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been explained in detail by Assistant Postmaster General Murphy on May 7. We believe that the new method will be easier to administer and eliminates the reduced figure of gross postal receipts.
We have been assured that on conversion to this plan, postmasters will not be downgraded, and we are equally sure that no office will be significantly upgraded. However, the new plan will include all revenues of an office, including money order fees and other financial transactions. This should be pleasing to postmasters.
The new procedure for fourth-class offices is significant and long overdue and will provide them with a salary that recognizes their value and worth to the U.S. Government. These postmasters have been the lowest paid personnel of the postal service, even lower than custodial employees, and we have continuously striven for pay benefits to these dedicated and faithful officials of the Government. They are invariably the sole representative of the Government in their locality and are called upon for many civic activities.
Their duties are as varied as those at a larger office if not as extensive, and the postmaster at the smaller office has no clerical assistance and must be well versed in all postal regulations incident to his daily duties.
The new plan relates the fourth-class office to level 5 and proposes to pay these postmasters a pro rata amount of the annual rate for level 5 for necessary hours of duty which meets the need of the community served. For instance, if only 2 hours is required, the postmaster would receive one-fourth of the level 5 pay. Also, the postmaster may receive an allowance of 15 percent of level 5 or he may be furnished the necessary facilities. This should mean better quarters for small offices.
We support these benefits to the small offices.
While a 5-day workweek for postmasters was proposed in previous pay legislation, now two bills, H.R. 10734 and S. 1563, provide this benefit in separate legislation, and we hope for favorable consideration at an appropriate date.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we know we are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and all we ask is that we be given pay for 5 days time in which we physically report to the office.
With the changes described, (1) correction of pay inequity in levels 6 to 15; and (2) 1-year intervals for step increases to step 7 in levels 8 to 18, we strongly support and urge early passage of H.R. 11049.
Many thanks, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for your kindness in permitting this testimony today.
The CHAIRMAN. We certainly appreciate your coming before us this morning. Are there any questions?
The CHAIRMAN. I notice here that you state your organization has 93.1 percent of all postmasters.
Mr. SNYDER. That is active members. It does not include retired postmasters who are associate members.
The CHAIRMAN. How many members does the National League of Postmasters have?
Mr. SNYDER. I do not know. There is a good many that belong to both associations; there is some overlap.
The CHAIRMAN. We certainly thank you for coming before us this morning.
Next is Mr. Vaughn, legislative representative of the National League of Postmasters.
Mr. Vaughn, it is quite possible that Senator Dirksen will come in when you are testifying. I will probably have to interrupt you. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM T. VAUGHN, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTA
TIVE, NATIONAL LEAGUE OF POSTMASTERS OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Vaughn. Mr. Chairman, I will certainly be happy to defer to Senator Dirksen as soon as he arrives.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for the record I am William T. Vaughn, postmaster at Paris, Tenn., and the designated legislative representative for the National League of Postmasters of the United States. It has been my privilege to serve as the national president of this organization for two terms, and I am accompanied this morning by my immediate successor as president, Mr. Henry J. Stoffer, postmaster at Sheffield, Iowa.
On behalf of the National League of Postmasters, both Mr. Stoffer and I want to express our gratitude for this opportunity to be heard, and to endorse wholeheartedly the pay increase provisions before you.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask how many postmasters you represent? Mr. VAUGHN. Our membership is around 20,000. I don't have the exact figure this morning.
The CHAIRMAN. Somewhere around 60 percent of the postmasters of the United States?
Mr. Vaughn. Yes, there is an overlap of our organization there. May I say we are growing at a very rapid rate.
The CHAIRMAN. You have a great many in the fourth and third and second classes, do you not?
Mr. VAUGHN. We have all classes of office. We gained some 6,500 members in the last 3 or 4 years. We are gaining at a very rapid rate, the membership was very low in 1959 and 1960.
Senator CARLSON. Mr. Chairman?
First, because this, too, affects our membership and all the citizens of our great country, permit me to mention briefly the part of the bill which encompasses more realistic remuneration for the dedicated Members of the National Congress. We desire to go on record as being in favor of these increases.
This recommendation is based on my own personal survey among various segments of the country regarding congressional pay raises, which was made during my travels last year. It was convincing to note that community leaders in general, favor adequate increased pay for those of you working so untiringly on legislative matters.
The people of this country have respect for their elected officials in Government and a great majority do not actually know the pay structure for Members of the Congress, and are surprised when told that it is not greater than the current figure.
Now, I would like to devote the following remarks to some of the more technical features of this legislation—and to dwell on some special aspects of the pay situation as they affect our Members and which are especially a matter of concern to us.
In connection with the reform in the method of determining classification of post offices, one of the most satisfactory features of the proposal before you is that part of the legislation which establishes a system that is more equitable in making these determinations. Calendar year 1957, the base year for determining the discount, is now in the distant past.
We have had two general postal rate increases since that time, and we need to place such determinations on a current basis. We believe the legislation before you contains a reasonable and fair method of accomplishing this.
By giving each postmaster 100 percent credit for all receipts received in his office, there can be no misunderstanding of the application of the “breaking points" for classes of office, and for the determination of the relative standing of postmasters within the classes on the receipts factor. The method for keeping these determinations currentunder this legislation is simple and will, we believe, after a fair trial, be readily understood by all postmasters.
On the other hand, the present discount method has been confusing to many postmasters in fourth-class offices and other small offices, as well as in many of the larger offices. Many do not understand why they cannot receive credit for all receipts.
We mention the smaller offices because the membership of our organization includes a large number of postmasters in these offices who do not have the specialists available to assist them in understanding the technicalities involved. Also, because of our large membership among the smaller office postmasters, this particular bill is important to us because our needs for a prompt salary increase are extremely severe.
And here I would like to go into the human, nontechnical considerations involved. Our small office postmasters, specifically those in offices of the fourth class, are the lowest paid of all postal employees. The average annual rate for these postmasters is now about $3,000. The majority of postmasters in these offices report their salaries are their sole earnings.
I feel sure that the members of this committee can appreciate the hardships resulting from an attempt to live on that amount of money nowadays. In addition to the human considerations, we feel very strongly that the fourth-class office postmaster especially, earns more money. He deserves more money because of the services he performs for the Government.
Actually, there is very little substantive difference between what is required of postmasters in third-class offices and in fourth-class offices. The main difference is, that because of smaller volumes of postal business, less actual time is required officially to be devoted to postal business.
But, the effect of this legislation will be that the pay system will be based more on work requirements. This is a truer yardstick—this more realistically reflects the actual difference.
We understand that the Department will take into consideration under this legislation, once it becomes law, such factors as the popu
lation served, mail transactions as represented by total revenue, including money order fees, the number of receipts and dispatches of mail required daily and the absence of presence of box delivery on a star or rural route.
These are realistic measures, and more accurately reflect the demand on individual postmasters much more fairly than the pay categories based principally on adjusted receipts, as at present.
I would specifically like to go back to the inclusion of money order fees in the total revenue credited to a post office. This is a reform long overdue and will be particularly important to postmasters in small offices. Where the volume of money orders is significant, handled along with other duties by one person, as it is in most of these small offices, it is only fair that this volume be reflected in the revenues.
It has long been true in some offices that postmasters are required to spend more time on money orders than in selling stamps or completing other major postal transactions. In many of our so-called bedroom towns, whose residents are largely commuters, this service becomes even more important following a Friday payday in communities where banking facilities are not available. The "revenue unit” factor, which includes credit for money order fees, is a most important feature of the bill before this committee.
Postmasters of fourth-class offices work under a one-man, or, of course, a one-woman operation, while many second- and third-class post offices have some clerical assistance, even though it may be limited. In these offices, and this group of offices comprises nearly 85 percent of the total, the postmaster personally performs practically all the functions required or available in post offices of any size. The lone postmaster is the window clerk, dispatcher, claims adjusutor, special delivery messenger, route inspector, information officer and of course, janitor. In addition, his community looks to the small-town postmaster for such nonpostal services as furnishing them migratory bird stamps for the Department of Interior; selling documentary Stamps for the Treasury Department; distributing boat stamps for the Coast Guard; furnishing burial flags for the Veterans Administration; dispensing social security forms for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; conducting bird counts for the State game commisisons, and supplying statistical information for the Department of Agriculture.
This unique community service is the source of valuable information given other agencies of the Federal Government. Actually, the availability of this information to other agencies saves countless hours of research and hard work, thereby reflecting a savings to the overall operation of these Government agencies because of this community knowledge.
As Assistant Postmaster General Murphy pointed out to the committee last week, fourth-class postmasters for the most part have to rely on their postal salaries for their livelihood. It is no longer true, as it was some years ago, in most cases, the postmaster job was a sideline in a general store maintained by the postmaster. As an important citizen of his community, the postmaster is expected and does perform many civic functions in a sort of public relations role for the postal service and the U.S. Government.
Thank you for your time and consideration. While we have members from many large post offices who greatly appreciate your efforts, our members from small offices—facing as they do, the very serious problem of making a living and being a good postmaster on a few thousand dollars a year—find your work especially heartwarming, and you will earn their deep gratitude by your favorable and expeditious action on this measure.
The CHAIRMAN. We certainly thank you, Mr. Vaughn, for this information that you have brought. I personally think and I also believe the committee thinks this paper is condensed and has brought us a lot of information.
We thank you.
I suppose, because of the session beginning at 10 o'clock you probably don't want very long testimony.
The CHAIRMAN. We are not limiting you. We are glad to hear you. STATEMENT OF HON. EVERETT M. DIRKSEN, A U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Senator DIRKSEN. Mr. Chairman, I feel a little like a pioneer in this field because I remember the first pay bill that I voted on was in 1933. That, however, was not an increase in pay; that was a reduction in pay for everybody in the Government, and, euphemistically, it was known as the old economy act.
I voted against it. I was one of 34, I think, and never was I so excoriated by people for not supporting the administration at that time. But I felt it was wrong; I refused to do it. And I discovered that subsequently we repealed every line and every comma of that act before we got through, and I felt my position was thereby vindicated.
I feel like a bit of a pioneer, however, in this field because my part in 1946 in the Reorganization Act was the type of dealing with congressional pay and with congressional retirement which took a bit of doing. There was a lot of timidity about it, just as there is now, but that didn't make a particle of difference to me and we worked unceasingly and finally developed a pay increase for Members of Congress and also for the beginning of our retirement system.
My second effort came in 1954. I felt at that time that again there should be a pay increase. I wondered some about the approach, but finally introduced a resolution. This set up a committee of 18 to be selected from various groups in the country. I think Judge Segal of Philadelphia became the Chairman of that Committee and he recommended a pay scale, which after a discount by the House and Senate, was finally enacted in the law.
So now we have another pay bill and I shall not try to comment on those provisions with respect to the 1,700,000 Federal workers, but I have some comment to make with respect to both judicial and congressional pay.