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not to take it out of the backs of the postal employees, and I think that is a very, very certain thing that we have got to face in the Congress. They are entitled to compensation commensurate with the high standards of the service they render and with the prevailing rates of wages, compensation and job security in private business. If we do not like the postal rates we ought to change them. That is not their affair. There are two things: One, do justice to them and the other is to give good service in the post office.
Mr. Chairman, we have 35,000 workers in the New York Post Office, the largest in the country, and I have been close to their problems and they are very, very acute right now. I, therefore, appear to testify in favor of S. 27.
Also, I think it would be only fair to say that I hope that if the committee acts favorably upon S. 27 it will also, in due course, carefully appraise the salaries of other civil-service employees, that having been the traditional method of approach.
Now let me give the committee a few facts.
In New York City, the man who collects our garbage and works for the sanitation department is better paid than the man who delivers our mail.
The employees of the New York City Department of Sanitation receive a beginning salary of $3,950 annually with three yearly increases until the maximum of $5,050 is reached-and that is exclusive of a uniform allowance.
The letter carrier, by comparison, who enters the postal service with a yearly salary of $3,660 must have 25 years of loyal service before he reaches the maximum of $4,710—which is, incidentally, under the maximum of the sanitation department worker-and he gets also an annual uniform allowance of $100.
I think it is amazing and worthy of very considerable note to see the morale and devotion which the postal employees have nevertheless put into their work though they know these comparisons in New York as well as we do. · Now, here are some sample communications which I think are very important. A constituent with 17 years of continuous service as a mail clerk writes me as follows:
My gross income for 1946 was a disgraceful $4,590. This gives me the distinction of being the lowest paid male wage earner of all iny relatives and close friends * * *. A brother working for the Railway Express Agency (my job counterpart) earned $1,000 a year more than I. Also, my brothers and families all enjoy full company-paid-for hospital and medical insurance. The post office, as you know, ignores responsibility even for occupational diseases (varicose veins, TB, and ruptures).
Now, the natural result of this low pay scale is a high turnover in personnel and we have that in New York. Post offices are finding it more and more difficult to recruit personnel and have to search beyond the usual civil-service registers. I should like to make a part of the committee record at this point a notice sent to the employees of the New York Post Office requesting postal employees to aid in the recruitment drive for other postal employees.
If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like that made a part of my testimony.
Senator NEUBERGER. You may. Without objection it is so ordered.
(The document referred to follows:)
UNITED STATES POST OFFICE,
New York, N. Y., April 23, 1957. Circular Letter 57-292. Subject: Personnel-temporary appointments. TO THE SUPERINTENDENT,
- STATION : Canvass your employees and ask them if they have any friends or relatives (male), whom they can vouch for, who are interested in an appointment as full-time temporary substitute clerks or temporary substitute mail handlers.
Have them submit to you the names and addresses of any interested parties, also, their ages and whether or not they are veterans. You will then send the list to the personnel section, general post office.
GEORGE J. Hass,
General Superintendent of Mails. Senator JAVITS. Now, we also know in New York that due to the low wage scale it is common practice for postal workers to hold down a different job, the number estimated in that category is about 60 percent and about 50 percent of the postal workers are estimated to have wives who work because it is absolutely essential to make both ends meet.
Let me give you a few other typical letters; then I shall conclude. I have a letter from a letter carrier. He writes as follows:
I have two daughters whom I would like to educate and make good citizens of them, but it seems impossible right now. We have no car or 'telephone. My wife is seeking night employment to help financially.
Now, here is a letter from a clerk in the Bronx, part of New York City:
Like most postal employees I am in debt. The TV set that occupies my living room has been out of order for many months. It is a very old 10-inch set. I cannot afford a new one. My bedroom set is 25 years old and needs to be replaced. This I cannot do with the present salary that I receive after 20 years of service. My take-home pay is $71.50 a week after deductions for income tax and retirement.
Mr. Chairman, that is about $10 less than the average compensation of factory workers in the State of New York-$71.50 a week—and this man has been at it for 20 years.
Finally, a letter from a clerk in Flushing, N. Y., that is part of Queens County, part of New York City:
Many experienced men are resigning; many more, including myself, shall if there is not a substantial well-deserved raise in a reasonable period of time. It is foolish for the Government to let the Post Office Department deteriorate into a second-class organization through lack of interest or indifference. As a veteran of World War II and Korea, I never expected to be deprived of a living wage in the richest country in the world.
And, Mr. Chairman, we have some very interesting newspaper comment in New York which bears out what I have just been saying. Our Gannett papers upstate are very, very interested in budgetary matters and in saving money on the budget, et cetera; yet here is an editorial from the Rochester, N. Y., Democrat and Chronicle of April 13, 1957, saying, and I quote, about the post-office business:
Only one point is reasonably certain : The employees' salaries have not kept pace with private industry. In short, all segments of opinion understand this is a pressing problem, and it has got to be corrected.
And, Mr. Chairman, I understand also, before I complete my statement, the committee is today hearing S. 1326, the Scientific and Professional Classification Act. I should like to record myself as being in favor of that particular measure, too.
I am calling attention to the very intensive competition of the Federal Government with private industry which is so often able to offer more attractive inducements in the form of salary, fringe benefits and opportunity for advancement with respect to workers in these classifications and the urgent necessity for the Government to match the pace set by industry in that regard.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The next witness will be Congressman Lankford from the State of Maryland.
Congressman, we will be pleased to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF HON. RICHARD E. LANKFORD, MEMBER OF CON
GRESS FROM THE FIFTH DISTRICT OF MARYLAND Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Richard E. Lankford. I represent the Fifth Maryland Congressional District. I want to thank the committee and the chairman for letting me appear before you this morning and particularly for letting me go on early as the day is like most days in Congress.
My constituency includes more Government workers probably than any other district in the Nation and for that reason I have an unusual interest in matters which affect the wages and working conditions in the Federal service, and an acute awareness of the problems and needs of Government employees.
I appear before you today in support of pay adjustments for postal and classified Federal employees. I have long felt that before Uncle Sam can attract and retain employees qualified to efficiently and effectively run this vast machine we call the Federal Government, he must pay wages at least equal to those paid for similar work in private industry. And I submit that today Government workers' pay has fallen considerably below their neighbors' who are employed in private industry.
Federal employees have only had niggardly pay increases in a number of years. Their last basic pay increase was received more than 2 years ago. Since that date living costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have risen over 4 percent, and the outlook is for a continuation of this upward trend. In addition, the average pay of workers in private industry has increased almost 12 percent. As a result, Federal employees find the purchasing power of their pay dollar falling, and there has been a steady increase in their economic difficulties. This is a shocking fact. I see no reason whatsoever why any employee in any business or industry should suffer a reduction in his standard of living if he is doing a good job. Uncle Sam, as an employer, has no valid legal or moral excuse to maintain wages which by modern standards are not sufficient to provide a decent standard of living for his workers.
I am fully aware of the drive to reduce Government spending, but I am still more acutely aware of the economic difficulties being suffered by our Federal employees. It is a national disgrace when thousands of employees of the Government of the richest nation on earth are forced to take on part-time jobs, or their wives must find employment, to make ends meet. But, gentlemen, this is happening.
I have a large file of letters from Government employees attesting to the fact that their take-home pay just is not sufficient to cover the cost of a bare living.
I would like to give you a typical example: DEAR SIR: Please sign discharge petition House Resolution 249 for consideration of H. R. 2474. One small pay raise in the last 6 years is not enough when my home taxes and assessment have increased 3 or 4 times in 6 years, and when the cost of living has increased year by year just as wages in private industry have.
following expenses; could you?
This situation alone is sufficient justification for an increase in Federal pay. But aside from these human aspects, there is the practical fact that in the long run it would be more costly to the Government to deny this pay adjustment because a large turnover of personnel will inevitably come about unless we take steps now to assure adequate pay in the Federal service. This will result in a decline in the quality of Government service.
I am not at all impressed by warnings that a pay increase this year would be “inflationary.” As I understand it, Federal employees in this instance are not asking so much for a pay raise as they are a pay adjustment to bring their wages up to the level of today's living costs.
They are not seeking additional money with which to buy more things but rather sufficient income to cover the basic needs of everyday living which many of them now must go in debt to obtain. It is absurd to infer that a pay adjustment of this type would have an inflationary impact. And I don't see how any Member of Congress, if he understands this request as I do, can honestly oppose it.
I want to thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to appear before this committee and present my views.
Senator NEUBERGER. Any questions, Senator Morton ?
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you very much, Congressman Lankford. We appreciate the opportunity to have you come and present your testimony.
Our next witness and our first witness from the Government agencies will be Chairman Harris Ellsworth of the United States Civil Service Commission.
STATEMENT OF HARRIS ELLSWORTH, CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED
STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN MACY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION Mr. ELLSWORTH. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I have a brief statement which I would like to read.
I am most pleased to meet with you today to discuss the conditions of employment of our Federal workers. During the years I was in Congress I was always impressed with the reports of the loyal and conscientious work being done by our competent Federal employees. Now that I am more directly connected with the Federal work force in the executive branch of the Government, my previous impressions have been more than reinforced.
During my confirmation hearings, when I met with the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee, I said in effect that all of us, the administration, Congress, and the Civil Service Commission must continue to do an effective job of establishing and strengthening the Federal career service. I am convinced that it is necessary to do so in order that the Government can acquire and hold a competent work force to carry out the vast and important job confronting it today.
Of course, I am very new to the position of Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, but already my colleagues on the Civil Service Commission and I have been confronted by many Federal personnel problems. We have rapidly come to the realization that the job of providing leadership and regulation in the area of personnel management is a complex and at times a confusing matter since it involves over 2 million civilian employees, covering 1,500 different occupations, and involving fifty-some different agencies of Government.
One of the areas we in the Commission have been devoting a good deal of attention to is, of course, the area of compensation for Federal employees. Not only have we been attempting to become knowledgeable with respect to the workings of the many pay systems which now exist in the Federal service, but we have been trying especially to understand the interrelationships of the thirty-some distinct pay systems and the impact each has on the other. In other words, we have been attempting to place in proper perspective the various Federal pay systems which collectively make up the overall Federal-pay structure.
Mr. Chairman, I must state that in my many years of contact with governmental problems, I have rarely seen a program of Government that is as confusing, bewildering, and even in part as illogical as today's Federal-pay structure. For example, 42 percent of the Government employees are under the Classification Act; 34 percent are under wageboard systems; 19 percent are under the Postal Field Service Compensation Act; and 5 percent are covered by many other acts and orders.
We in the Commission have been giving as much attention as possible to the proposals for providing pay adjustments by legislative action to those Federal employees whose pay rates are fixed by law. The results of our analysis to this date clearly indicate that pay increases for all Classification Act employees would serve only to further unbalance an already confusing and patched-up structure.