June 10 2015 FEA Europe Update
1. OPM Cybersecurity Incident
2. Background Checks
3. Summer Reminders
4. Annual Meeting
5. Area JCC
7. Speaking of the Summer
8. You Have to Smile
9. "Goodbye" Grievance
10. National Caribbean-American Month
11. Mark Your Calendar
12. Weingarten Rights
13. With Thanks
14. And Finally ….
1. OPM Cybersecurity Incident -- As most of you know, there has been a problem with an OPM Data Breach reported recently. It potentially affects millions of federal employees. FEA has been in contact with OPM about all of this and continues to work with them. FEA will have an update in a few days, hopefully before the end of school. In the meantime, I would not recommend that anything be filled out at this time even if it looks very official when it arrives in your mailbox. FEA HQ has been notified that messages are coming out and will be updating its members just as soon as possible. I spoke with FEA DC just last evening about this matter. Now, every Update that I put out all year suggests that you keep on top of current news by checking regularly on www.feaonline.org . Now I have to say even in stronger terms that you need to do this as often as possible during the summer months. In many cases it will be the only way for you to stay on top of this issue.
2. Background Checks -- (from the FEA President's Report) There has been some confusion in the field about how the pending summer break will impact the timelines of the background check process. Below are assurances provided to us by DoDEA-HQ:
- DoDDS will continue to abide by the 30-day provision in the MOU. DoDDS, however, encourages teachers who are selected to apply for the background checks to complete the process before the summer break.
- The 30-day time limit is not applicable during the summer. In other words, if the 30-day deadline falls into the summer break, teachers can resume and complete the process when they return from the summer break. The time limit will resume (and the clock will run again) after the summer.
- Information already entered would not be deleted but that teachers who did not complete the process before the summer would need to have their access renewed with HR.
- A teacher may provide DoDEA with a personal email address for the summer if s/he wishes. This is strictly voluntary and not a requirement.
3. Summer Reminders -- I was checking through my wallet the other day and noticed that my CAC/ID card was expiring on June 6. I took steps to take care of that, but as a result I started checking expiration dates on everything: driver's license (both here and the States), fuel card, passport, etc. I have a few other things that I also better take care of soon. Before you leave here for summer please take a moment and check your expiration dates. I would hate to see you inconvenienced on your return. Time flies by on these things!
4. Annual Meeting - Please check out www.feaonline.org for information on attending the FEA Annual Meeting, held in conjunction with the NEA Representative Assembly, on June 30 and July 1 in Orlando. Please stop by if you'll be in the area around that time.
5. Area JCC -- The Area JCC was held in Sembach on Wednesday, May 20 at 1100.Minutes are attached.
6. Update- We will always let you know if something newsworthy comes up. In the meantime, check regularly with www.feaonline.org for your best source for breaking news. Updates will resume in August.
7 Speaking of the Summer -- Please keep this information in mind. Your FEA leaders and UniServs will also be on leave as well this summer. Lisa and I will check our email account periodically as we travel but there may be some delays in response. I will also send out to FRS's a phone number where I can be reached while in the States. The FEA office in Washington, D.C. will be open on a summer schedule: 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. More information for the FEA Washington Office is in your calendar. The NEA office building is closed on Friday's during the summer starting Friday July 3rd through August 28. Since our offices are in the NEA building the FEA office will be closed then too.
8. You Have to Smile - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8j3NAA0uis
9. "Goodbye" Grievance -- If you are planning on retiring or resigning this year, make sure you FILE and ELEVATE a goodbye grievance before your last duty day. It has also been recommended even if you are just switching to another Area. If your FRS does not have a copy of it, please contact your District Rep or Area Director. Also, keep it in a safe place and keep it forever. I could tell you horror stories from those who did not.(If this applies to you and you have not filed as of yet, do so TODAY !)
10. 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 here .
11. Mark Your Calendars --
June 1-30 -- National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
June 12 -- Last Duty Day
June 14 -- Flag Day
June 17 -- My Birthday J
June 21 -- Father's Day
12. 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. I hope none of us ever need it.
13. With Thanks -- This will be my final Update for this school year. That being the case I wish to express my gratitude to so many of you for all the help and assistance you have given me during the year. I thank our FEA officers and the Board of Directors, H.T. Nguyen, and the entire HQ staff. I also owe much to my fellow members on the European Area Council (Lisa Ali, Alina Rozanski, Susan Kelly, Nancy Almendras, Anita Lang, and Terry McClain). We have wonderful HCR persons all over Europe and we all owe them a hearty thank you for the work that they have done this year. Also, all of our Europe Uniservs: Ben Hunter, Jan Freeman, and Bill Freeman.
I mentioned them earlier but I would again like to recognize Susan Kelly and Terry McClain, the two Division Representatives that I work with directly, for their support and tireless efforts for all of our members.
I want to thank my wife Priscilla for allowing me to serve in this position even though I tended to bring many of the issues home with me and for understanding when I needed to be away for days on end.
Finally, for a reason, I want to thank and applaud every FRS and FR who is out there in the schools working for our members. You see a lot of lip service on this topic but I say it from the heart when I call them the true backbone of FEA. None of the people I mentioned above (including me) could do much of anything if not for these people. Thank you on behalf of all our members and especially from me for all of your hard work. (And thanks for distributing these Updates !)
Now I want to wish you all a safe, relaxing, and enjoyable break. You all deserve it.
14. And Finally … - http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/generic?iso=20150612T15&p0=136
FEA Europe Area Director