Legal Update - Options for RAT Travel, Summer 2009

FEA Legal Update- March 27, 2009

The following options are available to members of the FEA bargaining unit when they exercise Return Agreement Travel (RAT) this summer (2009):

1. MAKING YOUR OWN TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS: Request RAT travel orders through TOPS. Once travel orders have been issued, teachers can make their own travel arrangements, which may include circuitous travel (stopovers). DoDEA will reimburse them the constructive cost of travel to their home of record. Travel must be on American flag carriers.

An issue was raised as to whether or not teachers will need to obtain an endorsement or approval from the CTO/TMO travel office before making their own travel arrangements. FEA has contacted DoDEA in the past and has been assured by DoDEA's Office of Human Resources that no such endorsement would be required or needed. However, prior to making their own travel arrangements, teachers need to ask CTO/TMO for the constructive cost to determine how much they will be reimbursed. Most CTO/TMO will provide the constructive cost upon request. Some other CTO/TMO offices may not provide the information.

In the event that a teacher cannot obtain the constructive cost after having made such a request to CTO/TMO, DoDEA will then use the amount listed in block 20b of the travel order (DD Form 1614) to determine reimbursements. However, please be prepared to prove that you contacted the CTO/TMO in writing and they refused to provide the constructive cost. Without this evidence, management will not use the amount in block 20b of the travel order and instead will pay you the applicable constructive cost.

2. MAKING TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS THROUGH CTO/TMO: If teachers do not want to make their own travel arrangements, namely, if they don't want to pay up front for travel cost and request/obtain reimbursements later at the constructive cost, they can make travel arrangements through the CTO/TMO office. If they travel on dates on which the Patriot Express/rotator is available, it will be likely that the CTO/TMO will put them on these flights.

In the Pacific, or other locations where the Patriot Express/rotator are operating, if teachers travel on dates on which the Patriot Express/rotator is not available, it will be impossible for the CTO/TMO travel office to put them on the Patriot Express/rotator when there is no Patriot Express/rotator flight. In short, to avoid being placed on the Patriot Express/rotator by the CTO/TMO, teachers will need to find out when the Patriot Express/rotator is NOT available and book flights on dates that have no Patriot Express/rotator flights.

Currently (as of the first week of April 2009), the Patriot Express flies from Seattle on Thursday, arrives and departs from Yokota, Iwakuni and Kadena on Friday, stays in Okinawa overnight Friday, then returns to those 3 stops on Saturday on the way to Seattle. Of course, this schedule is subject to change. Please get the most updated information on the Patriot Express before making your travel arrangements.

These above-mentioned options are the same options that teachers had last year when the Patriot Express/rotator was also an issue.