A-58525, NOVEMBER 10, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 376

A-58525: Nov 10, 1934

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COMPENSATION - 40-HOUR WEEK - CREATION OF NEW POSITIONS - PANAMA CANAL THERE IS NOTHING IN SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28. AS FOLLOWS: YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED OF THE QUESTION WHICH IS ASKED IN RADIOGRAM RECEIVED BY THIS OFFICE FROM THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL. THE AMOUNT OF SUCH MAINTENANCE WORK TO BE DONE IS A FAIRLY FIXED QUANTITY FOR WHICH THE PRESENT FORCE IS SUFFICIENT. THE TOWING WORK IS COMPARATIVELY UNSKILLED AND MEN WITH SOME KNOWLEDGE OF MACHINERY. IT IS NOT ANTICIPATED THAT THE PAY OF TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS WILL BE AFFECTED. "WE DESIRE THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OUR OPINION THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS NEW CLASS OF POSITION IS NOT CONTRARY TO THE THOMAS AMENDMENT.'.

A-58525, NOVEMBER 10, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 376

COMPENSATION - 40-HOUR WEEK - CREATION OF NEW POSITIONS - PANAMA CANAL THERE IS NOTHING IN SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 522, ESTABLISHING THE 40-HOUR WEEK, TO PROHIBIT THE CREATION OF A NEW CLASS OF POSITION OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND WITHIN THE CLASSES OF POSITIONS CONTROLLED BY THE ACT, WITH A SALARY RATE OR SCHEDULE OF RATES NOT IN FORCE ON JUNE 1, 1932.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE GOVERNOR, THE PANAMA CANAL, NOVEMBER 10, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 30, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED OF THE QUESTION WHICH IS ASKED IN RADIOGRAM RECEIVED BY THIS OFFICE FROM THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL, UNDER DATE OF OCTOBER 29, 1934, READING AS FOLLOWS:

"PLEASE REFER TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION ON THOMAS AMENDMENT WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO DUTIES OF TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS ON LOCKS. WE SELECT SKILLED MECHANICS FOR THESE JOBS WHOSE DUTIES CONSIST OF ABOUT SIXTY PERCENT TOWING AND FORTY PERCENT SKILLED MAINTENANCE WORK ON ALL KINDS OF LOCK MACHINERY, INCLUDING USUAL WORK OF MECHANICAL AND ELECTRICAL TRADES, THE BASE BEING THE PAY OF ELECTRICAL WIREMAN. THE AMOUNT OF SUCH MAINTENANCE WORK TO BE DONE IS A FAIRLY FIXED QUANTITY FOR WHICH THE PRESENT FORCE IS SUFFICIENT. THE TOWING WORK IS COMPARATIVELY UNSKILLED AND MEN WITH SOME KNOWLEDGE OF MACHINERY, SUCH AS CHAUFFEURS OF TRUCKS, CAN BE TRAINED FOR THIS WORK IN THREE OR FOUR WEEKS. WE NEED MORE OPERATORS DURING THE LOCKS OVERHAUL AND MAY NEED MORE PERMANENTLY WHEN TRAFFIC INCREASES OR WHEN DAY AND NIGHT OPERATION OF THE LOCKS BECOME ADVISABLE. WE PROPOSE TO CREATE A NEW RATING OF MOTORMAN FOR TOWING WORK ONLY BUT REQUIRING NO SKILLED MAINTENANCE WORK REQUIRED OF TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS AT A LOWER RATE OF PAY THAN TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATOR. IT IS NOT ANTICIPATED THAT THE PAY OF TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS WILL BE AFFECTED.

"WE DESIRE THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL REVIEW OUR OPINION THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS NEW CLASS OF POSITION IS NOT CONTRARY TO THE THOMAS AMENDMENT.'

THE REFERENCE IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED RADIOGRAM IS TO YOUR DECISION OF AUGUST 25, 1934 (A-54762), ON PAGE 7 OF WHICH IS A QUOTATION FROM THE LETTER OF THE GOVERNOR, DATED MAY 29, 1934, IN WHICH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS MADE IN REGARD TO LOCK OPERATORS:

"THE LOCK OPERATORS ARE RECRUITED FROM THE RANKS OF ELECTRICIANS, MACHINISTS, AND OTHER SKILLED CRAFTSMEN, AND WORK PART OF THE TIME AT THEIR RESPECTIVE TRADES AND PART OF THE TIME AS OPERATORS OF THE ELECTRIC TOWING LOCOMOTIVES USED ON THE LOCKS. SUNDAY AND HOLIDAY SERVICE IS REQUIRED OF THESE EMPLOYEES AND THEY ARE GIVEN RELIEF DAYS OFF WHEN THEIR SERVICES CAN BE SPARED. THERE IS NO KNOWN COMPARABLE WORK PERFORMED BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES IN THE UNITED STATES AND FOR MANY YEARS THEIR MONTHLY RATES OF PAY HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED WITH DIRECT RELATION TO THE HOURLY RATE OF PAY AUTHORIZED FOR ELECTRICIANS IN THE SERVICE OF THE CANAL. THE MONTHLY RATES OF PAY FOR TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED CONCURRENTLY WITH CHANGES MADE IN THE ELECTRICIAN'S HOURLY RATE OF PAY.'

THE WORK OF LOCKS OVERHAUL REQUIRES THE SERVICES OF A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF SKILLED MECHANICS DURING THE NEXT DRY SEASON BEGINNING ABOUT THE 15TH OF DECEMBER. IT IS EVIDENTLY DESIRED TO USE ON THIS WORK A NUMBER OF THE SKILLED MECHANICS WHO ARE NOW WORKING PART TIME ON MAINTENANCE WORK AND PART TIME AS OPERATORS OF TOWING LOCOMOTIVES.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE CREATION OF A NEW RATING OF MOTORMAN FOR TOWING WORK ONLY WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PERFORMANCE OF SKILLED MAINTENANCE WORK NOW PERFORMED BY TOWING LOCOMOTIVE OPERATORS.

A PROMPT REPLY TO THIS LETTER IS DESIRED SO THAT IT MAY BE COMMUNICATED TO THE GOVERNOR BY RADIO IN SUFFICIENT TIME TO ENABLE HIM TO TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTION BEFORE THE DRY SEASON COMMENCES.

SECTION 23 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934 (48 STAT. 522), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

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.

THE ADJUSTMENT OF WAGES ON A 40-HOUR-WEEK BASIS REQUIRED BY THIS STATUTE RELATES ONLY TO SCHEDULES OF WAGES ACTUALLY IN EFFECT ON JUNE 1, 1932, AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STATUTE PROHIBITING THE CREATION OF A NEW CLASS OF POSITION, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WHICH IS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW, WITH A SALARY RATE OR SCHEDULE OF RATES NOT IN FORCE ON JUNE 1, 1932. COURSE, IF THE DUTIES OF THE NEW POSITION ARE SUCH AS TO BRING THEM WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE 40-HOUR-WEEK PROVISION, THE SALARY RATE OR SCHEDULE OF RATES SHOULD BEAR THE PROPER RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER CLASSES OF POSITIONS PAID ON A 40-HOUR-WEEK BASIS.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NOTHING IN THE 40-HOUR-WEEK STATUTORY PROVISION TO PRECLUDE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW CLASS OF POSITION OF MOTORMAN FOR TOWING WORK AS PROPOSED.