Page images

end of the first year of the Committee's existence. Many were well-advanced and getting substantial results.

At the meetings with Government contractors and labor union leaders, the Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman were given pledges of full cooperation and assistance. Out of these meetings came the programs that later were developed as Plans for Progress for business firms and Programs for Fair Practices for labor unions.

First Plan Signed

The first Plan for Progress was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, then Vice President and Committee Chairman, and the Lockheed Aircraft Corp. on May 25, 1961. By the Committee's first anniversary, 52 of the nation's largest corporations had signed Plans for Progress. Today, the number has grown to 115, including several national concerns that do not hold government contracts and one university.

Industry interest in Plans for Progress can be gaged by the fact that 19 leading industrial executives in the nation have formed a special Advisory Council for the program and many more serve on Committees of the Council. Five of these firms have loaned personnel executives of their firms as staff for the Council (see Plans for Progress).

Reports from Plans for Progress companies indicate substantial progress has been made in improving opportunities for minority group members in their employ-opportunities beyond the requirements of Executive Order 10925 (see Plans for Progress).

Although development of the Union Programs for Fair Practices was initiated during the first year, it was not until midway in the second year, on November 15, 1962, that the actual signing took place. At that time, 115 international unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO, together with the AFL-CIO itself and its 340 directly affiliated local unions, pledged to take all necessary steps to insure equal employment opportunity and equal membership rights without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin (see Union Programs for Fair Practices).

Complaints and Compliance

While these cooperative programs were being formulated, the contract compliance program also

discrimination in employment by Government contractors actually had been received even before the Committee started operations. It was obviously imperative that procedures be established immediately for investigation and adjustment of such complaints.

Primary responsibility for the processing of complaints rests with the contracting Government agencies, rather than with the Committee, and each agency designates one top-ranking official as contract compliance officer. In addition to processing complaints, this officer and his deputies have the responsibility for seeing to it that con tractors carry out positive programs to insure equal employment opportunity as required by the Executive order.

All contracting agencies have taken steps to develop the staff capability necessary for effective administration of the programs required by the Committee. Existing personnel has been trained or experienced specialists recruited to insure effective implementation.

During this same period, the Committee began development of an effective compliance reporting system. The Bureau of the Budget, under the law, must approve any reporting form to be used by a Government agency and the Committee worked closely with the Bureau. An advisory committee representing various segments of the business community assisted in developing the compliance form for government contractors. The form was not applicable to construction contractors or public utilities.

The approved form was distributed to contractors by the contracting agencies in January 1962. Statistical information from these forms serves two primary purposes: (1) It provides a profile of the utilization of minority group manpower in American industry; and (2) It provides government agencies and the Committee with information of value in obtaining compliance and in developing affirmative action programs by business firms and labor unions (see Compliance Reports).

Government Employment Program

While these actions were being taken in the field of private employment, important steps also were being taken to insure equal opportunity in government employment. Rules and regulations

in cooperation with the agencies, were adopted. Individual agencies then developed their own rules and regulations, in conformance with those of the Committee and subject to approval by the Committee Special Counsel and Executive Vice Chairman.

Complaint procedures were put into operation with the responsibility for complaint investigation and adjustment placed with the agencies. Results of these investigations and actions are carefully reviewed by the Committee staff to insure fairness and proper action.

Most agencies lacked personnel experienced in working on equal opportunity problems when the Committee program began. Therefore, the Committee undertook the training of top-echelon employment policy officers and encouraged agencies to set up their own inhouse training programs. The first Committee training seminar was held in July, 1961. Subsequently, the Committee conducted other programs and cooperated with agencies in training sessions (see Government Programs).

The government equal opportunity "spotlight" focused on Washington because of the heavy concentration of Federal employees in that area, but the Committee recognized that it was vitally important that the program be fully implemented throughout the country. Accordingly, in June, 1961, with the assistance of the Civil Service Commission and in cooperation with other agencies, the Committee launched a series of regional meetings with leaders of federal agencies in the field. One meeting was conducted in each of the 14 civil service regions of the country. The goals of the equal employment opportunity program in Government were explained, problems were discussed and methods of implementation were developed.

After all 14 regional meetings were conducted, the Committee set up a second round of smaller followup conferences. These conferences were across-the-table discussions with regional agency chiefs, personnel people and deputy employment officers. In these sessions, progress was checked and the importance of the program was reemphasized.

Minority Employment Census

While the conferences were going on, the results of the first governmentwide survey of minority

available. The survey bore out the contention that most Negro employees were concentrated in the lower grades of federal employment and that relatively few had broken through the invisible, but substantial, barrier to the middle and upper grades.

Acting on these facts, then Vice President Johnson, as Committee chairman, with the approval of the Committee, instructed all agencies to make an intensive survey of their personnel to seek out persons who had been "passed over" unfairly because of their race, creed, color or national origin-and to adjust such situations.

When the second and third annual surveys were made in June 1962 and June 1963, substantial improvement in the employment status of Negroes was apparent (see statistical data in Government Employment). But the surveys conclusively demonstrated that equal employment opportunity was far from a reality, not only for Negroes but for persons of Mexican descent, American Indians and persons of oriental ancestry.

Such surveys will be conducted each June. They enable the Committee and the agencies to pinpoint areas of greatest concern and provide a footing for stepping up the overall program of achieving equal employment opportunity in government. To supplement these compliance and survey activities, the Committee also has devoted considerable effort to developing working relationships with groups and organizations in the field of human relations; liaison and cooperative efforts with state and local government agencies in the nondiscrimination field, and cooperative programs with community groups.

On May 19, 1962, a National Conference of Community Leaders, called by then Vice President Johnson, was conducted in Washington to discuss equal employment opportunities and to enlist the active support of community leadership in attaining the goals. Programs now being implemented in communities across the nation resulted from this conference.

As part of the Committee's community action effort, Committee officers, members and staff representatives have participated in hundreds of programs from one end of the country to the other in cooperative efforts to promote the concept of equal employment opportunity.

726-390 064 -2

A specific cooperative community action program was initiated in Los Angeles under Committee leadership as a pilot project which, it is hoped, will be extended to other areas. The project stemmed primarily from the fact that, while there are thousands of unemployed in the booming Los Angeles area, at the same time thousands of jobs are available for trained and qualified persons. And the heaviest unemployment is among the Mexican-Americans and Negroes in the area.

The pilot project is designed to train persons in the skills that are in demand. The Committee served as the catalyst to start the project, but effective cooperation and assistance has been provided by local organizations, industries, state and local government agencies and Federal agencies.

Classes in three skills-clerk-typist, machine operator and electronic assembler-were set up by the Los Angeles public school system with the help of a Manpower Development Training Act grant from the Department of Labor and with the approval of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The first students started in March 1963, and on completion of their training, were immediately placed in jobs (see Community Activity).

Complaint Activity

Of course, the primary activity when the Committee started operations was the processing of individual complaints. Temporary procedures were established at the start for the transmittal of complaints of discrimination, either in Government or in Government contract work, to the appropriate agency. After some experience had been gained and after adoption of rules and regulations, the procedures were developed that are being used today. They are described in more detail in other sections of this report.

The Committee has handled an unprecedented number of complaints, a development attributed to confidence on the part of employees that something will be done about discriminatory situations.

As of October 31, 1963, 21⁄2 years after issuance of the Executive order, the complaint processing results were as follows:

In Government employment, 2,699 complaints received, 2,243 processed to completion and 736, or 36 percent, resulting in corrective action (see Government Employment).

2,111 complaints had been received. Of these 156 had been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, 1,306 were carried to completion and 937, or 72 percent, resulted in corrective action (see Contract Compliance).

(It should be noted that the previous committees in this field had corrective action rates as follows: President's Committee on Government Contracts, 71⁄2 years, 20 percent; Committee on Government Employment Policy, 6 years, 16 percent.)

The Kheel Report

In the spring of 1962, then Vice President Johnson asked Theodore W. Kheel, an eminent New York attorney with a deep interest in the field of human relations, to survey the work of the Committee and to recommend steps which might be taken to improve its effectiveness. In August of that year, Mr. Kheel submitted his report. One of his principal recommendations was that the Committee have a full time executive vice chairman.

Mr. Kheel recommended that the Executive Vice Chairman give priority to the following:

(1) Focusing the work of the Committee staff in the complaint process on cases where significant pattern adjustment appears possible.


(2) Securing a more aggressive public information program.

(3) Securing more adequate followup of Plans for Progress activity and assuming complete supervision of this program.

(4) Securing better liaison with Committee members.

Steps have been taken to implement the principal recommendations of the Kheel Report, along with other measures aimed at accelerating the rate of progress toward equal employment opportunity.

On September 10, 1962, Hobart Taylor, Jr., Committee Special Counsel, was designated Executive Vice Chairman by the President-the fulltime appointment recommended by Mr. Kheel.

Other important changes within the Committee also took place. When Secretary of Labor Arthur J. Goldberg resigned to accept an appointment to the United States Supreme Court, W. Willard Wirtz became Secretary of Labor (September 25, 1962) and assumed vice chairmanship of the Com

had served as Executive Director since the Committee was formed, resigned to take another position.

The scope of the Committee's authority and responsibility was substantially increased when the late President Kennedy issued Executive Order 11114 on June 21, 1963. This Executive order assigned to the Committee responsibility for assur

assisted construction programs. It also made clear that the Committee has jurisdiction over all facilities of a contractor, including those facilities separate and distinct from performance on the firm's Government contract. Rules and regulations for assuring equal opportunity in this broad field have been developed and are being put into effect as this report is completed.


Equal Opportunity in Private Employment

While Executive Order 10925 was being drafted, it was recognized that at least three provisions absent from previous orders must be included if the program was to be effective insofar as employment by Government contractors was concerned:

(1) A provision authorizing the President's Committee to coordinate the activities of contracting agencies in promoting equal employment opportunity.

(2) A provision requiring that contractors submit annual manpower profiles as proof of affirmative action.

(3) A provision for sanctions in the form of authority to cancel contracts or to bar from future contracts any employer who refused to cooperate.

These basic tools were written into the order. Together with voluntary cooperation, they have enabled the equal employment opportunity program to advance at an accelerated rate and to achieve affirmative action on an unprecedented scale. But the task of providing equal opportunity has just begun.

The relationship between the two aspects of the Committee's program-enforcement and persuasion was stated by Theodore W. Kheel, the New York attorney who surveyed the Committee's program and organization. In his report to then Vice President Johnson, he said:

"Enforcement and persuasion are not separate and distinct, nor incompatible, but related parts of the same program. They are opposite sides of the same coin. Both are necessary and indispensable, each to the other."

Mr. Kheel also pointed out that "the Presidential mandate itself requires the employment of voluntary methods before the Committee resorts to its enforcement powers."

The Executive order declared that "each contracting agency shall make reasonable efforts

within a reasonable time limitation to secure compliance with the contract provisions of this order by methods of conference, conciliation, mediation and persuasion before proceedings shall be instituted . . . or before a contract shall be terminated in whole or in part . . . for failure of a contractor or subcontractor to comply with the contract provisions of this order."

The clear wording of the Executive order thus enables the Committee to transmit to the contracting agencies, and through them to the contractors, the objectives of the equal employment opportunity program within a framework that requires affirmative action.

It was recognized, however, that the effectiveness of the compliance program could be limited by a lack of commitment or sense of participation on the part of those finally responsible for implementing the equal employment opportunity program— the compliance officers in the agencies and the line management of the Government contracting companies. Company and agency policies developed under the Executive order had to be communicated downward to give each person a sense of participation and a sense of responsibility for carrying out such policies.

The Program's Basic Ingredients

The right of a worker to file a complaint and obtain speedy adjudication of his complaint-within a specified time not provided in previous ordersremains a basic ingredient in the Committee's program. The new ingredients of enforcement and persuasion, coupled with the fixing of responsibility for affirmative action, has enabled the Committee to move steadily away from primary reliance on individual complaints and to use its other tools on a more massive scale. Currently, for example, more than 2,500 special compliance reviews are being conducted by the contracting agencies to check contractor performance.

« PreviousContinue »