posted May 1, 2019
In accordance with the ground rules imposed earlier this year by the Federal Service Impasses Panel, FEA and DoDEA exchanged their bargaining proposals recently as the opening step in the negotiation of a new contract for the Overseas bargaining unit.
FEA has posted its complete proposal at this page. The document includes many suggestions/requests submitted by FEA members in recent years. Among the proposals we put forth are:
In its proposals, DoDEA made clear the low regard it has for its education employees. Among the many harmful contract provisions DoDEA seeks are:
DoDEA even goes so far as to propose pre-determined ground rules (heavily favoring management, of course) for the next time the Overseas contract would have to be renegotiated — which wouldn’t be for at least 5 years if management gets its way.
There are many more harmful changes including in management’s proposals, which can be read in their entirely here.
The cumulative effect of management’s contract proposals, if enacted, would be a school system in which employees are treated as the enemy, to be dealt with as severely and with as little recourse as possible.
FEA will fight tooth-and-nail for the best possible contract for our members. We expect, however, that the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) will once again side with DoDEA and impose as many negative contract articles as feasible. The FSIP, whose members are appointed by and answerable only to the White House, has made its bias in favor of management clear on multiple occasions already: giving DoDEA virtually everything it asked for in a successor agreement for Stateside schools and adopting management’s proposed ground rules for the Overseas bargaining nearly verbatim.
Under those ground rules, FEA and DoDEA are to have 60 days to review each other’s proposals before beginning face-to-face bargaining for 6 weeks. FEA recently filed an Association Grievance against DoDEA because the agency is attempting to force FEA to bargain over the summer break, despite the existing negotiated agreement — which remains in full force and effect until a new Overseas contract is legally implemented — making clear that such bargaining cannot be held during summer.
In seeking to force bargaining (without compensation to FEA team members) over the summer, DoDEA’s actions are consistent with the agency’s attitude towards its employees in recent years: it does all it can to omit educators from having input into their work environment and refuses to comply with existing laws, thus requiring the Association to take legal action to enforce even the most basic rights and protections.
Once actual bargaining begins, the two sides will work toward an agreement mutually agreeable to both sides — at least, that will be FEA’s philosophy. If such agreement is not reached, mediation will take place. After that, either side may then appeal to the FSIP to take jurisdiction over the impasse and impose a final contract.
If the parties sign off on an agreement, per the ground rules, the contract must be voted on by FEA Overseas members. If those members fail to ratify the contract, both sides will be required to return to bargaining.
FEA is preparing to name its bargaining team in the weeks ahead and will be updating our members regularly on developments with the negotiations.