May 15 2015 FEA President's Report
TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: May 15, 2015
DODDS RETRO PAY
A reminder that your May 22 DODDS paycheck should include a significant retroactive pay adjustment to compensate you for the SY 14-15 salary amount you would have been paid on since the start of the school year had those salary figures been available. You'll recall the SY 14-15 figures were finalized about a month ago by FEA and DoDEA, once the DOD Wage Authority finished its collection of the data and it was reviewed/approved by FEA and management.
This retro pay adjustment was won for our bargaining unit members by FEA in the "March Case" years ago. Without that victory, you would not be paid on the SY 14-15 schedule until the beginning of next school year and you would perpetually be one year behind the amount you should be paid. This adjustment is not paid by management out of the goodness of their hearts; it is paid because FEA took action to protect its members' rights and won this adjustment for you. If you know anyone who ever asks "What's the Association ever done for me?" you can point to the retro pay they'll receive (this year and every year) as a very concrete answer.
Please keep in mind, also, that this current retro pay adjustment is entirely separate from the back pay most DODDS members will receive sometime in the future as a result of FEA's winning its lawsuit against management over DODDS illegal extension of the federal civilian salary freeze. Details about that backpay -- which will cover most DODDS members and range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars in backpay, depending where you are on your salary schedule -- have yet to be worked out between FEA and management.
At the time of this update, only one educator affected by the closings/staffing changes at Ansbach has not been placed (we will continue to work with DoDEA towards placing that educator, along with the three remaining excessed educators unplaced after the DODDS transfer program). FEA is extremely grateful to the hard work of FEA Europe Area Director Alex Veto and FEA Bavaria Division Representative Terry McClain for all the work they put in to monitor the placement process for these educators and ensure proper procedures were followed and everyone's rights were protected. I'd also like to thank DoDEA management, especially Rita Terhaar and Patti Ross, and Bavaria District Superintendent Liz Dunham, for all of the work they did to see that the affected educators from Rainbow ES, Illesheim ES and Ansbach HS were quickly placed or offered VERA/VSIP. This situation was extremely stressful because of how late in the school year it took place but the teamwork between management and the Association shows that positive things can still emerge from negative situations.
The VERA/VSIP program remains open; however, there are only a few remaining placements for which VSIP/VERA may be considered. DoDEA Headquarters will send out a notice when the program has officially closed.
At the end of April, I was able to spend 10 days in Europe visiting schools and locals all the way from Bavaria up to Belgium. It is always such a pleasure to be in schools and see the great work our members do with students every day. Many, many thanks to all the local leaders who helped with my travel plans, who scheduled meetings and socials, and made my visit so pleasant and productive. Thanks, too, to all those members who turned out to speak with me along the way.
Currently, I am in the Pacific, meeting with leaders in each of our three locals there. HT Nguyen, our Executive Director, and I visited Korea as well as Okinawa, and I have traveled on to Japan, while HT returns to the US to prepare for a trip to England with NEA Executive Director, John Stocks. (see below)
FEA wants to hear from members and these face-to-face meetings with local leaders are invaluable to us as we represent our members.
NEA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VISITING UK SCHOOLS
As I mentioned above, NEA Executive Director John Stocks will be paying visits to several of our schools in the UK next week. Mr. Stocks will attend a 4pm reception/meet-and-greet at the Brampton Mill Hotel on Monday (May 18). On Tuesday (May 19), Mr. Stocks will visit Lakenheath and Feltwell, with visits to the schools throughout the day and a reception with members to be held 4pm at The Chequers (36 Hill Street, Feltwell).
As you can imagine, the Executive Director of an organization the size of NEA (three million members) has incredible demands upon his time. FEA is extremely grateful to John Stocks for taking time to visit with our members in the UK. I also want to thank Lisa Ali, Anita Lang and all of the local leaders and members whom I know will turn out to welcome Mr. Stocks and make his visit memorable.
GREEN RIBBON SCHOOLS
Two DoDEA schools are among the winners of the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Program. Charles P Murray ES, Ft. Stewart, Georgia, and Wiesbaden MS, Wiesbaden, Germany were named by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a recent announcement. "These honorees are compelling examples of the ways schools can help children build real-world skill sets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments," Duncan said. "U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and deserve the spotlight for embodying strong examples of innovative learning and civic engagement." Congratulations to these outstanding schools.
The May FEA Journal is now in the mail and should be arriving in your mailboxes shortly. The new issue features additional information about FEA's victory in its lawsuit against the illegal extension of the salary freeze on DODDS workers, among other stories. You can also read the new issue online at feaonline.org.
Some of our DDESS schools are already wrapping up their school year and will be adjourned before my next update goes out. To those of you preparing to end the school year, I wish you a very happy summer. To those members who are departing DDESS and FEA as a result of the RIFs taking place: I thank you for allowing FEA to serve as your professional association and wish you all the best in your future endeavors, whether that be continuing in the education field or moving on to retirement.