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Now, that is good business. It lets the employee know where he stands.
Now I want to stop right here and make this observation, we are not recommending for a moment that anything be placed in the law which will retard or hinder the separation from the service of an inefficient employee. The efficiency rating system isn't for the purpose of assisting in the separation of inefficient people, the inefficiency rating system is for the purpose of differentiating between so-called efficient employees.
Now if you install a seniority system you are not stopping any administrator's action in separating an employee who is bad, who ought to be separated from the service. You are simply providing a method by which in the future when reduction of force is necessary the employees will know beforehand and not subject to any influenced considerations, they will know, who is to go. So that when an employee is on the rolls and serves over a period of time and other employees are appointed as time goes by, if there is a movement to reduce the service he knows where he stands with respect to that reduction of force.
As I said before it shouldn't be necessary to tell the committee of Senators of the advantages of the seniority system.
I would like to put this question. We now have in the Civil Service Committee of the Senate Senator Mead. Senator Mead was the chairman in the House of the committee which had authority over Post Office employees. Senator Mead has done in the House and is now doing in the Senate splendid work, particularily for those Postal employees.
Now let me draw your attention to this, what is the position of the postal employees with respect to this type of legislation? Through Senator Mead's efforts and those of his colleagues, but certainly through his active assistance and through the urging of the organized groups of postal employees, the postal employees are exempted from title 2 of the operations of this act and the postal employees have no interest in whether or not a great group of emergency employees are included within the classified service because they do not compete with them as they have the seniority system of reducing the force.
Now later if I may, and I don't want to take up any more time than the committee can give me, I would like to go over the exceptions in the act provided for employees so that the act may not apply to certain groups.
Mr. Chairman, when you examine those exceptions you are going to find the reasons why we civil-service employees are objecting to H. R. 960 without at least protection which will protect our tenure just as it will protect the tenure of those groups excepted from the act.
Who are those groups? Without exception, the groups of employees excepted from the operations of this act are those same groups who are magnificently organized, who have been able to come before your committee and the committee in the House authorized to handle this legislation and oppose this type of thing as to them and have been able to go before the committees of Congress and obtain those provisions of protection.
Now the Classification Act of 1923 does not apply to field postoffice employees, to tradesmen, mechanics, protected by organizations, it doesn't apply to them because they have more efficient pay plans and better pay rates now. The Postal Service of the United States Government in the field service has pay rates far in excess of the classification plan.
You heard Senator Schwartz this morning tell you about the pay rates in T. V. A. The T. V. A. has provision in there for prevailing rates of wages. They don't want the Classification Act, certainly they don't. Why? Because it is a pay reduction.
Now no group of employees wants pay reduction so we have exceptions in title 2 of this act, provision for exception from the operation of this act for all employees covered by specific legislation. They are not covered by this legislation because theoretical civil-service administrators do not want to have jurisdiction over them but because the groups are too strong.
Now may we go back to this—the seniority rule—for a minute. If the civil service employees of the Government who came in the hard way can obtain the insertion in this bill of provision for amending the act to provide separation by seniority, then I feel confident that there will be no objections within the service to the passage of this bill. I want to make it plain, that we will support the theory, the principle of the extension of the civil-service act without reservation except that we would like to see a protection against an influenced reduction of force.
Now we know, just being practical about it, being realistic about it, we know this 130,000, 170,000, 200,000 employees here who are going to get the status, we know they have influence. If one of them is working beside me and I have no such influence and separation of force comes, I know that I will be separated. It will not depend on efficiency although the system may be called an efficiency rating system.
So I have collaborated with Mr. Millard Rice in drawing up two amendments, which I am only personally presenting because Mr. Rice happens to be out of town today and will appear before the committee later, and I would like to present the amendments for study to the committee as emanating from Mr. Rice and then I would like to support them.
If these two amendments to the bill are acceptable then our organization will support the bill in every possible way. If these two amendments are unacceptable then we would prefer to see this legislation delayed until such time as the committee can give further study to this matter. We feel in other words that the passage of the bill without these amendments seriously endangers the tenure of civilservice employees of the United States.
Now if I may, Mr. Chairman, I will read the amendments for the purpose of the record and then Mr. Rice will submit them when he appears on the stand.
Insert a new section as follows:
SEC. Section 7 of the Classification Act of 1923, as amended (42 Stat. 1490; U. S. C., 1934 edition, title 5, sec. 667) is hereby amended by striking out the words, "the appropriate efficiency rating." and inserting in lieu thereof the words, "satisfactory service.”
Further, insert a new section as follows:
SEC. Section 9 of the Classification Act of 1923, as amended (42 Stat. 1491 ; U. S. C., 1934 edition, title 5, sec. 669), is hereby amended by striking it out in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
SEC. 9. That in any reduction in personnel in any civilian service of the United States, employees, in the class to be reduced, shall be released in the inverse order of the length of their total Federal service: Provided, That the length of time spent in active service in the armed forces of the United States of each such employee shall be credited in computing length of total service."
Now, Mr. Chairman, that is behind the scenes with us a very important issue. Our people through the operations of rule 1 of the Civil Service Act and through the operations of the Hatch Act cannot go into the marketplace and become insistent, they are thrown back
upon the necessity of sending a person here who is not presently employed by the Government to present a case for them while they stay in their offices and may not insistently urge their own protection. We are at a place in public service in which the employees must depend not upon demonstrations but upon the presentation to congressional committees of reasons. We are not here demonstrating a vast pressure force but we are here trying to convince the Senate of the United States that a reasonable protection of the present civilservice employees should be a profound consideration of the Senate.
Now you will recall when I was on the stand before I said that we had in opposition to this bill a political group, that is, the Republican Party. I don't think that that party has taken any specific public stand in the matter but its representatives in Congressand I am not speaking for any one-those representatives in Congress over on the other side of the Capitol have opposed this bill. You had a witness here this morning from the minority in the House opposing the bill. It is dangerous to the civil-service principle because you must add on to that 25 or 28 percent of your emergency employees who under the terms of this hill are to 'fail, are to be denied status—are to be removed from the pay roll-add on to that the 500,000 to 600,000 employees of the Federal Government who do not like the bill as it stands at present, who want to have the bill changed so it will protect them, and I think legitimately so—add on to that—the fringe of employees right out on the edge. All this piles up trouble for the civil service. We had here the representatives this morning of the W. P. A. desiring to include the W. P. A. in the bill.
We had the representatives of the W. P. A., then we had representatives of the P. W. A. who want to put in not only for their own employees now but they want in the bill status for the employees who have been furloughed. In other words, this bill assumes the proportions of a very difficult problem to solve. What shall be the limits of application of the bill? That is a question which will produce many differences of opinion.
Now, we, as civil-service employees, are not interested in preventing anyone from obtaining work tenure if his work merits it, but we do ask you to consider our group.
I want to call your attention to another vast group in the United States who are going to find that this bill if passed in its present form is highly objectionable and that is the veterans group.
The CHAIRMAN. Before you go into that, let me get you clear on this position. It is your idea that when reductions in service are made it should be on the claim to seniority without regard to efficiency?
Mr. BABCOCK. We have at present no just method of distinguishing as to efficiency. One man's opinion might be that this employee is efficient while the other man's opinion may be that he is inefficient. And opinion of efficiency is so apt to be based on personalities.
Let's consider the railroads. They know that on occasion the seniority system may remove the more efficient employees but they save all of the confusion, all of the uncertainties that are inherent in any decision as to who is the most efficient employee. Because, Senator, when you come to reduction in force if there is a relative on the pay roll, that relative is never inefficient.
Just to be frank about it, if there is one of the employees who is sent to me by Senator Bulow or recommended to me by Senator Bulow it is very difficult for me to find he is the inefficient employee and should be separated. The employee himself, under the seniority system, the junior employee knows the cut is going to hit him and that is the end of it. He doesn't come and storm in your office, he doesn't storm in the administrative office when the ax falls. The junior employee has to take it and he knows it beforehand and there is no confusion about it. General Electric does it, General Motors does it, and the Ford Co. does it. They have all found it is the practical method of managing their personnel affairs. They have tried these studies of efficiency, talked about the service ratings, and all that sort of thing, but they use the seniority system. In the final analysis it is extra board on the railroad, if a man goes on the extra board, when he has served long enough on the extra board he goes on the regular staff. When they want to reduce the force he goes back to the extra board and if they want to reduce it further they reduce the extra-board service.
In the Postal Service, in our Federal Government, he serves on substitute rolls until there is a vacancy. He keeps coming up to a permanent position. The worse they can do to him is drop him back on the substitute rolls and drop some off the substitute rolls. That is a just way of doing it.
We have very little trouble, we hear very little about the injustice done in the Postal Service. That is due in part at least to the superb organization of the employees. They have a superb organization. Thus they keep complaints pretty well in hand. And, moreover, they not only have good organization but that organization has brought about a regular definitely recognized system of handling these personnel problems. There is no such thing as reduction through efficiency rating or anything like that in the Post Office Service. If a man gets demerits he knows why he gets them and there is a chance to defend himself as to that.
Now we would like to get our public employees, who are not protected by these legislative acts, under the protection of these legislative acts rather than under the whimsey of administrative superiors.
I am going to testify, if the committee can afford me the time with this in view, that the employees are not to be benefited by title 2 of this act. The fact of the matter is that the best interests of the employees would leave their welfare in the hands of the Congress and not transfer their welfare into the hands of administrative officials. The difficulty with the Classification Act is—and a civil service representative testified on the stand to that—is that the tendency with respect to allocation hearings of the Civil Service Commission is to hold down the departmental recommendations for promotion. When the witness was asked the expense of putting title 2 of this act into operation he said the survey showed $14,000,000—which has, however, been reduced about $4,000,000 to $10,000,000, that reduction due to the fact that many employees have been removed from Executive order classification to positions of Classification Act classification. Notice that he did not state one cent of expenditure for additional cost for extension of the Classification Act to those positions in the field service which are not under the Executive order, which are not in the emergency agencies. Now, as a matter of practical fact the Classification Act of 1923 was extended to the field service in 1930. It was done. The Brookhart Act of 1930 ordered extension of the act to field service wherever practicable. Now between 1930 and the present, every department has extended the Classification Act to field service where it could. So that it would not add to the expense of the Government to pass this bill insofar as you are considering permanent employees of the Government. It would only add to the expense insofar as this bill is extending the Classification Act to emergency employees of the Government who were excepted from the Classification Act by specific act of the Congress when it established these emergency organizations.
The point I am driving at is this: Many employees have been lectured to over the years and have been brought into the belief that extension of the Classification Act into the field service would act as a method by which their pay could be raised. As a practical fact it will not and the Commission's own testimony proves that. The witnesses in their testimony talked about the variance in salaries in the field service, one stenographer getting $900 a year, another stenographer getting $1,400 a year. That variance isn't between two civil-service employees, that variance is between a civil-service employee on one hand and the emergency employee on the other.
I do not grant that this bill grants $10,000,000 of pay increase to civil-service people. This bill grants $10,000,000 of pay increase to politically appointed employees in addition to giving them civilservice status. But this bill does not add one iota, not one mill, to the civil-service pay roll of the United States, and the extension in title II is not of benefit to civil-service employees in the field service.
Now I know that that is not in accordance perhaps with the general opinion, an opinion unadvised by specific reading of the text, but it is my frank opinion that this bill is solely a bill to the advantage of the emergency employees of the Government and doesn't go out of its way even to protect them with that degree of diligence which perhaps it should.
Now I would like to raise another thought and I don't want to continue any longer than you want to hear me, Mr. Chairman. Whenever you are ready to quit
The CHAIRMAN. It is almost 12. You will be here right along? Mr. BABCOCK. Yes, sir; I will be right here.
The CHAIRMAN. I think we will go over until Friday. If anyone here has a written statement that they want to submit we will be