posted July 31, 2019

Management wants to increase the length of the duty day and eliminate guaranteed prep time

As part of a new contract for Overseas employees, DoDEA wants to extend the work day to 8.5 hours (8 hours of duty time plus a 30 minute duty-free lunch), with no added pay.

The Agency also proposes to eliminate the guarantee of prep time for Overseas secondary educators and instead only provide “reasonable/adequate” prep time, whatever that may mean.

In contrast, FEA’s proposals for the new Overseas contract call for the length of the duty day to remain unchanged and also guarantees the current two prep periods for secondary schools while proposing 225 minutes of prep time per week for elementary educators. FEA also proposes the duty day shall not commence more than 20 minutes before nor end more than 30 minutes after the instructional day.

If enacted, DoDEA’s proposal would extend the amount of duty time in a given year for Overseas employees by roughly 20%. An extra 90 minutes of duty time per day for the 190 duty days proposed by DoDEA (FEA is proposing 186 duty days) would equate to 17,100 extra minutes — just over 40 extra duty days — per year in Overseas schools, without additional compensation.

Just as has been the case with management’s illegal and harmful implementation of added duty time in its Stateside schools beginning this past spring, DoDEA believes it should not have to pay Overseas employees anything more for this added duty time, nor does it have any plan in place for how the added time will be used.

Likewise, the elimination of guaranteed prep time for Overseas educators would endanger the quality of education by inviting management to impose additional tasks unrelated to classroom education, making it even less possible than it already is for employees to finish their assigned work within the duty day.

Face-to-face bargaining on the Overseas contract is now in its seventh week, with one additional week of virtual bargaining scheduled to take place in mid August. In September, FEA’s bargaining team (see details about the team at this page) will come to Washington DC for in-person bargaining for six weeks, to be followed by several more weeks of virtual bargaining in October, November and December.

Thus far, the only articles of the new contract signed off on by both parties are relatively non-controversial ones dealing with issues such as the contract’s Preamble, the processing and initiating of Unfair Labor Practices, Equal Employment Opportunity, and temporary promotions.

FEA continues trying to impress upon DoDEA’s bargaining team the damage to working and learning conditions that would result if management’s proposals — such as the ones outlined above affecting length of duty day and prep time — were to be implemented.

DoDEA appears to be hoping the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) will impose management’s version of a new Overseas contract on workers, and given the overwhelming bias against employees and unions (including FEA’s Stateside Region) shown by the FSIP the past two years, there is every reason to believe that will happen.

Despite this, FEA remains committed to arguing for the best possible Overseas contract. And should a bad contract be imposed, we will immediately begin the work of fighting to change and improve it.

You can read the other updates we have put out on the Overseas contract bargaining process as well as read the full bargaining proposals from both FEA and DoDEA by visiting this page.