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ARBITRATOR RULES DDESS ILLEGALLY IMPLEMENTED SUCCESSOR MLA

posted January 2, 2020

An arbitrator ruled today that DDESS acted illegally by prematurely implementing an unsigned successor agreement on employees in its Stateside bargaining unit and the agency must continue to comply with the existing 2005 Master Labor Agreement while negotiations on a successor MLA continue.

The decision by arbitrator Neal Orkin is a complete victory for Federal Education Association -- Stateside Region (FEA-SR), who alleged that DDESS committed an unfair labor practice (ULP) when it illegally implemented the unsigned successor MLA in the spring of 2019.

The ruling states that DDESS must pay back pay to all affected employees in the FEA-SR bargaining unit for any violations of the legally valid 2005 MLA. FEA-SR will be seeking unpaid time illegally mandated under management's required 24 additional duty hours per academic quarter, any leave that was improperly denied under the illegally implemented successor MLA and the insufficient pay increases paid to DDESS employees this school year, as well as other possible payments.

The arbitrator also ruled that DDESS must desist from bargaining in bad faith until the parties finalize bargaining and sign a final successor MLA.

Although the ruling is overwhelmingly positive for the FEA-SR bargaining unit, final resolution of the issues caused by DDESS's illegal contract implementation and imposing of the extra duty hours per quarter may still be a lengthy process. DDESS may attempt to appeal the arbitrator's decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority, which could lead to a protracted legal fight and delay in implementation of the arbitrator's ruling.

Because of this possibility, all employees in the FEA-SR bargaining unit are urged to continue tracking all extra duty hours assigned to them by management using the tracking form available at feaonline.org/timelog.htm (print out the form and send a scanned copy of the completed form each quarter to the e-mail address provided on the form).

"Arbitrator Orkin's overwhelming decision in favor of FEA-SR validates what the union has been saying since the Agency illegally forced a bogus and unsigned collective bargaining agreement upon Stateside educators: The Agency failed to complete bargaining with FEA-SR; the Agency bargained in bad faith; the Agency committed an Unfair Labor Practice; and the 2005 MLA is still in full force and will be recognized as the true collective bargaining agreement between FEA-SR and DDESS," says FEA Director for DDESS Jane Loggins. "Tom Brady, Judy Minor and the leadership of DoDEA have harmed our educators, schools and students through their thoughtless actions. DoDEA should cease the damage they have caused and comply with the arbitrator's decision. DoDEA should return to the table and compete bargaining with FEA-SR over a new Master Labor Agreement so the educators represented by FEA-SR can continue to focus on the important work we do, educating and supporting military students and families in our classrooms every day."

"This ruling from the arbitrator makes absolutely clear that management acted illegally in imposing this unsigned agreement on DDESS employees, including the unpaid additional 24 hours per quarter," says Ben Hunter, General Counsel for FEA-SR. "It is our hope that DDESS will not compound its mistreatment of employees and its mismanagement of taxpayer money by continuing to contest what is clearly an improper and illegal course of action. They should immediately comply with this arbitrator's ruling so that we can get on with the process of legally completing a properly-negotiated successor Master Labor Agreement that protects rather than attacks the learning and working environment in DDESS schools."

FEA-SR will continue to update members as the process plays out.