kind about civil servants.

OSA Newsline - October 11, 2010

There is an excellent training class going on this week at the union office. The teacher will be training on the civil service rules related to getting appointed from a list.

Students will learn of the dreaded ďone-in-threeĒ rule, about the differences between open competitive and promotional lists and common practices at hiring pools.

What do you do if summoned to three different agency pools on the same morning? When do you need to get recertified to the list? Can you be appointed above minimum? When do they have to appoint you above minimum?

All these questions and still more will be answered by Sheila Gorsky, this Wednesday, from 6pm onwards, at the union office, 220 East 23rd Street, 7th Floor.

If you have not yet registered, call George at the union office. Itís free to all members of OSA or OSART.

OSA Newsline - October 7, 2010

This month, there is an open competitive exam on DCAS's calendar that some within our ranks may find of interest. The Associate Contract Specialist seems somewhat comparable in salary and duties to Staff Analyst. You can find the Notice of Exam at this link. The filing period is open from October 6 through October 26. Anyone doing contract work who is a provisional Staff Analyst and is looking for another opportunity, in addition to the recent open competitive Staff Analyst exam, might consider taking this exam. Also, some of our HHC analysts might consider this exam if they are looking for a job in a competitive class title in a mayoral agency. The education requirements for this title are not as stringent as those for Staff Analyst. You may have a high school degree or equivalent and six years of satisfactory work experience. Take a look.

OSA Newsline - October 4, 2010

We had a victory last week, or at least half a victory. We had a lot of help from John Liu, the City Comptroller. Mayor Bloomberg has now agreed to modify the disgraceful CityTime program.

As you are probably aware, the CityTime system is the latest form of replacing time clocks. To be sure, there was no problem with time clocks and, for well over one hundred years, they had worked well to ensure that workers who were supposed to be at work were at work.

Even so, we have been replacing time clocks with new systems for years now, and we can never seem to get it right with the new and unneeded technology.

Hundreds of millions have been spent and hundreds more will be spent on this unnecessary boondogle, but we have now modified the program to remove some of the more recent, offensive aspects.

As soon as the new rules are in effect, no employee will be required to use the hand scanning devices. The single most intrusive aspect of this Big Brother technology can now be relegated to the Department of Bad Ideas.

An agreement has also been made to determine if any of the work related to CityTime can be switched to City employees rather than to incredibly high-priced outside vendors. Thatís good too.

We donít like expensive solutions to non-existent problems and CityTime, over the years, has been a clear example of just that. We sometimes have to wonder if there is corruption involved in such a case or if it is only incompetence at an incredibly high level.

Thanks are due to Tom Anderson and Rob Spencer of OSA and, especially to Jon Foster of Local 375, the Architects and Engineers, for their good work on this over the past few years.

You can read information about the agreement to modify the system at this link. And, you can read the resolution from the board of directors of the Office of Payroll Administration at this link.

Incidentally, we had over two dozen representatives at the "One Nation" rally in Washington this past weekend and, thanks are due to all of them for spending a Saturday on the Washington Mall at the Lincoln Memoral on our behalf. Thanks are also due to DC37 for helping to make arrangements and to the New York City Central Labor Council for providing space on their buses for us.

To get a sense of the scale of the rally, take a look at these photos posted by the Service Employees International Union.