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the salaries of other employees. In March of this year the 1939 dollar had been reduced to 49.6 cents. This does not take into account the method of American standard of living. Many items that are now considered as necessary were not so considered and in many instances had not been produced in 1939.
As stated previously the Government Employees' Council, AFLCIO, has unanimously endorsed S. 27, to provide salary increases for field service postal employees, S. 1326, to increase the compensation of scientific and professional positions and S. 734 to incerase the basic compensation of Classification Act employees.
With 42 percent of the overall number of employees covered by the Classification Act and 19 percent field service postal employees and 34 percent are wage board or blue collar employees not affected by this or any pending legislation before this committee at this time. It seems to me and to the Government Employees' Council, AFL-CIO, that the 61 percent Classification Act and field service postal employees should not be denied a wage adjustment awaiting the proposed study that has been presented to this committee by the Civil Service Commission and other administrative witnesses. This is simply postponing the operation and I agree wholeheartedly with some comments that were made the first day of this hearing by Mr. Don Kerlin, a member of this staff, when he asked the question, addressing it to the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission: “What about several transfusions to the employees while we await the operation?”
Much has also been said by certain administration witnesses about the fringe benefits for Federal and postal employees. These we all appreciate but, my friends, fringe benefits do not feed or clothe people. In other words these fringe benefits can never take the place of adequate salaries.
During the past several months many official and unofficial committees and commissions have made studies and recommendations on the salary question of Federal and postal employees, and all of those that I have read or seen quoted strongly favor and recommend salary increases for Federal and postal employees, and if other studies are made on a fair and equitable basis they too will make similar recommendations. All charts, graphs, and other information that I have seen or read list Federal and postal employees and the retired employees at the bottom of the "totem pole” in reference to purchasing power from their salaries. This is true if 10 groups are listed or if 30 or 40 groups of employees are listed.
Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, this condition should not exist in America
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, along with the council's general legislative agenda we have three legislative items that we refer to as major items and ones that we believe this Congress should enact into law
1. A substantial salary increase for all employees under the Classification Act and the field service of the Post Office Department.
2. A fair and equitable labor-management law in the Federal service.
3. Increases for all annuitants that were on the rolls prior to October 1, 1956.
Specifically the council has authorized me as operations director to wholeheartedly and without any reservations endorse and support S. 27 to increase the take-home pay for all field service postal employees. Please keep in mind that the field service postal employees and the employees under the Classification Act have only received 1 “teeny-weeny's salary increase in the past 6 years. With two postal employee salary increase bills vetoed by President Eisenhower. With the enactment into law of S. 27 it would bring the field service postal employees salaries to approximately $5,000 and above per annum, which is a modest family income in this great country of ours.
S. 1326, having to do with compensation for scientific and professional positions in the Federal Government, is legislation that should have been approved many years ago. From all sides and from the “housetops” we hear the cry that the Federal Government cannot obtain and keep scientific and professional people. This includes all types of technological engineers, research and scientific and professional types of employees. The council several months ago endorsed the provisions of S. 1326 and we trust that this committee will approve our recommendations.
Two bills affecting wages and classification of Classification Act employees are before this committee and I refer to S. 734 and S. 910. It is the considered opinion of the member unions of the council having jurisdiction over Classification Act employees that S. 734 is designed to revise the basic compensation schedules of the Classification Act of 1949, as amended. This bill deals extensively with revision of the Classification Act. We are in agreement that the Classification Act is in need of changes but the changes contemplated in S. 734 represent but a small portion of the revision of the law which appears necessary.
S. 910 would provide an immediate pay raise and not involve the complex problem of revising all basic features of the classification law. Therefore, the council strongly recommends the immediate enactment into law of the provisions of S. 910, in order to give immediate financial relief of all Classification Act employees. We support generally the intent of S. 734, but believe that s. 734 should be made the study of a long-range program and to completely overhaul in the immediate future the Classification Act structure.
Briefly, Mr. Chairman, the council's primary interest is a pay raise without delay for all Federal workers both the Classification Act employees, the scientific and professional groups, and the field service employees of the Post Office Department. Federal and postal employees are greatly in need of additional financial buying power which they have never regained since the start of World War II. Each pay raise received only partially restored the ground lost since the preceding pay increase.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, there is much more we could say in support of salary increase for Federal and postal employees but we feel that each member of this committee, as well as Members of the Congress, know full well that these salary adjustments are long overdue, so ith this thought in mind I am bringing this statement to a close, and with your permission I would like for an article by John Cramer that appeared in the Washington Daily News of May 21 to become a part of the official record of this hearing.
THE ARGUMENTS WERE FEEBLE ON PAY RAISES
(By John Cramer) Administration spokesmen did a surprisingly lame job yesterday of defending administration opposition to Federal employee pay raises.
You could guess their hearts weren't really in it. Their arguments were feeble and unpersuasive. They gave the impression of men attempting to defend the indefensible. And they managed to keep bright and virgin-pure the administration record of never once having claimed that Government-worker raises are not justified.
The administration presented its case as a Senate Post Office and Civil Service Subcommittee, headed by Senator Richard Neuberger (Democrat, Oregon), opened hearings on salary increases for the Government's 1 million classified (white collar) employees and its 500,000 postal employees.
Testifying for the administration were:
They argued against increases on the familiar grounds that they would be costly, and might contribute to inflation.
But each, in turn, disclaimed responsibility for the decision to oppose raises.
Mr. Merriam said the Budget Bureau hadn't examined the case for raisesbut had based its decision on the President's state of the Union message which warned against inflation.
LIVING WAGE? Senator Neuberger asked Mr. Merriam: "Do you think postal employees are receiving a living wage?” Mr. Merriam couldn't answer.
Senator Neuberger asked if the Budget Bureau had made any study to determine whether postal employees are receiving a living wage.
Mr. Merriam said, “None."
And neither Mr. Merriam, Mr. Ellsworth, nor Mr. Goff had any answers when Senator Neuberger hammered repeatedly at the theme:
"The Government has a responsibility to its employees. If we don't raise their pay, then we must control what they pay for cost of living."
Opening the hearings, Senator Neuberger said :
"The Government is at a crossroads. Either we must pursue a course of a Federal service second to none, or we decide to accept an inferior, and, in the long run, far most costly Federal service.
"I believe that if the Government is unable or unwilling to arrest the forces of inflation or stop the upward spiral of living costs, it has a solemn obligation to see that its own employees do not suffer disproportionately to non-Government workers.
"Federal workers alone should not be the only ones to keep the ship of state on an even keel. Their needs and aspirations are as real and pressing as if they were employed in non-Government activity."
ELLSWORTH VIEW Civil Service Commission Chairman Ellsworth told the hearings: “We are very much aware of the need to treat our employees fairly.”
But then he went on to urge that a study of Government salary structures precede any new pay raises. He said this study would take up to 12 months.
"I have rarely seen a program of Government,” he said, “that is as confusing, bewildering, and even as illogical as today's Federal pay structure.”
Pay raises for classified employees, he said, “would serve to further unbalance au already confusing and patched-up structure.”
Mr. Ellsworth told the committee he had not read the Cordiner report which recommended raises averaging 12 percent for Defense employees at grade GS-7 and above.
DIDN'T KNOW And he pleaded inexperience in his job (he has been Civil Service Commission Chairman only a month) in saying he didn't know the answers to these questions:
How many employees quit the Government last year? (More than 25,000, the committee staff said.)
What was the cost of recruiting new employees to replace them? (The figure ordinarily is put at $300 per employee.)
What was the cost in decreased production while the new employee is learning his job? (Ordinary estimate : $800.)
What is the extra cost of "contracting out” Government functions when Government can't find employees to man these functions? (No one knows the answer to that one.)
Don Kerlin of the committee staff made this point: “Government uses two things—people and money. It has raised interest rate it pays for money by one-third, and more than $1 billion per year, since 1953.
“It has raised what it pays its people just 7.5 percent for those who are classified employees and 8.1 percent for postal employees.
“Does it really believe money is more important than people?" Mr. Merriam said that question was outside his bailiwick.
Thanking you and the members of this committee for an opportunity to appear and present the views of the Government Employees' Council, AFL-CIO on the great need of salary adjustments for Federal and postal employees.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Walters.
Mr. PASCHAL. Mr. Walters, you were referring to the transfusions before the operation. Now supposing the transfusions were made, in your study, and I ask this because I realize your group does make quite a study of these things, and in your estimation, would the operation still be necessary?
Mr. WALTERS. Well, yes, I think it will. At the proper time a general overall study should be made but I would suggest this, that it not be completely made by management. It seems to me that a group from this committee along with some employee representation, along with some management representation, we might well sit down and take a good long look at the pay structures, but I do not think we ought to do all of that while we are waiting to get some additional take home money.
We certainly would be willing to sit down with the committee, with the staff people and with a committee from management and endeavor to do a real good job in looking at all the pay structures.
Mr. BRAWLEY. Mr. Walters, I have heard a lot about the proposed studies. I wonder what kind of study we are looking for. Hasn't the administration already had two such pay studies ?
Mr. WALTERS. They have had two or more, called them either commissioin or committee studies, and all of them came out with the same general answer, there is need for more money.
Mr. BRAWLEY. Didn't a representative from the Cordiner Committee already testify before this committee? Didn't such a group study the pay structure for more than a year in the Department of Defense?
Mr. WALTERS. According to the testimony before this committee and according to newspaper reports and all other things, that is true. Mr. BRAWLEY, My understanding is that the former Chairman of the Civil Service Commission has been heading such a study for the past year and a half.
Mr. WALTERS. We have been told that.
Mr. BRAWLEY. And such a report is somewhere hidden in the dark corners of the files and probably will never see the light of day.
Mr. PASCHAL. Mr. Chairman, I have just one more question of Mr. Walters. In your reference to S. 1326 and S. 27, would it be your feeling or not that rather than set up another new schedule known as SPS, that that should be incorporated into S. 27 or should it be kept separate?
Mr. WALTERS. I do not think it should be incorporated into S. 27 because S. 27 deals only with field service postal employees and it has been the tradition over the years that salaries for Classification Act employees and postal field service employees be kept separate, so I would not advocate putting it into S. 27.
Mr. PASCHAL. Thank you.
Mr. WALTERS. You might consider some way working it into the Classification Act pay bill where the majority or practically all these employees are now listed under the Classification Act but I am sure that we all agree that there is some justification for a study and similar action to what is outlined in S. 1326.
Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. Walters, you heard Senator Watkins' statement that he felt some upward adjustment was necessary for postal employees at this time but that he did oppose a general governmental salary increase. How do you feel about that?
Mr. WALTERS. Well, I do not agree with Senator Watkins on that interpretation and from following up some answers that he made to you in answer to your question, I do not think he has any firm commitments on that. He simply stated, I believe, in substance that he had the concrete evidence here from these reports and he did not have such concrete evidence from the other employes, but that if he had seen something like that, he might support a general salary increase. But, I think it is general throughout the Government myself and I do not think there is any question about this.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Walters.
If there are no other questions, we will have our next witness. We appreciate your coming today and giving us the benefit of your information.
Mr. WALTERS. Thank you.
Senator NEUBERGER. Our next witness is Mr. Dillard Lasseter, executive officer, Organization of Professional Employees of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Walin S. 1326.tification
STATEMENT OF DILLARD LASSETER, EXECUTIVE OFFICER, ORGANIZATION OF PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. LASSETER. The Organization of Professional Emplovees of the Department of Agriculture (OPEDA) was established 28 years ago. Its members do professional, scientific, and administrative work in the various agencies of the Department of Agriculture and in certain other agencies formerly in the Department. They are located in