FEA Furlough Information Page
Big win for students, parents and educators!
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: Furloughs Called Off!
DATE: August 6, 2013
We did it! Today, the Pentagon announced that all furlough days for DoDEA educators have been cancelled. This means that DoDEA students will lose absolutely zero days of classroom instruction due to this manufactured budget crisis.
This is a massive win for FEA members and their students and comes after a lengthy battle to curtail the furlough threat. The Pentagon originally announced plans to furlough civilian employees, including DoDEA faculty and staff, for 22 days. That number was later reduced to 11 days, then to five days for classroom educators (ESPs and other DoDEA positions were still facing 11 days) before this latest announcement.
FEA and NEA members wrote thousands of letters to Congress, protesting plans to close schools down because of furloughs. Our NEA lobbyists did a fantastic job of bringing that same message to the halls of Congress and we even had NEA President Dennis Van Roekel pleading our case directly with the White House on several occasions.
As we hoped all along, the closer we came to the possibility of schools closing down because of budget cuts, the more heat these decision makers began to feel. At the same time, the Pentagon began reporting in recent weeks it had achieved enough savings elsewhere to trim the number of furlough days for other civilian employees from the planned 11 days down to six.
To be sure, FEA members have been negatively impacted by the furloughs that began for most DOD employees back in July. Our ESP members in DDESS schools were subject to five furlough days this summer. FEA-Stateside has been looking into legal action to reimburse these members for these illegal furloughs (the August FEA Journal, now in the mail, addresses legal action FEA had planned before the decision to end furloughs was announced).
On behalf of all FEA members, I want to thank Dennis Van Roekel and our friends at NEA for tirelessly working this issue for us. I also want to acknowledge the great job done by FEA Executive Director/General Counsel H.T. Nguyen and my predecessor, Michael Priser, in leading the fight to protect FEA members and their students against the furlough threat. Outgoing DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald also deserves a great deal of praise for her efforts to end the furlough threat.
Losing classroom time at any point is something we can't afford, but losing it at the start of the school year would have been especially harmful. The cancellation of the remaining furlough days is great news and a great start to the school year!
FEA/NEA Successfully Lobby House to Prohibit Furloughs Next Yearposted July 24, 2013
An amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 prohibiting the use of tax money next year to implement sequestration-related furloughs of civilian employees, including DoDEA staff, was passed by the House of Representatives thanks in part to lobbying by FEA and NEA.
The amendment passed on a voice vote and will head to the Senate along with the full DOD Appropriations Bill.
NEA, on behalf of FEA members, lobbied vigorously for passage of the amendment. We are extremely grateful to NEA for its efforts on behalf of all FEA members.
Although the amendment does not impact the currently scheduled furloughs in DoDEA and throughout the DOD, it does virtually eliminate the threat of such furloughs for next year. The same language will have to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama before becoming law.
FEA and NEA continue to lobby daily for an end to the current round of furloughs facing DoDEA employees.
FEA Files Grievance On Furlough Issueposted July 16, 2013
FEA's legal department today filed an Association Grievance over the issue of furlough days scheduled for bargaining unit members under the FEA/DoDDS Contract. You can read the full text of the grievance here. FEA-Stateside is pursuing separate legal action for employees in its bargaining unit who are furloughed.
FEA To File Association Grievance Over Furloughsposted June 12, 2013
FEA will be filing an Association Grievance to cover all FEA bargaining unit members in the DoDDS schools over the furlough. Please be assured that FEA continues to oppose the proposed furlough, as we believe that it violates the Negotiated Agreement and applicable laws and regulations -- and, even worse, it will negatively impact student learning. FEA will continue our efforts to stop the furlough through all available means.
As you recall, when the proposed DoDEA furlough notice letters were sent out, FEA provided a draft for FEA bargaining unit members in the DoDDS schools to use in responding to these letters. Subsequently, some FEA bargaining unit members in the DoDDS schools have received a memorandum from DoDEA management purporting to be the final decision, stating that the proposed furlough would be implemented.
The memorandum from DoDEA management informs FEA bargaining unit members in the DoDDS schools that they may file an appeal of this final decision with the Merit Service Protection Board (MSPB) or they can file a grievance under the negotiated grievance procedures. FEA discourages bargaining unit members from pursuing an appeal with the MSPB, as the Association Grievance that we are filing will cover all bargaining unit members in DoDDS. Furthermore, due to the Association Grievance, FEA will not be able to provide legal or other assistance with any MSPB appeal for any bargaining unit member.
As the DoDDS school year ends on June 14, this will be our last update for this school year. FEA would like to wish you all a well-deserved summer break to allow you to recharge for next school year! Please be sure to visit FEA's Web site at www.feaonline.org over the summer for breaking news and information.
Respond to Furlough Notices Using FEA's LetterPosted May 21, 2013
FURLOUGH NOTIFICATIONS. DoDEA has begun to serve nine-month employees with furlough notices. By law, bargaining unit members have 20 calendar days to respond to the notices. FEA has posted a form for DODDS employees to complete and return to their deciding official upon receipt of the furlough notification. That response form can be found at this page. We advise ALL DODDS bargaining unit members to complete this response form and return it to their deciding official within the 20-calendar-day window. DDESS bargaining unit members who receive furlough notices are advised to contact their Local Association President on how to proceed.
Furloughs: What Can You Do?Posted May 16, 2013
Upset about Pentagon plans to close DoDEA schools and furlough employees?
Follow this link to write to Congress using our updated online letter. (If you've written using the previous online letter, please write again using this new letter.)
ATTENTION: Do not view this information while on government work time, while on government property or while using government equipment.
FEA Will Continue To Fight Threat of Furlough Days Next School YearPosted May 15, 2013
The Pentagon and DoDEA announced Tuesday (May 14) that DoDEA employees may be furloughed for up to five days between the start of the 2013-2014 school year and the end of September. While this is a significant reduction from the 22 furlough days originally proposed and is less than the 11 furlough days most other DOD civilian employees are facing, FEA still strongly objects to this decision. To cause students to lose even a single day of education due to this manufactured sequestration crisis (let alone five days) is unnecessarily harmful to the educational environment. Furthermore, it constitutes a breach of faith with the military families whose children Congress and the Pentagon have promised to educate. Education of our military's dependents is mission essential!
FEA will continue to press its case to the Pentagon, Congress, the White House and elsewhere that military children should not have their education compromised because of politically orchestrated crises such as sequestration. Yes, five days is much better than 22, but it is still five days too many!
Read the Secretary of Defense Memo on Furloughs, posted May 14, 2013.