December 18, 2013 FEA Stateside Newsletter


Contract Negotiations: Negotiations for a new contract for certified staff (teachers) resumed at the Peachtree City (PTC) Area Service Center (ASC) the week of 2 -6 December. This was the fifth session over the past 4 years. At this time an MOU has been reached to move to mediation for all unresolved Articles, Sections, Subsections and Appendices. If, after the mediation sessions there are still unresolved Articles, Sections, Subsections and Appendices, the parties will be declared at impasse and will jointly request that the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) approve binding arbitration of the negotiation impasse.

Washington and the Budget: The recent budget bill from Washington had clear implications for workers, particularly the impact on employee's retirement contributions. The increase in the employee's contribution will only be applicable to people hired in 2013 and in the future. Most of our members will not be impacted by the increase. Additionally it looks like our GS equivalent employees (ESP) may finally see a slight increase of 1% in January. Keeping fingers crossed on that one!

Integrated Library System: Discussions are pending between FEASR and the Area Service center in Peachtree City concerning the conversion of our schools' information centers to the Integrated Library System, Millennium. The Association will work diligently to ensure the training and the time is available in order to facilitate a smooth changeover to the new system. Please be patient with your Information Center specialists as they work through this transition period.

Computer Distribution: On November 25th the Association received notice regarding the distribution of new computers to schools in DDESS. According to Article 7 of our negotiated agreement, we have 30 days to submit proposals for bargaining the impact and implementation of this change. It has since been brought to the attention of the Association that the computers are arriving and being moved to the schools. Upon contacting DODEA Headquarters LMER, we received a response that indicates a change in attitude - an unwillingness to work cooperatively under the guidelines of the contract, as well as a lack of understanding by those sitting in cubicles. We will attempt to resolve this -- the impact to our schools of this kind of thinking is too great.

RAND Study: There is no update at this time. DODEA has a special place for information abou this study on their website available here.

Social Media: Concerns continue to surface about parents using social media in a negative manner about our schools and staff. If there is evidence of teacher/staff-bashing, please let your local association leaders know. They can report this to the administrator who can take steps to stop the inappropriate behavior. Additionally, anyone can report bullying and inappropriate use of the social site directly to that site for investigation.

21st CTLL: The Association has recently received formal notice of the intent of the Agency to move forward with the "21st Century Teaching, Learning and Leading" as the framework for professional development of educators in DODEA. Local presidents have received a copy of this notice and the information. If you are interested in reviewing and discussing the information proposed, please contact your local association president.

We are just a few days away from the holiday break! Take time for yourself and for those you love. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday.