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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF LABOR

This report is in the nature of a recapitulation of the work of the Department of Labor during the past 6 years. These have been significant years in our history. During them, man began the conquest of outer space. He furthered also his own elevation toward wider material, social, and spiritual horizons. This report deals with that progress.

Departmental Objective

To the Department of Labor has been assigned by Congress the responsibility "to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment."

It is significant that this assignment dedicates the Department to the service of all workers, and not of some special group. The Department therefore serves the unorganized as well as the organized. Furthermore, as a component part of the U.S. Government, it has a duty which overrides all others, namely, to serve the Nation as a whole: employers as well as workers, the general public as well as the individual. No group can prosper if another segment fails. Labor cannot be considered as a class apart; its members are both workers and citizens. And the status of the citizen is broader than that of the worker. Thus it is the duty of the Department to explore and encourage every useful measure, public and private, which will contribute to the economic growth of the Nation and the welfare of the public in general.

Economic Developments

The record of our economy in recent years has been one of phenomenal growth, not only in terms of physical aggregates but, more important, in terms of the well-being of the people. Between June 1953 and June 1959, our population increased by 16 million, or 11 percent. This is the equivalent of the combined populations of California, Oregon, and Washington in 1953.

The civilian labor force increased by about 6 million, or 9%2 percent, and our production of goods and services has more than kept pace. The output of our mines and factories increased by 14 percent. Gross national output rose 16 percent. In terms of real purchasing power, total personal income after tax payment increased 21 percent. And spending by individuals increased in about the same proportion.

After Federal tax deduction and adjustment for price change, the average weekly earnings of factory workers increased about 12 percent. This rise does not include other substantial gains, such as longer and more widespread vacations and improvements in pensions and medical care.

Administration and Organization

Administratively the Department was strengthened by the addition of several functions. Administration of the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (P.L. 85-836) and the Safety Amendment to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act made by P.L. 85-742, was delegated to the Bureau of Labor Standards. Administration of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 was established in a new bureau.

Within the existing framework, various improvements have been effected, chiefly to strengthen the Department as a functional organic whole, rather than as a congeries of disparate bureaus.

The Assistant Secretaries were given line responsibility, especially in the monitoring of programs involving different bureaus. Continuity of function was improved by the appointment of top career employees as Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretaries, not only because of their technical competence but also to provide the necessary linkage between successive periods of administration.

A permanent program for the orientation and training of the departmental staff as a whole was introduced, which not only improves the quality of the operating staff but also provides for greater flexibility in transferring selected employees from one bureau to another, thus enlarging their experience and background and qualifying them for positions of broader responsibility.

Several bureaus substantially augmented their services to the public through organizational improvements.

The Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, for example, now have 50 percent more field offices and 75 percent more duty stations than in 1954. More effective lines of responsibility in the national office assure uniformity in administrative. Studies were made to select the best investigative techniques in enforcement, and complaints and violations are now being handled on a field-office basis to make best use of the investigators' knowledge of local conditions and to make the Divisions' personnel more easily accessible for consultation by both employers and workers.

Administration of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act was similarly decentralized. As a result of this and other improvements, the initial payment of compensation within 2 weeks of new disability claims increased by 55 percent.

In December 1956, the title of the Bureau of Apprenticeship was enlarged to include training, and its functions were expanded to include promotion and service to both apprenticeship and training programs.

With approval of the Bureau of the Budget, the Departments of Commerce and Labor agreed that responsibility for the Monthly Report on the Labor Force be transferred from the Bureau of the Census to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the compilation of statistics on volume and characteristics of construction and homebuilding activity was transferred from BLS to the Department of Commerce. These more logical groupings of functions were consummated without objection from the Congress or the public.

Enforcement, Litigation, and Legislative

Programs As a result of enforcement, litigation, and legislative programs, the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, and the Davis-Bacon Act was substantially extended and clarified to provide protection to an increasing number of workers. For example, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 brought under the Davis-Bacon Act large numbers of laborers and mechanics employed on highway projects of the interstate system, and the labor standards protection of this act was included in the Federal Defense Act.

Successful litigation in the Supreme Court and the courts of appeals established the right to the protection of the Fair Labor Standards Act of workers construction industry employed on river, waterway, highway, railroad, airport, and other interstate instrumentality projects, as well as workers in quasi-industrial processing operations of various agricultural commodities, and in sugar mills, fish canneries, and loan agencies.

In a group of cases consolidated as Mitchell v. Covington Mills, 229 F. 2d 506 (C.A. D.C. 1955), certiorari denied, 350 U.S. 1002 (1956), the Secretary's right to issue industrywide minimum wage determinations under the WalshHealey Act was upheld. This judicial decision immediately benefited workers in the cotton textile, woolen, and electric lamp industries. Prevailing minimum rates were determined for the first time in the bituminous coal, four milling, battery, metal business furniture, storage, and equipment, office machines, and electric lamp industries, and previously established rates in other industries were reviewed. Determination proceedings are at present under way in the following industries: Fabricated structural steel, tires and tubes, electronic tubes, paper and pulp, paper and paperboard containers, evaporated milk, electronic components, office machines, business forms, photographic equipment, aircraft, and metal business furniture.

Millions of workers also received new or expanded protection and benefits from the passage of a number of laws in other areas since the beginning of fiscal 1954. The unemployment insurance system was extended to include Federal civilian employees, all ex-servicemen, and workers in firms having as few as four employees. Temporary additional unemployment compensation was provided during parts of fiscal 1958 and 1959 for persons who exhausted their regular benefits. The Fair Labor Standards Act minimum wage was raised to $ı an hour. The Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act extended benefits to such groups as post-exchange employees and those employed abroad by organizations such as the Red Cross.

Laws securing reemployment rights to veterans were improved. The Mexican farm program was renewed, and authority for prescribing transportation standards for domestic migratory workers in interstate transit was established in the Interstate Commerce Commission. Under the Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (P.L. 85-836) participants in certain employee benefit plans and their beneficiaries were protected by requiring plan administrators to disclose and report financial and other information with respect to the plans. An amendment to the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act authorized the Secretary of Labor to develop and administer safety standards and to promote safety programs in these industries.

Despite the progress made since the beginning of fiscal 1954, however, much still remains to be done. Some of it may be accomplished in judicial forums, as in a case now pending in the Supreme Court on the applicability of the limited overtime pay exemptions provided in the Fair Labor Standards Act and under the Department's determinations for the canning and first processing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Other improvements will require the enactment of legislation.

Legislative proposals would extend the minimum wage coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act to all employees of enterprises doing business in interstate commerce to a substantial extent, and narrow certain exemptions by excluding therefrom employees in enterprises employing 100 or more workers. They would also extend coverage of the unemployment insurance system to employees of firms having one or more employees and to specified nonprofit organizations.

Other proposed legislation would correct defects in the recently enacted Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act, improve the laws providing for veterans' reemployment rights, update the outmoded Eight-Hour Laws, provide equal pay for equal work regardless of sex, create an equal job opportunities commission, require Federal registration of migrant crew leaders, and improve procedures for enabling the Secretary to require payment to workers of minimum wages and overtime compensation withheld from them in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

During the 1959 fiscal year, 1,306 civil and criminal cases under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act were filed in the courts, and proceedings were completed in 1,196 cases. Including administrative proceedings under the Walsh-Healey Act, 1,360 proceedings, a record number, were opened under these acts and 1,262 cases were processed to completion.

More than 6,500 oral and written opinions were rendered respecting the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Walsh-Healey Act, and the Eight-Hour Laws.

A total of 37,175 wage determinations were issued under the Davis-Bacon and related acts, the largest number in any fiscal year. Record numbers of enforcement cases under these statutes were opened, 1,324, and closed 1,213; and a record amount of restitution, $401,204.20, was obtained for covered workers.

Complete success was attained in Supreme Court litigation in which the Department was a party or participated as amicus curiae. Two cases were argued and won on the merits, four petitions for writs of certiorari were filed and granted, and three such petitions were successfully opposed.

At the appellate level, the Department obtained decisions sustaining the Secretary's right to withhold from employers the names of informants in Fair Labor Standards Act enforcement suits, and upholding the Department's position that the Portal-to-Portal Act's 2-year statute of limitations for back-wage actions does not apply to restitution orders issued in contempt proceedings for violations of an injunction decree.

Legislative reports were prepared on 442 items of pending and proposed legislation, and legislative proposals were drafted in the area of labor reform, unemployment insurance, and labor standards.

In the administration of the Mexican migratory farm labor program, $117,723 in back wages was recovered for the Mexican workers. Assistance was rendered in the conduct of negotiations with Mexican Government officials respecting the extension of this program beyond its present expiration date, as well as its improvement.

In civil actions against third parties in cases of injury or death of employees covered by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, the gross sum of $3,308,853, a record, was collected in 1,149 cases.

Manpower and Employment

It has become increasingly evident during recent years that our survival as a nation is going to depend far more on the skills of our work force than on our wealth of natural resources.

For over 100 years the United States has been able to produce goods more efficiently than any other nation in history. Our preeminence in this connection, however, is about to be seriously threatened by a dictatorship over a nation of considerably larger population. We are under increasing pressure to develop in as many workers as possible the highest skills of which they are capable, especially those skills that strengthen our ability to survive.

Accepting the fact that in the long run proportionately fewer American workers are now producing proportionately more goods and services, it becomes also necessary to consider a substantial increase in employment, in improvement of the quality of our labor force, and in the more effective utilization of existing skills. We need more workers; we need more trained workers; we need more highly trained workers. We must plan our manpower future.

In the past we have too often taken the easy way. We have traded the longterm value of intelligent manpower planning for wasteful expediency. Not only have we limited the opportunities of the minority worker, the older worker, the woman worker, but we have also neglected the proper training of workers whose skills are necessary to the continuing day-to-day efficiency of industry.

No longer can we afford the high cost of prejudice. There is neither excuse nor justification for discrimination in employment. It is clear that as a nation we are injured both domestically and internationally by intolerance. Whoever is best fitted for a given job should be given employment in that job, regardless of race, religion, physical handicap, age, or sex.

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