Public Employment and Public Payrols
Taxpayer demands for economy and demands by postal and other federal workers for pay increases have put Congress in a position in which there is no way to give satisfaction to all concerned. Salary boosts currently asked would add perhaps as much as $1 billion to annual payroll costs of the federal government and wipe out a good slice of the savings that House and Senate have been struggling to make in the budget for the new fiscal year.
The story is the same in any number of states, counties, and municipalities across the nation. And where requests for more pay by workers in the public service are submerged under greater pressure for cuts in public spending, employees of governmental units are forcefully reminded that they are not free agents when it comes to negotiating with their employers. Restraints governing the employer-employee relationship in the case of civil servants tend to make it impossible for them to press demands as effectively as workers in private pursuits who have resort to collective bargaining and a statutory right to employ the strike weapon.
Many public employees feel that they have not shared equitably with employees of private enterprise in the broad movement toward better pay, greater job security, and improved working conditions. Public officials acknowledge that inferior pay scales have contributed to the shortage of public school teachers and to the difficulties of the Department of Defense in recruiting and retaining civilian scientists and engineers. Leaders of organizations of public employees contend that discrepancies between public and private employment conditions extend also into many other areas of the public service and involve elements that go beyond differences in rates of pay.