Overseas Federation of Teachers and Department of Defense Education Activity Reach Tentative Contract Agreement
WASHINGTON—The Overseas Federation of Teachers and the Department of Defense Education Activity reached a tentative agreement on a contract that was last negotiated 28 years ago, the OFT announced today.
The OFT, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, represents nearly 600 teachers in Italy, Spain, Bahrain and Turkey who educate the children of military-connected families on U.S. military bases and facilities. Its last contract was finalized in 1994 and has been updated periodically. The union and the DoDEA have been negotiating for more than a year on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The OFT will discuss the details of the tentative agreement with its members and set a ratification vote. The Department of Defense also must formally approve the settlement.
“Teachers across the four countries had many issues that they felt could only be resolved if they were specifically written into a new and binding contract. They were acutely concerned that essential programs and practices that support students’ learning would be eliminated and that respect for teachers’ work was eroding,” said OFT President Linda Hogan. “We are thrilled that we finally reached a tentative agreement on key issues that we hope will boost respect and trust and encourage the recruitment and retention of teachers.”
Hogan noted: “Partnerships between teachers, military-connected families and administration have been key to student success, and we didn’t want to see a diminution of this amazing collaboration.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten said OFT teachers’ voices need to be heard and respected year-round.
“DoDEA teachers have a special responsibility. They teach the children of the people who serve in the U.S. armed forces, and for decades, administrations—be they Democrat or Republican—understood this, until President Trump. Now after some hiccups, the DoDEA administration has worked with the OFT to craft a contract that will help kids and teachers excel. Good working conditions for teachers mean good student learning outcomes. Our OFT teachers deserve nothing short of what the military-connected families say they want—teachers who are treated with dignity and respect, and students who have the resources they need to thrive,” Weingarten said.
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.