Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

and I would appreciate it if you would be kind enough to summarize your testimony.

(The prepared statement of Mr. Hammond follows:)

PREPARED STATEMENT OF REESE HAMMOND, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND

EDUCATION, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS, AFL-CIO Mr. Chairman, Senators, my name is Reese Hammond and I am director of research and education for the International Union of Operating Engineers. I want to express the thanks of our International Union for the opportunity to appear before this Subcommittee in order to relate to you our experience under federally assisted on-the-job training programs, and to make some observations as to our feelings regarding these programs.

Our International Union is one of the eighteen craft unions affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, with jurisdiction over all powered equipment in the construction industry, such as cranes, power shovels, bulldozers, scrapers, etc., as well as survey party members, such as rodmen, instrument men and party chiefs.

As part of my duties, I am responsible for the overall direction of the apprenticeship and training activities of our 100 construction locals, and this responsibility has led to my appointment as Secretary of the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for Operating Engineers.

THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER AND HIS JOBS

All too often, many people in our nation are unaware of the circumstances that surround the employment of skilled craftsmen and their helpers in the construction industry. A construction project is built once, in one place, and is never built again. As "Life" magazine editorialized in the issue of February 18th, "A construction worker works himself out of a job. Contrary to manufacturing and many service industries, a construction worker goes to a job site, builds a project, and then moves on to another site. He will probably work on three or four different projects a year for as many employers. The average citizen must think twice to recognize where the skilled craftsman came from to the job, and where he goes to after the job. As a result of the highly transient nature of the work, the training of skilled construction workers was long ago determined to be an industry-wide problem—one which was the responsibility of all segments of the industry. (Seldom does a single employer train more than a hard core of his own employees.) Labor, Management (and, increasingly, various levels of government) have shared in this responsibility.

Our Union has successfully met the demand for trained construction equipment operators for almost 70 years, both with formal and informal training. More recently, we have formalized our entry level apprenticeship training on a nationwide basis, and we are continuing to experiment with new and imaginative training programs, both for new entrants and for our existing work force.

While the "feed in” of sufficient qualified workers to our industry is a continuing obligation of the enlightened union, there is also an equal, if not greater, obligation of the industry to keep its incumbent work force qualified to earn a decent annual income. While hourly rates may look exetremely attractive in the construction industry, annual earnings seldom have the same degree of attractiveness. The most recent study done by our Union determined the average annual hours worked by an individual to be just over 1,400.

In the field of heavy equipment operation, the changing tide of technology can easily leave an individual on the beach. Not only has our equipment become more sophisticated, but it has become larger, faster, more economical and more versatile. An outstanding example of this technological change is the gradual replacement of power shovels with frontend loaders and self-propelled earth movers. The shovel crew, composed of the operator and his oiler are, in many instances, being replaced by the front-end loader operator or the scraper operator. This does not result from the direct displacement of one piece of equipment by another (shovel by scraper) but rather, when a new job starts up, the call is for a scraper operator rather than a shovel crew. The displace. ment is not direct, but it is every bit as permanent. The results are reflected in less hours worked by shovel crews and more by scraper operators. Without the necessary retraining on a piece of equipment more in demand, the shovel operator and oiler will eventually find themselves unable to work full-time in the industry they have chosen as a career, and to which they have given years of their lives.

[ocr errors]

an

OPERATING ENGINEERS' ON-THE-JOB TRAINING The previous comments serve only to focus attention on several facets of this Subcommittee's current discussion.

1. Training of skilled Operating Engineers is industry-wide responsibility;

2. Retraining of Operating Engineers is a constant process ;

3. There is an obligation to workers who have given years of their lives to the construction industry to provide them with the necessary skills to earn a decent annual wage. This statement is designed to explain how our Union and its locals have met this obligation, with particular reference to the use of federal programs concerned with "on-the-job training."

APPRENTICESHIP OJT

The National Apprenticeship Standards for Operating Engineers provide the general framework within which all local apprenticeship programs must fit. (See Exhibit #1) While there may be substantial variations on emphasis and length of training because of local trade practices, the national minimum of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training, plus 432 hours of related training, must be met by all programs. It is not necessary here to relate the nature of the work experience received by apprentices, only to restate the established fact that a trade is acquired by exposure to knowledge, and time to practice applying this knowledge. Our apprentices work alongside our journeymen, hour for hour, with the journeyman constantly guiding the apprentice into more advanced tasks.

PROBLEMS IN APPRENTICESHIP OJT While this program is particularly suited to two-man operations, such as shorels

, cranes, batch plants and mechanical repair work, it is not a completely satisfactory method for developing operators for individually manned machines, such as bulldozers, scrapers and graders. When a contractor puts a $50,000 machine on a job, he expects that machine to work at 100% capacity in order to get a full return on his investment. Anything less than a fully qualified operator will cost him money. Recognizing this fact, more and more of our apprenticeship programs are requiring the apprentice to attend "outdoor" classes, where, in a simulated work situation, he can develop the necessary skills under direct, closely-supervised instruction, without the pressures of productivity-conscious foremen, after which, he can return to the actual work site and start on the simpler jobs. This practice is welcomed by the apprentice and by the contractor, but it is expensive, as the apprenticeship and training fund must provide the equipment and the fuel. Similar opportunities are offered to journeymen who need skill improvement and/or upgrading training.

Two facts deserve emphasis at this point: 1. Operating Engineers' OJT for single-man machines performed on a contractor's payroll should be supported by OJT off-the-payroll. 2. OJT on heavy equipment is expensive.

JOURNEYMAN RETRAINING ON THE JOB

Ever since the passage of the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962, the Operating Engineers and its local unions have used the provisions of the Act for retraining and upgrading. While our initial effort was an institutional program held in Montana in 1963, to upgrade mechanics, we have in ensuing years made use of the OJT features of the Act. In 1964, our Local No. 3 in Northern California retrained 300 engineers at Camp Roberts, California. This program was repeated in 1965 for 500 trainees, and, in addition, in 1965. a similar program was conducted for 200 retrainees by our Local No. 9 in Colorado. In 1966, we have scheduled four programs, three of which are currently in

progress, with the fourth to start in May. We have 300 retrainees in Ohio, 200 in Pennsylvania and 100 in Arizona. We have approval for a 150-man proj. ect in Idaho. By the end of this year, we will have retrained more than 1,800 Operating Engineers in OJT projects under MDTA.

As an aside at this point, I would like to call to your attention the fact that the upgrading of this number of journeyman engineers and assistant engineers opens up a certain number of entry level opportunities, and these entries into our apprenticeship programe are based solely on completely nondiscriminatory,

objective criteria. I mention this because this has been a consideration in the development of these programs and their approval by the Department of Labor.

I would also point out that, as a result of the two years of successful publiclyfinanced retraining of Operating Engineers in California, our Local No. 3 has now negotiated into its Master Agreement in California a provision for the constant retraining of equipment operators through industry financing. Attached to this statement is an excerpt (Exhibit #2) from the Local Union 3 contract explaining the "crew concept." While this provision may not be the final answer to our retraining problem, it does point out the confidence that has developed in our industry as the result of the two MDTA-OJT programs.

MDTA OPENS THE DOOR TO NEW IDEAS

In reviewing the comments made by Secretary Wirtz to this Subcommittee last week, I was particularly impressed by his comment that “The OJT programs have a flexibility about them which permits their meeting an almost infinite variety of worker and employer needs. While I do not possess any privileged knowledge on other OJT projects, I can state without reservation that this is 100% true of the experience we in the Operating Engineers have had.

When our Local No. 3 in California first proposed the concept of establishing a training center for equipment operators and surveyors, we made a decision that, within the spirit of the law, we should put our program where it would result in projects of lasting value. I am certain that you are aware of the massive potential to do good work that is provided by three months of work by 30 to 40 pieces of heavy equipment. Our choice was against digging holes and refilling them, and in favor of performing jobs of a permanent nature that would not otherwise be done under contract or force account. Initial inquiries resulted in an arrangement being worked out between the Department of the Army (Sixth Army Headquarters) and the Department of Labor (Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training) for a “land use" permit at Camp Roberts, California. Senator Kuchel of California was kind enough, on October 3, 1964, to insert into the Congressional Record a brief listing of the accomplishments resulting from the first year's program. These included :

1. Three earthfill dams for water conservation for wildlife and sheep on the reservation. The three dams are 15,000, 17,000, and 40,000 cubic yards. Spillways were made for two dams.

2. One mile of road was leveled, widened, compacted, and graded.

3. An area 2,000 feet by 1,500 feet was leveled, compacted, and graded for any future use the Army may decide.

4. A mock village, used for training exercises by the Army, was como pletely removed and buried as it had become a safety hazard.

5. Several concrete bunkers and walls were likewise buried.

6. The post garbage dump was cleaned up and buried and two additional burial trenches were dug 500 by 15 feet wide by 12 feet deep. Earth was stockpiled nearby for easy coverage.

7. A dangerous intersection was removed and rebuilt to freeway specifications. This dirt road in the post training area caused many accidents due to a large hill which obscured drivers' view. The hill also made a section of the road narrow and dangerous. Therefore

8. The hill was removed and used for fill to improve the road, the intersection, and so forth.

9. Material was spread on 3 miles of tank road.

10. Trainees on the loaders loaded material on Army trucks for numerous projects.

11. River rock was stockpiled for future use by the loader crew.

12. Trees and brush removed from training areas were strategically piled for wildlife refuges as part of the Army's game conservation program.

13. Fifty cubic yards of topsoil were hauled to a radar station 4 miles away.

14. A new material pit was opened for future use.

15. And many more. I think the imagination shown by the BAT and the Sixth Army in cooperating in this program should be recognized and commended. The nation has received a substantial contribution in conservation and beautification of public lands that otherwise would never have occurred. In succeeding years, we have ex

[ocr errors]

$

perienced equally favorable reactions from Sixth Army in their approval of the Camp Roberts site for a project in 1965, their approval of the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Arizona for a project in 1966 and, in the case of Fifth Army, their tentative approval of Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for a joint MDTA-Job Corps project in 196 or 1967. (Exhibit #3 is a copy of the information given to each potential applicant for our Fort Huachuca program.)

hed

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In connection with this point, I would like to call attention to the fact that our International Union has proposed to both the Department of Labor and to the Office of Economic Opportunity a joint program where we would assume responsibility for running a Job Corps Center to give preapprenticeship training on heavy equipment to qualified Job Corps enrollees ut the same site at which one of our retraining programs is held. A copy of this preliminary proposal is attached to this statement. (Exhibit #4) Unfortunately, the response from the Job Corps has been as negative as the response from the Labor Department has been positive. When the proposal was first submitted, Manpower Administrator Ruttenberg and his staff expressed real enthusiasm and support for the idea, and a joint meeting with the OEO Special Groups Division indicated a willingness to enter into such a project. Unfortunately, the Job Corps, under its previous Director, Dr. Singletary, did not follow up on the idea, and it still lies in someone's file, waiting to be considered by the new Job Corps Director, Doctor Johnson, and OEO Director Shriver. I mention this joint project because I feel it is indicative of the flexibility of the enabling legislation and the insight of the Department of Labor administrators. While this hearing may not be the proper forum before which to put this type of joint program, it is our Union's hope that such new ideas will be encouraged under any future legislation dealing with OJT. The criticisms voiced against the multi-agency approach to upgrading of our nation's manpower could be quickly stilled by a larger dose of the type of creative planning demonstrated by the staff of the Department of Labor.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

OPERATING ENGINEERS OJT IS A NEW CONCEPT I previously commented on the experience of our apprenticeship and retraining programs in determining that OJT, on a contractor's payroll, must, in the instance of individually manned machines, be supported by OJT off the payroll. It would be appropriate for me to dwell on this subject for a moment, as there may appear to be a paradox in the expression "on-the-job training off-the-payroll."

Historically, the training of skilled craftsmen in the United States has been accomplished either by education in private or public institutions, through on-thejob training, or, as in the case of many apprenticeship programs, a combination of both. Because of the concept of the public school system (and to a more selective citizenry, the private school system) as being outside the realm of politics or pressure groups, most state and local education officials have striven to achieve a professional independence, with merit as the criteria for administering the general policies laid down by an elected or appointed public board. As part of this overall philosophy, the vocational educators have developed a kind of inbred confidence that they alone are capable of teaching the theory, science and other related instructions required by student craftsmen. While thousands of vocational educators remain dynamically aware of technological developments in their areas of instruction, and teach the most modern methods involved in their field, some of the professional associations in the field are more concerned with the label of “vocational educator" rather than the content of the package-the instructor himself. One of the most glaring examples of this institutionalism was provided during the hearings held on the MDTA in February 1965. Dr. Byrl R. Shoemaker, President of the American Vocation Association:

"... call(ed) attention to the fact that there are no teacher qualifications
required in on-the-job training programs even though classroom instruction is
provided.” (See Hearings before the Subcommitee on Employment and Man-
power of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, United States Senate,
dated February 9, 10 and 19, 1965)

Dr. Shoemaker protested that:
"This is accomplished by using the term “related instruction. This term is not
in the law. This broad, if not deceptive definition of OJT, allows contractors to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

provide classroom instruction normally given in trade extension classes by the public schools."

Dr. Shoemaker is correct in stating that the term "related instruction" is not in the MDTA. However, his testimony demonstrates how far removed some institutionalized vocational educators are from effective participation in apprenticeship and retraining programs. The term “related instruction" has been used to describe the non-manipulative skill training in apprenticeship programs for many, many years. While some of this “related instruction" has been performed in vocational and technical schools (and supported in part by federal funds under the Smith-Hughes Aot), insofar as the Operating Engineers are concerned, we have done more related training in facilities outside the public schools than we have inside the public schools. Our experience has been that the best instructors for our apprentice training, and particularly our journeyman retraining, have been Master Mechanics and fully qualified journeymen. This is not to say that we have not had many competent vocational educators teaching in some of our classes, but the mere label of "vocational educator" does not enable a teacher to instruct in bulldozer operation, in class or out. Dr. Shoemaker's characterization of the term "related instruction" as "deceptive" runs against a history of successful OJT, and, if taken literally, would put severe limitations on the new approach to training our Union is developing.

I hope that this Subcommittee will reenforce the idea of encouraging new training concepts, rather than restrict such fresh approaches.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHANGE IN MDTA

Aside from general encouragement of new approaches to training and the adaptation of proven methods to new circumstances, our Union feels there are some specific areas in which modification of the MDTA (or the administrative regulations dealing with OJT) is desirable.

Section 305(b) of the Act, as amended, states that:

“(b) Any equipment and teaching aids purchased by a State or local education agency with funds appr ited to carry out the provisions of Part B shall become the property of the State."

Part B of the Act deals with the duties of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Because the law is moot regarding a similar provision in Part A (specifically Sec. 204) the Department of Labor has not, as of this date, been free to authorize the purchase of capital items of equipment for OJT projects. While this undoubtedly is because of the general assumption that OJT is performed on the employer's payroll, with the employer's plant and equipment, the provisions has hampered the economical development of OJT programs in such areas as the heavy equipment field. Judicious purchase of some items of capital equipment with title remaining with the federal government and following standard industry depreciation and accounting practices, would reduce the weekly cost of equipment used in the Operating eers' programs. This would be useful primarily in such integrated programs as proposed in our MDTA-Job Corps-Appalachia-Beautification proposal, because such an integrated program would provide year-round use of the equipment at a substantially reduced cost over rental equipment.

The concept of purchasing items of capital equipment would necessitate a write-off longer than one year, however, and under the current method of appropriations, it is difficult, if not impossible, to commit unappropriated money. For this reason, any such capital equipment purchase would reflect an unusually high cost in the first year. If it is impossible to commit moneys beyond those appropriated in a given fiscal year, then such an initial expenditure should be looked on with favor, in view of the long run economies.

In assigning the responsibility for OJT development under the MDTA to the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, the Congress wisely turned to the federal bureau with the broadest background and experience in successful training of manual workers——the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. In so doing, however, the Bureau was burdened with an additional manpower requirement to fill. While some additional positions have been authorized for that agency to meet the added staffing requirement, there has been a rather substantial reduction in the normal activities of BAT personnel in the promotion and encouragement of bona fide apprenticeship programs. This departmental man, power gap should be filled by the allocation of more staff vacancies to BAT, and this International Union fully supports the requests made by that Bureau for more help.

« ForrigeFortsett »