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EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 1962

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SPECIAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON LABOR OF THE
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND LABOR,

Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 9:50 a.m., pursuant to adjournment, in room 429, Old House Office Building, Hon. James Roosevelt (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Roosevelt, Dent, and Goodell.
Present also: Representative O'Hara.

Staff members present: Don Lowe, subcommittee director; Adrienne Fields, subcommittee clerk; Richard Burress, minority clerk, Committee on Education and Labor; Leon Abramson, assistant counsel, investigative task force, Committee on Education and Labor; and Tamara Wall, assistant counsel, Committee on Education and Labor.

Vír. ROOSEVELT. The committee will come to order this morning. The committee has the great privilege this morning of welcoming the very distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania, Senator Joseph Clark, whose record in this field of endeavor is certainly one of the most outstanding of any Member of Congress.

Senator, may I welcome you to the committee and tell you that we are particularly grateful to you for coming over here and giving us the benefit of your views and assistance.

We feel very strongly that this legislation is very fundamental in the whole attack not only from the point of view of civil rights but from the point of view of manpower. In that area we know that you are the chairman of the subcommittee in the other body and we feel, therefore, we are hearing this morning from a very fine expert.

Mr. DENT. Mr. Chairman, may I concur in your remarks and join you in appreciation of the Senator's coming over and giving us the benefit of his support which he has given over so many years in this area of legislative activity, and those of us in Pennsylvania, I assure you, Senator Clark, we are very grateful to you for the effort you have put into this measure, and I am sure the people of the country ought to be grateful, too.

STATEMENT OF HON. JOSEPH S. CLARK, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE

STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA

Senator CLARK. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Dent, first let me express my deep appreciation for your very kind words and also my appreciation for your courtesy in inviting me to participate in this hearing. I was delighted to accept.

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I would like to commend the chairman and the other members of the subcommittee for the action which has already been taken in preparing this draft bill to prohibit discrimination in employment in certain cases because of race, religion, and so forth, which the chairman of the subcommittee was kind enough to send to me. In my opinion, it is the best bill on this subject which has yet been drawn on either side of the Hill.

I have a prepared statement here. I believe it would expedite matters if I ran through it quickly.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. Fine, sir.

Senator CLARK. I urge your subcommittee to take speedy and effective action to eliminate widespread job discrimination based on race, age, and sex.

This Nation cannot afford to lose the services of able American citizens now unemployed or underemployed because of senseless biases against them by fellow citizens with authority to hire or promote. The only recognized test in employment should be the ability to perform the work in question.

The evidence of job discrimination is overwhelming. The attack on it has just begun. If the task is to be accomplished effectively, Congress cannot let others carry the load. Equal job opportunity legislation should be at the top of our priority domestic assignment list in the current session.

I urge the committee to give the administration an early chance to make good on its pledge to support legislation to secure effectively for everyone the right to equal opportunity for employment.

May I comment briefly on the three categories of discrimination which are considered in your bill and in other pending legislation.

First, with respect to race discrimination: I know of no single set of statistics which reflects more shame on our society than the unemployment figures for whites and non whites put out monthly by the Labor Department.

While the economic analysts speak in glowing terms of the present recovery from the latest recession, rarely if ever is there mention of the fact that nonwhite unemployment lingers at a rate more than double that of the national average.

A breakdown of the national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.1 percent in December shows that the rate for whites was only 5.1 percent, while that for nonwhites was a staggering 11.7 percent (only three-tenths of 1 percent better than in December 1960).

I believe that the situation in our State is even worse than the national situation because our level of unemployment has unhappily dragged on at a far higher rate than the national average.

Is you and I well know, we have critical need for congressional assistance in a number of different areas of employment of which this area is only one; but a most important one.

Can the members of this committee imagine what galvanized action we would be witnessing in these halls if the national unemployinent figure stood at 11.7 percent, almost five points higher than it was during any of the four postwar recessions?

Again we know that we do have that rate in many areas of Pennsylvania, including an even higher one, I am afraid, in your own district, Congressman Dent.

The President's Equal Employment Opportunity Committee can and has done much to end racial abuses in Federal employment and employment on Government contracts. But its authority and appropriations are sure to be attacked sharply. We should put into eflect the Civil Rights Commission's unanimous 1961 recommendation "that Congress grant statutory authority to the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity or establish a similar agency."

I would also hope that the committee would recommend giving such an agency authority to encourage and enforce policies of equal opportunities in the availability and administration of all federally assisted training programs and recruitment services and all Federal grant-in-aid programs, as suggested by the Civil Rights Commission and witnesses, who appeared before this committee earlier this week.

Chairman Powell's FEPC bill, II.R. 262, now pending before this committee should receive favorable action. Congressman Celler and I have introduced similar legislation, S. 1819 and H.R. 6875, which you may want to look over since it contains a few modifications of the Powell bill which we made after rather extensive consultation with experts in this field last year. But basically it is the same measure.

Clearly, fair employment practices legislation is needed, and it should cover labor unions as well as employers engaged in commerce or in operations affecting commerce, as proposed in each of the bills to which I have referred, and also, Mr. Chairman, in your proposed committee print.

The 1960 Democratic Party platform pledged that the new Democratic administration will support Federal legislation establishing a Fair Employment Practices Commission to secure effectively for everyone the right to equal opportunity for employment.

I hope this committee will give the administration an early chance to make good in that pledge.

Age discrimination in jobs. Another baseless prejudice, and one of the most wasteful, is age discrimination in employment.

In hearings I have conducted in my capacity as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Manpower and Employment, I have heard repeated testimony of job discrimination against workers 40 years of age and older.

In fact, discrimination begins even earlier. I have been appalled to hear testimony of a plant which refused to hire people over 25 and many others ihich would not consider job applicants over 30 or 35 years of age with many high productive years ahead of them. I have talked to these people, Mr. Chairman, and I know these are the facts.

I interpolate, there is a little village in Fayette County called Briar Hill, located on top of an abandoned bituminous coal mine. I went in there 2 years ago with a walkie-talkie. There are a thousand people in that village and not one individual man, woman, or child had a job. At least a dozen people have told me they have gone as far as Cleveland looking for jobs and were turned down because they were too old.

One of these men said, with a rather unhappy laugh, he was only 25. Another was 33. So this is a real fact. It is not just drama in testimony.

Surely we must do what we can to encourage a broadening of the useful employment age span.

Obviously, the Federal Government cannot wipe out age discrimination by legislation alone. It will take a massive educational effort to make clear to all employers that workers in their middle and late years are not liabilities because of age alone; that frequently they offer superior skills.

Let me merely state what we have done and are considering on the other side of the Ilill. We have passed the administration's Manpower Training and Development Act bill to give workers with obsolete skills new opportunities to gain employment. In addition, we have pending before the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee Senator McNamara's bill, S. 1166, which I am cosponsoring, entitled the “Equality of Employment for Older Workers Act," and I hope that you will want to consider its provisions in coming to grips with the problem of age discrimination in employment. With your permission, I would like to offer a copy of that bill for the record at this time.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. We are very happy to have it. (S. 1166 is as follows:)

[S. 1166, 87th Cong., 1st sess. ] A BILL To eliminate discriminatory employment practices for reasons of age, by Federal

Government contractors and subcontractors

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SHORT TITLE

SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the "Equality of Employment Opportunity for Older Workers Act."

FINDINGS OF FACT

SEC. 2. (a) The Congress finds and declares that ability, and not age, should be the criterion for the hiring and retaining of employees; that discriminatory personnel practices with regard to age are often arbitrary and capricious and bear no relevance to the ability of the individual concerned to perform satisfactorily the work or services in question ; and that with an increasingly aging population in the work force such practices have now become a matter for public

concern.

(b) The Congress further finds and declares that the practice of arbitrarily denying employment opportunities to large segments of our population, solely because of age, constitutes an unnecessary waste of human resources; that such practice constitutes an injustice to those who are denied employment opportunities because of it, many of whom are thereby deprived of the means of satisfying the basic necessities of life for themselves and their families; and that the hardships occasioned by such practice places an unnecessary and unreaonable burden upon the taxpayers of the Nation who must render assistance to those who are the victims of it.

POLICY

SEC. 3. It is therefore the policy of the Congress that the practice of arbitrary denial of employment opportunities to individuals solely because of age be eliminated, and that, in considering individuals for employment, employers should be governed, not by the age of the individual concerned, but by considerations of his qualifications to perform satisfactorily the work or services in question.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

SEC. 4. (a) The President is authorized and directed to adopt such measures and establish such procedures, governing the terms and conditions under which contracts and subcontracts in behalf of the United States may be entered into, as may be necessary or appropriate to insure that persons furnishing goods or services to the United States be required to observe personnel policies for all applicants and employees aged twenty-five through sixty-four, which are in accord with the policy set forth in section 3 of this Act; except that the President may promulgate regulations exempting from the application of such measures or procedures certain types of categories of contracts when he determines that the national interest so requires.

(b) The President is authorized and directed to require compliance with the policy set forth in section 3 of this Act as a condition of approving Government contracts and subcontracts.

LABOR-MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES

SEC. 5. The Secretary of Labor shall from time to time organize and hold, in various geographical areas of the United States, conferences between labor or other employee organizations and management, for the purpose of considering possible measures of implementing the policy set forth in section 3 of this Act, and for disseminating information concerning the work performance ability of older workers.

STUDIES AND REPORTS

SEC. 6. The Secretary of Labor shall conduct from time to time (but not less often than once each two years) studies of the progress which has been realized in implementing and complying with the policy set forth in section 3 of this Act, and shall submit to the Congress a report containing the results of such studies, together with his recommendations with respect to such policy and the further implementation thereof.

Senator CLARK. In Pennsylvania, we have covered both race and age discrimination in employment in a single Fair Employment Practices Act, which has worked rather successfully since its passage in 1955. If you wish to consider that approach, and I think that it has much to recommend it, you may want to examine the law, which can be found in Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated, title 43, beginning at section 951.

May I interpolate that I think you have an excellent provision in your committee print which would yield to the State's jurisdiction over this matter if the finding is made that they have adequate employment practice legislation within the State, thus removing the necessity for the Federal Government to go into that State.

You may want to take a look also to see whether the State commissions get adequate appropriations to enforce them. It is the easiest thing in the world to pass an act and not appropriate any money and in effect you do not have any effective legislation at all.

Mr. ROOSEVELT. That is a sound comment. That is exactly what we mean but in our report we will emphasize that.

Senator CLARK. Let me turn now to the sex discrimination in employment.

The problem of job discrimination because of sex must not be overlooked. Although female unemployment rates for whites and nonwhites are lower by a point or two than male rates, we all know of cases in which arbitrary barriers have been erected against job applicants and persons deserving of promotion or better pay because of their sex.

I welcome the President's appointment in December of a distinguished Commission, chaired by your much beloved mother, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Assistant Secretary of Labor Esther Peterson as Executive Vice Chairman, to look into the status of women and report to the President and to Congress within the year en six key areas, including employment practices, where charges of discrimination because of sex have been alleged most frequently.

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