FEA President's ReportTO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Brian Chance, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: June 4, 2021
A reminder as everyone prepares to depart soon for the upcoming summer break: DoDEA's SY 2021-22 school calendars can be found at this link. The current year's schedule was disrupted in many locations, especially in Stateside schools, but the start of next year is expected (emphasis on "expected") to take place as scheduled in all locations.
HEATING OIL ISSUE
Overseas members who have received emails or documentation from DoDEA management, CHRA or any other agency pertaining to changes in your heating oil rate, please send those to FEA's Legal department and complete our Association Grievance information form. Employees are being told they must document heating oil expenses going back as far as 20 years in some cases and are being threatened with dubious debt collection notices. FEA has filed an Association Grievance over this issue and the information collected on the form will help us remain in contact with affected educators.
FIGHTING ANOTHER HARMFUL CHANGE
DoDEA America's Southeast District recently announced a new schedule for its schools, extending the duty day by an hour twice a week without pay. This is part of the additional 24 hours per academic quarter DoDEA first unilaterally imposed in 2019 as part of its illegal implementation of an unsigned and invalid successor Master Labor Agreement. In January 2020, Arbitrator Orkin ruled in favor of FEA-Stateside Region over the issue, but DoDEA has appealed the ruling. FEA-SR and FEA's DC office are working with NEA Government Relations to educate decision makers about this most recent burden on teachers in the SE, before it is implemented.
STILL WAITING FOR RAT ORDERS?
If you are an FEA member in the Overseas bargaining unit who has applied for RAT orders for this summer but you have not yet received those orders, please use the link below to submit your information to me via a Google form.
Submit your info here.
I will use the information members submit to follow up with DoDEA Resource Management about educators who are still waiting on their orders.
SATO SEMBACH SUMMER TRAVEL
We also continue to hear of numerous members who are experiencing difficulties getting tickets issued by the SATO Travel office at Sembach. If you have applied to SATO Sembach for summer travel tickets but have yet to receive them, please immediately submit your information using this Google form, Report reports with SATO Sembach here.
FEA will be bringing the information we collect from this form to DoDEA Resource Management to raise their awareness of the problem and seek solutions.
FEA ANNUAL MEETING
FEA will hold its annual membership meeting from 7 to 9 am ET on Monday, June 28, and Tuesday, June 29. Once again this year, the meeting will be held online using Microsoft Teams.
Meeting information and reports will be posted to a private group on the NEA360 EdCommunities site, accessible to FEA members prior to the start of the meeting. The FEA Annual Membership Meeting will consist of online sessions that members can indicate their interest in attending using the link below. During those sessions, members will be able to hear reports on Association activities and business, updates on issues affecting members, and presentations from FEA and NEA officers and staff.
To help with planning for the event, please indicate your interest in attending by completing the form at this link.
The deadline to indicate your interest via the form is Saturday, June 12.
The information from those who complete the form will be used to confirm their membership in FEA. Members who registered by the deadline will be sent additional information about accessing the online meeting and the meeting resources available through NEA 360 EdCommunities.
Please be aware there are capacity limits on the size of Microsoft Teams meetings under the license we have through NEA. Last year, we had adequate capacity for all those who expressed an interest in attending. Should the number of interested attendees for this year's meeting exceed the capacity limit for Teams, we will accommodate as many members as possible.
We thank our members in advance for their patience and understanding regarding any technical issues that may arise during the planning and execution of this year's FEA Annual Membership Meeting.
A reminder to Overseas bargaining unit members who are retiring or separating this year from FEA's Overseas unit, including those who are relocating to the Med or to a DoDEA Americas location: you should be certain to file and elevate your Goodbye Grievance well before the end of the school year. The Goodbye Grievance, developed by FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman, helps to protect you against false debt claims the government may try to collect from you after you retire or leave the bargaining unit. See your FRS if you need information on how to file and elevate your Goodbye Grievance prior to retirement/separation from the Overseas unit.
FSA FEDS SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
Federal employees may enroll and current FSAFEDS participants may increase or decrease their current elections through the 2021 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) which is being held from June 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021. This allows those who did not enroll or re-enroll for 2021 during Open Season the opportunity to enroll for 2021 and gain access to available 2020 carryover funds. Learn more about the Special Enrollment Period by by viewing this document.
OVERSEAS RETRO PAY
We continue to be told Overseas employees should be paid their retroactive pay adjustment with the salary they receive in connection with the pay period ending June 5. This means the money should be deposited in employees' accounts on June 11. This is the retro pay FEA won for members through legal action years ago, making sure Overseas employees receive the full amount of pay owed to them in the current school year rather than waiting for the next school year for their salary figures to be made current with the salary schedules computed each spring by the DoD Wage Setting office.
As you prepare to depart for your very well-earned summer break, I wish you all a safe, happy and restful vacation. Hopefully life continues to return to something close to what we used to consider "normal" and hopefully next school year is an improvement over this past one in ways beyond COVID.