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from, but we might start in the morning at 9.30 and sit until about 12 o'clock.
Mr. JORDAN. You mean to-morrow?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. ALCORN. I suppose we had better hear how from Mr. Holder. The CHAIRMAN. Very well, he may proceed.
STATEMENT OF MR. ARTHUR E. HOLDER, LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR.
Mr. HOLDER. Mr. Chairman, I did not bring along with me figures like my friend Mr. Murphy did this morning and will not be able to speak to you in detail concerning any particular measure that has been proposed or particular matter in contemplation or any particular actuarial plan, but I do want to deliver myself of a few generalities concerning this bill as it applies to the declarations and sentiments of the American Federation of Labor at their annual convention. I believe that it will at least interest you to know that that great organization, with which you are familiar, its activities, etc., as you have assisted in the past in many of its endeavors and have been successful in behalf of humanitarian legislation-probably no other question that has been proposed to Congress has carried with it a larger spirit of humanitarian intent than this proposed retirement proposition; the American Federation of Labor has not yet committed itself to either of the propositions; the noncontributory or the contributory plan-but, speaking from a general principle, it believes the United States Government should, in all justice to its employees, follow the line of the other civilized nations of the earth and establish a superannuation, a retirement, or old-age pension plan; call it by whatever name you please, it will be a matter of indifference to us. We take the ground that during this day and age, when there is so much study concerning incentive and the word efficiency is very highly worked, that we could very aptly apply both terms in our argument before your honorable committee in behalf of this question.
Our young men and young women who come from the States to Washington to work do not expect to all stay in the same groove. They expect to get some promotion. They expect that by their own industry and their own activity and the growth of their intelligence that they are going to have an opportunity to develop and make themselves useful. It has not always been the happy experience of a good many who have come here. I am not prepared to say what the reasons are. Some may be personal, but the most of them are really departmental, and probably the most of the disappointments occur because the natural openings have not been afforded. It has as a consequence reduced the efficiency of the young and at the same time the Government has been losing the proportionate efficiency of the aged and incapable through sickness, who have already done their part. We believe that by the establishment of an equitable and a reasonable superannuation bill that it would provide a larger measure of incentive. It would be a measure of economy for the Government, because at the present time you are really paying, as Mr. McConnell says, as already referred to, you are really paying a
higher rate of superannuation benefits to those who are struggling to their desks in the morning and who have to be helped away from them at night, and because of that the Government suffers from a loss of service from those who are really incapable of giving this. service, and because of a lack of incentive for the younger people, because they feel that their path to progress is blocked.
You asked some of the previous speakers concerning their views of obligatory or voluntary retirement. I think I can make a slight reference to that. We already have retirement legislation in several departments and for certain grades of Government service. The members of the Federal bench, the Revenue-Cutter officials-not the Revenue-Cutter roustabouts, deck hands, and engineer force, but only the officers. The Army and Navy officers have it. There may be some others, but I simply deal with these three branches-with the Army and the Navy. I believe you will find by searching the statutes that retirement in those departments is obligatory at certain ages.
Mr. JORDAN. Sixty-four in the Army.
The CHAIRMAN. They can be designated for service after that time, if the President desires.
Mr. HOLDER. You are familiar, because of your service on the Military Committee, so that you know about that. I am merely making the slightest reference to it. With reference to the Revenue-Cutter Service, there is an obligatory retirement. With the bench it is voluntary. A man can stay upon the bench and serve for 10 years. after he has reached the age of 70 if he feels like occupying the position. If I was asked my own personal opinion, I would say that, take it as a whole, the worker should have that same privilege, provided the workers also had a voice in the administration of the division, bureau, or department that might have the management of the superanuated fund, so as to prevent any inequality created in or any favoritism being applied, so that people should not be forcibly retired at an earlier age when they could give satisfactory service if they wanted to perform the work.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, let me interrupt you if I may. If it bothers you, I will not do it.
Assume for a moment that some plan that was both governmental and contributory, a wise plan that might be agreed upon satisfactory to all, how would you administer that? Would you have a board appointed to make assessments and collections and turn the fund over to the board and have them pass upon the question of which employee should be retired and which not; or how would you go about it? Would you care to offer me your views? Are you in the employ of the Government?
Mr. HOLDER. No, sir. I am with the Federation of Labor.
The CHAIRMAN. The Federation of Labor?
Mr. HOLDER. Yes, sir; and I have been its legislative agent. You are asking now for my personal views.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. HOLDER. I can not commit our organization to any position in reply to a question, so I make this qualification for the sake of the record, and so I shall not be misquoted. We stand responsible before the world on these questions. The feature of administration is
one that has scarcely been touched in a serious way in the various bills that have been proposed since the day of the Dick-Austin bill. The CHAIRMAN. And it is a very essential feature, as we all know. Mr. HOLDER. It is a very essential feature. I have some rather rigid ideas. I have had a very wide experience with the industrial properties of the world and have been in close contact with executive officials who have had to carry out orders to the letter with the strictest discipline, and I have been left to my own initiative in cases of great necessity and where there were serious situations concerning my fellows, and as a result I have come to this conclusion, that the administrative force should always be reduced to the lowest possible quantity. You have some machinery already in the Federal Government that this duty could be assigned to. You might assign it to the present Pension Bureau; you might assign it to the newly appointed compensation commission. That legislation was approved in the last Congress and the board has just gone into office. It has been assigned to its duties and taken its position. I believe that that board with the administration of the compensation law could also have the added duties of the pension system that might be devised. There are only three, and there is a woman upon the board.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not an objection to it, is it?
Mr. HOLDER. No. I thought the emphasis I gave to it showed that that was a favorable indorsement.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you on that.
Mr. FLAHERTY. He is a bachelor; he has to.
Mr. HOLDER. The particular reason why I injected a reference to the fact that a woman is on the board is that because in the adminis tration of a fair dealing with the personality of employees where both sexes are concerned it is unfair to the female sex if they have not any of their own whom they can go to and tell their troubles in proper womanly fashion.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with you on that entirely.
Mr. HOLDER. That board also represents a man who represents labor, and a man who represents in whole or in part the collegiate idea, a man blessed with a splendid education. That is necessary, as well as that a man should be equipped with a large heart. We do not want to make the mistake of having a board of administration that would be very generous, that would work an injustice to the Government, or that would allow any imposters to take advantage of it, and that is not the attitude of the men and women who are here to-day. They are simply asking for a fair, square deal, and give them an opportunity to work out in cooperation with the Government, and when we speak of the Government, we particularly refer to the legislative part of the Government, which during these later days is being almost overlooked. We have the greatest admiration for the legislative part of our Government. We want to be able to do as in the past, to know that we are welcome to come and tell our stories to Senators and Representatives, to make them absolutely familiar if they have the time to listen to all the details, so they can sift out and find the essential truth and what can be discarded and what they can hold to.
So I ask, Mr. Chairman, if the Government employee shall have that opportunity of sharing in the administration of such a bureau,
or such a board, or such a department, call it whatever name you please, and in conjunction with the legislative branch of the Government so that it, too, will have a complete and thorough knowledge of the detailed workings during the experimental stages, so that all injustice can be discarded and worked out, and we can apply the best plan that is going to produce the greatest possible benefit to the workers for the Government in humble capacities and for the benefit of the Government itself, and also for the protection of the taxpayer at home.
I think that covers every essential feature I wanted to touch upon; and I deeply appreciate the opportunity of speaking before this honorable committee. [Applause.]
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyone else?
Mr. ALCORN. There is one other here, Senator, an elderly lady who has been in attendance here this morning waiting to be heard. The CHAIRMAN. Very well, we will be glad to hear her
Mrs. DE HAVENS. Shall I say what I have prepared, or shall I make it more briefly?
The CHAIRMAN. Just say it in your own way.
STATEMENT OF MRS. RUTH DE HAVENS, OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR FOR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGON, D. C.
Mrs. DE HAVENS. The history of the retirement movement, if it may be called a movement, reminds one of Banvard's Panorama of the Creation, which was 7 miles long. But the first 3 miles represented the earth before the Creator said, "Let there be light." far it was an unilluminated "movie," just as the retirement has been. In our case, we thought the sun had been set in motion just before the election. It proved to be only a "jack-o'-lantern."
Phillips Brooks said: "All we have to do with the past is to get a future out of it." He may have referred to a life beyond. Certainly for the great majority of the world's workers there is nothing in the past out of which a material future can be garnered. The rewards of the past and of the present are not more than sufficient for the needs of the past and present. The future is a period to be dreaded for everyday toilers, for we must meet it empty handed.
The only logical argument I ever heard against civil-service retirement is that we do not deserve a defended old age more than any other class of workers. To this there is no answer. Wherever respectable age and actual want, "that ill-matched pair," are found hand in hand the fact spells disgrace for employers, community, State, or Nation.
Probably every one who advocates a civil-service pension would advocate still more strenuously an old-age pension for every man and woman. Assuredly I would. Civil-service retirement should come first simply because the Government is the most extensive and the wealthiest employer, and I may add, because it is not a generous employer. It should set the pace, as every other government has done and as it has failed to do. It has lagged behind the smaller and poorer nations which maintain both civil-service and old-age pensions.
It has even been outstripped by city governments and by what we are wont to call ignoble and sordid business organizations. To-day the men of commerce are the men of ideals. Banks, stores, railroads, factories support retirement systems, frequently without contribution. The United States as an employer is well toward the rear in the humanities. It has been slow to perceive that its most valuable resources, those which deserve the most thorough and sacred conservation, are the bodies and spirits of its men and women and children.
We were told last year that our places here are so desirable that the country is full of people waiting for them. Yet, if I remember aright, the Civil Service Commission has testified in print that twofifths of the candidates who are adjudged best prepared to be our successors refused to accept appointments when informed of the entrance salary, the absence of either automatic or systematic promotions, and the probation feature attached to the contract.
I may also relate an incident of very recent occurrence: Two waitresses in a local café passed an examination and received appointments in the Treasury Department. Within a month both resigned and returned to the café, declaring that not only was the labor more severe but their earnings without board, were less than in the café where they were entitled to board in addition.
It has been stated by heads of departments that under the present indeterminate system of advancement, young men of ability refuse to remain for any lengthy period in the service unrewarded; and this has been often demonstrated.
And if men have a right to be dissatisfied, it must not be forgotten that the disadvantages of women are still greater; as their entrance salary is less and their chance of promotion in most offices is represented by a cipher.
Many a cabinet officer, and even many a bureau officer, has set an arbitrary dead line which women, regardless of the grade of their employment, may not cross.
Department women are no strangers to the Hoover economics; and to many of us only one meatless and one wheatless day a week would even mean a revel of luxury.
I have known admirable efficient women to receive their first advance in salary at 80 years old. It looked to me like what my Catholic friends call "annointing for death."
And one of these women had lost her three sons on the battlefields of this Nation. "My country, 'tis of thee, of thee I sing."
If I may be more closely personal, I will say that I have been in the service 42 years after 11 years of private employ. I have been far more fortunate than the average, yet it was after 28 years in the Treasury Department that I reached the wages I had earned under private employers, and in the last 35 years of my term of servitude. I have only received one promotion, while it has been sometimes possible to advance a man twice in a single year.
The bulletin issued by the Census Office illustrates this point better than any words of mine when its tables show that of over 150,000 employees in the Federal service only 17 women were receiving a salary of $1,800 a year or more, while 6,333 were receiving less than $720 and another thousand less than $840; half of all women in the service. So while 7,000 women were paid less than $840 over 7,000