A-55528, MAY 17, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 367

A-55528: May 17, 1934

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ARE APPLICABLE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT WHOSE COMPENSATION IS NOT CONTROLLED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT. WHICH IS SET BY WAGE BOARDS OR OTHER WAGE FIXING AUTHORITIES. AMONG THE 335 EMPLOYEES IN THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS ARE 21 WHOSE DUTIES. WHO ARE TOOLMAKERS. THEY WERE PUT INTO EFFECT IN 1922. SUBSEQUENT BENEFITS ACCRUING TO EMPLOYEES COVERED BY THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT HAVE BEEN ACCORDED BY THE DEPARTMENT TO WORKERS IN THE SKILLED TRADES. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF LAW QUOTED ABOVE APPLY TO EMPLOYEES IN THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS NOT COVERED BY THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT. IT WAS HELD: IN SECTION 23 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1935.

A-55528, MAY 17, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 367

COMPENSATION - 40-HOUR WEEK - EMPLOYEES OF MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 522, ESTABLISHING A 40-HOUR WEEK, ARE APPLICABLE TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT WHOSE COMPENSATION IS NOT CONTROLLED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT, AS AMENDED, OR ANY OTHER FEDERAL STATUTE, BUT FIXED AND ADJUSTED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WITH REFERENCE TO RATES OF WAGES PAID TO SIMILAR CLASSES IN COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MAY 17, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 10, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1935, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

"SEC. 23. THE WEEKLY COMPENSATION, MINUS ANY GENERAL PERCENTAGE REDUCTION WHICH MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ACT OF CONGRESS, FOR THE SEVERAL TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS, WHICH IS SET BY WAGE BOARDS OR OTHER WAGE FIXING AUTHORITIES, SHALL BE REESTABLISHED AND MAINTAINED AT RATES NOT LOWER THAN NECESSARY TO RESTORE THE FULL WEEKLY EARNINGS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FULL-TIME WEEKLY EARNINGS UNDER THE RESPECTIVE WAGE SCHEDULES IN EFFECT ON JUNE 1, 1932: PROVIDED, THAT THE REGULAR HOURS OF LABOR SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN FORTY PER WEEK; AND ALL OVERTIME SHALL BE COMPENSATED FOR AT THE RATE OF NOT LESS THAN TIME AND ONE-HALF.'

AMONG THE 335 EMPLOYEES IN THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS ARE 21 WHOSE DUTIES, ALTHOUGH CLOSELY COORDINATED WITH THE WORK OF THE OTHER EMPLOYEES, COULD NOT BE ALLOCATED UNDER THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923. THESE EMPLOYEES, WHO ARE TOOLMAKERS, MACHINISTS, ELECTRICIANS, CARPENTERS, ETC., KNOWN AS "SKILLED TRADES" WORKERS COOPERATED WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SHOPS AND THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL IN FIXING RANGES OF PAY FOR THEIR RESPECTIVE CLASSES OF WORK, AND THEY WERE PUT INTO EFFECT IN 1922. SUBSEQUENT BENEFITS ACCRUING TO EMPLOYEES COVERED BY THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT HAVE BEEN ACCORDED BY THE DEPARTMENT TO WORKERS IN THE SKILLED TRADES, THOUGH NOT REQUIRED BY LAW.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF LAW QUOTED ABOVE APPLY TO EMPLOYEES IN THE MAIL EQUIPMENT SHOPS NOT COVERED BY THE RECLASSIFICATION ACT.

IN DECISION OF APRIL 6, 1934, TO THE PUBLIC PRINTER, 13 COMP. GEN. 265, IT WAS HELD:

IN SECTION 23 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT FOR 1935, ENACTED MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 522, THERE ARE USED THE TERMS "WAGE BOARDS OR OTHER WAGE-FIXING AUTHORITIES" SHOWING CLEARLY THAT THE STATUTE WAS INTENDED TO APPLY NOT ONLY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE CLASSES INCLUDED WHOSE COMPENSATION IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE FIXED BY WAGE BOARDS, BUT, ALSO, TO EMPLOYEES WHOSE COMPENSATION IS AUTHORIZED TO BE FIXED ADMINISTRATIVELY UNDER A PROCEDURE SIMILAR TO THAT FOLLOWED BY WAGE BOARDS, THAT IS, WITH REFERENCE TO WAGES, ETC., PAID TO SIMILAR CLASSES IN COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY RATHER THAN WITH REFERENCE TO SALARY RATES OR SCHEDULES OF RATES SPECIFICALLY FIXED BY OR PURSUANT TO STATUTE. * * *

NEITHER THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT (ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1512, FOR CURRENT FISCAL YEAR), CONTAINING AN ITEM "FOR COMPENSATION TO LABORERS EMPLOYED IN THE EQUIPMENT SHOPS AT WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA" (SEE SEC. 14-7 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1932), NOR ANY OTHER STATUTE APPEARS TO REGULATE THE COMPENSATION RATES OF THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION. THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE RATES OF COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES NOT OTHERWISE CONTROLLED BY STATUTE IS VESTED IN THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENTS OR OFFICES CONCERNED, IN THIS CASE THE POSTMASTER GENERAL.

THEREFORE, AS THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION ARE WITHIN ONE OF THE "SEVERAL TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS," AND SINCE IT IS UNDERSTOOD THE POSTMASTER GENERAL FIXES THEIR RATES OF COMPENSATION WITH REFERENCE TO RATES OF WAGES, ETC., PAID TO SIMILAR CLASSES IN COMMERCIAL INDUSTRY, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 522, ESTABLISHING A 40-HOUR WEEK, ARE APPLICABLE TO THE 21 EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION. SEE DECISION OF MAY 1, 1934, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, 13 COMP. GEN. 307, INVOLVING THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING.