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March 30, 2016 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: March 30, 2016

BACK PAY FOR DODDS PAY FREEZE!

DODDS employees (and a few DDESS employees who were employed by DODDS during the second half of SY 13-14) should have noticed a little something extra in their pay checks last week: the amount owed to them by DODDS for illegally freezing their pay between January and July, 2014. FEA gained this back pay plus interest for our DODDS members as a result of our successful legal suit in Federal court last year. (DDESS, for the most part, was not affected by the pay freeze and was not a part of our legal suit)

Worksheets explaining the retro pay are now available from your DoDEA Customer Service Representatives. Anyone employed by DODDS between January 1, 2014, and July 31, 2014, in a non-administrative role should have received back pay plus interest, as well as an adjustment to your COLA and/or LQA (if you qualify for either) as part of last week's paycheck. If you feel you were owed money but did not receive it, check first with your Customer Service Rep for explanation and, if you are still not satisfied, immediately let your FRS know so she/he can help you file a grievance.


WHAT ABOUT RETIREES, ETC?

People who were employed by DODDS for some or all of the period January 1-July 31, 2014, but have since left the system due to retirement or separation are also owned back pay and other adjustments for the amount you should have properly been paid during those months in 2014. Also, any such person whose pension is based in part upon their 2013-2014 DODDS salary and/or who received VSIP/VERA in spring 2014 should receive an adjustment to their pension or VSIP/VERA amount, reflecting the difference in pay those calculations should have been based upon. DoDEA has until the end of May, 2016, to calculate how much is owed to individuals in these situations and to provide the data to OPM. OPM will then process the data and make the necessary adjustments/payments. FEA estimates it will take OPM upwards of 6 months to do so.


DODDS RETRO PAY

Please keep in mind: the back pay recently received by DODDS employees is only for the pay freeze lawsuit that FEA won. It is NOT reflective of the retroactive pay adjustment DODDS employees normally receive each spring as a result of the Association's legal victory in the March Federal Court decision, back in the 1970s. That case requires management to pay our DODDS bargaining unit members each spring for the difference between their true salary amounts in a given school year and the lesser amount (from the previous school year) they had been paid on since August 1. The reason the previous year's salary schedule is used for most of a given school year is because it normally takes until April or May for the DOD Wage Setting Authority to collect and present its data on current year's salaries in the roughly 280 urban school districts whose salaries form the basis for the DODDS pay scales. FEA and DODDS then meet with the Wage Setting Authority staff to review, correct (if necessary) and finalize the current year's salary figures for DODDS.

FEA and DODDS are expecting to meet with the Wage Setting Authority staff around the middle of April to review and finalize the SY 15-16 salary figures for DODDS. We will update our members once that process is completed and let you know when you can expect to see your retroactive pay adjustment for this spring, reflecting your true pay amount for the current school year.

This salary system and retroactive pay adjustment does not apply to DDESS because they are able to bargain their pay as part of their Master Labor Agreement, under the Fort Stewart U.S. Supreme Court decision, in which FEA prevailed on behalf of our members.


CONGRATULATIONS

Michael Pope, Zama MS, has been selected as a state-level finalist in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Our congratulations to Michael for this exceptional honor! If you know great math and science teachers, nominate them to join this prestigious network of professionals at this site.


DCAT SURVEY

DoDEA will be participating in the Defense Competency Assessment Tool Survey. DCAT is a Department-wide competency assessment tool used to validate occupational competency models and assess civilian employees' proficiency levels in the competencies within their jobs and roles. The results of the competency assessments are used by the OSD Functional Community Managers and Components to develop strategies to close identified gaps and inform future training and development plans to effectively manage the Department's civilian workforce. Approximately 10% percent of our workforce will be invited to participate in this VOLUNTARY survey. Be aware, your supervisor will be asked to "validate" your responses, so the survey is not truly anonymous. The survey will be open April 11- May 13. Again, participation is voluntary.


UNIQUE SURVEY

LI M/S teachers will be invited to participate in a survey about the implementation of the Unique Learning System. The Association worked with DoDEA to formulate this survey and encourages teachers who teach learning impaired moderate to severe students to complete this survey. The survey will be available April 11 -- May 13.


PRESIDENT'S TRAVELS

From March 30 to April 6, I will be visiting schools in Kaiserslautern, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, I won't be able to visit more schools on this trip. In April I will be attending the Stateside Area Council and visiting schools in Ft. Benning. I hope to visit schools in England and then the Pacific in May.


HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS AWARD

FEA is very proud to announce that our Executive Director, HT Nguyen, and FEA Vice President, Michael Priser, will be awarded the Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights at this summer's NEA RA. HT and Michael (during his time as FEA President) worked to gain transfer rights and benefits for same-sex domestic partners and married spouses prior to the ruling against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage. This work improved the lives of same sex couples in the FEA Bargaining Unit by gaining fair and equitable benefits. HT was also instrumental in amending the Negotiated Agreement to include non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, and both he and Michael have worked to raise awareness of LGBTQ youth in our schools. The prestigious award, based on a nomination by NEA Director for FEA Brian Chance, will be presented at the annual NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner, July 3 in Washington DC.


EXPEDITED AIRPORT SCREENING FOR DOD CIVILIANS

The Stars and Stripes recently reported that, beginning April 15, civilian DOD employees will become eligible for the same expedited screening that U.S. service members receive at 115 airports in the U.S. Those interested will have to "opt in" to the Transportation Security Administration's pre-check expedited screening program by going to this site. Once registered, you will have to provide your DOD identification number (the 10-digit number on the back of your CAC card) when making travel reservations. Participants in the pre-check program can keep shoes, light outerwear and belts on during pre-flight screenings and keep laptops inside their cases, among other conveniences.


MONTH OF THE MILITARY CHILD

FEA members have a special place in their hearts for military children every day of the year, but during April we join with others to particularly recognize and celebrate these incredible young people as they are honored with their own special month. April has been declared the Month of the Military Child. Our respect and appreciation for military children already knows no bounds, but I know FEA members join me in expressing our pride in serving this community and reminding the rest of the world that the resiliency, hard work and caring demonstrated by military children deserves to be recognized and appreciated every day.