« AnteriorContinuar »
gress to undertake a comprehensive review to determine exactly what constitutional rights, if any, were in jeopardy as a result of current laws and administrative regulations. Some of the complaints I described at that time came from college students seeking positions in the security agencies, who were solicited to reveal the most intimate aspects of their personal lives stretching back to infancy, and were asked to evaluate the adequacy of their own parents.
The subcommittee report for the 2d session of the 89th Congress describes the results of this phase of its study and because it has a bearing on the provisions of S. 3779, I shall insert portions of it in the record of the hearings.
According to that report, among programs and practices which disturbed those responding to a subcommittee survey, were “lack of procedural rights for employees whose security clearances are revoked with no warning or explanation; the failure of most agencies, except the Atomic Energy Commission and the Defense Department in its industrial security program, to accord applicants and temporary probationary employees procedural rights and the benefit of charges when they are disqualified on loyalty-security grounds; the inconsistent pattern of availability of hearings to Government employees; the use of polygraphs or lie detectors in screening job applicants for positions in the intelligence community; the use of psychological examinations and psychiatric interviews as techniques of testing job applicants; and improper investigative practices which impinge on the privacy of the applicant.”
We were told at our hearings last year that the Civil Service Commission banned all personality testing except that done under medical direction, which is precisely how much of the testing was being done. In addition, this ruling only applied as far as the Commission's jurisdiction ran. The State Department told us they halted the use of one personality test although they were apparently using six or seven. The Peace Corps told us they were dropping the offensive questions on one of the tests they used. Yet, when they sent me a copy of the revised test last March, we found that they ask volunteers such things as these, and they are set out so that the answers are true or false :
17. My father was a good man.
I might digress a moment to say that if I were required to take a test such as this I think I would swear. 33. I have had very peculiar and strange experiences. 37. I have never been in trouble because of my sex behavior. 38. During one period when I was a youngster I engaged in petty thievery. 43. My sleep is fitful and disturbed. 45. I do not always tell the truth.
56. As a youngster I was suspended from school one or more times for cutting up.
58. Everything is turning out just like the prophets of the Bible said it would. 61. I have not lived the right kind of life. 63. I have had no difficulty in starting or holding my bowel movements. 65. I loved my father. 69. I am very strongly attracted by members of my own sex. 75. I get angry sometimes. 78. I like poetry.
I am sort of intrigued as to why that reflects on anybody. I like poetry myself, and I do not know whether that bedevils me or not.
85. Sometimes I am strongly attracted by the personal articles of others such as shoes, gloves, etc., so that I want to handle or steal them though I have no use for them.
95. I go to church almost every week.
216. There is very little love and companionship in my family as compared to other homes.
220. I loved my mother.
282. Once in a while I feel hate toward members of my family whom I usually love.
295. I liked "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.
These are questions from psychological tests that apparently are still employed by some Government agencies.
Complaints about coercion to buy bonds or contribute to charity drives are not new, but they have multiplied recently to an unprecedented degree. These reports have been sent to the subcommittee with great trepidation in many cases, since employees are fearful about jeopardizing their jobs. The stories are incredible and tragic in their implications for our form of government. Mr. Macy is reported to have admitted that "there can be overzealousness by a few managers," and that corrective action will be taken in each case. The problems cannot be dealt with that way. It is a Government-wide problem. These letters report wide-scale "blacklisting,” “signing up” employees against their will, and subtle but effective reprisals if an employee refuses to contribute or sign up."
And what happens to an employee who is out of town during a charity drive? Does he escape? He does not often.
In one department, a division decided that an absent employee would be signed up for the individual quota amount in a drive. When he returns, he is to be called into the supervisor's office and told what has been done, that he does not have to agree to it, but that if he does not, his supervisor will pay it out of his own pocket.
I can only suggest that human nature being what it is, it is a rare subordinate who will tell his supervisor, “You signed for it; you pay for it."
I would like to observe that the Commission's kamikaze approach to preventing conflict of interest in our Federal Government service has been faithfully and ably emulated in a large number of agencies. And I predict that for the purposes of Government, for the morale of the civil service, and for constitutional rights, the effect will be suicidal.
The Civil Service Commission has written us that GS-3 clerks in the Smithsonian Institution will no longer have to disclose, and that only GS-13's and above in that agency will be affected. However, the Agriculture Department has written us that 21,500 of its employees will be forced to reveal this personal information about their financial assets. Under the Commission's regulations, as interpreted by the Department, this includes GS-3 raisin inspectors and GS-5 secretaries. That is only one example of the nonsensical and useless nature of this program.
Although the Commission has taken several tentative steps in recent weeks to abolish certain questions asked of certain applicants, an administration spokesman was recently reported as saying, "We need more, not less, information from and about Government's work force. We need information to manage effectively."
Well, “big brother" already knows the race, ancestry, and sex life of his employees. He knows their assets and creditors, and even the cash surrender value of their life insurance, and the contents of their safe-deposit boxes.
The spokesman who says, "We need more information" must be a curious fellow indeed—a curious fellow with an exceedingly curious mind.
The Federal service has been analyzed, systemized, categorized, and computerized. I think it is time we humanized it. The Government's "work force” is not a piece of machinery; it is composed of almost 3 million human beings.
It is high time Government officials stopped talking so much about management concepts and returned to constitutional concepts.
This is what the 36 sponsors of this legislation propose to help them do.
In the next 2 weeks, the subcommittee will hear representatives of employee organizations and unions, bar associations, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Civil Service Commission. In ad the New York City Bar Association will report on its 3-year study of science and privacy and help us define some of the issues involved.
The original cosponsor of this bill, Senator Hiram Fong, of Hawaii, was anxious to be present today because he has a particular interest in this bill under consideration by the subcommittee. Unfortunately he was called away and asked me to read this statement which he prepared: STATEMENT OF HON. HIRAM FONG, A U.S. SENATOR FROM HAWAII
Senator Fong. Mr. Chairman, I am very delighted to have joined you and 35 of our colleagues in cosponsoring S. 3779, this critically important bill to establish a "Bill of Rights” for Federal employees protecting their right to privacy.
For some time now, this subcommittee has received many disturbing reports concerning violations of the constitutional rights of our Federal employees.
I am pleased that the able senior Senator from North Carolina, the distinguished chairman of this subcommittee, has decided to begin hearings on this legislation.
The invasions of privacy of our Federal employees have apparently reached such alarming proportions and are assuming such varied forms, that I believe the matter demands immediate corrective meassures. These hearings will undoubtedly be of great assistance to this subcommittee, to the end that a strong, effective, and just bill be enacted.
The weight of evidence points to the fact that the invasions of privacy under threats and coercion and economic intimidation are rampant in our Federal civil service system today.
The degree of privacy in the lives of our civil servants is small enough as it is, and it is still shrinking with further advances in technical know-how. That these citizens are being forced by economic coercion to surrender this precious liberty in order to obtain and hold jobs is an invasion of privacy which should disturb every American.
I, therefore, strongly believe that congressional action to protect our civil servants is long overdue.
I deeply regret, Mr. Chairman, that I will be unable to be present ant subsequent sessions of this subcommittee. I have been appointed one of the Senators to represent the United States at the 55th Interpuliamentary Conference in Teheran, Iran.
I look forward, however, to reading the testimony of the various witnesses who are scheduled to testify and I will surely take an active part in any action the subcommittee and the chairman subsequently take in this matter.
Senator Ervin. This morning we shall have the privilege of hearing from Mr. John F. Griner, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, who has always been very diligent and valiant in his effort to protect the basic rights for those who labor for the Federal Government.
Mr. Griner, I am delighted to welcome you to the subcommittee, and I appreciate very much your willingness to appear and to give us the benefit of your views on this bill.
STATEMENT OF JOHN F. GRINER, NATIONAL PRESIDENT, AMERI
CAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES; ACCOMPANIED
For the record, I would like to state that my name is John F. Griner. I am national president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
To my left is my staff attorney, Mr. Elmer Neumann, and to my right is my director of research, Dr. W. J. Voss.
This bill, S. 3703—and I might state that there is also another bill, S. 3779, and I believe that the only difference between the two bills is in the penalties—this bill is one of the most promising and reassuring legislative proposals to be placed before Congress in recent years. Its assurance to Federal employees of the possession of the fundamental rights provided by a free and democratic Government sets it apart as a unique measure. It is a bill which the American Federation of Gov. ernment Employees can support wholeheartedly.
The purpose of the Ervin bill is well expressed in its title: "To proteet the employees of the executive branch of the U.S. Government in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights and to prevent unwarranted governmental invasion of their privacy." Yet that title strikes a strange note of disbelief. Is legislation needed to assure employees of the Federal Government of the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States ?
At this point I will have to say that it appears that legislation is needed because they are not being protected at the present time.
As Senator Sam J. Ervin, the author of this bill, well understand, and as it has been demonstrated on many occasions in the past, Federal employees are not assured of their constitutional rights, unbelievable as it may seem. Nor are they in the course of their regular employment protected from unwarranted governmental invasions of their privacy.
If I had not had the numerous opportunities as president of a union of more than 215,000 Federal employees in virtually every department and independent agency of this Government, I would be loathe to believe that enactment of a bill such as S. 3703 is necessary. But I know from experience and personal observation that the Ervin bill is so greatly needed.
In view of the alarming deficiency of constitutional guarantees on which Federal employees may rely, this bill must be looked upon as one of the most urgent items on the current legislative program.
Numerous instances of invasion of personal privacy and individual harrassment have been brought to the attention of our national office. Some are shocking in their implications. There have been many complaints of insistence by administrative officials on completion of questionnaires providing indiscriminate disclosure of personal finances of employees and members of their families, questions concerning race or national origin, interrogations, examinations, psychological tests to elicit information concerning personal relationships or personal conduct, wholly unreasonable pressure to buy savings bonds, and interrogation without recognition of the right to counsel or to a representative of one's own choosing.
I will outline as briefly as I am able, and yet place before the members of this subcommittee, the principal facts concerning representative instances of trespass on the rights of the individual Federal employee. I would like to do this without disclosing the name of the
individual employee involved although I am prepared to substantiate I in confidence the facts of some of these specific instances and I might
say all of them, not some of them to the satisfaction of the chairman of this subcommittee. Of application to the subject of constitutional rights and particularly that phrase involving the confidential statement of employment and financial interests is Executive Order 11222, signed by President Johnson, May 8, 1965. Section 402 of that order has specific