FEA President's ReportTO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Brian Chance, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: October 11, 2020
OVERSEAS TENTATIVE AGREEMENT RATIFICATION VOTE
Hopefully all members in our Overseas bargaining unit are aware by now that a ratification vote will be conducted next week on a proposal by DoDEA for a tentative agreement on a new contract for the Overseas unit.
For details on the vote and on DoDEA's contract proposal, please go to FEA's Overseas Contract Information page.
I ask that all members in Europe, Cuba and the Pacific (but not Guam, since that is not part of the Overseas unit) be on the lookout for the email inviting them to vote on this issue. It will be sent near the middle of this coming week. That email will come from the Federal Education Association, utilizing the URL "electionbuddy.com". Election Buddy is the e-voting service we are using because of the very compressed timeline allowed for the ratification vote under the ground rules for the contract negotiations. Please be sure to add both "Federal Education Association" and "electionbuddy.com" to the approved mail list for your personal email account, to avoid that message being rejected.
FEA will post notices next week both before and after our voting invite from Election Buddy is sent to Overseas members, alerting you to check your Inbox for a message from us (and, if it's not there, check your Spam/Junk and other files). The invite to vote is expected to be sent Wednesday, Oct 14, or Thursday, October 15, and the voting window will be open for at least three days. More specifics on the voting timeline will come from FEA this week.
This is your opportunity to be heard regarding the proposed tentative agreement for the Overseas unit. Please watch for that email and other notices from FEA -- and PLEASE VOTE!
SOME PROGRESS ON OVERSEAS PAY PROBLEMS
Myself and other FEA leaders have continuously addressed with DoDEA staff the numerous pay problems Overseas employees are facing this year. These efforts have resulted in dozens of Overseas educators' pay problems being fixed already this year, but unfortunately there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more problems still out there.
As we have been doing throughout this school year (read this previous update for more info), FEA urges members in the strongest possible way to print and retain copies of your LESs and to go to the MyPay site immediately to download and print copies of your back LESs. MyPay only makes your old LESs available online for 12 months and it is nearly impossible to obtain a copy once they disappear from that site. Be proactive and grab copies of all your LESs now, as far back as possible, and keep them in your files FOREVER! You may need them in the future and you most definitely need them now. Check all your LESs for pay discrepancies, incorrect daily rate, incorrect withholding for insurance or other items, and any other inconsistencies you can find.
If Overseas members find any suspected issues, immediately file a pay inquiry. If you receive no government response from that pay inquiry within two weeks, send a copy of your inquiry to me at email@example.com and I will raise your issue with DoDEA headquarters staff.
Also, Overseas members are reminded to track their pay each pay period using the salary organizers available at this page.
It's unfortunate DoDEA and DFAS cannot provide so basic a service as properly paying their employees. Until they do, we must remain on guard for these pay problems and take immediate action whenever we suspect something.
We are also hearing of retired/separated employees who have still not received their VSIP payments. Any retired/separated Association members who are in this situation are urged to send me their details at firstname.lastname@example.org so FEA can bring your issue to DoDEA HQ's attention.
Despite the death last month of a counselor at Fort Knox, multiple outbreaks among staff and students at several locations, and increasing reports of shortages in PPE and cleaning supplies at some locations, DoDEA continues to move further from remote operation by bringing more people back into the schools. FEA continues to believe this is a recipe for disaster and we continue to urge remote operation as the best and safest option, especially as we move into winter at many locations where the buildings have poor ventilation and windows that cannot be opened. We continue to hope our worst fears prove unfounded and no further deaths or severe outbreaks occur. But hope is not enough in this situation, which is why I and FEA leaders at all levels continue to ask for guarantees of adequate supplies and proper precautions and safe schools. Until we receive such guarantees in a verifiable manner, we will continue to urge remote operation.
Donelle Pistorino, a Special Education Assistant at Delalio Elementary School on Camp Lejeune, has been appointed by NEA President Becky Pringle to serve as an At-Large Education Support Professional (ESP) Representative on the NEA Resolutions Committee. As such, Donelle will represent ESPs from throughout NEA on the committee, which develops the resolutions that are voted on at the NEA Representative Assembly each summer. It is an incredible honor for Donelle, who has been an ESP leader in our Association for many years. Congratulations Donelle for this very well-deserved appointment!
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK
American Education Week is just over a month away. This year's celebration takes place November 16-20, with Education Support Professional Day happening Wednesday, November 18. The revamped NEA Web site has a number of resources at its AEW page you can use to plan your event to celebrate our amazing educators.