June 8, 2012 Legal Update- FEA Legal Victory and several important issues
To: FEA Leaders and Educators (For Immediate Distribution)
From: H.T. Nguyen, FEA Executive Director/ General Counsel
Date: June 8, 2012
Re: June 8, 2012 Legal Update: FEA Legal Victory and several important issues
This is to update the FEA bargaining unit on several recent issues. The first matter concerns a soon-to-be-issued DoDEA Director’s Memorandum on overseas allowances and differentials for same sex domestic partners of DoDEA educators. The second concerns another soon-to-be-issued DoDEA Director’s memorandum on DoDDS educators receiving full reimbursement for the costs of shipping 100 pounds of household goods (HHG) each way in conjunction with (ICW) RAT. The third concerns the status of DoD Instruction 1400.25, Subchapter 1250 in the FEA bargaining unit. Finally, there is a short update on an important FEA Legal Victory.
As mentioned in the latest FEA President’s update, FEA has been pushing DoD and DoDEA to grant all possible benefits to the same sex domestic partners of DoDEA educators for several years. While some benefits, such as RAT, have previously been granted by DoDEA after significant efforts by the Association, overseas allowances and differentials for domestic partners and dependents of DoDEA educators were not immediately granted by DoDEA. That said, FEA expects DoDEA Director Marilee Fitzgerald to soon issue a memorandum granting LQA and Post Allowance (PA) to the same sex domestic partners of DoDEA educators and their dependents. Upon issuance of this memo by DoDEA headquarters, I will be sending out a Legal Update on this issue.
FEA has also been working with DoDEA on this issue. As background, some bargaining unit educators who elected to exercise their option to ship/mail 100 pounds of household goods (HHG), each way, to the states in conjunction with (ICW) their RAT travel, were not being fully reimbursed for the cost of such shipments. At this time, we are also awaiting a memorandum from the DoDEA Director on this matter that will provide for full reimbursement of such shipments. Once the memo is issued by DoDEA headquarters, we will be sending out a Legal Update to let you know the details, as well as how to obtain retroactive payments.
In the meantime, DoDEA has assured us that DoDDS educators do not need a letter from TMO in order to exercise your right to ship the 100 pounds of HHG in conjunction with RAT. Thus, you can now ship these HHG on your own. However, when you do ship/mail the HHG ICW RAT, please be sure to retain all of your receipts. When you file for reimbursement after completing your RAT, simply attach these receipts and enter the cost of shipment of the 100 pounds of HHG on your voucher.
As I noted in the May 4, 2012 Legal Update, DoD has revised DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1400.25, Subchapter 1250, which governs overseas allowances and differentials for civilian employees in DoD. In the May 4 Legal Update, it was noted that this DoDI contained language on personally owned quarters (POQs) that has the potential to have an adverse impact on the FEA bargaining unit. Citing previous arbitration decisions, FEA has asked DoDEA not to implement this particular change to the regulation. DoDEA is studying our request, but no final decision has been made.
FEA Europe Uniserv Director/General Counsel Bill Freeman recently won an important victory on behalf of all DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit in a decision by Arbitrator Sands. Arbitrator Sands held that DoDDS has been wrongfully denying MA+15 and MA+30 pay lane placement for many years and that DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit may qualify for MA+15 or MA+30 by counting all graduate course work regardless of when it was earned. Bill Freeman will be sending a message to the bargaining unit about this decision shortly. Please keep a sharp lookout for this message.
Bill Freeman strongly reminds DoDDS educators who are leaving FEA Europe or Pacific this school year to file and elevate Goodbye Grievances ASAP. Mr. Freeman also recommends that DoDDS educators in the FEA bargaining unit who have earned graduate credit should gather all of their graduate transcripts this summer. Next fall, Mr. Freeman will send out instructions to the bargaining unit on what to do next with those transcripts.