May 25 2011 FEA President's Report

May 25, 2011

1. Weingarten Rights
2. National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
3. Area Directors' Travels
4. ESSO Fuel Cards
5. Contacting Chuck
6. TSP Loans
7. Membership Information
8. Article 51 -- Pupil Grades
9. More Summer Travel Tips
10. Local Elections
11. Mark Your Calendars
12. FEA Annual Meeting/NEA RA
13. Update

1. Weingarten Rights -- This, unfortunately, is the time of the year when child abuse allegations reach a peak. These can be leveled at any one, not just teachers, who are in contact with children. Should you be accused it is imperative that you invoke your Weingarten Rights. Weingarten Rights guarantee an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview by an employer. If the interview could in any way lead to the employee being disciplined or terminated or affect his or her personal or working conditions, he or she should respectfully request that a union representative or officer be present at the meeting. Without representation, the employee may choose not to answer any questions. On the inside cover of the FEA calendar there is a card detailing what you must do. For those who do not have the calendar I have included the Weingarten statement. I hope none of us ever need it.

2. National Caribbean-American Heritage Month -- June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month. During this month we celebrate the ways that Caribbean-Americans have enriched our society and added to the strength of America. For more information visit the Caribbean American Heritage Month website.

3. Area Directors' Travels -- Chuck will be at AFNORTH Wednesday and at Geilenkirchen ES on Thursday. We will both be in Wiesbaden on June 2 for the final Area JCC for SY 10/11.

4. ESSO Fuel Cards - With all of the other expiration dates to which we must pay attention (ID cards, passports, etc.) it may well be that many people will overlook their gas card. Please note the following important customer advisory from AAFES:
Dear ESSO Fuel Card Customers
Please be advised the ESSO fuel card is like any other debit or credit card has an expiration date. The expiration date is located on the front of the fuel card in the lower right hand corner. To avoid interruption of service please check the expiration date on the lower right hand corner and verify the month and year of expiration. If your card has expired, please return to a Fuel Card Issuing Location where we will gladly replace your card. This message applies only to the expiration of your ESSO Fuel Card. Please consult your RMV documentation for information about when your vehicle's registration expires. We apologize for the inconvenience.

5. Contacting Chuck -- Please note that the phone/fax machine in Chuck's office is not working. Please use the following numbers to reach him: CIV- 0611-44756131 or DSN 335-5373/69

6. TSP Loans - Many of us have had or have TSP Loans. One critical thing you must do at this time is to file the Notification to TSP of Non Pay Status, TSP Form 41. This is filed through your local payroll person. If this is not filed, then for those on the 21 pay plan the agency will be trying to take payment when there is no pay. This can cause a number of problems. When you return to pay status make sure also that you restart your payments. You can find the form here:

7. Membership information -- Membership information will be sent from FEA Washington during the summer to either the FRS or the Membership Chairperson. Please make sure our Washington office has your correct CMR mailing address.

8. Article 51 -- Pupil Grades - At this time of year, we often receive questions about grades and grade policies. Article 51 of the Negotiated Agreement, cited below, may be helpful. 

Section 1.

A unit employee may establish his/her own grading system. In such cases, the unit employee is responsible for translating the grading system to the Employer's. The unit employee's record of grades shall contain a key for translating his/her system to the established grading system in use. 

Section 2.

Students' grades may be requested for review and approved by the Employer before grade reports are distributed to students or parents. 

Section 3.

In the event that any grade is challenged, the unit employee shall explain and justify the grade assigned. 

Section 4.

If the Employer takes action to change a student's grade without the consent of the affected unit employee or directs the unit employee to change a grade, a written statement from the Employer shall be provided to the unit employee, stating that the change in grade and/or the passing or failing of the student was done at the discretion of the Employer.

9. More Summer Travel Tips -- In my last Update I shared a website that showed the best way to select your seats on your summer flights. Now I have discovered another that rates most of the airports that you might be traveling through this summer. It rates each airport according to convenience, amenities, food, and even rates each airport should you find yourself stuck overnight. Don't be deceived by the website name; it is a very useful site with ratings of over 7400 airports.(I originally planned on including this as just some fun information. However, since then the volcano in Iceland has erupted and this could become indispensable information !)

10. Local Elections -- Please remember to let your Area Director and District Rep know the results of your local elections for FRS and other officers. This helps us to prepare our mailing and distribution lists for next school year. We will be contacting new FRS's and officers for their correct contact information. (This is a repeat of Chuck's message from last week. We still have not heard from many schools.)

11. Mark Your Calendars --
May 30 -- Memorial Day
June 2 -- Area JCC
June 7 -- Last Day for Sure Start (Students)
June 14 -- Flag Day
June 17 -- Last Day of School

12. FEA Annual Meeting/NEA RA - The FEA Annual Meeting and NEA Representative Assembly will take place this year in Chicago. The Annual Meeting is open to all members and takes place June 29 and 30. The RA runs July 1 - 5th and is always an amazing experience. If you are going to be in the Chicago area during that time, consider stopping in. Check the for more information.

13. Update - The next Update will be published on Wednesday, June 1.


Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051