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poorest paid group, start at $1.85 an hour and at the end of 90 days go to $1.95.
Boring-mill operators start at $2.64; checker-tool employees start at $3.16 and go to $3.41 an hour. The pay of other employees is found generally between these two levels.
A Post Office Department survey of the 3 States comprising the Cincinnati region, namely, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, showed that postal workers were 4 school years ahead of average production workers in General Motors. General Motors reported that the average weekly earnings of their employees for the last quarter of 1956 was $105.41. General Motors employees have received additional increases since that time, generally amounting to 20 cents an hour. Compare these hourly earnings with the $2.05 average paid letter carriers. Then go on and compare that average with these hourly earnings reported for private industry, as of December 1956, by the United States Department of Labor. These are the actual figures taken from the statistical charts: The petroleum industry, $2.58 per hour; transportation equipment, $2.43; primary metal, $2.45; construction, $2.82; gas and electrical utilities, $2.28; metal products, $2.15 an hour; rubber, $2.24; printing, $2.45; and machinery, $2.26.
The average increase in 1956 for those industries covered by the survey amounted to 7.9 cents an hour. The average salary paid all manufacturing employees has gone up more than 11 percent since welast had our wages adjusted. In this connection, it is significant to note that many of the employees covered by contract in industry are assured of another increase during the current year. On January 1, between 4 and 5 million workers were covered by agreements calling for increases during 1957.
Uncle Sam is not only derelict in his responsibility as an employer in terms of adequate wages, but Government discriminates against various categories of its employees.
I should like to preface my testimony in that connection by making the record crystal clear that we do not resent the higher wages paid certain civilian employee groups outside the letter-carrier service. We are not jealous, but we could be excused for sometimes being envious.
The point is, the present policy is to oppose wage increases for postal and classified employees, then put the same policy aside to allow increases for 600,000 or more per diem wage-board employees. The obvious inquiry would seem to be, “Do you favor placing postal employees under wage-board controls?”
Our organization submits that it will be time enough to take up that subject after the present compensation system is adjusted to meet current economic conditions; also, when a position comparable to the letter carrier is presented for determining a prevailing rate. I am prompted to this last observation, having in mind the futile search the Post Office Department made in 1955. I should also say the Post Office Department testified at that time to its own disenchantment with the idea, due to the administrative problem which would be involved in applying the policy to more than 40,000 separate post offices.
I should like to conclude my testimony by reading two editorials which sum up quite well the case of the postal employees' bid for a fair wage.
The first is from a recent issue of the Washington Post and Times Herald. The following are excerpts from the editorial:
With consumer prices still creeping steadily upward, this is not a time for “soft” wage settlements which tend to feed the inflationary spiral. But this does not mean that employees should not be reasonably protected from the diminution of their buying power, nor does it suggest that the Federal Government or any other large employer ought to ask one group of employees to man the gates against inflation alone.
The administration's announced determination to resist any move for a general pay increase for Federal classified and postal workers seems not to take into account some elementary considerations of justice and fair play, to say nothing of the requirements of a sound wage policy. Since the last basic salary increase for classified and postal employees 2 years ago, living costs have risen about 4 percent. Average manufacturing salaries have climbed more than 11 percent.
The administration appears to be taking an unnecessarily "hard" line in rejecting out of hand any kind of general Federal pay adjustment. The cost could well be accounmodated in the budget despite the thin surplus which is envisaged. Congress ought to exercise great caution, of course, and try to see that Federal wages at least follow-and do not lead-the price-wage parade. But, if the Government is to follow President Eisenhower's oft-stated principle that Federal workers should be treated as well as the employees of progressive private industry, some increase for classified and postal employees appears to be in order.
The second is taken from the May 18 editorial page of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
POSTAL RATES AND SALARIES Many times in these columns we have pointed out the urgent need for upward revision of postal rates. One reason is that users of the mails should pay the
postal employees should have salary increases, the cost of which ought to be met by postal revenues.
Twenty years ago and more, letter carriers and postal clerks in Cincinnati were paid somewhat more than roughly equivalent municipal workers, such as policemen and firemen. The intervening years, as everyone knows, have been years of continuous inflation. City employees have been advanced periodically. Today police and firemen in Cincinnati—who are not paid extravagantly-get $5,350 a year, after 4 years' service.
Postal employees, meantime, dependent on the tardy corrective action of Congress, range from $3,660 a year to $4,410. After 7 years' service, the typical salary of a postal worker will be around $4,300. This is not merely inequitable, by comparison with pay in other comparable fields, it is grossly inadequate, by any standard.
There are bills in both Houses of Congress to remedy this. The House bill seems to be blocked by an unsympathetic committee chairman. But the Senate
employees fair consideration.
It is true the postal service is losing money—perhaps $600 million a year. This, however, has nothing to do with pay scales. For wages ought to be competitive, regardless of the profit or loss of the enterprise. And Congress can eliminate the postal deficit any time simply by passing the bill for rate increases in first-, second-, and third-class mail.
These problems are not interdependent. Postal salaries should be raised-in fairness to the workers involved and in the long-range interest of adequate postal service. Rates also should be increased, so that taxpayers will not be subsidizing users of the mails. But, the one problem should not be tied to the other.
I would also ask that an article appearing in the Washington Daily News for Monday, May 20, written by an expert in the subject of Federal employment, and captioned, “Stretchout Is Destroying Government Service" by Mr. John Cramer be inserted.
Senator NEUBERGER. Without objection, Mr. Cramer's article will be inserted.
(The above-mentioned article is as follows:)
By John Cramer The Eisenhower administration is applying the "stretchout” system to Federal employee salary problems-postponing today's bills for payment later out of future budgets.
It's denying employees pay raises which impartial industrial experts have said are urgent and long overdue.
And in the process, it's—
Piling up huge (and unnecessary) costs for the future-costs of rebuilding the service to its former high standards.
In Pentagon phraseology, a "stretchout” occurs when you postpone an inevitable expense from one budget to the next.
When you apply it to the purchase of necessary military equipment, you sometimes can make the gamble work and actually produce savings.
HARD TO WIN But when you apply it to people, and seek to economize by refusing the laborer his hire, you just can't win.
Your best people quit for better pay elsewhere.
Morale drops among those who remain because they resent the patent injustice of your "stretchout.”
You're forced to hire second-rate replacements for those who leave because competent people won't work at depressed pay rates.
Your work force deteriorates. Inefficient personnel runs up your costs. And you still have the huge and enormously expensive problem of rebuilding your work force-eventually.
This is not a mere theoretical prediction of something which may happen.
Unchallenged expert testimony says it's happening right now in the Federal Government !
The administration hasn't once said that Federal employee pay raises are not justified.
What it has said, in the words of Budget Director Percival Brundage, its current spokesman on such matters, is that,
Raises would be expensive—an argument which also was used against freeing the slaves.
Raises "might be inflationary”-an argument which claims, in effect, that you can raise a real roadblock against inflation by controlling the salaries of 1,500,000 persons out of a national work force of 67 million.
This is a policy without principle.
It ignores all concepts of justice. It comes perilously close to lending official Federal Government endorsement to the deadbeat philosophy that you don't. have to pay if you can get away without paying. It puts the dollar above all, and seeks to balance the budget out of the daily bread of the one group of people whose efficiency or lack of efficiency will determine the size of future budgets.
These conclusions are not mine alone. The impartial Cordiner Committee, with no ax to grind except the overall welfare of the Government and the taxpayer, stopped just short of saying the same thing.
In its recent report on Defense Department civilian salaries, it said:
That Government pay rates for managerial and professional personnel lag 15 to 20 percent behind those in industry.
That white collar workers in industry have had raises averaging 20 percent since 1952—as against only 7.5 percent for those in Government.
That Government fringe benefits no longer are especially attractive when compared with those of industry.
That immediate stopgap interim pay raises averaging 12 percent are imperative for defense workers at GS-12 and up, with additional raises presumed. to come later after a new study by a proposed high-level commission.
The administration has not challenged the Cordiner findings.
Nor has it done a very good job of answering the Cordiner argument that raises would be deflationary rather than inflationary-because they would save money, in terms of better personnel and better Federal service, in the long run.
Its only real answer to the Cordiner recommendations has been the one it apparently considers the argument to end all arguments : Pay raises would cost money.
Mr. Brundage, in a recent letter to congressional committees, phrased it very nakedly.
Even a 1 percent raise, he said, if extended across the board to postal and classified workers, would cost $70 million per year.
But not once did he say raises aren't justified.
The damage to the Federal service damage that will cost hundreds of millions in future budgets already is apparent.
In some areas, the postal service is finding it almost impossible to recruit new employees-at its starting salary of $70 per week. The quality of recruits admittedly is dropping—a factor which will be reflected in less efficient personnel in years to come.
Unions claim that more than half of all postal clerks and carriers have to hold outside jobs to supplement their incomes. Resignations of experienced employees are at an all time high in many offices. Those hired as replacements, one union leader has cracked, are "the lame, the halt, and the blind."
CORDINER SLANT The Cordiner Committee has told what is happening in the Defense Department
The Defense work force, it has said, is facing "collapse" unless salaries are raised promptly.
Experienced managers and professional workers are leaving in alarming numbers.
Replacements are inferior in quality.
Top-ranking graduates scorn Government jobs. In general, Defense now is able to hire only the low-rankers.
Even now, as the Cordiner Committee sees it, the damage is enormous. For the future, it points to an inefficient, second-rate Federal service either that, or a huge outlay to repair it.
This is the bill the administration is piling up for future budgets.
will take early and favorable action to report out S. 27. Thereafter, I have the further hope that Congress wisl approve the bill and that President Eisenhower will sign it into law.
I express these hopes, because S. 27 represents an historic opportunity for Government to bring living standards of postal employees up to the level of most other workers.
Before we have any questioning of Mr. Doherty, I would like to say the subcommittee welcomes Senator Yarborough here. We are all aware of the catastrophe in his home State which held his presence there yesterday and we trust that the conditions in which he is interested will be ameliorated.
We know his interest in Federal employees and we are pleased he is here.
I should also like to say for the record, a number of people have asked me about Mr. Bill Brawley, the chief clerk of this committee, who has recently undergone surgery and for that reason is not with us during these important subcommittee hearings. I am informed that Mr. Brawley is convalescing satisfactorily and I am sure everybody in the room is pleased to have that information.
Because Senator Yarborough did come in late and was therefore unable to hear all of Mr. Doherty's testimony, I am sure it will be agreeable with him, if I ask Senator Morton first if he has any questions of the witness.
Senator MORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am glad to see Mr. Doherty again and he has made his usual able presentation of the case and because it was such a clear and lucid statement, I have no questions.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you, Senator Morton.
Senator YARBOROUGH. I have no questions. I have had an opportunity to hear a portion of the statement since I arrived here and I have been scanning through the earlier parts and have no questions. I think it is a fine statement and covers many of the questions we have at issue here.
Mr. Chairman, I do thank you for your words about my absence in Texas in the survey we have been making of some of the results of the disaster there and my appreciation for the privilege of being back on this committee which has, I think, one of the many important bills facing the Congress at this session, Senate bill 27.
Senator NEUBERGER. Thank you Senator Yarborough. We are happy to have you with us today.
Mr. Paschal, would you like to ask any questions in behalf of the minority, Senator Carlson?
Mr. PÁSCHAL. I would just say, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Doherty has, as always, made a very outstanding statement. I think he knows that, having worked with him for a good many years during other Congresses, we appreciate his ability.
I was interested in one statement, Mr. Doherty. I thought maybe you could clear up because I do think it carries weight. You made the statement out of 53 examinations in Minnesota, only 1,353 could be persuaded to come in for an interview. Do you have any record as to how many took those examinations?
Mr. DOHERTY. That refers to the clerk-carrier examination exclusively, Mr. Paschal. I have no record of how many took the examination. The figures are accurate. They were supplied to me from the post office records of Minneapolis, Minn.
Mr. PASCHAL. Yes, I did not doubt but what they were accurate, I am sure of that. I just thought it rather amazing that small number would come in for an interview. I was wondering if you did know how many actually took the test?
Mr. DOHERTY. That is probably the exact number that applied for the examination in the first place. There is no attractiveness to the position whatsoever nowadays. At one time a letter carrier had a desired position.
Senator NEUBERGER. Mr. Doherty, inasmuch as this point has been raised and I think it is a bona fide one, could you obtain from the same source in Minnesota the total number who took the examination as compared with those who did come in for later interview.
Mr. DOHERTY. I will supply that for the record, Mr. Chairman. I will be glad to do so. It is a matter of using the telephone and getting it for the record.