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Mr. HARRISON. Mr. Steed, the librarians seem to have done a real lobbying job on this bill. The bill was originally started to increase the number of depositories in congressional districts.
Mr. HORAN. There will be an increased cost for service and if there are any fees connected with it, would you favorably entertain a study of this matter with the possible objective of increasing the Government's remuneration for this service?
Mr. HARRISON. So far as I know, the Government does not receive any remuneration from libraries for this.
Mr. BUCKLEY. The only remuneration the Government receives from the depository program at the present time is the requirement that the libraries pay the cost of the postage.
Mr. HARRISON. This new bill would strike that out.
Mr. BUCKLEY. This new bill, as Mr. Harrison said, would not only strike it out but this is one of the major items that the library associations and individual libraries have objected to ever since the charge was imposed. The one item in which the Government now gets remuneration would no longer be an item under the proposed new legislation.
Mr. HORAN. I have to go back to my original position. This is another item that can be argued on both sides, one that it is a public service and, therefore, gets information out to where it can be properly distributed and used and which is a proper function of the Federal Government and an advantage to the local areas that may have access to these depositories.
The other side of the argument is that the Federal Government alone can coin or issue money and, therefore, it is supposed to be a bottomless barrel of credit and the revenues and the availability of funds at the Federal level are bottomless. However, there are some disquieting facts before us now with regard to the national debt, deficits, and the balance of payments, and all that goes along to the point of weakening the dollar and lowering its purchasing power. Therefore, anyone serving on the Appropriations Committee has to resolve this, as I have said so many times, in favor of keeping the dollar stable and the Federal Government solvent. It is of immense importance to all of us, especially those living on fixed incomes, so that there will be an additional expense to the Federal Government if the bill is passed in its present form.
Do I understand that you, as the Public Printer, appeared before this Senate committee and that your testimony was in the direction of protecting the Federal Government from what might be called undue fiscal responsibilities in this matter?
Mr. HARRISON. Yes, sir; I did, Mr. Horan. I will admit that my objection was a compromise from objecting to the entire bill as it was, which I felt I should not. We agreed we could live with the first part of the bill provided, and I repeatedly said this in my testimony, provided the money to cover the additional costs was made available. We gave to the Senate Rules Committee an estimate of what it would cost if this were enacted. I strongly urged against the inclusion of field publications in the depository system because of what I think is the impossible effort that would have to be put forth to even try to get a listing of the field publications.
The librarians kept saying this would be a selection and that they would only select a few, but somebody would have to go through all of these publication, list them, and go over them, before a selection could be made. We stated that in many of these instances, by the time these publications were listed, they would probably be already out of date because of the length of time it would take to get them into a central point, review them, categorize them, and offer them to the libraries.
For instance, USIA does printing all over the world, a fabulous amount of it. We do not know exactly how much because they do not come under the Joint Committee on Printing. They are exempted by the organic act of the State Department.
I used as an example the Adjutant General's plant in Tokyo which is one of our largest field plants outside of this country. They print thousands and thousands of publications a year and somebody would have to review them to see what category they would fit in and offer them to the librarians so they could make a selection. It would take months to get that material together.
Mr. STEED. What is the average amount of postage involved at present that you receive back from the libraries?
Mr. BUCKLEY. $55,000 a year, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. STEED. Just increasing the number of depository libraries alone would at least double that figure?
Mr. HARRISON. Easily.
Mr. BUCKLEY. That cost would have to be assumed by the Federal Government under the new law.
Mr. STEED. If the field phase of it is equal in total to your operation, that new total would be doubled ?
Mr. HARRISON. Double that; yes, sir.
Mr. STEED. Which would then put you in the position of having the Post Office Department render you a due bill for something in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year for postage that you are not now having to provide.
Mr. HARRISON. That would not include the cost of postage to get these publications somewhere where they could be analyzed and coordinated.
Mr. STEED. Would it be a reasonable assumption to say that the postage phase of this alone could well run into something approaching a quarter million dollars a year?
Mr. HARRISON. I would say it could.
Mr. BUCKLEY. It is possible that it could reach that amount. That would have to be requested in our appropriation.
Mr. HARRISON. Another cost that we cannot begin to estimate is the cost in the field plants of printing enough additional publications on small equipment for the depositories. Who knows what publications they are going to select ?
Mr. STEED. Let us assume that a field plant serving a certain branch of the Government, to prepare its materials—perhaps they have a dozen items of 300 copies each, that that would be all they needed and their budget is set up accordingly. If you suddenly placed upon them a burden of another 1,500 additional copies of each of these, where would that agency get the funds to buy the paper and ink and to pay the labor for these extra publications?
Let us assume that out of the 12 items they printed the 1,500 extra copies, that the libraries were only interested in 2 of them and then they have this excess amount of 1,500 copies for 10 items that is just a pile of excess material.
Mr. HARRISON. That is right. That is the point I made repeatedly at the librarians' hearing. They kept saying that there is a middle ground we can reach, you can work this out. You get back to the fact that you have to first print the documents, you have to make them available when you print them, and you have to compile a list before any selection can be made.
Mr. STEED. That is just the opposite of what the Library of Congress is trying to do in its card program. One of their problems has had to do with printing cards on an item that was not in popular demand. They have tried to devise methods so they did not have to have a lot of stock on hand of items slow in moving and they could more nearly keep current on those items that were popular.
An agency that is going to print, say, 300 copies of a document would have one of two responsibilities. It would either have to print 1,500 extra, not knowing whether there would be any demand for them, or it would have to hold its forms in being until some time in the future to see whether any extra copies were wanted.
Mr. HARRISON. That is right. You take a 200- or 300-page publication, when your presses are rolling that is the time to print these copies. If you have to go back to press, it makes the cost almost prohibitive. Somebody has to raise that money for these plants to produce this extra amount.
Mr. STEED. Not only then, the passage of this bill in this form is going to make a definite impact in terms of hundreds of thousands of dollars of this appropriation, but also every other agency of the Government that runs a printing plant is going to have to have more money in its printing budget to meet this same demand.
Mr. HARRISON. Even if they do not have a printing plant, if they buy this material from commercial sources, which they can from field printing money, they would still have to have enough money to buy enough copies if the depositories wanted them. It would touch every agency that either prints or buys a publication.
Mr. STEED. Suppose an agency that did a large number of individual prints, small in quantity for their own needs but large in the number and variety of them, kept piling up 1,500 extra copies that nobody wanted. Finally they would have a storage problem that would become real serious.
Mr. HARRISON. We process printing orders to the extent of about 100,000 a year to do our hundred million dollars' worth of business. We are large printers. We print large runs. So in comparison to our plant with a hundred thousand orders a year, if we assume, as I do, that the field plants in the Government will do an equal volume of business, they would do far more than a hundred thousand publications because they are not equipped to do large publications, and the breakdown would be terrific. It could be twice as many publications in the field operations as we do at the Government Printing Office because we put a publication on the press and run a large number of copies. We have big equipment. With small equipment, they are limited. When they do a hundred-million-dollar volume of business, it is mostly in small quantity publications, which would run far more than a hundred thousand publications.
As the librarians said, they probably would never requisition more than 5 percent. It would still mean we would have to print the
hundred percent and make them available if they did want them. When I say “we," I mean the field plants.
Mr. STEED. I can see the desirability of having available in depository libraries a great deal of Government publications, because it makes it accessible to many people that otherwise would not have access to it. But even for such a worthy cause, to just get into a situation where you have so large an amount of waste and cost would seem a high price to pay for something as desirable as the program now is.
Mr. HARRISON. One thing we are fearful of is it would break down our depository system to the point where we would be criticized severely. At the moment we mail every day to the depositories— within 24 hours after the publication is completed in our plant. You can visualize what an additional amount, a substantial additional amount, would do to a system like that. I think in 1934 we mailed once a month.
Mr. BUCKLEY. About 20 years ago, or a little more, we were mailing about once a month.
Mr. HARRISON. Now we have it down to every 24 hours. This could break our system down completely.
Mr. STEED. Under the terms of the bill as it now stands, what would be the situation even if it became a law, if you did not get the money from the Appropriations Committee to comply with it?
Mr. HARRISON. We just could not do it. We would be caught right in the middle. In the first place, we do not have the space to expand such an operation. Second, we do not have the equipment nor the personnel. We certainly could not increase the operation to the extent this bill could cause it to increase without having more money to cover space, equipment, and personnel. Somebody would have to buy these publications or have to pay for these publications from the departments. Either we or the agencies would have to.
Mr. STEED. In your estimate of the cost involved here that you gave to the legislative committee, what was the total, do you recall ?
Mr. BUCKLEY. The total cost, additional cost, was about $1,500,000 additional annually ultimately. That was the ultimate cost that it could be to us.
Mr. STEED. Just to you?
Mr. BUCKLEY. To us alone. A very rough estimate of the cost to the other agencies might well be $1 million a year to the agencies that would have to produce these publications and furnish them under the program.
Mr. STEED. Did anybody make any study or survey of the other type publications that are not now included in the depository library list as to how much of that material would be desirable or useful if it were available?
Mr. HARRISON. Other than the librarians themselves indicated to us, that not more than 3 or 5 percent of the field publications would be needed. My question to them was: Which 3 or 5 percent, so that we can just print those? Nobody could tell until they are analyzed and categorized and offered to the libraries.
Mr. STEED. What time limit would there be involved in this? How long would a field office have to wait to know whether it was going to make the extra print or, if it has already made the extra print, that it would hold the material in storage? Is there any time element in it? Mr. HARRISON. There was no time element discussed, Mr. Chairman, but it would run into months sometimes before the list could be categorized, offered, accepted, and the publications ordered.
Mr. BUCKLEY. I think a point that would undoubtedly be raised by the librarians would be that some system could be set up that would permit a selection in advance from this tremendous mass of material, similar to that made for the material now produced by the Government Printing Office. But, as Mr. Harrison continually reiterated in his statement to the committee, that still imposes a tremendous and almost staggering administrative problem. With the changing personnel in these field agencies, someone has to be in there to make some sort of selection. If it were an advance selection or if it were, as we were supposing, a selection after the publications came into being, someone has to say which of the $100 million amount produced the libraries would want, either on an advance or actual basis.
RECENT WAGE ADJUSTMENTS
Mr. STEED. What are the current siutations in regard to your wage rates and what recent changes have you made in that field?
Mr. HARRISON. We have settled with one of our groups already this year, the photoengravers. We have 12 more to go. We are going to have an increase, of course, again this year in wages. The weighted average, which we use to establish wages for our journeymen groups, as you know, is based on the weighted average of the 25 largest cities by population. They have shown an increase almost steadily in each year in the last 12 years or 13 years that I know of.
We have only changed our formula slightly in that we are including or we have asked the Bureau of Labor Statistics to include in the formula in getting the weighted average all the people working at the trade, whether they were night employees or day employees. Prior to this, they only included the day employees. We felt it was only fair that if there are 200 journeymen in the city where the union negotiates, then 200 should be used and not just the day employees.
Also there is some little increase being caused by many of the unions offering their people an increase on the basis that they can accept this as take-home pay or they can accept it as additional hospitalization or retirement, things of that sort. We feel that this is a part of their wages and we are including it this year.
The Joint Committee on Printing is in accord with us and have approved the first wage settlement on that basis. We stuck with the 25 cities, we stuck with the 40-hour workweek, time and a half overtime is all we will pay. They have asked for double time after a certain time. We do not agree to that.
I think, all in all, we have this year come up with a very workable formula, which I think will be acceptable to both our employees and the Joint Committee on Printing.
Mr. STEED. When these wage increases come about then, of course, you have to readjust your cost sheet to your customers. That, of course, causes us from time to time to have questions or complaints come up when the agencies come in here to obtain the money to pay their bills with.
Do you have a table or a list that would indicate the change in this situation year by year!