posted April 29, 2019

FEA-Stateside Region (FEA-SR), its members and NEA are asking lawmakers to intervene in DoDEA’s illegal implementation of a new contract on Stateside bargaining unit employees.

With help from NEA’s Government Relations office, FEA-Stateside Region (FEA-SR) and FEA’s Washington DC Office are reaching out to decision makers on Capitol Hill, educating them about the serious harm being done to the working and learning environment in Stateside schools.

The most egregious harm is being caused by management’s abuse of a tentative agreement in the successor Master Labor Agreement, concerning an additional 24 hours of work time that could be assigned per academic quarter without added pay.

Those 24 added hours — which FEA-SR tentatively agreed to only because the Federal Service Impasses Panel made clear it would impose double that amount of unpaid time per quarter if the lower figure was not accepted during mediation — were only to be used on an “as needed” basis by schools. The added time was NOT to be used to extend the duty day on a regular basis, as is being done now in many DoDEA-America’s locations. Instead, it was presented by management as an optional pool of additional time available for special events or trainings.

The tentative agreement over that added time is included in a successor Master Labor Agreement for Stateside schools that remains contested and not legally implemented. This means DoDEA has no legal right to invoke that tentative agreement at this time.

In some locations, DoDEA has illegally used the tentative agreement to order employees to work an extra 30 minutes per day. In other locations, the duty day is being extended by an hour several times per week. Educators in some locations have been ordered to report to work as early at 7am, making them scramble to find childcare available on short notice because the illegal changes were imposed so late in the school year.

The result, predictably, has been a massive deterioration in the morale of DoDEA’s Stateside employees and a degrading of the education environment due to the stressed placed on school-level employees.

Because DoDEA ignored warnings from FEA-SR about the harm management’s actions would cause — and continues to ignore the deteriorating working and learning conditions in its schools — the Association is seeking redress from other sources.

FEA-SR has invoked its right to arbitration in this matter.

Meanwhile, the Association is also taking the situation to lawmakers who oversee DoDEA schools, in hopes they will recognize the urgent need to hold DoDEA accountable for its incredibly harmful actions. With the help of NEA’s Government Relations office, FEA and FEA-SR are seeking intervention from Congress to halt DoDEA’s illegal conduct and restore the quality of the learning environment in Stateside schools.

A letter-writing campaign is also taking shape; more information on that will be made available to members when it is finalized.

FEA-SR is using all available resources to fight management’s illegal contract implementation and the increasing damage being caused by the improper imposition of the added work hours.

More than ever, DoDEA management seems concerned only with exerting power and violating employees rights instead of maintaining and improving the learning environment. The damage from this latest management attack on its employees will certainly be long lasting, and may be irreversible.