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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, November 19, 1944, Image 17

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Pepper Will Press
For Early Action on
Wage Resolution
Spurred by the figures on higher
llvtng costs, made public last night
by the President's special commit
tee, Senator Pepper. Democrat, of
Florida, made plans to press for ac
tion this week pn.hla resolution to
declare any wage rate below 05 cents
on hour substandard.
Hie Florida Senator closed sub
committee hearings on the reso
lution late yesterday after Chair
man William B. Davis of the War
Labor Board had indorsed the prin
ciple of raising the lowest wage
groups, but without committing the
board to a general application of the
65-cent wage floor.
The resolution is not mandatory,
but would be an expression by Con
gress of its willingness to support
the War Labor Board in any fur
ther effort to raise substandard wage
Davis Explains Viewpoint.
Under the Wage-Hour Act, 40
cents ^n hour still is the legal min
imum, but WLB already has acted
to allow employers to raise sub
standard rates up to 50 cents. The
effect of the Pepper resolution
would be to encourage the board
to authorise further increases be
tween 50 and 65 cents.
After pointing out that the cost
of-living Increase bears more heav
ily cm the low-income groups, Mr.
Davis said “there is every reason
in the world why Government agen
cies should go above the old mini
mum wage limit.”
Mr. Davis emphasized he was not
authorized to speak for other board
members but felt individually that
“any reasonable thing that can be
done to lift standards above what
they are now” among the sub
standard groups would be helpful.
He made it clear to the Senators,
however, that WLB “would not feel
under any compulsion to permit all
employers to go up to 65 'cents an
hour” in their minimum wage rate.
Would Be a “Guide.”
"We might feel 65 cents was too
high even for voluntary increases,"
Mr. Davis added.
“In other words, you would regard
this resolution as a guide rather
than a‘mandate?" Senator Aiken.
Republican, of Vermont Inquired.
"Yea, air,” Mr. Davit answered.
"We would have a lot of pressure
put on us to go up to the 65-cent
level, but whether we would yield
would, depend on the facts.”
Mr. Davis reminded the subcom
mittee that raising the substandard
wage rates of unskilled workers up
to, say, 60 cents an hour, might bring
them very close* to the next class of j
semiskilled employes, whose^ay also
would have to be Increased, If the
differentials between the various
skills were to be maintained.
He remarked to Senator Pepper
that when the board decided to
permit substandard wage increases
from the 40-cent legal minimum up
to 50 cents an hour, it started out
gradually, approving individual cases
proposed voluntarily by employers,
until it found that all applications
were being approved. Then It
dropped the requirement for board
approval, up to 50 cents.
Cost Estimated.
Mr. Davis estimated that to raise
all employes outside of agriculture
now under 50 cents an hour to that
figure would cost $1,280,000,000 a
year, and to raise all those getting
50 cents to 65 cents would cost
$2,740,000,000, or a total of $4,620,
Although railroad wages are con
trolled by a separate Railway Labor
Board, the subcommittee heard
testimony yesterday from spokes
men for both the railroads and their
The employe representatives
stressed arguments for raising the
wage groups now below 65 cents an
hour. Among those who testified
were L. G. Luhrsen of the Railway
Labor Executives’ Association and
E. L. Doyle' of the Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way Employes.
Speaking for the Association of
American Railroads, D. P. Loomis
recited the recent history of rail
wage increases, and argued that an
Increase in wages encourages adop
tion of machine methods which re
duce labor forces. He urged Con
gress to consider this angle In con
nection with the maintenance of
employment in the postwar era.
Federal Worker Speaks.
A plea also was made to the sub
committee by Charles I. Stengle of
the American Federation of Gov
ernment Employes on behalf of Fed
eral workers still getting less than
65 cents an hour, who also are not
affected by the resolution.
After the hearings closed Senator
VfPperMfd ha 0d not want to
omnuUeata the resolution hr in
chiding railroad workers or Fed
eral employe*, who ate not subject
to the War Labor Board. He ex
pressed belief, however, that if the
6g-cent substandard wage policy
is laid down for War Labor Board
guidance it would , have an,.effect
on other Government agencies that
handle wage questions.
Senator Pepper told reporters last
night that he will try to submit a
subcommittee report to the Senate
Education and Labor Committee
within a few days and then seek
Senate and House approval of the
resolution before this Congress ex
pires January 3.
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Humane Society Issues
Annuel Appeal for Funds
The Washington Humane Society
has Issued Its annual Thanksgiving
season appeal for funds, asking for
contributions from members and
other persons Interested In the work
of preventing cruelty to children and
The society, chartered by Con
gress In 1870, investigates com
plaints of 111 treatment of children
and animals, and Initiates prosecu
tions wherever warranted. It re
ceives no financial aid from Con
gress, the District or the Commu
nity War Fund, depending solely
upon eontrtbuttona uul a small ta
MBM irate endowment*, tlx plaa
■aid. -
Contributions may be made di
rectly to the Washington Humane
Society, 1331 New York avenue N.W.
Frederick A. Oenau X president.
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