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Senate Committee Hears Keating
President Jerome J. Keating, accompanied by all resident national officers, told the Senate PO&CS (Post Office and Civil Service) Committee on July 11, 1968 that the time had long passed when postal employees should be entitled to the benefits of a sound Labor-Management policy by law. Strongly condemning the Postmasters' Training Program which took place at Norman, Oklahoma earlier this year, the N.A.L.C. leader vigorously denounced the attitudes of some representatives of management as they set about to negotiate local agreements.
N.A.L.C. testimony, in support of Senator Daniel Brewster's Bill S-341, urged especially the appointment of a neutral third party for the arbitration of existing differences between Management and Labor.
"We want penalties imposed upon those representatives of management who refuse to live up to the terms of the contract," President Keating declared.
Earlier in the hearings, Senator Brewster himself urged enactment of his own bill and called for the elimination of the policy which apparently makes management immune to disciplinary actions when violations occur. He told his colleagues and those in the audience that Management and Labor are not meeting as equals and that the only answer to the needs of the employees and their organizations today is the enactment of sound Labor-Management policy by law.
President E. C. Hallbeck and Legislative Director Pat Nilan of the United Federation of Postal Clerks presented a strong plea of immediate enactment of S-341. They presented documented evidence of many violations of the Executive Order, contracts and regulations.
At the conclusion of N.A.L.C. testimony, Vice-President Rademacher presented a brief relative to the documents which were distributed to Postmasters at the University of Oklahoma during their training sessions. Contradictions and outright demands by Departmental officials for Postmasters to maintain "the hard management philosophy," were quoted to the Committee. It was also pointed out that even in Chairman Monroney's own State, Tulsa Branch 1358 will not have a signed agreement because of the reported failure of management to negotiate in good faith.
The N.A.L.C. Vice-President declared the problem relative to local negotiations stemmed from attitudes which were born at the training session in an apparent anti-union atmosphere.
An outspoken proponent of the Labor-Management legislation Senator Ralph Yarborough, of Texas, promptly declared he will co-sponsor the Brewster Bill in the Senate. Meanwhile, West Virginia Senator Jennings Randolph pointed to the changing times and reminisced as to how negative attitudes concerning past legislation were overcome and labor laws enacted despite vehement opposition.
A sour note was placed into the hearing when Representative Benjamin Blackburn, of Georgia, objected in a nine-page statement to the expansion of union activity in Government service and strongly opposed any measure which would cause compulsory unionism. The Georgia Congressman has been launching a personal attack on the rumored recommendation of the President's panel studying Executive Order 10988 with reference to the closed shop. His remarks were concurred in by Senator Wallace E. Bennett, of Utah, who stated that a majority of the 38,000 employees in that State are opposed to compulsory unionism. The Senate hearings are expected to conclude this week.
Source: National Association of Letter Carriers Bulletin No. 15, July 11, 1968, James H. Rademacher, Editor. From the archives of Summit City Branch No. 116, Fort Wayne, IN, Emmett Bogdon, President.