OSA Newsline - September 24, 2012

We had anticipated the start of economic coalition bargaining this week, but a problem occurred. Apparently, DC37 had not notified the City of their intent to have the non-DC37 civilian unions at the table, so that turned out to be an issue.

It is true that no progress is expected, given the mayor’s attitude, but we are a bit disappointed anyway. We’ll try to get it all clarified as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we do have our September general membership meeting set for this Thursday at 6pm at the union office.

We will get a full report on the details of that matter and a number of other peripheral collective bargaining developments. There are some things the mayor wants from us and those requests will be discussed in detail.

Finally, the Chicago Teachers’ strike has been settled and the kids are back in school. Good for Chicago.

See you at the membership meeting.

OSA Newsline - September 17, 2012

Last week, the mayor’s office met with the steering committee of the Municipal Labor Committee. We were told that the mayor’s office thought it would be a good idea to add a chief investment officer to the Deferred Compensation Plan.

Now, since the DCP has been running well for many, many years, we were curious as to why they needed to fix that which was not broken. We were also concerned because 90% or more of the money in the $11 billion account of the Deferred Compensation Plan is our members’ money.

The City made its presentation, the gist of which was that by adding this new person or persons, we might make one or two percent more in annual returns. More money is better, but it was not clear how that extra money can be achieved or even if it would be achieved.

Worse yet, the City was clearly unprepared in their presentation and, this did not inspire confidence in their proposals.

The City has promised to get back to the MLC on this topic and, we will welcome their efforts. It was Harry Truman who, as President of the United States, used to respond to proposals curtly. Demanding to be convinced by the facts before he would act he would say, “I’m from Missouri, you have to show me.”

The MLC is not from Missouri, but it is our members’ money and the mayor will have to show us why we should support his proposed change. Last week’s meeting did not show us much at all.

The other, and far more important occurrence last week, is the onset of the Chicago teachers’ strike.

The issue, in Chicago, is clear and it is not money. The issue is job security. The mayor wants to be able to fire 30% or more of the teachers next year, based on criteria of his choosing. Thus, he can manage to fire older, well paid teachers who often need health care and, in return, he can hire lower paid, younger, healthier teachers.

All of this is in addition to the charter school openings that lead to public school closings and the end of seniority, etc. No more seniority, no more old teachers. There is a well financed drive in this country to give our kids’ education over to the for-profit corporations, so our taxes will enrich the owners, and the Chicago school teachers’ strike is now the front line of this fight.

OSA Newsline - September 10, 2012

On Labor Day, as members got ready to come to the parade, a tornado touched down in Queens, did damage and then hopped over to Canarsie in Brooklyn.

All over New York, the rain between 10am and 11am was stopping and starting and stopping and starting but, when it started, it poured down in buckets.

Our estimate for parade attendance kept dropping every time the rain started up again but, finally, a lot of OSA members arrived. They were wet, but they were cheerful and determined.

We had more marchers this year than ever before and spirits were very high. According to the sign-in sheets, here's who participated this year: Annis Ambris, Tom Anderson, Rafiu Balogun, Ganiat Balogun, Nanette Beatrice, Mitzie Blanc, Sofiya Brand, Martha Castellano, D’Andre Cid, Esther Cid, Stanley Cohen, Colleen Cox, Bob Croghan, Esther Curenton, Mike Daflos, Pranab Das, Joan Doheny, Tina Edwards, Chuck English, Delois Evans, John F. Manning, Almeta Gadsden, Maxine Gaskin, Sheila Gorsky, Anna Grigoratos, Christina Grigoratos, J. Hameh, Abdel Hamada, John Harper, Verina Hilton-Thomas, James Hsi, Keith Kelly, Monte Lavner, Bobby Lee, Betty Lee, Webster Leung, Judy Leung, Cecelia McCarthy, Alfred Milton, Carol Moten, Stephen Parker, Luz Pena, Marilyn Percy, Celina Reynolds, Wendy Richards, Nilsa Rios, Francisco Rios, Maria Ruparsio, Lorraine Rose Scrofani, John Scrofani, Michael Spector, Rob Spencer, Joseph Sperling, Paulette Starks, Janice Sweet, Stan Williams, Susan Wong, and Lisa Zaremski. (If we left anyone out or spelled your name wrong, we apologize in advance, but this is our best interpretation of what members wrote on the sign in sheets.)

We hope to have photos from the Parade on this website next week in the OSA Photo Gallery section.

The mayor had shortened the parade route, so our march was for only twenty blocks, but we were cheered repeatedly as we marched.

If you were prevented from coming by the extreme weather, you are excused, but you did miss what turned out to be a very nice day for those who could make it.

As always, we gathered for lunch after the march and that was nice too.

This week, the leadership of OSA will be meeting with the other members of the Municipal Labor Committee to hear proposals from the mayor’s office regarding the Deferrred Compensation Plan.

As you might expect, we are always wary of anything emanating from that office. More on next week’s newsline.

OSA Newsline - September 3, 2012

The sad news last week was the loss of Stu Leibowitz, head of the District Council 37 Retirees Association. Stu’s career as a City worker and a union activist spanned over half a century and involved many decisive turning points in City labor history.

Stu also had a role in the early stages of encouraging the Social Service Employees Union to undertake a drive to unionize Analysts and thus he was a part of OSA’s story.

Our story goes on with Saturday’s Labor Day Parade. Join us on West 46th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, at 11am. We have lost many and will eventually lose all those who found the City’s labor unions, but so long as we continue to serve the public, we will continue to need to march together for recognition, decent wages and fair treatment.

Join us and march proudly on Saturday. Look for our contingent and our banner.

And, in honor of Labor Day, we link here to a Labor Day "rant" by WPIX commentator "Lionel" about workers and our interests. Enjoy.