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designing and producing working drawings for public works, we are extremely well aware of the need for qualified professional people to administer building programs in the governmental construction agencies.
However, we were disturbed to find on page 19 of S. 1326 that, in the classification of scientific and professional positions, no architectural series is included. We note that there are architectural-engineering series, general-engineering series, civil-engineering series, structural-engineering series, and the like. But we would like to call to your attention the fact that the profession and practice of architecture are distinct from those of the engineering professions.
Architecture is one of our great professions, and a separate series should be included for its practitioners for this reason, if for no other. However, from a more immediate and practical standpoint, we feel very strongly that there are certain key positions in the Government construction agencies which can only be properly filled by architects, We fear that the elimination of architectural series from S. 1326 would result in the Government being unable to employ the professional skills that are specifically required. The American Institute of Architects request that you and your committee give careful consideration to the inclusion of an architectural series in S. 1326...
Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. Ross Messer, legislative representative, National Association of Post Office and General Services Maintenance Employees.
STATEMENT OF ROSS A. MESSER, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE,
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POST OFFICE AND GENERAL SERVICE MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES
Mr. MESSER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for this opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Ross A. Messer, and I am legislative representative of the National Association of Post Office and General Services Maintenance Emloyees, representing the custodial employees of the Post Office Department and General Services Administration.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States Department of Labor, the cost of living has increased for the past 7 months and has established a new all-time high. The constant increase in the cost of living has had a great impact upon the lives of the employees we represent. In most instances, the salaries of these groups of employees are set by Congress.
Since 1951, the postal employees received a 6-percent increase. This increase was approved in June 1955, retroactive to March 1, 1955. On December 3, 1955, the reclassification features of Public Law 68 were placed in effect, and an average 2.2-percent resulted. I think it should be pointed out that, while the average increase from reclassification was 2.2-percent, there were many employees who received practically no increase at all. In many instances, the increases ranged from $6 to $40, which is a long way from an average 2.2-percent increase.
In 1955, the Classification Act employees received an average 7.5percent increase. I would like to point out that this was also a misleading percentage figure. The 71/2-percent increase was computed on
the entrance step of the grade and applied equally to all 7 steps of the grade. Therefore, the only employees actually receiving the 712-percent increase were the employees who had been in the position less than 1 year.
While the postal employees and classified employees have had only one increase since 1951, employees in private industry and certain employees in Government have received periodic increases from time to time, keeping their salaries abreast with the ever-increasing cost of living. It is certainly time that action were taken to bring the salaries of postal and classified employees in line with those in private industry and certain Government positions.
The average salary of the full-time post office custodial employee as of June 30, 1956, was $3,719. This information is found in the 1956 Annual Report of the Postmaster General. The average salary for the post office custodial service of $3,719 would provide a biweekly take-home pay of $125.49 for an employee with a wife and 2 children. This would mean only $62.74 per week.
It is impossible for a postal employee to adequately support and educate a family on $62.74 per week. You can see from these figures why there is difficulty in filling many of the custodial positions and why it is necessary for many of the custodial employees to have parttime positions in addition to their postal posiitons.
The increase in the cost of living is not the only thing that has affected these employees. The liberalization of the Retirement Act last year increased the retirement deductions of these employees from 6 to 612 percent, without giving any added benefits to approximately 12,000 postal employees. I realize that this amount is very small. However, at the time their deduction was being increased without additional benefits, the deduction of the higher paid Government employees was also increase one-half percent, but they received added retirement benefits. While this low-paid group of employees received no added benefit for the additional deduction, the higher group did receive more benefits.
We are not asking for charity. We are merely seeking a decent living wage so that the employees we represent will be in a position to provide for their families in the manner in which most Americans have become accustomed. We are not asking that every employee be able to own an automobile and all of the other luxuries, but we do believe that each employee should be able to provide the necessities of life for his family. We believe that each employee should be in a position to make plans to give his children the proper education to qualify them for work. - S. 734 would abolish the present 18 GS grades of the Classification Act and replace them with 14 CA grades. It is believed that, in the preparation of the position descriptions, one group of employees has been overlooked. We would like to offer an amendment to include the guards in one of the descriptions. .
On page 3, line 8, change the period to a semicolon and add the following language: “or (3) to guard office and storage buildings." This amendment would assign guards to the new grade CA-2. Under the present wording, it is believed that this group of employees would probably be assigned to CA-1, which would be a downgrading of the position, and in all probability would place them in the same grade with messengers and other positions requiring no previous experience.
· Mr. Chairman, much has been said about the inadequacy of postal pay. It is our belief that recently this subject was very well covered in a statement by the Honorable Robert H. Schaffer, postmaster of New York City, shortly before he presented his resignation to the Post Office Department, effective on June 15. Mr. Schaffer's comments were carried in the Washington Daily News by their government reporter, Mr. John Cramer. I would like to quote from this article if I may:
On postal pay, Mr. Schaffer said: "What kind of a career service is it that the postal worker has—to work 12 or 14 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, 8 hours in the post office and 4 to 6 hours on an outside job" * * *
"The truth is that, even as the Nation's economy began to expand in the late 1930's and through the 1950's, the salaries of postal workers went down and down.
"Until the time that the economic squeeze is lifted off the postal workers, no one will be able to say that morale is way up there.
"A lot of experts outside of the Department have been trying to demonstrate that we have adequate salaries.
"Just let them sit in the postmaster's chair for 6 days, and they will learn differently."
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, it is our earnest hope that this subcommittee will favorably report a bill, or bills, giving an adequate salary increase to both postal and Classification Act employees.
Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. George T. Slocum, vice president, International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE T. SLOCUM, VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNA
TIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS Mr. SLOCUM. My name is George T. Slocum, and I am vice president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, affilated with the AFL-CIO. Our offices are at 404–406 AFL-CIO Building, 815 16th Street, NW., Washington, D. C. Our organization has been in existence since February 28, 1918, and has represented, for the purposes of collective bargaining, fire fighters throughout the United States and Canada continuously since that date. Our membership consists of fire fighters employed by Federal, State, provincial, county, and municipal government throughout the United States and Canada and by private employers and contractors.
Your committee is considering pay increases for Federal employees, and we are here to represent those employees of the Federal fire fighter services. The Federal fire fighters' wages, at the present time, are considerably below those of other crafts and those of municipalities. We feel the wages paid to these people should be based on professional rates or, at the very least, highly skilled rates.
Fire service of today is considered by the standard and rating authorities of this country in the professional field. It takes many years of study and experience to become a fire fighter. He must be trained in many fields such as hydraulics, chemistry, arson, fire prevention, first aid, rescue under any conditions, handling of many types of fuels, pumps, aerial equipment, also study water systems, building construction, sprinkler systems, mobilization of forces, atomic fallout and protection, and personnel problems as they affect the public, as well as the fire services.
We feel these requirements have been overlooked by Government agencies who have established wage rates for fire fighters. We are hoping this committee will do something to remedy the errors of the past. It must also be remembered that the fire fighter at work is working onder the most adverse conditions of any profession or trade: Toxic gases, explosions, falling walls, collapsing floors and many other hazards. He must face these hazards in order to get to the seat of the fire and extinguish it before it becomes a conflagration.
In order to attract the proper man for the job, pay must be based on these factors. It must be remembered also that the fire fighter does not have time to hold a conference or study blueprints before going into action. All decisions are made on arrival at the scene of operations and these decisions must be right or the losses will be multiplied. This could be many times the amount needed for a substantial pay increase for these people.
The life involvement must also be taken into consideration. If people are trapped, they must be rescued at all costs; and these costs come high to the fire fighter. These fire fighters in Federal employment are charged with the protection of millions of dollars worth of equipment and property. In case of war the fire fighters will be the organization which will be charged with the fire protection of our military installations as well as the industrial plants. Your fire fighters will be the first line of civilian defense. And, we hope and expect that this service will be built up so this Nation will have a riucleus of highly trained men who can cope with the many problems that will arise.
When you stop to think of the vast responsibilities, it is very easy to see that this service must be made more attractive in order to get a high caliber of personnel who are willing to make this their career, and it must not be reduced in numbers. Private industry is paying sweepers and common labor more than fire fighters are getting at their present wage level.
There are two bills introduced which can take care of this situation: S. 734 and S. 1326. We are willing to be placed under schedules in 734; but, if S. 1326 is to be considered, we are requesting that our people be reclassified as professional and included in this bill.
There is no segment in Government that has been neglected more than the fire fighters, and it is hoped and expected by them that this will be corrected by this session of Congress.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, in closing we of the International Association of Fire Fighters, believing at all times that employees of the Federal Government, of the State and municipal governments, are entitled to and should receive substantial wages in order that they and their families may enjoy the American way of life and not have to hold more than one job to do so. With this thought in mind, I would like to have the organization I have the honor to represent to be recorded in favor of substantial salary increases for all Federal and postal employees of the Federal Government.
Senator NEUBERGER. Miss Julia Bennett, American Library Association.
Miss Bennett, we are glad to have you here and as an author, I am particularly glad to welcome a librarian who performs so many useful services for both authors and legislators.
STATEMENT BY JULIA D. BENNETT, DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON
OFFICE, AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, ON. S. 1326 Miss BENNETT. My name is Julia D. Bennett. I am director of the Washington office of the American Library Association. The ALA is a nonprofit professional organization of more than 20,000 librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries interested in the development, extension, and strengthening of our Nation's library service.
I am grateful for this opportunity to appear before this subcommittee and to present the association's request that librarians be included specifically in S. 1326. This bill will establish a system for the classification and compensation of scientific and professional positions in the Federal Government. It is designed to set up a separate service outside of the general schedule for the positions in the professional, scientific, technological, research, and development fields.
At the time the general schedule was being established, there were three separate services: the professional service, the subprofessional, and the clerical, administrative, and the fiscal service which were combined to form the general schedule.
Librarians were included in the professional service. When the Classification Act of 1949 went into effect, the transposition to the general schedule was made for librarians at the same grades as for all others in the professional service, commencing at GS-5. For professional library positions of higher grades the transfer was made according to the regular method of transfer for all grades in the professional service.
The United States Civil Service Commission's class specifications issued under authority of Executive Order No. 9512, January 16, 1945, recognized and established the Library Series P-1120–0 to cover all classes of positions "the duties of which are to administer, supervise, or perform professional library work." These class specifications are now in the process of revision and work on them is nearing completion. This revision brings out very clearly the fact that these positions are professional positions.
The educational qualifications of the professional librarian include 5 years of formal education beyond secondary schooling including graduation from a library school. The degree the individual now normally possesses at the beginning of his professional library career is a master's degree in library science. For positions of higher grades and for specialized positions in addition a doctor's degree in library science or a master's degree or a doctor's degree in a special subject field are at times required.
In the face of a great shortage of professional librarians, the Federal Government at the present time is not in a favorable position to attract, recruit, and retain the quality and quantity of librarians it requires for its professional library positions. It must have these librarians to support the scientific and technical programs of the Government. It must have the competence which professional librarians provide library training, subject specialization, and foreign language abilities—to carry forward the technical research which is the backbone of these scientific and technical programs. It is impossible to conceive that a scientific team could achieve its objective without access to organized knowledge. The librarian is the key to organizing this knowledge and making it available.