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Mr. KEATING. Well, we have made studies where we have compared letter carriers pay with people in about 40 different States, and our people were lagging even in all the 40 States. . I think the principal point in the matter there is that most of your postal workers, and particularly the vast number, the largest percentage of them, are in large cities. There is a far more limited percentage in the smaller communities, and we can establish—we have got the figures that we would be glad to give to the committee, that can establish the fact, and in all of those cities, where most of the postal employees work, we are lagging in comparability.
I think we could probably do the same thing for the Federal employees, because they are concentrated, too, in larger cities, generally.
The CHAIRMAN. We are aware that in the small localities, there are very few carriers and very few clerks. Mr. KEATING. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Many times, the postmaster does all the work. Maybe he has an assistant, and that is about all there is to it. Another thing, it is going to be awfully hard to try to work out the labor and wage scale in those kinds of places. It just wouldn't be possible to do
Now it has been said that we don't have many complaints about local prevailing wage, where we use that. That is true. It happens when there are fringe benefits involved.
You find that to be the case, sometimes. That is about the only complaint we are having at the present time in that field of activity. But I am one who believes that it is going to be virtually impossible to use the local prevailing wage scale in every locality in the United States.
Mr. KEATING. It would be very difficult, because of the number of installations we do have.
Even taking the towns of a hundred thousand or more, you would have a great many installations, and a growing number. Cities of this size are increasing in number all the time.
Senator MONRONEY. Well, it is always bad practice, though, I think, to bring the Government workers up to a 3-year old level, because by the time they get it, they are behind the going rate. Then they must go through another long exercise to correct it, and when they do correct it, they are up to a level which is still 2 years behind.
I mentioned this wage-board matter and the fact that these wages are always considered, these half million, as being in flux. As the local wage goes up, their wage is supposed to be adjusted within a matter of months to comparability. I am not advocating. I am merely asking if there is any other way that we can meet this situation?
Mr. KEATING. We appreciate what you say, Senator, very, very much, because we think this is one of the big problems in establishing thorough comparability. We have talked to the officials of the Commission about this subject a number of times, and we hope that we will be able to come up with a solution—together with the committee, with a proper solution.
There are various ways it could be done. You could use a weighted average, or use the experience over a period of years to give an added increase at the time the adjustment is made. Of course, we would have been only 2 years behind if the adjustment had been made last year, but the adjustment was not, because of a variety of circumstances, including the assassination of the President. It was not possible for Congress to complete action on it, so we are 1 year behind. We are doing the work for 1963 in 1964 right now.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions? Mr. GRINER. May I add just a statement to what has been said here about this comparability on the local basis?
As you know, we represent a large number of wage-board employees, so we do have some experience along these lines, and we are finding it harder and harder all the time to find comparable jobs in private industry in these small places where we have facilities such as the Veterans' Administration hospital, and they have quite a number of wage-board employees in the Veterans' Administration hospitals.
We, in all too many cases, wind up with comparing wages there with some small restaurant, or some place where you actually can't determine what is the going wage. It is rather difficult.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other statements or any other questions?
Mr. O'CONNOR. Mr. Chairman, an answer was made sometime ago by Mr. Keating, I believe, concerning the fact that there was approximately 11,000 post offices throughout the country in which clerks were located. It is closer to 30,000, so that complicates the problem a little bit more.
There are many post offices with one, two, or three clerks, throughout the entire country, and it would be hard to compare them with local industry. Though the actual bulk of post office clerks are in larger cities—probably 75, 70 to 75 percent—there are some 30,000 post offices in which we actually have members.
Senator YARBOROUGH. What percentage, Mr. O'Connor, of the clerks work in post offices in cities of 25,000 population or above?
Mr. O'CONNOR. Probably 80 to 90 percent.
Mr. KEATING. It would be closer to 90 percent in the case of letter carriers.
Mr. O'Connor. I really don't have actual figures on it, but it would be a tremendous big percentage of the clerks.
Senator YARBOROUGH. I asked that question, Mr. Chairman, because in larger cities—25,000 or above—the postal clerks are not well paid in comparison with other work in the community. You get down to 1 clerk in a town of 500, they might seem to be highly paid, but there are so few in the total overall percentage that, as our population is becoming more and more urbanized, the matter of the highly paid local clerk is vanishing into the background.
In my own State of Texas, the rural population changed from over 40 to 13 percent in 20 years. That is just about typical of the whole Nation, so this matter of a clerk or postal employees being paid more than other people in the community is a vanishing economic situation.
Mr. O'CONNOR. Well, actually, Senator, the smaller cities in most instances are located so close to the large cities that the cost of living is just as great in those smaller cities as it is in the larger cities. There is very little difference in the cost of living.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Yes; those smaller cities that are located near large cities are generally the fastest growing small cities. If a small city is in an isolated spot, not served by fast air traffic, it is not getting
the new plants. It generally, in my area of the county, is not growing so fast. It has to be big enough, close enough to a big city, to have fast air service, generally, to get new industries and new plants to have
The growth in generally enough
The CHAIRMAN. Wouldn't the same premise hold for carriers as it does for clerks?
Mr. O'CONNOR. I think the clerks are located in many offices throughout the country where there are no carriers. There are many real small post offices.
The CHAIRMAN. I had reference to towns of 25,000 and above. It would probably run pretty close percentagewise.
Mr. KEATING. With the 25,000 or above, we would have over 90 percent of our people in offices that large. You will have a large group of men in a big city, and while we are in 6,000 cities, a lot of these have only 1 or 2 letter carriers. It takes quite a few two-carrier towns to make up for a pretty good-sized city.
The CHAIRMAN. So 90 percent of your employees would be in step with the prevailing wage in cities of 25,000 or more. Mr. KEATING. That is right. The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions?
Senator RANDOLPH. Mr. Chairman, I regret that it was necessary for ine to be late to the hearings, and I will read the statement very carefully which Mr. Keating has presented, not only for himself, but for postal and Federal employee organizations.
Without a pleasantry, I want to say that I feel that Mr. Keating represents the viewpoint of the very important, very large segment of our Federal employment. I shall be helped by this statement.
Mr. KEATING. Thank you, Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. To give the members a chance to ask questions in event we run out of time, I think it would be a good idea if you would send them to Mr. Keating and he could answer in that manner. I think that would maybe be helpful in the future since our sessions are necessarily short.
Senator Fong. Mr. Chairman, may I ask Mr. Keating a question ? The CHAIRMAN. Yes; go ahead.
Senator Fong. Mr. Chairman, I was very impressed with Mr. Keating's testimony this morning. His arguments as presented are very, very convincing. I was very interested in the statement he made that the Post Office Department here in Washington is conducting examinations every day. Mr. KEATING. Every day of the week. Senator Fong. For postal employees? Mr. KEATING. Clerks and carriers.
Senator Fong. Is that general throughout the Nation, or just for Washington ?
Mr. KEATING. No; that is just for Washington, the city of Washington. You see, the Civil Service Commission has given the Post Office Department authority to conduct these examinations, and they conduct them as they are needed. In order to recruit people here in the city of Washington, they have examinations every day of the week, and in Arlington, they have them every Thursday, and sometimes, people that can't come in on Thursday, they will have an examination on Saturday. This happens about once a month.
So the recruitment problem is a difficult one, and I think you would find the same necessity for frequent examinations true in New York, and in that Greater New York area. It is true in California and a great many other large cities.
Senator Fong. Mr. Keating, I was also very interested in the statement you made that we are now 3 years behind in comparability. With the present machinery that has been set up with the law, which talks about comparability every year, that we should review it every year, and with the present machinery for implementing the comparability principle, inevitably the Government employees are going to be behind 1, 2, or 3 years.
What ideas do you have by which we can really keep comparability to the point where it will not lag so far?
Mr. KEATING. Well, if everything works smoothly, it should be just 2 years behind. Obviously, the study would have to be made after the year was completed. It couldn't be made until the record was made. So by the time it would clear through the necessary agencies, it would take another year, so if it was operating perfectly, it would be 2 years.
This year, of course, we didn't succeed in having legislation last year, so that makes us 3 years behind. We believe that if a weighted percentage would be given to take care of this lag, I think it is obvious the Government knows the trend and could estimate the annual increase now, through the methods that the Department of Labor has developed.
As a matter of fact, the Bureau of Labor Standards, through Ewan Clague, has testified, that the Bureau had a pretty good idea, but he wouldn't give it is an actual fact, because it had to develop. They did have a pretty good idea some months ahead what the trend is actually going to be. There are certain things that they can study, and there is a continuing trend; unless something drastic happens, that trend is pretty well predictable, and I think that they could add, that the Commission could very well add a weighted factor to at least bring the adjustment period down to 1 year. We have discussed it with the Post Office Department and the Commissioner, and we hope that that may develop in the future.
Senator Fong. The weighted factor is not given, but projected, and if you follow the regular procedure, you admit that you will be about 2 years behind all the time.
Mr. KEATING. Yes; 2 years at least.
Mr. KEATING. Thank you, Senator. Mr. McAvoy, Mr. Gibson, and Mr. Warfel have statements they would like to submit for the record.
(The statements are as follows:)
STATEMENT OF HAROLD McAvoy, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
Post OFFICE MAIL HANDLERS, WATCHMEN, MESSENGERS, GROUP LEADERS, MAIL EQUIPMENT HANDLERS & MACHINE OPERATORS Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Harold McAvoy. I am national president of the above-named organization. We are part of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Government Employes' Council. Our national office is located at 900 F Street NW., room 916, Washington, D.C.
At this time, I would like to say thank you for the privilege of appearing before you. In order to conserve time, I would like to stress the great need for early favorable action on pay legislation now being considered by this committee.
President Johnson in his recent letter to the Speaker of the House, the Honorable John McCormack, urged the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives to reconsider and approve legislation to adjust Federal salaries. Failure to reconsider would "undercut the principle and the promise of comparable pay with outside industry.” As outlined in the Federal Salary Reform Act of 1962, as pointed out by previous witnesses prescribes the twin principles that
(a) “There shall be equal pay for substantially equal work and pay distinctions shall be maintained in keeping with work and performance distinctions; and
(6) "Federal salary rates shall be comparable with private enterprise salary rates for the same levels of work." I believe that I am correct when I say this administration has fully endorsed the provisions of H.R. 11049 as an effective move toward "comparability” in career pay levels.
At this time, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, I would like to bring to your attention that the employees I am privileged to represent, are the lowest paid employees in the postal service. In line with the "comparability” feature of the Federal Salary Reform Act of 1962, I would like to make one or two comparisons-between our duty assignments in the postal service and outside industry. The longshoremen and the teamsters are well over the $3 per hour scale, and it is our honest opinion that our duties go far beyond the duties of said employees.
As President George Meany, AFL-CIO, has stated many times “It has been said that postal jobs are without duplication or similarity anywhere else.” I am in full accord with this statement.
For your information, I would like to present a job description of the duties our people perform in the postal service as spelled out in Public Law No. 68.
DUTIES OF MAIL HANDLERS, LEVEL NO. 3, POSITION 8, PUBLIC LAW 68
Loads, unloads, and moves bulk mail, and performs other duties incidental to the movement and processing of mail. Duties and responsibilities
(a) Unloads mail received by trucks. Separates all mail received by trucks and conveyors for subsequent dispatch to other conveying units, and separates and delivers working mails for delivery to distribution areas.
(6) Places empty sacks or pouches on racks, labels them where labels are prearranged or racks are plainly marked, dumps mail from sacks, cuts ties, faces letter mail, carries mail to distributors for processing, places processed mail into sacks, removes filled sacks and pouches from racks, closes and locks same. Picks up sacks, pouches, and outside pieces, separates outgoing bulk mails for dispatch and loads mail onto trucks.
(c) Handles and sacks empty equipment, inspects empty equipment for mail content, restrings sacks.
(d) Cancels stamps on parcel post, operates canceling machines, carries mail from canceling machine to distribution cases.
(e) Assists in supply and slip rooms and operates addressograph, mimeograph and similar machines.
(f) In addition, may perform any of the following duties :
(i) Acts as armed guard for valuable registry shipments and watchman and guard around post office building.
(ii) Makes occasional simple distribution of parcel post mail requiring no scheme knowledge.
(iii) Operates electric forklift trucks.
(v) Performs other miscellaneous duties, such as sweeping in workroom, offices, and trucks where such work is not performed by regular cleaners. Organization relationships
Reports to a foreman or other designated supervisor.
In concluding our duties, I would like to add, that our people separate the mail, and where the post office scheme is needed we place the mail before the