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think it might be appropriate for it to receive your consideration along with H.R. 7814.
H.R. 4800 is designed to correct inequities of last year's pay bill with regard to certain step increases within the first six grades of the postal field service. It provides for automatic advancement to the next higher step, within-grade, after completion of a certain specified period of satisfactory service at the lower step. The inclusion of these provisions would be of great benefit to the postal employees and I strongly recommend their inclusion in this legislation.
In conclusion, these salary and step increases are not being proposed for political purposes—they are being proposed because they are truly needed. It is the aim of the Federal service to attract and to retain qualified personnel, but this obviously cannot be accomplished if we must compete with private enterprise as a second-rate employer. The increases we are proposing are not lavish, but they will enable Government employees at least to keep up with the cost of living. Each and every Government employee, from the highest to the lowest, is entitled to this.
Therefore, I strongly urge favorable action on these bills by the members of this committee, and I thank them for their consideration in hearing my views.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be delighted to hear from our colleague, Representative Fulton of Pennsylvania. STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES G. FULTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA Mr. FULTON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is James G. Fulton and I am the Representative from the 27th District of Pennsylvania.
Before beginning this statement I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of this committee for permitting me to testify today on behalf of the very important and necessary legislation introduced by Representatives Morrison, Dulski, Wallhauser, and Olsen, calling for a true comparability wage increase for postal and Federal workers.
I am fully aware that so much expert testimony has been presented before this committee in recent weeks that there is nothing new or startling that I can add to that great body of evidence. However, coming as I do from an area where living costs are relatively high, I feel it would be remiss of me if I did not add my voice to the cause of fair treatment for those of my constituents who work in the Postal and the Federal Establishments.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, like so many other Members of the House of Representatives, I felt—when I cast my vote last year for the legislation that eventually became Public Law 87–793—that I was contracting a debt of honor. The language of the legislation made it perfectly clear that it was the intent of the Congress that postal and Federal workers would thereafter have their wages adjusted annually to conform with wage increases granted their opposite numbers in private industry.
It was clearly the intent of Congress that wage increases for Federal and postal workers would no longer be adjusted on a hit
or-miss basis after the usual expensive, wearing and inefficient biennial pay crusades.
Public Law 87–793 was intended to put the adjustment of postal and Federal salaries on a scientific basis and to insure that these fine people would never again be forced to lag shamefully behind the Nation's economic parade.
Because of this provision in the legislation, I supported it in 1962. I did so with some misgivings, however, since I knew that the mechanics by which the Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers its material would insure that postal and Federal workers, when they were granted their comparability pay raises, would be achieving comparability, not with what workers in private industry were getting at the time, but with what they had been getting 2 to 3 years ago.
However, knowing perfectly well that Public Law 87–793 represented the best compromise that could be achieved at the time, I supported it wholeheartedly, despite this built-in time lag.
For this reason, Mr. Chairman, I strongly support the legislation introduced by my colleagues, Mr. Morrison, Mr. Dulski, Mr. Olsen, and Mr. Wallhauser. The legislation would eliminate the time lag and would give postal and Federal workers full and contemporary comparability with their brothers in private industry.
I do not think that this bill is an extravagant one. Rather, I feel it is on the conservative side.
I was much impressed by the testimony of Jerome J. Keating, the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, wherein he proved conclusively that—since the Bureau of Labor Statistics had made its survey-workers in private industry had received at least two pay raises—and that those pay raises averaged, for the most part, far more than the 3 percent a year extra that this bill would grant postal and Federal employees.
If we are going to give postal and Federal workers comparabilityand I sincerely hope and trust we shall—let us give them honest comparability and not a kind of phoney comparability with wage scales that pertained 2 to 3 years ago.
To grant the latter kind of false comparability would be, in fact, shortchanging these fine men and women who form the background of our greatest communications system.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it would be a waste of everyone's time if I were to try to reiterate the factual and statistical material that has been presented to you during these past few weeks. In my opinion, the case is already made.
Even though the administration has not gone so far as to support this extra 3-percent-a-year increase proposed in this legislation, its spokesmen have openly and frankly admitted that a time lag does exist and that the President's recommendations to the Congress would not give postal and Federal employees honest and up-to-date comparability with private industry.
We went on record last year as desiring to grant true comparability to Federal and postal employees. We cannot follow through on this commitment by statements and studies; we can follow through only by definite and constructive legislative action.
I sincerely hope, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, that you will see fit to report out this progressive legislation and I feel confident that the Congress will approve it.
Thank you very much.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be delighted to hear from our colleague, Representative Multer of New York.
STATEMENT OF HON. ABRAHAM J. MULTER, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK Mr. MULTER. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to testify today in behalf of H.R. 7814, which proposes a Federal salary increase to be effective on January 1, 1964. This legislation is urgently needed in spite of the fact that the second phase of the salary increase provided in the Salary Reform Act of last year will become effective on that date.
Last year's legislation was the first Federal pay legislation which specifically embraced the principle of comparability, that is, that Federal salaries should be comparable to salaries received in private enterprise for jobs having similar duties and responsibility. The act provides that the Bureau of Labor Statistics shall make annual surveys of the rates of compensation for similar positions in the Federal Government and in private industry. Congress is then to use these statistics as a guide to keeping Government salaries in line with nongovernmental salaries.
The second step of last year's pay raise, which will take effect January 1, unless superseded by new legislation, is a step in the right direction, but was necessarily written without the benefit of the first of the BLS surveys.
We now have an opportunity of correcting that situation.
The results of this survey were published in March of this year. It is only fair that we now revise the salary schedule in the light of the BLS findings, and bring Government salaries into line with the principle of comparability which we so warmly espoused in last year's legislation. This is the time to assure Federal employees that we are indeed concerned with their financial welfare, and will live up
to the standards which we set less than a year ago. Perhaps the greatest difficulty facing us in considering a revision of the second phase of the salary increases provided for by last year's act is the time lag between the BLS statistics and the actual implementation of the new rates. The spirit of the comparability principle and natural considerations of equity require that the lapse of time be held to the minimum possible. This is the reason for the introduction of the bills we are considering today.
By our actions in this first year's test we can demonstrate that the Government has sincerely committed itself to the twin proposition of fair treatment of its employees and adequate compensation for recruitment and retention purposes.
The BLS statistics were collected during the period 1961–62. These statistics show that private enterprise salary rates increased in 196162, and there is no reason to believe that they have not continued to increase since that time.
The cost of living has also continued to rise. If Federal employees are to continue to make ends meet without undue difficulty,
we must use our knowledge of present and future economic conditions to correct what could become an intolerable situation,
We have the finest civil service in the world, and we must make it clear that we intend to keep it that way. The necessity of competing with private industry for the best talent available should act as a stimulus to keep Government rates of compensation at a desirable level. Public service provides many intangible rewards to the dedicated employee, but it is highly unfair to ask that the Federal employee be satisfied with less than his counterpart in private enterprise_he cannot raise his family on intangibles.
It is a fact that quality in this world, in any field, does not come cheaply. Private enterprise has long recognized this, and the Federal Government, in its legislation of last year, is just beginning to put this into practice.
The Federal establishment has an urgent need for more and better qualified applicants for its multitude of jobs. The new and continuing challenges of the decades to come will provide an outlet for the talents of many thousands of workers. Never before has a national government been faced with such an array of possible courses of action in so many fields of human endeavor.
Our action on these proposed salary increases is vitally important to the future. If we do not act now, thus reaffirming our confidence in our Federal employees, we may well find ourselves without the needed competent personnel in the days ahead.
President Kennedy described last year's Salary Reform Act as “the most important Federal employee pay legislation in 40 years."
I do not agree with his evaluation-I believe that this year's pay legislation is the most important Federal employee pay legislation in 40 years. This is the crucial year—are we merely going to give lip service to the principles set forth in last year's act, or are we going to establish now, once and for all, a Federal salary policy which is in line with the 20th century?
The administration has also sent us a bill to adjust the salary schedules which are presently to take effect on the first of next year. The administration bill proposes increases which range from 2 percent to about 20 percent, and average slightly more than 3 percent. Because of the time difference, however, I am in favor of the more liberal H.R. 7814, which amends the President's plan to give employees in the low grades an additional 6 percent, which I feel is fully justified since private salaries have, as mentioned previously, continued to rise since the BLS surveys.
H.R. 7814 does not propose to raise the salaries of the top grades as much as the administration's bill does. The reason for this is because, in accordance with the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, a study of Federal executive pay has just been completed. It is, of course, highly desirable, in the interests of equity and the solution of pressing problems in professional and administrative staffing, to achieve full comparability rates for all grades as soon as possible.
As soon as the results of this report, prepared by a high-level citizens committee headed by Clarence Randall, can be evaluated a further revision of executive salaries will be proposed.
Another piece of legislation being considered by the committee at this time is H.R. 4800. I strongly favor incorporating its provisions into the overall pay legislation which we have been discussing.
This bill proposes to correct defects of last year's legislation with regard to certain postal service employees. It provides that employees in the first six grades of the postal field service who satisfactorily complete a specified period of service at one step would automatically move up to the next step within the grade. The passage of this legislation would be of great value to these employees, and I strongly favor its passage.
I urge the committee to give favorable consideration to these proposals, whose passage would assure Federal employees of our continued support for their fine work and loyalty.
The CHAIRMAN. We will next hear from Representative Leonard Farbstein, of New York.
STATEMENT OF HON. LEONARD FARBSTEIN, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. FARBSTEIN. By holding hearings at this time on legislation to increase the salaries of Federal employees, this committee is again demonstrating the deep sense of responsibility and genuine interest in the welfare of these employees that have for so long characterized its activities.
It is because I share this interest and concern with members of the committee that I am very grateful for a chance to voice my support for H.R. 7814, which seems to me to be the most desirable of the bills now under consideration.
There are two basic reasons why this legislation should be enacted into law:
The first is the very obvious one that it would authorize pay raises for Government employees.
The second is that it would be in keeping with the idea of comparability which Congress itself sanctioned in the pay bill of October 1962.
These two reasons are, of course, inseparable and contingent. If we pass the bill, we satisfy both of them. If we do not pass it, we fail on both of them.
Let us look at each of these points.
It may be argued that Congress just approved a major pay bill last October 11. Why, then, do we need another pay raise now, especially since last year's measure has already assured a second increase, effective this coming January?
This argument seems plausible enough on the surface, but it will not hold up under closer examination.
It does not face the simple, stubborn fact that salaries under the 1962 law are not high enough, and they will still be inadequate even after the January 1964 raise goes into effect unless we do something about it now.
Federal employees are not being paid what they deserve for the services they are rendering to their country. Many thousands of them are not even being paid enough to support their families.
On the whole, the salaries of Federal employees do not match those of people in private industry and business who are doing work of similar responsibility and difficulty. This states the issue of our second point-the concept of comparability.