DoDEA has engaged in bad faith bargaining with FEA on a new Overseas contract and the parties must restart negotiations from the beginning, an Arbitrator ruled this week in a major victory for Association members.

Arbitrator Charles Feigenbaum issued his decision in an Unfair Labor Practice grievance brought by FEA on behalf of the Overseas bargaining unit. The Grievance concerned the Association’s allegations of illegal, bad faith bargaining by the Agency throughout the process of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement to cover FEA’s Overseas bargaining unit.

In his ruling, the Arbitrator wrote:

“The Agency did not engage in good faith bargaining. It came into bargaining with pre-determined, strict official time requirements, and it did not deviate from those requirements. Those requirements were imposed by President Trump. Nothing in the record, including EO 13837 itself, gives any indication of the need for this “one-size-fits-all” approach – other than that that was the way the President wanted it.”

Arbitrator Feigenbaum held that the Union’s grievance should be sustained, meaning that the Agency was found to have committed violations of the Statute that governs labor-management relations for federal employees. In finding for FEA, the Arbitrator wrote “At least with respect to [] three mandatory subjects of bargaining – official time, grievance procedures, and Agency provision of facilities, equipment and services – the Agency did not bargain in good faith.”

The Arbitrator has ordered the Union and Agency back to the bargaining table, to re-bargain the Overseas contract in accordance with the law. The Arbitrator has also ordered the Agency to sign a notice posting that will be displayed in schools acknowledging that it violated that law.

Read the full Arbitrator decision here.

DoDEA does have 30 days to decide whether it will appeal the arbitrator’s decision.

FEA President Brian Chance stressed the importance of reaching a new Overseas contract:

“Now is the time for management to come to the table and do what’s best for not only DoDEA employees, but also students. Educator working conditions are student learning conditions.”

FEA will continue to provide updates to members on the Overseas contract as new developments occur.