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GOOD NEWS ON OVERSEAS CONTRACTposted March 5, 2021
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on Friday ordered federal agencies to renegotiate provisions of union contracts that contradict President Biden's Executive Order rescinding a number of anti-union, anti-employee directives from the previous administration.
In the case of contracts that are still being negotiated, such as the one for FEA's Overseas bargaining unit, agencies are ordered to rescind any proposals based on the Trump-era directives, even if those proposals have gone through the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP).
The decision was made public Friday afternoon and FEA's legal staff is currently examining the OPM guidance in order to determine the full impact it will have upon Association members. We will continue to report to members on this situation as more details become clear in the days and weeks ahead.
To read more about the guidance issued Friday by OPM, see this article on the Government Executive Web site.
MURISON TRAINING IS VOLUNTARYposted March 6, 2021
This week, DoDEA issued a memo acknowledging that the Murison training provided to certain special education educators in the Overseas bargaining unit is voluntary, not mandatory, as the educators had initially been told.
When the Murision training was first proposed by DoDEA, management told the association the training would be voluntary. However, when information on the training went out to the field, employees were told the training would be mandatory. FEA objected to this change but management would not lift the mandate, prompting FEA to file an Unfair Labor Practice.
An agent of management had claimed the union agreed to the program being mandatory, but we did not. Please be aware that FEA always speaks for itself; neither management nor its agents ever speak for us.
This past week, a revised notice was sent by DoDEA to the field reporting that participation in Murison is in fact voluntary for participants in either Phase I or Phase II of the program.
AMENDMENT PASSES, ESP POST FILLEDFEA members have voted to amend the Association's Constitution, creating and filling the post of Education Support Professional (ESP) Coordinator on the FEA Board of Directors. Teresa Brown, an ESP member at Camp Lejeune, was elected to fill the ESP Coordinator post. Her term begins May 1, 2021. The full election report can be found here. The amendment approved by members also clarifies voting rights and election procedures for Human and Civil Rights (HCR) Coordinators at the Area level in FEA. You can read a summation of the changes that were made to the FEA Constitution here.
RAT GRIEVANCE FILEDposted February 19, 2021
An Association Grievance over the issue of delayed Renewal Agreement Travel (RAT) from summer 2020 is progressing.
At issue is whether Overseas employees on a two-year agreement who were eligible for RAT last summer but delayed their RAT due to numerous factors, including COVID and other travel restrictions, must begin a new two-year cycle if they take RAT during summer 2021.
Employees on two-year agreements who delayed RAT in 2020 should be eligible to take RAT this summer using normal procedures.
DoDEA's position is that employees will begin a new two-year agreement by taking travel in 2021, meaning they would not be eligible for RAT again until summer 2023.
FEA disagrees. FEA's position is that educators should be eligible to take the RAT delayed from summer 2020 during summer 2021, and in accordance with the Joint Travel Regulations, again in summer 2022, before returning to normal two-year RAT cycles thereafter.
An arbitrator was recently selected to hear the case, but a hearing date has yet to be set.
We will continue to update members as this case progresses.
REPAYMENT OF DEFERRED 2020 SOCIAL SECURITY TAXESposted January 4, 2021
Social Security taxes that were deferred from federal employees' pay over the last third of 2020 will now be collected in installments between pay periods ending January 16 and December 4, 2021.
Read the update from FEA here for more info
Read the December FEA Journal in PDF format
NEA DIGITAL LEARNING RESOURCESNEA has put out an info paper with critical tips and considerations for educators tasked with developing and implementing digital learning environments in reaction to COVID-19.
These are great resources. There are also links to educational resources. Those resources may or may not all be approved by DoDEA. If you have questions please check with your ET (Educational Technologist) and the approved digital resources.
Remember that the Information Specialist at your local school has a wealth of digital resources available in the DoDEA purchased databases. The Information Specialist can recommend items to support your digital delivery of lessons.
STATESIDE MEMBERS: BE SURE TO LOG UNPAID TIMEFEA-Stateside members are reminded to use the Association-provided tracking sheet to log the unpaid hours they were required to work this school year and submit the tracking sheets to FEA-SR, for use in the Association's upcoming arbitration. Read the full update and access the tracking form here.
Hatch Act InformationVisit this page to learn more about the Hatch Act and find examples of activities allowed and prohibited under the law.
Hatch Act Do's and Don'ts
FEA HCR Newsletter and other HCR InfoView the latest issue of The Advocate, the monthly newsletter of FEA's Human and Civil Rights Program, and find other resources by clicking here.
FEA Social MediaFEA members (and anyone else) can follow FEA on Facebook and Twitter. We remind members these are public forums and should not be used to solicit or share legal advice. Members should always begin the process of seeking legal advice and services by contacting their local association representative and not share or reveal any personal information, particularly information pertaining to legal situations, on any public forum or social media site.
As always, we encourage our members to use these resources courteously and professionally.
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Teaching Channel: Videos that Inspire TeachingThe Teaching Channel website offers a growing library of short videos to inspire K-12 teaching. These video lessons - in English language arts, math, science, and history/social sciences - include lesson objectives, questions to consider, homework ideas, and more.
Free registration provides access to:
- Highlights of skilled teachers teaching a lesson, such as Kick Me: Making Vocabulary Interactive
- Tips and tricks for new teachers, such as Attention Getting Signals: One Spot and Planning Full Days & Practicing Fast Facts
- Featured "Amazing Classrooms," such as Building Community in a Multi-Language Classroom
See the Welcome to Teaching Channel video.
Updates for our MembersRead the FEA President's Report and link to other updates for FEA members here.