OSA Newsline - September 24, 2010

On 9/11 and in the months afterward, many OSA members were exposed to the toxic dust and smoke from the collapse of the World Trade Center. Some are now suffering ill health effects from that exposure or know someone who is. For many years, the union has been active in the struggle to obtain guaranteed federal funding to provide the medical care for responders and survivors of 9/11 that they need and deserve.

On Wednesday 9/29, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (H.R.847) will come to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. It is long past due. Tell your Representative to vote for passage of the bill as written by signing the petition you can find at the link below. Since it is crucial that Representatives in other states hear from constituents in their own districts, please let your friends, relatives and associates in other states know about the bill and ask them to sign the petition as well. Send them the link and ask them to sign the petition.

Tell Congress: Give Sick 9/11 Survivors and Responders the Medical Care They Need and Deserve

OSA Newsline - September 23, 2010

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services has mailed out notices of disqualification to some candidates who took the recent Staff and Associate Staff, Education and Associate Education Analyst exams.

Strangely enough, that is both good and bad news at once. It is good news because it signals completion of the marking process on all the exams, so we can expect list issuance by early next year – or even sooner. It is also a sort of good news to those disqualified, because it means they passed the exam. Candidates who failed the exam do not have their Education and Experience papers marked at all.

So, to those disqualified, congratulations on passing the exam, but now you must appeal your disqualification paper right away.

OSA is now setting up to assist those disqualified for all of next week, Monday through Sunday. If you were disqualified, you must call OSA at 212-686-1229 for an appointment and be prepared to come over one or more evenings, preferably with a copy of the Education and Experience paper that you submitted with the exam or exams.

Other events set for this coming week at the union office will go forward, but will be tight on space as a result. This month’s general membership meeting will be held on Thursday night, but it will probably be briefer than usual.

Not everyone reads this newsline so, if one or more of your co-workers was disqualified, please tell them to call OSA for an appointment and to do so immediately. If we get swamped with late callers towards the end of the brief appeal period, it will be a problem.

The other news is that the Mayor is again waving the threat of layoffs at us, while demanding we give up retirement and health benefits. Come to think of it, that’s old news with this Mayor.

Finally, the Mayor's love affair with sending taxpayer dollars down the rabbit hole of the City Time payroll management system contract drew union response earlier this week. Local 375 DC37 leaders and a range of other unionists, including OSA Vice-Chair Tom Anderson, condemned the project as a boondoggle that is now approaching a billion dollars in spending. They were joined by a number of City Councilmembers, including Letitia James, Daniel Dromm, Anabel DePalma, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams who urged reconsideration of the ill-conceived program which has provided a nice living for many an outside contractor. You can view OSA Vice-Chair Anderson's remarks on the video clip below shot by Suzannah Troy and posted by her on YouTube:

OSA Newsline - September 20, 2010

OSA’s class on business writing taught by Jeanne O’Sullivan will be held this Monday and Wednesday at 6pm in the union office. The OSA Women’s Group, led by Kim Vann, will be meeting in the office conference room on Wednesday as well - at 6pm.

We had some bad, but not unexpected news last week. Both the City and the Housing Authority have filed suit against the Office of Collective Bargaining. They are seeking to overturn the decision granting our union the right to represent Administrative Staff Analysts Levels II and III.

The City really can’t win this case, but, by going to court, they can delay representation rights for a while.

In direct response, we are now filing to represent a number of new titles in the Health and Hospitals Corporation. When OSA won the right to represent Senior Management Consultants, the HHC switched a number of employees into the title of Senior Consultant (Management Information Systems). Our organizers, led by Ron Lehman, went out and got union designation cards from these Senior Consultants (MIS) and we are now filing to represent them, and some others as well.

Our union has been growing steadily since we started in 1970 and, for this, we owe thanks to our volunteer organizers, our always-sharp labor lawyers, our union office and our on-location labor leaders, delegates and chairpersons.

Unions would be growing in the private sector as well, if the nation’s laws did not make it so very difficult.

Last week’s tape promised we would see if we could get transport for those of our members going to the "One Nation Working Together" rally in Washington on October 2nd. Lillian Roberts has tentatively offered us space on the DC37 buses. If you are interested in going, call Carol Moten at the union office. She’ll take your information and get back to you with details.

The latest on the rally can be found by clicking this link.

OSA Newsline - September 13, 2010

The Organization of Staff Analysts had a nice victory last week. We now represent the Ombudsmen of the Agency for Children’s Services.

Over a year ago, employees in that title approached our Department of Juvenile Justice Chapter Chairperson Eddie Birch. The Ombudsmen, who solve other people’s problems, needed a good union to solve their own problems on the job.

Then, DJJ merged with ACS and, as a result, we now represent the title at ACS rather than at DJJ.

There are few employees in the title, but each new member is important to all of us.

Members have been calling about the labor rally set for October 2nd in Washington DC, organized by a new coalition under the name "One Nation Working Together." The rally has drawn the support of the AFL-CIO and many of its constituent unions, as well as civil rights and social and economic justice groups like the NAACP. The rally is a good idea. You can find a great deal more information about the event by clicking this link.

We actually have not made any arrangements of our own, but we will be asking other unions if they have space on their buses for any of our members interested in going. We’ll know by next week.

Finally, this Tuesday, September 14, is Primary Day in New York. If you are a registered voter, and we hope you are, go to the polls and vote in your party's primary. As government workers and citizens, we need to be a part of the process and voting is the most powerful thing we can do.

Union leadership would like to especially point out three Democratic Party primary races. In the 33rd State Senate District in the Bronx, we highly recommend Gustavo Rivera. Mr. Rivera was recommended to OSA by a number of our members living in the district. We met with him and were very impressed. He is also supported by Freddy Ferrer, who was always a friend to our union. For more information visit Mr. Rivera's website.

In the 72nd Assembly District race on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Gregg Lundahl is running against incumbent Assemblymember Jonathan Bing. We encourage your vote for Gregg. OSA Chair Bob Croghan notes "I first met Gregg at the labor rally in June at City Hall, when he was supporting the cause of City workers. I asked him to stop by our office to meet our officers and he did. We were all impressed with him and feel he would be a fine, pro-worker member of the Assembly.

"I do have a problem with his opponent and I believe you might share my opinion. His opponent felt that the City should have the right to lay off older workers first since they (the older workers) cost more." You can read more about it in Bob's commentary in the April 30, 2010 issue of the Chief which you can reach by clicking this link. Notes Bob, "Gregg Lundahl does not share the incumbent's cold-hearted approach to workers and so, he is the preferred candidate." For more information, visit Mr. Lundahl's website.

And, if you are in the 14th Congressional District, which covers much of the East Side of Manhattan, Roosevelt Island and the western part of Queens (Astoria, Long Island City), we urge your vote for Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who is being challenged by a hedge fund manager who sees attempts to hold Wall Street accountable for the economic meltdown it manufactured as the "destructive demonization" of Wall Street. We don't agree. Mrs. Maloney has played a leading role in the fight for guaranteed federal funding for healthcare for those harmed by World Trade Center attacks. And, Rep. Maloney has advocated effectively for issues of importance to workers,including her legislation to end some of the most abusive practices of the credit card industry. For more information, visit Rep. Maloney's website.

So, go to the polls on Tuesday and vote. New Yorkers will be encountering a new paper ballot/optical scan voting system for the first time. So, leave yourself a little extra time to master the new system.

OSA Newsline - September 6, 2010

The New York Post had an editorial against “big labor” today, plus two op-ed pieces against us as well. These days, the New York Post especially hates government workers and, in fact, we are being blamed for the loss of private sector jobs. So it seems that we caused the recession, not Wall Street - at least in the view of Rupert Murdoch.

Now, they did praise three labor leaders – George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and Al Shanker, so there is hope of a sort. The New York Post apparently does think labor leaders can be good, so long as they are safely dead.

Well, we analysts are still alive and, on Labor Day for the year 2010, we are ready for another year of fighting on behalf of each other and our families.

OSA Newsline - September 3, 2010

There was an error in a URL printed in the September edition of the OSARC Newsletter which retirees should have just received. We printed an article about obtaining reimbursement for the extra Medicare Part B premiums paid by certain beneficiaries in 2009 above and beyond the standard Part B premium of $96.40 per month. Those affected are Medicare beneficiaries whose earnings for the year exceeded certain thresholds ($85,000 for those filing taxes singly and $170,000 for those married and filing jointly). The URL directed you to the forms on the Office of Labor Relations' Health Benefits Program website. You can reach those forms at this link. or by going to the Retirees section of this website and scrolling down to the last link on the page. Complete and mail the forms to OLR with the required proofs of extra Medicare Part B payments.

On September 15, 2010, the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center at Bellevue, Gouverneur and Elmhurst Hospitals - the Center of Excellence treating area workers, residents and students whose health has been harmed by the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks - will be holding an educational forum at the City University of New York's Graduate Center at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street from 6 to 9pm. Doors open at 5pm. If you have health effects from 9/11, you are encouraged to attend. For more information and to register, you can visit this website.

You can listen to a segment from WFUV-FM examining the health impacts of 9/11 on non-responders by clicking this link. It features interviews with Dr. Joan Reibman and Terry Miles of the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center and with a patient at the center.