posted January 26, 2020
The members of FEA’s Overseas Bargaining Team and DoDEA’s bargaining team met for two weeks earlier this month with a federally appointed mediator, in an effort to reach common ground on the many contract proposals that remain unresolved.
The two sides will resume work with the mediator this coming Monday (January 27) and meet for the next two weeks.
Progress was made during the first two weeks on several issues, though a number of issues in any new Overseas contract remain unresolved at this time. The mediation process is meant to bring the two sides together with a third party who seeks to help find common ground wherever possible, with the goal of reaching agreement both sides can live with.
The most contentious issues — and most harmful to the working and learning environment in the Overseas schools — remain to be settled. Among other punitive changes, DoDEA seeks to weaken or eliminate grievance rights for Overseas employees; to end “just cause” as the standard the Agency must meet for adverse actions against Overseas employees; to extend the duty day in Overseas schools by 90 minutes with no added pay; to reduce housing allowances and other benefits; and to dramatically reduce Official Time for Overseas Association reps, which is vital to their ability to represent employees.
Additional background on these and other proposals from DoDEA can be found at here.
Many of DoDEA’s proposals, if enacted, would destroy the morale of the already overburdened and disheartened employees in Overseas schools, similar to the negative impacts educators in DoDEA’s Stateside schools have experienced since DDESS illegally imposed a new contract on those schools last spring.
FEA will continue to seek middle ground with DoDEA wherever possible in our effort to secure the best possible contract for our Overseas members while still respecting and protecting their rights and professionalism.
Additional background on the mediation process and some of the major issues in the Overseas contract yet to be resolved can be found in the December FEA Journal, mailed to members and available online here.