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Insurance companies classify elevator mechanics as a hazardous occupation, some of the dangers of which are:
1. Working on top of elevator cars while they are running at a speed of from 100 to 600 feet per minute.
2. Working in an elevator hatch and having a car running in the next hatch about a foot from the edge of the car on which one is working
3. The always present danger of slipping or tripping and falling down the hatch a distance of as much as 150 feet.
4. Getting caught in the cables where they reeve around the drive sheave or drum.
5. Having one's hand get caught in the brake drum. 6. Feet often get caught between car and threshhold. 7. Chain hoists or lashings break, and cars and equipment fall. 8. The danger of being electrocuted. 9. Infections from the ordinary cuts, burns, and bruises.
, . In conclusion, I would like to call your attention to the fact that among the mechanics in the Custodial Service there is a great amount of dissatisfaction, largely due to the wide discrepancies in wages and hours between classified employees and those in the navy yards, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the field service.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Winters, have you or anyone in your group any further statement ?
Mr. MAXWELL. I would like to make one further statement in reference to hazards of mechanics in different departments.
We have mechanics working in hospitals, such as the St. Elizabeth Hospital and the National Institute of Health. They are subjected regularly every day to the hazards of laboratory experiments, they are subjected to most any diseases that is experimented with.
In Beltsville, under the Agricultural Division, there is a similar condition on hazard to health. They can pick up a disease of most any kind, at any time, and there is nothing considered for that risk at all. They possibly get their medical care at that institution, but that would be all.
The hazard to the mechanics and to the other Government em. ployees is quite a risk, and a responsibility for the mechanic to pre vent. They handle high voltages up to 75,000 volts. If a mechanic doesn't handle that right you can imagine what will happen.
The average current coming into buildings comes in around 13,800 volts, and if they don't reduce it down properly—and in lots of cases they have to work on that equipment while it is hot-there is trouble.
If the steam stations that come into the different buildings are not properly adjusted and taken care of—a 12-inch diameter steam line of over 200 pounds pressure per square inch-if that ever gave way, or if one of the expansion joints gave way, you can imagine what would happen.
We are constantly engaged in the protection of other Government employees.
Senator BYRD. I would like to ask the Civil Service Commission to furnishi a list of the number of mechanics that are getting $1,680 in each department, and then likewise furnish the wages in other
departments that are doing, in their judgment, comparable work of the same skill and character.
Mr. VIPOND. Yes; we will be glad to do that.
UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION,
Washington, D. C., April 26, 1940. Hon. WILLIAM J. BULOW, Chairman, Committee on Civil Service,
United States Senate. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The Commission has been advised by Mr. Vipond that at the hearing on H. R. 960 before the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Senator Byrd requested that the committee be advised of the number of mechanics who are employed in the Custodial Service under grade CU-6 of the Compensation Classification Act of 1923, as amended, with entrance compensation of $1,680 per annum; and also similar information with respect to the number of mechanics and their rates of pay employed elsewhere in the Federal service whose compensation is not subject to the Classification Act rates of pay.
For the fiscal year 1941 the Congress has granted the Commission additional funds. Among the items presented to the Congress warranting increase in appropriations the Commission not only pointed out the great arrearage in its work but stated that its personnel records of employees in the Government service should be put on a punch-card basis in order that the Congress, individual members of Congress, and committees, as well as the President and Bureau of the Budget be furnished statistical information concerning employees as promptly as possible. It is the purpose of the Commission to use a part of the increase in funds to establish this punch-card system as early as possible during the next fiscal year.
In view of the fact that the Commission's statistics are not now on a punchcard basis, the following information is in large part estimated :
The Compensation Classification Act of 1923 under the jurisdiciton of the Civil Service Commission applies only to positions in the District of Columbia ; and its provisions are extended to certain of the field establishments by administrative action of the individual departments and independent offices under authority of Congress.
In connection with the Commission's report to you under date of March 17, 1939, it was estimated that there were employed in the Custodial Service in the District of Columbia 1,059 mechanics in grade CU-6 with entrance salary of $1,680. The rates of pay of this grade as fixed in the Classification Act of 1923, are: $1,680, $1,740, $1,800, $1,860, $1,920, $1,980, and $2,010.
As of March 31, 1940, there were 242 journeyman mechanics employed by the government of the District of Columbia with pay rates of $8 per diem, $8.32, $8.56, $8.88. and $9.12. Of this number approximately 90 percent are paid at the minimum rate of $8 per day. These rates of pay are fixed under a wage board procedure under the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. Their positions are regarded as exempt from the rates of pay fixed under the Classification Act of 1923, as amended, due to the following provision in section 5 of that act: "That the compensation schedules
shall not apply to employees in positions the duties of which are to perform or assist in apprentice, helper, or journeyman work in a recognized trarle or craft and skilled and unskilled laborers, except such as are under the direction and control of the custodian of a public building or perform work which is subordinate, incirlental, or preparatory to work of a professional, scientific, or technical character."
Journeyman mechanic positions of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are held to be exempt from the compensation schedules of the Classification Act by this same provision in section 5 of the act. There are 132 such journeyman mechanics including carpenters, painters, electricians. etc., who are paid at the rate of $10.56 per diem. The pay rate for these mechanics is fixed by the Director of the Bureau and the Secretary of the Treasury.
The Government Printing Office employs 94 journeyman mechanics all at the rate of $1.32 per hour. These include positions of electrician, plumber, carpenter, painter, machinist, etc. In addition 3 automobile mechanics are em. ployed at $1.20 an hour. The Kiess Act of June 7, 1924, gives the Public Printer authority to fix the pay of these positions in conference with representatives of the employees. Any differences are taken up with the Joint Committee on Printing.
No statistics are available concerning overall employment of mechanics in the Government service inside and outside of the District of Columbia. A study based on a sample of 25 percent of 802,000 service record cards in the files of the Commission in December 1938, shows that there were 185,000 persons employed in trade and manual occupations by the Federal Government. The great majority of these persons were employed in navy yards under the Navy Department and in arsenals and other establishments of the War Department, in the Government Printing Office, and in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The pay of none of these groups of positions is fixed under the Classification Act of 1923, as amended. The Custodial Service of that act has application only to the groups of mechanics who are employed in connection with the care, custody, and maintenance of public buildings.
The rates of pay for mechanics employed in navy yards and establishments of the War Department are fixed by wage boards usually at the rates of pay prevailing in the vicinity of each establishment. These rates of pay are probably higher in every instance than the rates of pay now appearing in the Custodial Service under the Classification Act of 1923, as amended. The chart submitted to your committee by the National Association of Federal Mechanics shows that the hourly pay of the navy yard mechanics is $1.056 as compared with $0.7343 for the Custodial Service mechanics. By direction of the Commission : Very respectfully,
HARRY B. MITCHELL, President. Senator GEORGE. What is the total number of mechanics in the Government service which you gentlemen have been speaking about?
Mr. WINTERS. In the District there are approximately 3,000.
Some of the witnesses have spoken of classification of civil service in the field. I talked to the personnel officer or the civil service secretary at Edgewood Arsenal, and he told me at that particular timeI think it was 2 years ago when I was up there—they had two classes of employees, one set up under a wage board and one set up under a classification service. The wage board took in a radius of 35 miles. The Government owns a reservation up there, and has a lot of buildings on the reservation. Those employees who live on the reservation are employed when and if there is money or work to be done.
Then the custodial employees, who come under the classification act, are permanent employees. They are employed all the time; that is, they get an annual rate of pay.
These other employees, inasmuch as they are in the fourth civil service district, are taken from residents of this small area. As Senator Mead said, everyone should be eligible to compete for the civil service jobs within that fourth civil service district, which includes some of Virginia, the District, and Maryland, and I think some of Delaware. But the positions around Edgewood Arsenal have a ring around them of 30 miles. That cuts Baltimore off. In other words, they set up their own examinations or announcements for positions, as I understand it, with the consent of the Commission in Washington, and they set up these positions and then they advertise them, but they only set it within a 30-mile radius, and nobody else within that fourth civil service district can compete for those jobs, which is unfair.
It is true the Government has a reservation, they maintain a reservation for these people, but I don't understand why they would have the reservation for them unless it would be to pay them a low salary and give them a house to live in—that is the only thing I can see.
Senator Byrd. When you mentioned 3,000 mechanics, you meant the $1,680 class, did you not?
Mr. WINTERS. No, sir; that included all of them in the District.
Senator Byrd. How many of them do you estimate are getting $1,680 ?
Mr. WINTERS. Within the District ? Senator BYRD. Well, anywhere. Mr. WINTERS. I would say that there are approximately, counting all of the mechanics, railway engineers, and lock engineers in the Canal Zone and Alaska and all of our possessions, 50,000 mechanics, and out of that 50,000 mechanics there would be at least 35,000 of them drawing less than $2,000 a year. Now that is an arbitrary figure; we have no way of getting definite facts on it, Senator.
Mr. KLACKING. The way it is really set up, the main body of our men are known as journeymen-mechanics. Everybody rotates around them. The helpers help them and the bosses boss them. They are our shock troops.
The majority of those men who come in, as the Commission will tell you, come in at $1,680. Some of them have been there for 15 and 18 years and are still getting that.
It would be awfully hard for us to make an estimate because everybody we have contact with would be in this $1,680 class.
Senator Byrd. Has anybody made an estimate of the additional cost to the Government ?
Mr. WINTERS. Yes, sir; it is in this letter here, which is in the record.
Senator BYRD. Thank you.
Mr. MAXWELL. Mechanics under the classification act go down as low as $1,200 a year for junior mechanics.
I would like to add a few more words. The mechanics under the classification act are in several grades, from grade 5 on up to grade 8 and grade 9, and there is no particular concern about the duties they perform. They practically do the same grade of work, but they all get these variations in pay. Some of them down to $1.275 per year. The departments are little concerned as to what duties these mechanics perform. They will let a grade 6 mechanic have the same duties and responsibilities as the grade 8 mechanic, but he receives only $1,680 while doing the work of a $2,000 mechanic.
The departments do not bother with holding a man down to his classification sheet, and there is some doubt as to whether a mechanic, working above his classification, would get compensation if he were injured working out of his job classification. Our amendment would eliminate all those possibilities of misunderstanding.
STATEMENT OF YOUNG M. SMITH, FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION,
WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. SMITH. The Federal Bar Association, Senator, was formed about 20 years ago and numbers among its members attorneys employed throughout the Government service in Washington and in the field.
We want to endorse the general purposes of this act. We feel not only that it will give just protection to qualified employees, but that it would result in vast savings to the Government—that any extension of civil service or any practice which would prevent drastic turnovers of personnel would unquestionably result in great saving to the Government, not only in the salaries and time wasted in training new employees, but in eliminating the possibility of costly mistakes by untrained personnel.
We are opposed to the Keller-Nichols amendment, but better qualified witnesses who have discussed that with you before have pointed out the defects in the amendment, and I won't delay you further by going into that.
We suggest an amendment to section 2 (a) of the bill. The bill, as now written, will result in withholding its intended protection to men who happen to be transferred from one division of the Government to another within 6 months prior to the inclusion of their new position in the classified civil service.
That is, a man may have served a year or 5 or 10 years with the Government, being an experienced man, and as a matter of fact so well qualified that he may have been able for this reason to have effected a transfer to another department.
Now if that transfer should not have taken place more than 6 months prior to the inclusion of his position, under the language of this bill he would not be entitled to take the noncompetitive examination. That language of the bill comes from rule 2, section 6 of the civil-service rules, which provides that where positions are covered in without competitive examination, the incumbents must have been appointed at least 6 months prior to the effective date of the change in status of the position.
Now, the interpretation of that rule is already certain and the act will presumably be interpreted in the same way. It appears on page 22 of the Civil Service Act and Statutes, amended to 1939, and the first footnote explains that the Civil Service Commission interprets that language to mean that while a man who is promoted or transferred to other positions within a particular agency will get protection, a man who has been transferred into another department will not.
Evidently, to overcome the possible discriminatory effects of that, the President, in his order of June 24, 1938, No. 7916, changed the wording, as appears on page 96 of these amended rules, to say that such incumbent must have been in the service on the date of this order, and it should be certified that he has rendered satisfactory service for not less than 6 months.
The Civil Service Commission has interpreted that wording as meaning in the Government service, and such a man is protected in the event he is transferred.
We think that is a fair provision, and we suggest that section 2 (a) be amended in this manner, that in line 18, the words "such office or position was covered in to the Classified Civil Service," be stricken, and that substituted for those words should be the words, "of such certification."
In other words, the head of the agency must certify that the man has been serving satisfactorily for 6 months prior to such certification.
Now, that 6 months' probationary period should be enough, and is generally considered and recognized to be enough to test a man's