Overseas Bargaining Update #4
posted September 24, 2019
The five members of FEA's bargaining team for a new Overseas contract have been meeting with DoDEA staff the past few weeks. Three additional contract articles have been signed off on, bringing the total number of completed articles to 16. However, these articles are not on significant issues.
Serious disputes remain on a number of issues. DoDEA management continues to propose an extension of the Overseas duty day to 8.5 hours with no increase in pay. That would equate to an extra 40 days of work PER YEAR with no pay raise. DoDEA's proposal is clearly illegal, as it violates the law passed by Congress that requires Overseas salaries to be based upon the average rate of pay for urban school districts in the U.S. DoDEA continues to ignore the illegality of its proposal, despite the Overseas bargaining team repeatedly calling management's attention to the law.
In the area of discipline and adverse actions, management continues to insist it is not required to specify whether any adverse action against an Overseas employee is taken for discipline purposes or due to performance. Such vague classification makes it much more difficult to challenge such adverse actions. Similarly, management continues to insist the only standard it must meet to justify discipline and adverse actions is the incredibly vague claim that such actions are taken "for the efficiency of the service". FEA continues to insist such adverse actions can only be justified by "just cause."
Management is clearly expecting the politically appointed members of the Federal Service Impasses Panel (FSIP) to grant them whatever working conditions they ask for, no matter how punitive or illegal they may be. Sadly, as this FSIP has shown in many harsh rulings against employees and their unions -- including the one against FEA-Stateside members less than a year ago -- such beliefs by management may be justified.
FEA will continue to fight for the strongest possible contract and pursue all legal options to see that any contract our members work under is fairly and legally brought into existence.
We are grateful to the following FEA members who are making great personal and professional sacrifices to be in Washington DC the next few weeks to conduct face-to-face bargaining with DoDEA on the Overseas contract:
- Adele Collins, Kaiserslautern HS, Germany
- Romy Kerstetter, Ansbach M/HS, Germany
- Matt Binfield, Humphries Central ES, Korea
- Teresa Snowden, Ryukyu MS, Okinawa
- Alina Rozanski, Netzaberg MS, Germany
Read past updates on the bargaining of a new Overseas contract and see the complete initial proposals from both FEA and DoDEA for that contract by going to FEA's Overseas Contract Bargaining Info page.