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Management's Premature and Illegal Imposing of Added Hours for Stateside Schools

posted March 15, 2019

As discussed in our message of March 8 we consider management's current attempts to implement an additional 24 hours per academic quarter in DoDEA Americas schools to be premature and illegal, because the successor Master Labor Agreement that included the tentative agreement over those additional hours has yet to be signed off on and legally implemented.

FEA-Stateside Region did come to a tentative agreement with management over these additional 24 hours. As explained previously to our members, this "agreement" was reached when a representative of the Federal Service Impasses Panel let it be known that we could either accept the additional 24 hours per quarter proposed by the Panel member or face the likelihood of the full FSIP imposing all 190 additional hours per year sought by DoDEA management. Given the choice between "bad" and "worse" we reluctantly opted for the "bad" option.

In some communities, management is going even further than what FEA-SR conceded in the tentative agreement by attempting to lengthen the duty day by a half hour. This is not what the parties discussed at the bargaining table. FEA-SR will need further clarification before the parties could agree to sign off on the article since administrators are already misinterpreting the tentative agreement.

However, the successor Master Labor Agreement including that tentative agreement on the additional 24 hours is still not legally completed and in effect. This is because FEA-SR has challenged whether the FSIP had legal jurisdiction to impose an Article within the successor MLA that would allow management to assignment make-up days due to inclement weather or other emergencies without having to pay employees for those additional days. That jurisdictional issue has yet to be resolved and so the successor MLA has not yet been signed by FEA-SR. Without our signature the successor MLA cannot be legally implemented.

FEA-SR has asked DoDEA to withdraw the inclement weather day Article of the successor MLA so the jurisdictional dispute can be resolved separately. If DoDEA agrees to do so, FEA-SR has told DoDEA we will sign off on the remainder of the successor MLA so it can be legally implemented. This would include the additional 24 hours per quarter, though we obviously disagree strongly with the FSIP's bias toward management on this issue.

Management has thus far refused to withdraw the disputed Article and so the successor MLA remains unsigned. Therefore, the existing MLA from 2005 remains in effect and any attempt by management to impose the additional 24 hours at this time is a violation of that existing MLA.

FEA-SR has prepared a log sheet for all bargaining unit members to fill out so they can keep a record of any additional uncompensated hours they are improperly required to work under the illegal implementation of the successor MLA. FEA-SR will pursue legal action to see that employees are compensated for any time they are made to work without compensation as a result of this attempt to illegally impose an unsigned successor MLA on the bargaining unit.

That log sheet has been provided to Stateside Local Presidents and will be distributed to bargaining unit members if/when management at your complex begins directing employees to stay beyond the normal duty day. Employees should continue to follow all directives from management. We will pursue resolution through legal channels as quickly as possible.

It is worth noting that this attempt by management to unilaterally impose this successor MLA on its employees marks just the second time a government agency has attempted to impose a contract on its workers. The other instance was in 2017, when Betsy Devos' Department of Education imposed a new contract on its workers. That DoDEA management is now following the example of Betsy Devos speaks volumes about the agency's current attitude towards its employees and towards education as a whole.