Update on Saturday Classroom Setup and Other Issuesposted August 8, 2020
SATURDAY CLASSROOM SETUP
As reported previously, DoDEA had proposed requiring educators to work on a Saturday their first week back in order to set up classrooms. The teachers would be paid their normal daily rate for that Saturday. This idea was presented to employees with no advance notice and no negotiation with the Association.
Our members were obviously upset and concerned about any requirement to work on a Saturday, which is unprecedented in most locations.
After some discussion, management has subsequently decided that instead of requiring a full day on a Saturday, educators can split the additional classroom set up time into two half day sessions, to be accomplished after the normal duty day the first week back and/or that first Saturday. For example, an educator can work late one evening and then work a half day on Saturday or could elect to work late two evenings. The educators would inform their principal when they have completed the added work so that could be paid for the extra duty day they put in.
The option for two-half days still creates a hardship for many employees, and the Association did not agree to sign off on this change, though this may be a slight improvement over the requirement to work on a Saturday.
REFUND OF 11th DUES DEDUCTION
After significant efforts by the Association, urging management to return to employees the erroneous 11th dues dedication withheld last school year, DoDEA management has informed us they intend to complete payments next week to the individuals in our Overseas bargaining unit who were erroneously charged an 11th deduction for Association dues last spring.
An e-mail notification is to be sent to each of the roughly 2,000 employees at their work address when their payment is processed. Anyone who is owed reimbursement and has not received repayment from DoDEA by the end of next week (August 14) is urged to file a pay inquiry.
This issue, you may recall, resulted when DoDEA erroneously listed more than the usual 10 dues deductions for employees in the Overseas unit, resulting in roughly 2,500 employees being charged an extra dues deduction. FEA immediately brought the error to DoDEA's attention and arranged to transfer the erroneously collected money back to the government, with the understanding that DoDEA would work with DFAS to quickly return the money to affected individuals. We also filed an Association Grievance, to protect our members' rights and ensure they would be repaid the money DoDEA erroneously had deducted from their pay.
After doing so, however, DFAS indicated it would not be able to process the repayments, forcing DoDEA management to develop its own mechanism to process those repayments manually. Because of the time it takes to process each payment, only about 540 individuals have been repaid thus far, but DoDEA has indicated it has now figured out a way to automate the process for the remaining individuals and will be able to repay them by the end of next week.
If you were erroneously charged an 11th deduction last year and have not yet received repayment, please monitor your bank account and watch your e-mail for a notification from DoDEA. We will continue to seek updates from DoDEA to ensure the repayments are made, as promised.
The Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) is currently reviewing roughly 90 disputed proposals in the new contract for the Overseas bargaining unit and is likely to inform us of its decision on those proposals around the end of August. The FSIP is tasked with being a neutral body, meant to resolve disputes over what the final content of specific contract articles should be. As we have reported throughout the process, the current members of the FSIP, who are all White House appointees, have shown an overwhelming bias toward agency management whenever resolving contract disputes in recent years. If they do the same and side with DoDEA management on the contract terms it wants, we could be handed a proposed contract that seeks to severely curtail employee rights and benefits in the Overseas bargaining unit.
Whenever we receive that ruling from the FSIP and see a proposed new contract in its final form, FEA intends to conduct a ratification vote among our Overseas members, in accordance with the ground rules for the contract negotiation. Overseas members should be on the lookout for more information about this ratification vote later this month. To aid us in contacting you, if you are an Overseas bargaining unit member and did not receive this update directly in your personal, non-DoDEA, e-mail inbox (for example, if you only saw it on social media or because someone forwarded it to you), please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, your school, and your personal e-mail address. We will use the information you send to update our membership database to include your correct e-mail address. The ground rules imposed by the FSIP allow only a 15-day window to conduct any ratification vote, so the vote will have to take place electronically with notifications going to Overseas members' e-mails.
FEA continues to urge a remote opening to ALL DoDEA schools this year. The ongoing threat of COVID to the health and safety of students and employees under in-person school operations, as well as the haphazard preparations DoDEA is making for Virtual Schools, make such a remote opening the only safe and realistic way to begin the school year with a minimum of chaos and disruptions.
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Anyone who shares our concerns is urged to visit this page and call upon Congress to require a remote opening for DoDEA schools this year.