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Senator CLARK. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.
I take it that all you gentlemen would agree that there is a very close interrelationship between discrimination in employment and the war on poverty. There is no doubt about that, is there?
Mr. WILKINS. Absolutely.
Senator CLARK. So that if we are going to make some real progress in the war against poverty one of the first things we have to be sure to do is to eliminate discrimination in employment. That is clear.
Thank you very much, gentlemen. You have been most helpful.
Mr. WILKINS. Senator, I am sorry. Before we close, may I add just one item because I want to be fair to the Commission, and I think that some of our comments here, while fair, have been rather harsh. I would call attention to one section of my own testimony which suggests that the bill might be amended so that the Attorney General, the Department of Justice would not be the sole channel through which the Commission could bring its actions and that its own counsel could take up cases rather than wait for the Department of Justice.
Senator CLARK. That is a good suggestion but they have to get a counsel first, don't they?
Mr. WILKINS. Yes, and I hope you get a good one and I hope he has the powers rather than just the title when he gets here, but in the Commission's shuttling matters back and forth, if they are wasting time it may be because their referrals to another department of Government already burdened down with many other referrals are not being handled promptly.
Now, I think the Commission needs everything we have said here about its personnel, attitude, and diligence and especially about its reluctance. I hope this legislation will not permit it to genuflect to the States in this matter because some of the State laws are not very strong. Even the New York law which is the oldest one passed in 1945 is not as adequate in the field of housing, for example, as Mr. Greenberg has pointed out. I don't think the Commission ought to be blamed if it runs into a bottleneck of referred complaints to another department of Government which are not handled promptly
Senator CLARK. Thank you very much, gentlemen. We have appreciated your being with us.
The subcommittee will stand in recess until tomorrow morning at 9:30.
(Whereupon, at 3:40 p.m. the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at 9:30 a.m., Friday, May 5, 1967.)
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 1967
Senator CLARK. The subcommittee will resume its session on S. 1308, the administration's equal employment opportunity bill, and on S. 1667, introduced by Senator Javits. Our first witness this morning is Mr. John Harmon, executive vice president of the National Employment Association.
Mr. Harmon, we are very happy to welcome you here. You were kind enough to furnish us with an advance copy of your statement which I will ask to have printed in full in the record following your testimony.
I would be grateful to you if you felt you could summarize the statement instead of reading it in full, although it is fairly short.
If you prefer to read it you may feel free to do so.
NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT ASSOCIATION, ACCOMPANIED BY
Mr. HARMON. Senator Clark, I am delighted to be here. My name is John E. Harmon. I am the executive vice president of the National Employment Association, the single nationwide trade association representing approximately 6,000 private employment agencies in the United States. Accompanying me is Daniel J. Mountin, our director of governmental affairs.
Senator CLARK. We are happy to have you with us, Mr. Mountin. Mr. Harmon. I appear before this committee to express the support of private employment agency industry for S. 1308.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the most important pieces of social legislation ever to have been passed into law in the United States. It concerns employment practices to an extent that affects every employer, employee, and employment agency in this country. The broad basic philosophy behind the enactment of title VII establishes the principle that race, color, religion, sex or national origin are not relevant in the consideration of the applicant's qualifications for employment.
In a freely competitive society, education, training, experience, ability, and talent should be the only criteria by which to judge an applicant's capabilities to do a particular job.
It is well established that the private employment agency industry is in full accord with this philosophy and that it wishes to and will comply both with the letter as well as the spirit of the civil rights laws. As a matter of interest to this committee, the National Employment Association recently appeared before another Senate subcommittee to express its endorsement of two bills that would ban discrimination in employment based on age.
Senator CLARK. What subcommittees were those ? Mr. HARMON. Senator Yarborough's subcommittee and, Mr. Mountin, do you recall the number of the bill?
Mr. MOUNTIN. S. 380 and S. 788. Senator CLARK. Were they two separate subcommittees or just one? Mr. HARMON. Just one, in the Labor Subcommittee. I might say, Senator, that we have been working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in our efforts to find employment for the handicapped, for the disadvantaged. We did run into a real problem with people in the age bracket from 50 on and especially those who were age 80 that wanted to continue their employment.
That was the reason for our appearance because we felt that there were many jobs going begging today; yet in some of these cases it was most difficult to get a person employment in the age bracket of 70, 75 and many of them are very, very able and very, very young in their outlook.
Senator CLARK. I am sure you are right. I am looking forward with some trepidation to my own problem.
Mr. HARMON. At that time we suggested to the subcommittee that it “consider placing the law, with its
proposed enforcement provisions under the authority of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as it is generally in the States, so that there can be both a unified and uniform effect directed to all areas of arbitrary discrimination in employment."
Earlier this week, the National Employment Association appeared before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during its hearings on proposed amendments and additions to its regulations concerning sex discrimination in employment. Our purpose in testifying was to share with that body the knowledge of job opportunity advertising which we, as the only nongovernmental placement organization in the country, have gained in our more than 40 years of experience as the organization of placement agencies.
No law, Federal, State, or local is of any value to the public unless it contains proper and effective enforcement provisions. Such regulations must be written in such a manner as to be clearly understood in content and intent in order to insure a proper and fair solution to the problems at hand. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while Senting admirable solutions to the broad problem areas of die Tod in employmen, allors the Equal Employment Onnor IECIT Commission the power only to investigate complaints, conciliate isres, and recommend suits by the Justice Department. 13 FOLIO Frant the Commission, the power to issue cease-and-desist Orden which, we feel. are necessary to provide correct entorcement on the intent and spirit of the law.
The primare employment agency industry and the National Emnlermert Association nare consistently gone on record in favor of and State la us dealing with equal opportunity in employment prae tires. rigorously supported the enactment of civil rights legislation and have a record of compliance with these lams of which ine indiNTY can be proud
While our motives are influenced by the economie desire to enlarge our own opportunities. Our obsertations clearly substantiate the need for legislanion such as S. 1305.
In the experience of private employment agencies operating under laws having discrimination prohibitions, we hare found that the stronger the law and the better administered and enforced it is the greater the economie opportunities afforded to all employment applicants.
Mr. Chairman, the National Employment Association stands may to assist this committee in all wars possible to achieve the porn for which this legislation is intended. Tre recognize the social problems that demand solutions.
The private employment agenes industry fully endorxs pour efforts in this connection as exemplified by the bill presently under considera
Senator Clark. Thank you rery much, Mr. Harmon. We are grateful, and I am sure the administration will be grateful, for your sup port of this bill. I have a few question I would like to ask you it'l
Does your association operate in all 50 States? Mr. HARMOX. Xo; there are some States, such as Montana, und Verada, where the population density does not warrant or does not justify a private agency. In fact, there are rery few cities in those States that could support such an agency; Senator CLARK. Does that include Álaska and Wyoming!
Mr. HARMON. Wyoming is one of those States. iVe have a few members in Alaska. Hawaii is the same. We hare a few members there. Most of our agencies are located in the metropolitan Areas They have to be in order to have an available supply of applicants to justify operating a business.
Senator CLARK. I guess you deal primarily with urban emplora ment; don't you? Mr. HARMON. Yes: for the most part.
Senator CLARK. For example, you would not be down in the delta in Mississippi, helping to find jobs for those people?
Mr. HARMON. No, sir; we would not. Most of our placements are industrial, commercial, nonagricultural.
Senator CLARK. Do you have a good many clients from minority groups?
Mr. HARMON. I would say yes, without reservation; very definitely. In fact, here again, it depends on the location. Most of our clients for our agencies—when I say clients, not clients of association, but clients of our members would be across the board.
Senator CLARK. I assume that because of the nature of your agencies those individuals in minority groups would be largely middle class and professional, would they not?
Mr. HARMON. No, sir; they would not. In fact, here again, it depends on the area. I have in the past year visited many of our State associations and in that time have visited many private agency offices. It is not uncommon to find in the outer offices, where counselors are interviewing or giving tests, many people of various origions taking tests for secretarial positions, clerk positions. Agencies want to place people with skills that our economy needs.
In fact, I noticed in Senator Javits' statement on the floor yesterday, or the day before yesterday, that he pointed out in New York it works rather well. In New York City, in particular, I have visited many of what you might call the industrial placement agencies. I believe you will find every national origin in those offices. In fact, the big complaint of business now is that there are too few people in those offices, the job demands are so heavy.
Senator CLARK. Your member agencies would be interested in domestic service employment, would they not?
Mr. HARMON. Some; yes, sir.
Mr. HARMON. Well, we have some members that handle that group, but not very many. Here, again, I would say most of our members really work in the commercial area, not domestic even though we do represent that particular element.
Senator CLARK. Do you have any experience with respect to the geographical impact of equal employment opportunity? For example, do
you find more difficulty in placing members of minority groups in the South than you do in the West and in the North?
Mr. HARMON. That was the reason I believe that we supported your Civil Rights Act. As a result of the enactment of that act, a booklet was prepared by the National Employment Association which explained the act to all our members and even our nonmembers. This book was made available to all agency owners. One of the things that we ran across in some of our studies, and this I think is particularly true this year and last year, is that most of our agencies will say something like this, “We are short of applicants—jobs are going begging."
In the South, in particular, if you can bring in a well-qualified person, we have no problems placing that person. In fact, many companies are making a sincere effort because of the act to comply.
I think business in general wants to comply. I know in some cases there is a big argument among top management whether they should hire a person of minority origin merely to comply, when the person is not qualified.
Senator CLARK. Of course this is a very tight labor market.
Mr. HARMON. It is a very tight labor market. I think now in particular, in response to your question, even though there might have been grounds for a different answer earlier, there is very little discrimination now. This is my personal feeling.