OSA Newsline - October 31, 2011

We received a treat for Halloween.

Good news this week. OSA began seeking to represent Administrative Staff Analysts Levels M II and III in 2004. We won that case before the Board of Collective Bargaining two years ago. The city and the New York City Housing Authority then took the Board of Collective Bargaining to court.

That slowed the matter down, as they had expected.

Two years later, we have now won in court, as we expected.

The city can appeal further, and we expect they will, but they will not win.

On the facts, and by the law, they are wrong.

Administrative Staff Analysts Levels II and III have won the right to union representation and the city’s delaying tactics will eventually run out. Meantime, be patient. We have been through this before.

OSA Newsline - October 24, 2011

Our fall training classes are proceeding nicely. This evening, the civil service class repeats for those who missed it last week and the other classes are going on as well.

On Thursday, OSA’s Women’s Committee will host a roundtable discussion on "Financial Wellness" at the union office starting at 6pm. Light refreshments will be available. Please RSVP to Carol Moten at the union office at 212-686-1229. It should be informative.

Last week, a large number of union activists attended the 40th Anniversary of the Civil Service Merit Council at “Terrace on the Park.” OSA has been a member of the Council almost since its founding and we are delighted, even if the Mayor is not, that it continues and even thrives. All of the strongest pro-civil service unions were in attendance and it was a gathering of committed allies.

OSA Newsline - October 17, 2011

We met last week, as a part of the MLC Steering Committee, with Larry Schwartz of the Governor’s office. Mr. Schwartz discussed the intent of GHI and HIP to go public as a for-profit corporation. The MLC prepared a written list of our concerns and shared them with Mr. Schwartz.

It would be fair to say that neither the Mayor nor the unions are happy about this possibility, but it is the State Legislature that approves or refuses to approve such an action.

It is expected that if GHI and HIP do go for-profit as a single corporation, a billion or more dollars will be paid to the State as a result. There will be more discussions to follow and we will keep you up-to-date.

Otherwise, our Fall training classes are proceeding with business writing and retirement counseling last week and civil service lists and how to act at a hiring pool is Monday evening at 6pm.

OSA Newsline - October 9, 2011

Our union was present to support the Occupy Wall Street protestors last Wednesday and, at least until 8pm, the protest was both peaceful and very powerful. Later on, two hundred or so protestors, or about 1% of the folks who had shown up, chose to go against police orders and, of course, that was what the media chose to focus upon.

A number of our members either came in person to the rally or else called in support of the rally and we will have photos taken by Director of Media Services Rob Spencer in the photo gallery section of this website shortly. But at least one member disagreed. We received a letter praising the Tea Party anti-government rallies and condemning the anti-Wall Street rally. This letter could have led to a discussion, but it was unsigned, so the discussion ended before it started.

On a different topic, two weeks ago, this Newsline announced a return to due process rights due to provisional employees. That process had been halted somewhat by the City’s interpretation of the City of Long Beach decision, but was now resuming in a lmited fashion due to negotiations between the City and DC37.

The City’s Office of Labor Relations subsequently informed us that the agreement mentioned on this Newsline only covered DC37 members. We thanked them for the correction, but noted that we did not agree and we were sure that our members would end up being covered as well.

Thanks to Evelyn Seinfeld of DC37, the matter has now been clarified and the City now agrees that our members and all others covered by the Citywide agreement will be given their day in court after all.

Finally, a cartoon that was passed along to us and which we share with you can be found at this link.

OSA Newsline - October 4, 2011

Our union has been asked to support the Wall Street protests by joining a march to Wall Street this Wednesday afternoon.

We have agreed after checking out the scene on Monday afternoon.

The one problem is that the invitation is for 4:30pm this Wednesday and most of our members are not free until after 5pm. A contingent of us will be present at 4:15pm at 250 Broadway as originally requested, but other members arriving later may have trouble finding us.

Even so, we will be there and encourage you to join us. The eventual destination for the march is between Broadway and Church Street on Liberty Street, about four blocks south of City Hall.

Alternatively, take the #4/5 IRT train to Wall Street and walk uptown.

So what is the "Occupy Wall Street" action? For three weeks, hundreds - and at times thousands - of mostly young people have camped out in Zuccotti Park near the World Trade Center site, renamed Liberty Square by the protestors.

What are their concerns? They are our concerns - the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the growth of unbridled corporate power, the bailing out of Wall Street while those victimized by the predatory practices of the mortgage crisis are left to fend for themselves, the attacks on the right to organize.

They see themselves as a "leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."

You can read their "Declaration of the Occupation of New York City" by clicking this link.

Who else is supporting the October 5 march? Strong Economy for All Coalition, Working Families Party, VOCAL-NY, Community Voices Heard, Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, Coalition for the Homeless Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP), TWU Local 100, The Job Party, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center, The New Deal for New York Campaign, National People's Action, ALIGN, Human Services Council, Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, Citizen Action of NY, MoveOn.org, SEIU 1199,CWA 1109, RWDSU, Communications Workers of America, Democracy for NYC, United Auto Workers, United Federation of Teachers - and others.

You can download a flyer by clicking this link. Share it with your friends and colleagues and whether you come to 250 Broadway at 4:30 or the Liberty Street destination later, join us. Should be interesting.

OSA Newsline - October 3, 2011

The Public Employees Federation voted not to accept Governor Cuomo’s contract offer last week.

As a result, the New York Times’ editors saw fit to condemn the union for the vote. The editorial headline on September 30th was “A Bad Union Vote.” In the editorial itself, the editor stated, the voters had “rejected a fair five year contract that would have frozen base wages for three years and raised employee contributions to health coverage.”

Now, if three years of zeros and also agreeing to decrease one’s take home pay is a fair contract, what would the New York Times consider to be an unfair contract?

Don't forget to check out the slide show of the OSA contingent in this year's Labor Day Parade. It's in the OSA Photo Gallery section of the website. Click the button for September, 2011.