OSA Newsline - October 27, 2014

The election is a ways off yet. However, there are three propositions on the ballot and the leadership of OSA has opinions on two of them.

Proposition One allegedly stops gerrymandering, but it does not. In an act of neat hypocrisy, this proposition sets up an independent commission that is, however, appointed by the political leaders and is also subject to overrule by the legislature.

Oh, thatís clear. Change without any change, but somehow we are supposed to vote for it. Well, we will vote. No.

Proposition 3 borrows $2 billion dollars to help schools improve their computer technology. Now, we like kids, but the problem is we are borrowing money to be paid off over decades to come and yet the technology we are spending money on will most likely be outdated in a couple of years, if past experience means anything.

Borrowing money for building roads, bridges and subways makes sense. It can bring benefits that go on for decades thereafter. For our short term improvements in computer technology in the classroom, please stick to taxes.

Members should take a look at these propositions before election day. We recommend a negative vote on number 1 and 3, but the main idea is to vote, however you do vote.

Last week, our representatives made a presentation at the request of Harry Donas at the Department of Environmental Protectionís Local 375 Chapter meeting. The topic was civil service and the upcoming exams set for early next year.

On the same topic, representatives of our union will be meeting this week with the UFT Education Officers and Education Analysts Chapter. As most members are aware, OSA and the UFT have been working together on recent test preparation training courses and we will do so again for the upcoming exam series.

There are 2,400 provisional Administrative Analysts in need of an exam to gain permanent status, plus others in related titles. The training will be a major project, but we have done it before.

Finally, the City has gotten back to us with dates to meet and negotiate on our contracts. We had asked for early November and the 20th is not early November, but it is November, so we wonít quibble and we will meet.

OSA Newsline - October 20, 2014

The fear of Ebola has led the City to ask to meet with the Municipal Labor Committee this Monday. We assume we will be receiving details on what precautions are being taken by the City to avoid an outbreak here.

This sort of meeting is very sensible. We did, for example, have similar meetings after Hurricane Katrina. Thereafter, although we did not get hit by anything as bad as Katrina, we were a little bit better prepared for Storm Sandy when it did arrive.

Planning for what to do in case of a catastrophe is a really good idea and involving the government work force in advance is also wise.

Members will be informed through their agencies or through our next mailing about any details that might apply to them. We assume our major frontline force will be our members working for the Health and Hospitals Corporation and the Department of Health.

Other news. Our contract negotiations hit a rough patch relating to our Traffic and School Safety unit. We were told that retroactivity of salary increases for those members who had left or retired was, subject to the UFT pattern, in danger. Our response has been to loudly disagree and we are awaiting the Cityís response to us on that topic.

Other negotiations are going forward as well, quietly at present, but we are running into unexpected problems at the New York City Housing Authority. Newly unionized members are being asked to work overtime and yet not to even record hours being worked. In essence, workers are being told to complete fraudulent time sheets. No, that is not acceptable.

OSA Newsline - October 13, 2014

Our union has been having various seminars this month: business writing, civil service practices on exams, promotions, rules and regulations and still other classes as well.

For a full list, check out the member services section of this website. The seminars each have their own blue button on the left side of that page.

The reason for bringing this up is that there is still room in a number of the seminars, so, if you forgot to send in a coupon, there is still time.

If there is a class coming which you would like to take this fall, call George at the union office to let him know. He will tell you if there is room and, if there is, will register you over the phone.

OSA Newsline - October 11, 2014

A reminder: You must act by this Tuesday, October 14, 2014, if you have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has a registration deadline of Tuesday (because of the Columbus Day holiday) for anyone who is eligible and who may wish to file a claim in the future. You can file a VCF claim for economic loss resulting from a 9/11-related illness or injury. Last year there was a deadline for VCF filing for anyone diagnosed with a WTC-related condition other than cancer prior to October 3, 2013.

This year, the deadline applies to two sets of folks:

  • Anyone who lived or worked below Canal Street from 9/11/01 to 5/30/02 who has been diagnosed with one of a long list of 9/11-related cancers and who has not already registered for the VCF. (If you have already registered for another illness or injury with the VCF, you should NOT register a second time, as this will result in confusion.)

  • Anyone who was in the area below Canal Street and has been diagnosed with a WTC condition SINCE the last VCF Registration deadline on October 3, 2013. These include breathing problems, such as asthma, sinusitis, acid reflux (GERD).

    How do you register? You can print and fill in an Interim Registration Form, which you will find at this link. This is the quickest, easiest way to register. The form must be postmarked by October 14th and mailed to the address listed on the form. We strongly suggest you sent it with USPS certified return receipt to have proof of mailing.

    OR you can register online on the VCF website. The VCF has information about registration on its website as well.

    If you have questions, you may contact: 9/11 Environmental Action, www.911ea.org, 212-330-7658,info@911ea.org

  • OSA Newsline - October 6, 2014

    Over 100 members attended last week's general membership meeting. That number constitutes a nice size attendance, although, any more could have led to overcrowding.

    The first item on our agenda was very pleasant. Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout came by to thank us in person for being the only city workers' union courageous enough to endorse her candidacy. Ms. Teachout spoke for some time about the goals she shared with OSA, including increased respect for civil servants.

    Our second item was also welcome as it was reported that the citywide health agreement had generated at least some money to assist our welfare fund. Under Bloomberg, there had been no increase for seven years. As of this year, $25 per member will be added for each of four years for a total of $100. That is not really a lot, but it will raise our fund's income by 1.5% a year. The number is almost the current rate of inflation and, given our reserves, will suffice to avoid any shrinkage of benefits for years to come.

    Finally, a serious discussion of current negotiations took place for over an hour. Reports were given and questions asked and suggestions made. It is the position of our union that we will seek to obtain the best possible deal within the framework of the contracts already signed, and as quickly as we can. At the same time, some of our needs do not neatly fit any of the contracts already signed and we have an obligation to those affected, especially those recently brought into union coverage.

    It was an interesting meeting and a lot of information and details were shared.