« ZurückWeiter »
SUBCOMMITTEE RECESS Senator RUDMAN. We appreciate your being here this morning, Mr. Angrisani. We probably will have many discussions with you and your colleagues over the next several months because there are many very difficult issues which we listened to this morning and don't necessarily agree with all of them.
The subcommitte is going to stand in recess until tomorrow, when we will meet in this room to discuss funding for the Labor Management Services Administration, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Employment Standards Administration, and Departmental Management.
Mr. ANGRISANI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
(Whereupon, at 11:50 a.m., Wednesday, April 21, the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, April 22.]
DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION
AND EDUCATION AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1983
THURSDAY, APRIL 22, 1982
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 10:04 a.m., in room 1114, Everett McKinley Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. James Abdnor presiding.
Present: Senators Schmitt, Abdnor, Specter, and Burdick.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
LABOR MANAGEMENT SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
STATEMENT OF DONALD L. DOTSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR
FOR LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
RONALD J. ST. CYR, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY
Senator ABDNOR. The subcommittee will come to order.
This morning, we will hear testimony from the Labor-Management Services Administration, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the Employment Standards Administration, and departmental management.
We will begin with testimony from Assistant Secretary Donald Dotson, on appropriations requests for the Labor-Management Services Administration.
We welcome you to the committee. You have a number of your colleagues with you, so if you will just kindly introduce your colleagues and then proceed with your opening statement.
As I am sure you have heard a number of times before, your entire statement will be made a part of the record. You may proceed in any manner you care to.
INTRODUCTION OF ASSOCIATES Mr. DOTSON. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
As you know, the Assistant Secretary for Labor-Management Relations is also the Administrator for Labor-Management Services, the Administration which administers and enforces a number of diverse statutes, unlike many of the Assistant Secretaries of the Department who have a one-subject sort of program. So I have more than the usual number of associates with me.
To my left is Mr. St. Cyr who is my Deputy.
To my right is Mr. Jerry German who is Director of our Office of Management, Labor-Management Services Administration.
Also to his right is Mary Ann Wyrsch from the Department's Budget Office.
Behind me, in case you have more specific questions about some of our programs, I have the Administrator of the Pension and Welfare Benefit programs, the ERISA program, Mr. Clayton; I have the Director of the Veterans' Reemployment Rights program, Mr. Gonzalez; Mr. Hunsucker, who is Director of the program that administers the Landrum-Griffin Act. I also have Mr. John Stepp, the Director of the Office of Labor-Management Relations Services.
They are available in case you have more detailed questions.
Senator ABDNOR. We can ask you any kind of questions we want to, then, today with that reinforcement.
We welcome you all to the committee, and we are ready to hear from you. So you may proceed.
Mr. Dotson. With your permission, as you suggest, I will submit our written statement for the record and give you a very brief comment on each one of our programs, the problems that we identify with, and what we know about them.
LANDRUM-GRIFFIN The labor-management standards enforcement program, which enforces the Landrum-Griffin Act or Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, which followed in the wake of the McClellan committee hearings, was in my opinion our most critical problem. There seemed to have been a tradition developed in enforcing that law.
The public, union members, and Congress have become more and more concerned about the amount of embezzlement of funds, misuse of funds, that was taking place.
I think it is fair to say that the priority responsibility under that law, is to administer and supervise the rerun of union elections. As a result of the court ordered remedies, our workload reached such proportions that virtually all of the resources of that program were wrapped up in supervising rerun elections.
That left nothing for conducting audits, the main tool we have to discover the embezzlement of funds. We have taken steps to correct that problem.
I don't have to tell you of all the complaints, and controversy, that surround the pension program. It is like any new, complex statute, and has been a great problem for a lot of people, adjusting to its complexities and some of its requirements.
We are moving as quickly as we can, as I am sure you know from other hearings on this subject, to simplify as much as we can within the balance of the law the reporting requirements for those who are subject to it.
We are also moving the emphasis toward a straightforward approach to enforcement. That law has a very worthy purpose, of course; namely, to give wage earners the benefit and protection of their pension money. The age-old concept of fiduciary responsibility for trustees is what we are concerned about.
We want to make sure that their funds are protected and recovered, if possible, where they have been misused or embezzled.
We are moving away from what we saw as too much of an effort to embroider on and rewrite that law to develop it into some kind of detailed set of rules on how to behave; not that that isn't necessary to some extent. Exemptions are part of it. But rather than approach it on a case-by-case basis, we are looking to see if we can't arrive at broader class exemptions that will save those subject to the law from having to come in and present detailed and specific exemptions.
The veterans' reemployment program is small in terms of numbers of personnel. It is a very important program, of course. And we are looking there to better efforts to facilitate cases, better efforts to combine similar cases, so that our efforts at litigation will be more productive in terms of reaching a broader class case with the resources we have available to it.
Our labor-management relations services program is not as well known, but in the long run, it could be one of the most important that we have. This is a program that keeps track of major negotiations, advises the Secretary and President on the progress of major negotiations, and strikes that are ongoing.
It also has a responsibility to keep track of the general state of labormanagement relations in the country. We are making a major effort there to look at the problems of productivity, problems of national labor policy, labor-management relations, to see what we can do to make them less adversarial, to make them more realistic in terms of the alined purposes and long-range benefits to workers and employers.
We have studied some of the new approaches to labor-management relations. We have tried some of them ourselves within the Department. We are trying to act as a clearinghouse for those experiences so that others might be aware of them and have a look at them.
One of my general conclusions is that there is no one program or no one formula that will work. What will work in one industry may not work in another. What will work in one part of the country may not work in another. But we certainly have not been doing as well as we should
Senator ABDNOR. Thank you for that review of your activities. I don't deny you have quite a load to handle down there. It may not be one of the ones that is getting all the attention in the news. But it is a very important part.
You already, through your various responsibilities, have touched upon the veterans' reemployment rights, and we have some thoughts in that area as well as questions.
The number of veterans' reemployment cases that were pending at the end of the year were projected to increase, I guess, from 966 in fiscal year 1981 to as high as 3,370 in fiscal year 1983.
Now, why does this backlog of veterans' cases more than triple in 2 years? Is there any obvious reason for this?
Mr. Dotson. In terms of the number of filings, is that what you are concerned with?
Senator ABDNOR. Yes.
Mr. Dotson. Well, I think there is a combination of reasons for it. Of course, we have this large number of people who fall under the protection of that law. I am one of them.
And then, we have the downturn in the economy, tremendous competition for positions. And as you know, it has become the usual thing now for people who are discouraged and frustrated in their efforts to find employment to try anything and everything they can.
Whether their case has merit or not, it is a common thing now for people to file every charge they know how to file in their effort to get a job. And that is no general comment on the merit of many of those charges, nor is it an adverse comment on those who file. It is a natural, and I think understandable, response.
Senator ABDNOR. I guess that is almost a tripling. So you think that unusual conditions brought this about. It has, I guess, almost tripled in the last period of 2 years. So you think more and more people do reserve their fiscal rights.
How long does a veteran wait before his case is processed? Do you have that?
Mr. DoTSON. I think Mr. Gonzalez has that. We can file that for the record, or we can ask Mr. Gonzalez directly.
Senator ABDNOR. If you have it, fine.
Mr. GONZALEZ. We can be more specific, Mr. Chairman, on the reco ord, but in those cases that need immediate attention, we do give them immediate attention under our strategy plan.
I am referring, of course, to those cases where the issue is reinstatement or possible unlawful discharge. We do move quickly on those cases.
Does this respond to your question?
Senator ABDNOR. Yes; and then the average one does take much longer to process, I suppose.
Mr. GONZALEZ. We can give you information on that for the record. (The information follows:]
PROCESSING VETERAN COMPLAINT CASES Some complaints can be resolved readily-or the same day they are received by a telephone call and a brief explanation of the statute to the employer. Other cases, such as those involving a dispute as to the facts and thus requiring investigation; or those involving disagreement as to the application of the statute and therefore may need a case conference with the parties or may warrant litigation; these take considerably more time. Cases involving reinstatement or unlawful discharge receive first priority. Cases involving other issues, such as seniority, status, rate of pay or pension entitlements, are worked on a first-in, first-out basis. Overall, currently the average time it takes to process a case from opening to closing is 103.1 days.