Board Members

President Sue Parton
Vice President David Garza
Secretary/Treasurer Jim Gertner
BIA Representative Tony Rowe
BIE Representative Connie Weldon-Montero
OST Representative Janelle Horse

OPM Data Breach Information

FISE has received many questions regarding the OPM data breach that happened in June. Please click here to see the grievance and the information request FISE sent to management.

Overtime Case Settlement Update

As you may be aware, 2.5 years ago, the union reached a settlement with management concerning unpaid overtime due to certain classes of employees. Since receiving the settlement funds, the union has spent the last 2.5 years locating individuals entitled to a share of the proceeds and processing payments to these individuals. To date, over ten million dollars ($10,000,000.00) in settlement payments have been made to eligible payees. After having exhausted all efforts to locate individuals, the union closed the settlement at the end of February. Final payments were mailed out on February 24, 2015, to those individuals who provided the union with the necessary documentation to receive the funds. No additional payments will be made from this fund, as it has now closed.

The union continues to pursue other overtime infractions by management. If you or someone you know is not being paid overtime appropriately, please contact the union so that we may investigate and take appropriate action on your behalf. Unfortunately, the rules regarding overtime can be complicated and sometimes management misapplies the rules to workers. We want to correct that by making sure management pays employees their rightful earnings. Some things you may not be aware entitle you to overtime, such as: being required to put on specialized gear or uniforms to perform your work, but not being paid for the time it takes to get ready (this is especially true for police, fire fighters, etc.); management forcing FLSA covered employees to work overtime, but only offering compensatory time off as compensation; requiring you to travel to a worksite more than 30 miles from your duty station but not compensating you for travel time. Please let the union know if you think you may being paid overtime incorrectly.


Sick Leave Donor Bank

A Sick Leave Donor Bank will be established at each school.

  • All donated leave to the Bank by employees will be for that school only.
  • Each bargaining unit employee will donate two (2) hours of personal leave per SY only.
  • The committee is comprised of 2 Bargaining Unit Members and 1 manager.
  • Sick leave is donated to the Bank and disbursed by the Committee in accordance with the procedures established.
  • Employees may donate more sick leave into the bank at any time during the year, if they choose.
  • Sick leave may be donated in any amount up to 120 hours.
  • Only employees who have depleted their sick leave hours are eligible to access sick leave hours from this bank.
  • Unused year end balances in the bank will be carried over from year to year.

Reference: CBA Article 30, Section 9 pg. 103


The sick leave bank was established to help employees requiring additional sick leave. Rather than requesting sick leave donations through email; this bank is established to insure there is available leave for those who need assistance.


How did this happen?

When negotiations began on the new CBA, employees were asked to submit any issues they would like addressed. The members the Union did hear from indicated that not having a sick leave bank was a major issue.

The negotiators of the agreement took this and other suggestions to the table.

Negotiators are a small group of people who have to consider the best interest of all those that they represent. The Union represents all bargaining unit members. A negotiation is a compromise between management and the Union. By law, the negotiators are required to have the authority to enter into agreements which bind the parties they represent. The sick leave bank is an issue that is collective and everyone must be considered. The Union realizes the demographics of our employees and believes this assured accessibility to sick leave will become necessary for the majority and is a valuable benefit to employees.

In the future when negotiations for the CBA are announced, remember it is your responsibility and opportunity to inform the Union as to what issues you would like addressed and considered.

Why weren’t we given an option to use sick leave rather than personal leave?

During negotiations, both Union and Management determined it would be in the employees’ best interest to use personal leave because it has less value than sick leave in the long term.

Personal leave is at present wage. Unused PL is paid out at 75% of your present wage at the end of the year. Whereas, sick leave is earned at your present wage, but will be used at the end of your career with the government at your highest wage level. Also, sick leave will be converted to time in service. Employees do not have this option with personal leave. If you retire on or before Tuesday, December 31, 2013 you can only use ½ of your accrued sick leave toward time in service but if you retire after Tuesday, January 01, 2014 you can use the entire amount toward your time in service.

Can individual work sites have any control over how this donation process will work?

A Sick Leave Donor Bank Committee should be established at each site early in the academic year. This committee may then study the CBA and work with HR personnel to somewhat customize the process to best accommodate the site’s needs. All committees will have to follow the established requirements but there is some leeway for the committee on certain decisions. Please see CBA Article 30, Section 9 pg. 103

Why now? Why not at the beginning of the year?

The reason it wasn't taken out at the beginning of this school year is because NBC (payroll) had to design a software program specifically to track these hours, which was just recently accomplished. Beginning next year, the deduction will automatically occur at the beginning of the school year.

What if you have used your personal leave?

FOR THIS YEAR ONLY due to the late implementation, HR is willing to let employees who have already used their personal leave earn two hours of compensatory leave, which could be substituted for the two hour donation into the sick leave bank. An amendment by the Business Tech (time keeper) will be necessary for this to happen.

What about Management; are they contributing to this Leave Bank?

To correct any misconceptions, Management is donating two (2) administrative leave hours for each bargaining unit member, as a matching contribution.

Bereavement Leave for BIE

This is an explanation for BIE (what happened to bereavement leave and how other leave can be used in place of it).

Bereavement Leave for BIE

There have been some concerns over the loss of bereavement leave for BIE. FISE would like to explain how the change came about. During the negotiation for the present CBA it was agreed by both sides that the past contract was not in compliance according to present federal regulations. Management and FISE agreed that the present CBA would follow the federal regs, which is actually required by federal law. As it were BIE employees did not have bereavement leave offered to them under federal regulations, 5 CFR 630, so the wording was removed for BIE employees.

There has been a misconception that Bereavement was its own type of leave and was not charged to the employee. As you can see it is charged to the rest of the other bureaus as sick leave.

The other bureaus use Article 17 Leave Section 4B 1&2 pg. 61 of the current CBA which states:

Sick Leave for Family Care, Bereavement Purposes, or Serious Health Condition

(1) Sick Leave for Family Care or Bereavement Purposes: Most Federal employees may use a total of up to 104 hours (13 work days) of sick leave each leave year to:

a. provide care for a family member who is incapacitated as a result of physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth;

b. provide care for a family member as a result of medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment; or

c. make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member.

BIE did not lose this per se as these same conditions can be met under FMLA and BIE can use a combination of comp time, sick leave and personal leave. Also, we have religious leave (CT) which is located in Article 17 section 11 pg. 65 of the present CBA:

Section 11. Religious Leave

It is agreed that every effort will be given to accommodating the employee in meeting their religious commitments in attending various tribal or secular ceremonies by allowing the flexibility in granting appropriate leave (which may also include a combination of various types of leave). Advance collaboration between the employee and his/her supervisor will be required in order to address workload requirements. An employee may also request the opportunity to perform compensatory overtime work for the purpose of taking compensatory time off.

This type of leave will need to be declared as religious leave and does not expire nor is there a payout if it is not used. This should be recorded on your time sheet as RL. It is very limited on its use so you do not want to declare very many hours in this specific category. The use is strictly for the specific ceremony and does not include travel time, etc.

Memo on Same Sex Spouse Benefits

Click here to read a memorandum from the United States Office of Personnel Management regarding extension of benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees, annuitants, and their families. Adobe Reader required to view this document.

Weingarten Rights

Weingarten Rights are the rights of a worker to union representation when being questioned by management on a matter that could result in disciplinary action. The workers must ask for such representation; the employer is not required to tell the worker of his/her rights.  The term derives from a 1975 U.S. Supreme Court decision. 
PLEASE NOTE, the Federal Government acknowledges that unions are needed by workers.