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TABLE II.-People who really have prospered in 17 boom years after allowing
for taxes and for changes in the value of the dollar
11 11 11
Coal miners (bituminous)-------
1 Average return on securities bought in 1939 and held to date.
Mr. HALLBECK. I have previously referred to the reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau, contains tables on the hours and gross earnings of production workers or nonsupervisory employees which, I believe, are extremely enlightening. Just a casual glance at these tables discloses that at least 36 occupational groups are now receiving a weekly wage in excess of $100 and at least 63 such occupational groups receive an annual wage in excess of $5,000 per year.
A study of 33 occupational groups, 32 of them in private industry and post-office clerks, at stated periods of time selected to conform with postal salary legislation enacted by the Congress, produces some rather startling conclusions; that is illustrated on table III. For example, during a period when the average wage for a post-office clerk advanced from $40.38 per week to $82.30 per week, an increase
in excuual wage inational etperiods of e Cong
of 103.8 percent, the average wage of the 32 representative industrial groups advanced from $27.28 per week to $90.04 per week, an increase of 230 percent. The lowest increase in this representative group was 135 percent.
No one seriously questions the statement that postal and Federal wages have not kept pace with private industry, but I am afraid that few people realize just how unfortunate the situation is.
Stated percentagewise, the following increases have been received since 1939, and this, too, is illustrated by table III: Post-office clerks, 103 percent; the average for 32 representative groups in private industry was 230 percent; the average for 10 highest representative groups in private industry was 275 percent; the average for the middle 11 representative groups in private industry was 239 percent; and the average for the lower 11 representative groups in private industry was 188 percent.
I am attaching table III, showing average weekly earnings of production workers in manufacturing industries by selected dates, August 1939 to December 1956.
(The table referred to is as follows:) .
TABLE III.-Average weekly earnings of production workers in manufacturing
industries by selected dates, August 1939 to December 1956
29. 99 15. 98 21.39 24 61 27.94 18. 44 22. 42 24. 77 28. 88 32. 20 24. 75 23. 77 36. 84 27.36 34. 29
Post office clerks...
ferrous metals. ----
96. 87 109.74
258. 68 286.23 255. 68 368. 63 259.05 194, 52 226.76 208. 51 253. 39 243. 60 247. 75 253. 59 183. 06 254. 05 220.03
246. 65 251. 41 275.99 185. 20 257. 44 155. 14 201. 47 272. 41 212.11 135. 37 221.98 205. 20 227.37 181. 43
Source: BLS, U. S. Department of Labor, earnings and hours, table C-1.
Mr. HALLBECK. A study of this table will reveal that post office clerks in August of 1939 were the highest paid of the 33 groups. Today they rank 23d. The only people with a lower average weekly
wage today are those in either the traditionally underpaid or the depression-type industries. These figures which are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, earnings and hours series, tell their own story far more eloquently than any words of mine.
In view of these facts, is it any wonder that the postal service is experiencing difficulty in recruiting employees? Is it any wonder that experienced postal employees are leaving the service for greener pastures? Is it any wonder that postal employees without exception have endorsed the bill S. 27 now before your committee?
Mr. Chairman, I submit that on the basis of increased efficiency, the need for correcting an obvious injustice, the difficulty in recruiting new people at current wages, the increases received by people in private industry with equal skill, training, and intelligence, the continually increasing cost of living, the necessity for placing the Post Office Department in a position to compete for the best available
Mindorsed thany wonmployees ing emplo that
employees, the bill S. 27, by Senator Johnston, should be enacted.
As a Nation, we are today busily engaged throughout the world trying to demonstrate the worth of the individual-his right to share in the fruits of his efforts, the dignity of his labor in a free society.
How can we explain to our own employees that, because they work for the Government, they are not entitled to a fair and adequate living wage; that, in working for the Government, they cannot measure the dignity of their labor against the same yardstick used in private industry for the work of men of similar skills and abilities; that, being Government employees and having already surrendered the right to strike or force an employer's attention to their critical situation, they cannot expect their request for a just wage and reasonable standard of living to meet with serious consideration.
As much as I would like to confine my statement to the cold logic of unemotional argument, I feel I should be remiss in my duties if I neglect to talk for just a final moment about the human beings we are discussing here in our graphs and charts and figures.
Despite the many figures and charts it is possible to present, it is im
problem—the effect of present poor postal pay and rising costs on the lives of hundreds of thousands of loyal and hard-working post office employees.
To exist, as so many postal workers are forced to do, on the edge of economic ruin, unable to "put anything aside," unable to support a family on postal pay alone and, I might add here that more than 50 percent of our postal employees have been forced to part-time jobs, having to watch helplessly as rising prices eat away their meager standard of living—unable to enjoy the hard-won fruits of America's economic growth as other skilled workers around them are doing, unable any longer to take pride and pleasure in their work, is an experience impossible to describe that must be lived and felt to appreciate its terrible effects fully.
I can only tell you this every day many pitiful examples of the sense of frustration, fear, and disillusionment of the Nation's postal workers come to our office. And I say to you now that I have never known the morale of our members to be so low, so near the breaking point-and that unless immediate relief from this intolerable situa
tion is provided, the postal service of this Nation is doomed to a similar all-time low.
Mr. Chairman, there were times when postal people gladly recommended to their brothers, their fathers, their neighbors, their friends that they try and get a job in the postal service. I do not know of anybody today who would make such a recommendation to their friends.
Mr. Chairman, the hopes, the prayers of postal employees, rest with the members of this subcommittee and the Congress. I hope in response to those prayers that this subcommittee will speedily report and that the Congress will quickly enact S. 27 so that postal employees may once again take some pride in the service of which they are a part, and may raise their families in a manner befitting decent, hard-working, God-fearing men and women.
Thank you very much. Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you, Mr. Hallbeck. Senator Morton, any questions? Senator MORTON. No questions. Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. Kerlin? Mr. KERLIN. Mr. Hallbeck, is it not true in the case of the people that you represent that when one quits that he cannot be replaced for a matter of perhaps 6 to 8 months due to the training required ?
Mr. HALLBECK. Actually, Mr. Kerlin, rather than 6 or 8 months it comes closer to 4 or 5 years because the skilled man requires somewhere from 3 to 5 years to master the so-called schemes of distribution, the methods by which mail can be deposited in a box here in Washington and delivered to a street address in San Francisco. Somebody has to memorize those schemes of distribution.
To illustrate how tough that is, just try memorizing about 150 pages of the Washington, D. C., telephone directory. That compares with learning the average State scheme, it compares in some measure with some of our city schemes. Our people require 4 and 5 years of training to learn those schemes—and they do that on their own time, incidentally, for which they do not get paid overtime or anything else. So that when a trained employee leaves, his skill goes with him and the new man that comes in has to stay there for at least 3 to 5 years before he is the equal of the man that left.
Mr. KERLIN. In other words, the turnover, then, would be more costly in that type of job than in many other types of jobs ?
Mr. HALLBECK. I have seen any number of estimates on the cost of turnover. I believe during the hearings on the reclassification bill in 1955 an official of the Post Office Department estimated the cost to be approximately $700 a man in the case of a post office clerk.
Mr. KERLIN. One other thing. It is true, is it not, that the great majority of people you represent do not have what would be considered a favorable tour of duty from the standpoint of hours worked, most of them come on at odd hours; do they not?
Mr. HALLBECK. Our people work around the clock so to speak. They start at each hour of the 24 during the day. For every man that would start at 8 o'clock in the morning and get through at 5 o'clock in the night, we would probably have 300 that start at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and get through at 10:30 at night or something of that sort, and we have them that start at midnight and get through at 8 o'clock in the morning. They start in at any hour of the
day. You either start at 4 o'clock in the morning or 4 o'clock in the evening.
Mr. KERLIN. Then our competition for these people in industry can many times offer them desirable hours, additionally the requirements in the job do not require the many hours of study that are required in these jobs, so we have two built-in disadvantages?
Mr. HALLBECK. Very definitely; given the same pay, the average person would not take the hours he would have to work as a clerk in the post office if he could get the same pay and he can get better pay right now working in a factory. That is one of the reasons why we cannot recruit people.
Mr. KERLIN. Thank you.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Hallbeck. I just want to say that I thought your testimony was very impressive.
We thank you very much for coming here today and giving us the benefit of your views and information. Mr. HALLBECK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator NEUBERGER. The next witness will be Mr. George W. Riley, legislative representative of the AFL-CIO.
I would like to say before Mr. Riley commences that we are running behind schedule again today so anyone who can compress his testimony will be benefiting those who come after him.
Secondly, I want to say that after Mr. Riley testifies I am then going to take today in sequence all of those who are waiting to testify who are from outside the city of Washington. I think that is only fair and those of you who live in Washington will agree with that. Mr. Riley.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE D. RILEY, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE,
Mr. RILEY. Mr. Chairman, Senator Morton, my name is George D. Riley, I am legislative representative for the AFL-CIO.
Last week, AFL-CIO President Meany assured some 2,500 delegates from every State assembled in Washington of complete and active assistance through every facility at his command in their efforts to bring about justice in three regards:
1. Salary adjustment for per annum employees;
2. Establishing of a labor-management system in Government service; and
3. Improvement in the civil-service retirement system and realistic annuities to the already retired.
I might say parenthetically that I believe it is generally realized that personal services in the Federal Government constitute but 15 percent of the total budget. Therefore, I think that that fact and that percentage is ample guaranty that nothing which would come out of this legislation could in the slightest be construed as inflationary and a bit dangerous to the national economy.
With all the resistance and vetoes, the fact remains that for 6 years the Government employee has stood and served while watching his own personal budget remain unbalanced.