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COMMITTEE ON FEDERAL PAY Sec. 3. (a) The President shall appoint a Committee on Federal Pay which shall consist of not more than seven members including one representative of the Bureau of the Budget, one representative of the Civil Service Commission, one or more representatives of employee organizations, one or more representatives of the public, and such other members as the President may deem advisable. The President shall designate one of the members as Chairman of the Committee.
The principal difference between the two proposals lies in the manner of procedure. The basic method of securing the information necessary in both instances is left with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The methods of analyzing the resultant statistics are different. Under the administration bill, this would be done by Government agencies; under the Davis proposal, the analysis would be made by a special Committee on Federal Pay. The latter, in our opinion, would result in a more objective recommendation being made to the President.
We followed the testimony of the Civil Service Commission, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Post Office Department with a great deal of interest. There were a great many comparisons put forth between pay increases granted to those in the lower levels and the Consumer Price Index-almost as if it were not necessary for the poor to maintain a standard of living. Subsistence alone apparently was to be the standard.
The Consumer Price Index was originally known as the Cost-ofLiving Index when first started about the time of World War I; there was so much confusion because of the name that it was later changed to the Consumer Price Index. The index is not a proper measure of pay; it merely measures the increase in the prices of a selected number of items. It does not include income taxes Federal, State, or municipal. It does not take into consideration standard of living” except in an indirect manner; nor does it measure productivity.
After discussing the various methods of comparison, Mr. Staats, Deputy Director of the Bureau of the Budget, declared:
However, we do not believe any of these indicators except the private enterprise going rate can be used directly in any objective way as a standard for judging Federal pay levels. All have had an effect upon, or in some degree reflect, increases in private enterprise pay rates. Many other factors, reflecting employee and company interest, have also served to raise private enterprise salary rates. We believe that the only method which weighs all the factors and which serves as a fair, objective, and definite standard for the Government is the method of equating Federal salaries with current private enterprise salaries for the same levels of work.
We agree with this method of equating salaries in Government, but we do not agree with the comparability methods. I am emphasizing this point here so as to place the proper emphasis or lack of emphasis on Consumer Price Index testimony. "It could very well confuse the issue.
It was evident from the testimony of the administration witnesses that they are mesmerized by the magic of percentages. I do not necessarily think that if the lower paid employee receives a salary of $1, and the highest paid $1,000, if the lower paid goes to $100 the highest should necessarily go to $100,000. This is precisely what the percentage calls for. I think this is a fatuous argument. Percentages
are not sacrosanct. Many factors have to be considered to arrive at a fair mode of procedure.
One of the arguments advanced against the present day schedules that would be corrected by the heavenly attributes of the new plan was the percentage difference between levels, and the percentage differences between steps. Under the proposed program, percentage heaven would be attained. Symmetry, not substance, would be the rule.
We do not think that percentage perfection is that important. The difference in jobs provided for in certain levels could very well be greater, or less, than those in other levels. Statisticians love symmetrical charts. We are afraid that they first drew the charts, then inserted the figures. We believe that substance should come before form and the figures should be decided on first.
I ask you now to turn your attention to the booklet, prepared by the National Association of Letter Carriers, and then we have some charts that we want to show you.
(The booklet referred to follows:)
The principle of pay increases proposed by the administration is supposedly based on comparability. On the admission of all of the administration witnesses they had no basis of comparability between Level 4 Postal employees and crafts in outside industry. In proper bureaucratic fashion where logic is absent, create a new world! Hence the word "linkage.”
What does it mean? Who knows? The only thing of which we are certain is that the linkage is full of leakage. There are far more differences between employees in GSs and Postal employees in PFS4 than there are similarities. Employees in GS5 move rapidly to other grades. Postal employees serve a life term in Level 4, in the great majority of cases.
We believe that comparability should be based on many factors.
1. Responsibility-Letter carriers have a great deal of responsibility. In the ancient days when the monarch wished to send valuable metals or costly jewels, he selected the most dependable man in his kingdom. When he wished to pour out his heart or send a trusted secret, he selected the most responsible man in his kingdom. Today the letter carrier is still carrying valuables, sweet confidences and letters of trust. Furthermore he is held responsible. If a letter carrying valuables is stolen, even when his innocence is obvious, he is compelled to pay for the loss. These payments often run into hundreds of dollars.
2. In the field of public relations the letter carrier is the front line representative of the federal government.
3. He is required to know Postal laws and regulations and memorize hundreds of names and addresses.
4. He must be in good health, physically active and alert at all times.
5. The letter carrier's job is an extremely hazardous one. 6. He must constantly face the wrath and the smiles of nature. The man on the front cover is shown plowing through the snow. He must face the ferocity of blizzards and the heat of the sun. The picture on the back of the booklet depicts a carrier carrying on in the blazing heat.
His pay should be comparable to those in outside industry in the number of increases granted and the amounts received. It has not been comparable as we will prove.
Pay Schedules for Letter Carriers and Post Office Clerks
Level 4-Postal Field Service
Federal Tax Net Net Take
2 Children 2 Weeks Pay Annual Salary
15.70 162.32 4,220.32
377,086 of the 525,069 Postal Employees on June 30, 1961 Were In Level 4 THIS SALARY SCALE TOTALLY INADEQUATE FOR TODAY'S NEEDS
Why Select the Years 1949-1961?
Because these years represent a period of unparalleled dynamic economic development. Both the manner and the standard of living have changed. Prices have advanced. So have wages.
THIS HAS ADDED UP TO A BETTER
AND FULLER LIFE FOR EVERYONE
EXCEPT LETTER CARRIERS AND
OTHER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
During the years 1949-1961 the gross national product increased from $258.1 billion to $521.3 billion. Personal income increased from $182 billion in 1949 to $432.8 billion in February 1962.
The following pages contrast the pay increases received by letter carriers with those received by other workers in comparable categories during these years.
NOTE: Each difference of 10¢ per hour represents a difference of $208 per year.