April 17 2019 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: April 17, 2019


It is great to be able to start an update with good news. The SY 18-19 overseas salary schedules have been finalized and include the largest average rates of increase for positions in the FEA overseas bargaining unit since the 2007-08 school year. For the full update on the overseas salary increase go to this page.


In the wake of the recent April 15 tax filing deadline, FEA has created a page, with links to RITA info from DoDEA, updates from FEA on the PCS tax issue, and details about an NEA Member Benefits loan program that may be of use to members in need of added cash on a short- or long-term basis because of the PCS moving tax. Those who are eligible for RITA are reminded they must apply for it: RITA is not automatically sent to you. Visit the link above for a summation of all news related to FEA/NEA's ongoing efforts to repeal the unfair PCS tax or to at least expand RITA eligibility to include incoming and retiring/separating overseas employees.


Not content with the White House-appointed Federal Service Impasses Panel allowing them to all but dictate the ground rules for bargaining of a new contract for Overseas employees, DoDEA management is now attempting to circumvent those same ground rules and force FEA to engage in bargaining during the summer months. This is an obvious violation of the existing negotiated agreement, which remains in full force and effect until a new contract is legally implemented. FEA is examining legal remedies to resolve this dispute.


Oral argument were heard earlier this month by a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over a lawsuit FEA and other labor organizations won last year, opposing a trio of anti-worker Executive Orders issues by the Trump White House a year ago. Those Executive Orders would deny federal employees due process in removal cases, drastically reduce the availability of official time for union reps to represent their bargaining unit members, and place severe restrictions on the time allowed for any collective bargaining between the government and its employees' representatives. A U.S. District Judge ruled in favor of FEA and other unions last year that those Executive Orders violated existing federal law. The government appealed that judge's ruling and the arguments heard this month were over the government's appeal. A decision on the government's appeal is expected sometime later this year. Whatever the decision, the losing side is likely to petition the full Court of Appeals to reconsider the case. The case may even reach the Supreme Court. We are now in an environment where we must fight for our most basic rights, even when those rights are spelled out by law.


Now is the time of year when many members decide they are ready to retire from DoDEA. Whether you plan to retire this summer or 20 summers from now, we encourage you to join FEA/NEA Retired. You can retain your liability insurance for any teaching or subbing you decide to do in your post-DoDEA life as well as continue accessing Association updates, publications and other resources. You pay a one-time fee for lifetime Retired membership in both FEA and NEA. That fee will go up significantly this fall when NEA enacts its first Retired dues increase in a number of years. By joining now, you lock in your lifetime Retired membership at the current rate, regardless whether you're retiring this year or years from now, so long as you remain an Active member of FEA/NEA until the time you retire from DoDEA. Learn more and find the Retired Membership and Pre-Retired Membership forms at the FEA Retired Information page.


April 22nd is Earth Day. Explore new and review familiar ways to live responsibly. NEA's Earth Day curriculum.


April is National Poetry Month. For ways to celebrate and bring poetry alive, go to Poem In A Pocket day. As a classroom teacher, I found "Poem in your Pocket" Day to be a great new way to engage kids and to bring poetry into classrooms and hallways. This year, "Poem in Your Pocket" Day is April 18.


Patricia Hannon, Hohenfels ES, has been selected as FEA's nominee for the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. We have so many great teachers in DoDEA that is it wonderful when we have a chance to honor one of our own. Tricia will be honored, along with other nominees, at the NEA Foundation Gala in February 2020.