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DoDEA Withdraws Law Attacking Workers' Rights

posted February 15, 2019

In a video released today (Feb 15), DoDEA Director Tom Brady indicates he is withdrawing the agency's request to have Congress pass a law to merge Stateside and Overseas schools -- a law that would have stripped employees of their most basic rights and benefits in the process. It is a victory for DoDEA employees and for the quality of DoDEA schools. The system envisioned by Mr. Brady's unified law would have driven away current and future employees in droves!

His stated rationale, unfortunately, has nothing to do with the harm it would have imposed on his own workforce. Instead, he says the law's passage would have had unintended consequences upon the other federally run school system, the Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. While FEA applauds any effort to avoid inflicting additional hardships on BIA schools, it would have been encouraging to hear the Director admit that this poorly-conceived law would have further eroded the already sunken morale of his work force and that was reason enough to reconsider.

In his message, Director Brady also talks about "change fatigue," though he fails to admit the poor execution or outright failure of many of those changes imposed by DoDEA HQ in recent years. Nor does he acknowledge the impending harm that will be caused by one of the biggest planned changes: the increase in Pupil-Teacher Ratios in middle and high schools next year. It will become increasingly difficult for him to deny this damage as time goes on.

FEA and NEA have spent considerable time in recent weeks educating lawmakers about the negative impacts of the merger law Mr. Brady has now put on hold. FEA and NEA members by the thousands also wrote to Congress last year in opposition to DoDEA's first attempt at getting this law passed. We are grateful to the many members of Congress and their staffs who took time to listen to our concerns regarding the negative impact the proposed law would have on our schools. Whether our efforts, and the reaction of people in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, had anything to do with this sudden reversal we cannot say. We were encouraged by the strong support for employees' rights we heard from numerous officials we've spoken with and we hope, should this law be taken up again, Mr. Brady and DoDEA will take steps to ensure that the attacks on workers are no longer a part of it. As always, FEA stands ready to work with DoDEA towards any changes in our governing statutes that benefit students but ALSO protect employees' rights and civil service protections.

Whatever management's true reasons for withdrawing the law, we are grateful that the working women and men of DoDEA today have at least ONE less thing to be concerned about. Perhaps it is too much to hope Mr. Brady and DoDEA HQ have finally heard their employees say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH", but FEA will keep making sure your voices are heard until that message gets through once and for all.

We hope you have an enjoyable long weekend!

View the video from Mr. Brady here