« PreviousContinue »
If I may affirm what you said, I would like to repeat that at the time the T. V. A. committee was hearing representatives of the mechanical trades, they were told that, among other things, they didn't desire to come under the civil service because, if I remember it rightly, it would entail a reduction in salary, and they also pointed out that they had an excellent working agreement with the personnel management of the T. V. A., and that in the selection of mechanics and tradesmen, they were always recognized.
I believe that referred to the recognition of the unions in that vicinity.
Mr. WINTERS. Well, Senator, one of the things with the Tennessee Valley Authority—I think you brought it out a little while ago they had a project set-up of so many dams. They have sandhogs and concrete workers, and what not, that make up a construction outfit. They go into one dam and put in the footings, and so forth, and when they have finished with that, that corps moves on to the next dam, and then the concrete workers come along and do their work. There is one corps of workers behind another until they get the dam completed. They are moving from one place to another, where it would disrupt their organization if you went in there and said, “You have got to take these men.”
In other words, they have to have skilled men, they have to have men that know what they are doing down there, and, if they don't have them, something serious can happen in there.
For myself, I worked for the corporation which now is the largest account the Tennessee Valley has. It was formerly called the Memphis Power & Light Company. I was in the commercial division of that power company. Of course, now the T. V. A. is serving it, and it is a municipally owned operation.
But I know what they have to do in order to go along with that work, just the same way here in our buildings. We didn't have all these beautiful buildings in Washington in 1923 when this Classification Act was written. We didn't have any air-conditioning, or these high-speed elevators, or these steam tunnels—there are lots of things we didn't have.
But the gentlemen that administer these laws say to us—some of them are not technical men and some are_“You do this." Well, whatever we do, if it is all right, and nothing blows up, everything is fine; but if we do what they tell us to do, and then it does blow up, it is right back on our shoulders.
We really have to be technical, practical, and mechanical men in order to put our job over, so there is no interruption.
Two or three years ago there was an interruption in this operation up here, all the lights went out one day. I don't know whether you gentlemen remember it or not, but they were out, due to a broken cable.
There are lots of things that indicate why we have to be better men now than we were in 1923.
Senator MEAD. I just wanted to make the point that the representatives of the various organizations which you seem to represent today came before the Tennessee Valley Authority Committee and complimented the Tennessee Valley Authority for the splendid working conditions and agreements that were in vogue at that time. There was some criticism of the T. V. A., but those representatives of your organization were on the complimentary side. The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions? (No response.) The CHAIRMAN. Who is your next witness? Mr. WINTERS. Mr. Stuart Maxwell, the national president of the National Association of Federal Mechanics.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, you may proceed, Mr. Maxwell. STATEMENT OF STUART MAXWELL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSO
CIATION OF FEDERAL MECHANICS, WASHINGTON, D. C. Mr. MAXWELL. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, our purpose largely here today is to show and to seek what we often hear, *Equal pay for equal work.” That is a popular phrase used often before committees of this type, and it is our hope that at this time this committee will consider putting that phrase into actual effect.
We are prepared to show a wide variation in pay rolls and pay scales, in comparison to the benefits mechanics of other departments have enjoyed for years, and it is our purpose to try to have ourselves established permanently or definitely in H. R. 960.
Before I go any further, I would like to request that the chart which was presented to this committee by Mr. Winters be made a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be done.
Mr. MAXWELL. One of our reasons for being here as representatives of the National Association of Federal Mechanics is to try to have the mechanics in the Government service definitely established under a single heading with one pay scale for all. Something like that would be an all-time cure for the present ills of the mechanics.
Due to the general scope of H. R. 960 in its present form concerning mechanics, we believe the Government mechanic will still appear to be in unrelated establishments largely due to the wide variations in the pay scales of mechanics in the different departments.
We believe the Classification Act is a good law and a basis for a better law. It needs changing from time to time, just like the Constitution of the United States does, to meet and cope with the progress of the people and the Government. When the Classification Act was passed in 1923 mechanics were few in the Government departments. Since 1923 building equipment has improved to such an extent over the equipment of 20 years ago that today its highly specialized equipment requires a more experienced mechanic who has kept pace with the improvements made in building service.
Mr. Chairman, the increased responsibilities and qualifications required of the present-day mechanic, without change in his pay status, has caused the National Association of Federal Mechanics to ask for a definite place for mechanics under the Classification Act, and those who are to be brought under the act in the future. We believe H. R. 960 could provide that definite place as well as equal pay for equal work.
COMPAR ISON OF MECHANICS COMPENSATION & WORKING HOURS PER ANNUM
DOLLARS PER NON
1000 1500 2000 2500
1680 (covorned by Classification Ace)
DISTRICT COVERNOCESIT MECHANICS
NAV YARD MECHANICS
COVERNET PRINT.OFT. MECHANICS
BUR. ENG.& PRINTING MECHANICS
BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL MECH.
FEDERAL MECHANICS (Governed by Classification Act) DISTRICT GOVERNMENT MECEANICS
NAVY YARD MECHANICS
GOVERNMENT PRINT.OTT. MECHANICS
BUR. ENO. PRINTING MECHANICS
BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL MECH.
NOTE: MI Federal & District Covernment Employees have samo Annual & Sick Loave privileges
In the past, mechanics not now under the Classification Act have asked, through legislation, to be excluded from the said act of 1923. Their requests were granted. Now the mechanics under the Classification Act ask for a definite place outside of the custodial service but within the Classification Act.
I would like to give some of our reasons why we believe the mechanics are entitled to this consideration. No legislation has been passed affecting mechanics under the Classification Act since the Welch Act in 1928. Nor have the departments made any effort in the mechanics' behalf. At the time the Welch Act was passed it was considered by Congress as a temporary expedient to serve until a comprehensive study of employment conditions in governmental service could be made. At that time the Bureau of the Budget was contemplating such a study.
In 1905 the Keep Committee, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt, reported that employees were working side by side, doing the same class of work, and receiving very different compensation. Again, in 1920, Mr. Lehlbach had this to say in his report, No. 461, to the House of Representatives, Sixty-seventh Congress, first session, on March 12, 1920: “That the salary and wage rates for positions involving like duties and responsibilities and calling for the same qualifications show wide variations and marked inequalities. That the salary and wage rates for positions of the same class are different, in different departments and independent establishments. That the Government has no standard to guide it in fixing the pay of its employees, and no working plan for relating the salaries to the character and importance of the work.” Now, in 1940, the National Association of Federal Mechanics finds the same inequalities prevailing as in the past.
Åt this time I would like to mention the many different pay scales that exist among the mechanics today in the different departments. Salaries range from $1,680 to $2,745 per year for the same kind of work. The Federal mechanics under the Classification Act are the lowest-paid mechanics in the Government service. They are part of the 75,693 employees in the departments in Washington that average $1,450 per year. It is neither fair nor consistent to take two mechanics from the same civil-service register with the same qualifications and send one mechanic to a department paying $2,745 per year for 5 days a week, and send the other mechanic to a department under the Classification Act at a salary of $1,680 per year for 51/2 days a week. The mechanic under the Classification Act works 10 percent more time and only receives 63 percent of the salary of the mechanic receiving $2,745 per year for the same kind of work.
It is our desire to see pay schedules of mechanics in departments of our Government based on a standardized system whereby all mechanics will receive equal pay for equal work and not have a difference of over $1,000 a year in salaries. It is inconceivable for one employer to have so many different scales of pay for mechanics as the Government has.
Mr. Baruch, Chief of Classifications of the Civil Service Commission, in his book on History of Position Classification and Salary Standardization in the Federal Service from 1789 to 1938, brings out very clearly and consistently the inequalities of salaries within the service.
Mr. Harry B. Mitchell, president of the Civil Service Commission, in his letter under date of May 10, 1939, to the Honorable Robert Ramspeck, in reference to changes in the Classification Act, had this to say:
To create additional classification services does not conflict with any basic concept underlying the Classification Act itself. Five services were provided by the Classification Act originally, but the former Personnel Classification Board and the Civil Service Commission have recognized that additional groupings may be desirable, and in fact would be necessary in case the Classification Act were extended to the field service.
In the Commission's judgment the present rates of pay of the custodial service are in their application to the recognized trades and crafts, somewhat low in comparison to rates for comparable occupations fixed by wage boards on a prevailing rate basis, and in comparison with scales of pay in some of the grades of the other services of the Classification Act. We think they may reasonably be raised to approach more closely the usual rates under wage-board procedure
Mr. Chairman, mechanics under the Classification Act are required to operate, maintain, and repair the most modern equipment known to building maintenance, which has cost the Government millions of dollars; such items as air conditioning has cost about 10 millions, electrical equipment has cost about 15 millions, automatic high-speed elevators cost about 5 millions, not mentioning the cost of other equipment too numerous to mention. Surely when mechanics under the Classification Act are required to have the ability to operate, maintain, and protect the Government's investment of millions of dollars, and care for the safety of occupants of Government buildings, they should receive the same salary as mechanics in other departments.
The President of the United States had this to say in his remarks on the fifty-fifth anniversary of the Civil Service Act :
I have recommended and I support legislation for the extension of classified civil service upward, outward, and downward; I have recommended and I support the policy for extension of the Classified Act to insure equal pay for equal work in the field services.
It can be assumed if the President is consistent, he will agree there should be equal pay for equal work in the department service as well.
I would like to add ħere a statement from one of our other mechanics who repairs and maintains the most modern equipment in office appliances and labor-saving devices.
(The statement referred to is as follows:) Years ago when the only office labor-saving devices were the very simple typewriters of that period, it was found advisable to have a typewriter mechanic available at all times and the Civil Service Commission created a classification of "Typewriter repairman" and set the salary on a par with that paid lowergrade clerks of that day. The typewriter mechanic had a very simple typewriter to repair and adjust then, not the complicated machine of today with its variable line spacer, automatic tabulation, back spacer, and speed dogs. He was not the expertly trained man of today any more than the old blacksmith who tinkered with the automobile 40 years ago was an expert ignition man.
As more and more office machines came into use, it was natural that the typewriter mechanic be called to look at the machines before calling on an outside mechanic, and often, being a mechanic, the typewriter mechanic could make the adjustment on the hand-operated machines of that time, but as the machines became more complicated, more automatically operated, it was necessary to have expertly trained men adjust them and since there was no civil-service classification to cover such men, the employment divisions looked for men who could be certified as typewriter repairmen, and thus men who were experts on the very highly complicated calculating machines, tabulating machines, accounting machines, and adding machines, and who had at some time been typewriter mechanics, were invited to come into the service as typewriter repairmen and