Obrázky stránek

Several years ago, the Congress deemed it advisable to pass specific legislation prohibiting discrimination in civil service appointments by reason of age. Perhaps consideration should be given to amending this act to cover promotions in order to insure just treatment of older employees and at the same time to make possible the utilization of their highest skills. It should be assumed that a qualified person in reasonably good health is not a liability in a job requiring one with his qualifications and that he should be so placed regardless of his age.

Our association publishes a booklet, “Once in a Lifetime,” in order to help potential retirees prepare for the sudden change in their lives on the day when they finally pack up the tools on their workbenches or close their desks and become senior citizens in retirement. This booklet is furnished gratis to Federal employees approaching retirement and other interested persons. We also publish a 48-page monthly magazine, Retirement Life, full of interesting and educational articles relating to our activities, the activities of our chapters, our retirees, and problems of the aging generally. Our contributors have included Senators and Representatives of the U.S. Congress, Governors of States, high Government officials, and the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our 730 chapters generally have monthly meetings at which the various problems of retirees and senior citizens are discussed. Members of Congress and other public officials address the members at their meetings. Lonesome retirees enjoy social activities with fellow retirees at the meetings, at chapter picnics, Christmas parties, and other socials. The chapters have sunshine committees which are charged with the function of spreading sunshine among the sick, disabled, bedridden, and aged retirees. The chapters support such activities as Crusade for Freedom, local anniversary celebrations, and generally all civic movements warranting the support of good citizens.

The National and State officers of NĂRCE participate in various State conferences called by Governors to plan activities relating to problems of the aging, adult education, et cetera. For many years, our association has had a legislative committee of national officers contacting Senators, Representatives, members of the Cabinet, and other Government officials in order to promote interest in the welfare of senior citizens.

The association renders various membership services to retirees residing long distances from Washington and who need assistance in connection with their individual problems; for example, advice re preparation of income tax returns and direct contact with Government departments and Commissions to obtain information concerning matters of special interest to the members. Our most frequent contacts on these cases are with the l'.S. Civil Service Commission and the Veterans' Administration.

I will say that in connection with these claims that they not only run from the standpoint of trying to get annuity claims straightened out but to such matters as having teeth adjusted, taking care of relatives and friends, and so forth, practically the whole gamut of aid and assistance.

Generally, we realize that while many of the problems of the aged and the aging should be handled at the State and county or municipal levels, there are some matters, such as medical research, health insurance, and housing, which, because of their nature and cost, could very likely be handled better on a national basis.

Even though the major factors affecting the aging and the aged must be handled generally on a local basis, it is worthwhile, in our opinion, to have periodic national conferences on these matters to exchange ideas and pool resources in order to make available to all interested parties the latest and best known methods and procedures to reach our common objectives by providing appropriate solutions. We must take cognizance of the latest developments in all those items affecting these classes of our population. In our opinion, the Federal Government can act as a catalytic agent and as the clearinghouse for all the latest developments in those fields of endeavor which are of particular concern to the aged and the aging.

Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the privilege of appearing before you. Our national headquarters, our field vice presidents, our State federations, and our 730 chapters located throughout the length and breadth of our great country stand ready to aid and assist you in any manner possible in this study being made pursuant to Senate Resolution 65, 86th Congress.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator MCNAMARA. Thank you very much, sir. Your testimony here and the experience of your organization will be most helpful to the committee, I am sure. We appreciate very much having it.

I see that we have a representative of the Communications Workers of America, who is the assistant to the president, Mr. William Dunn. I understand he has a statement prepared for the president, who has been unexpectedly called out of town.

Mr. Dunn, we would be glad to have you come up.
We are glad to have Mrs. Helen Berthelot with you.



Mr. Dunn. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I want to apologize for President Beirne. He certainly wanted to be here and anticipated being here.

At the outset, you have two statements that were filed, one which we are filing in behalf of the community services activities, a department of the AFL-CIO. President Beirne is chairman of Community Services Committee. The other statement is President Beirne's own statement as president of CWA.

Senator MCNAMARA. We will be glad to make both of these statements part of the record at this point.

(The statements referred to follow :)


WORKERS OF AMERICA My name is Joseph A. Beirne and I am president of the Communications Workers of America and also chairman of the AFL-CIO community services committee. It is in my capacity as chairman of the CSC that I submit this brief.

47461-59 3

The AFL-CIO community service activities, which is the operating arm of the AFI-CIO in the field of community service, is interested in the field of aging from two points of view (1) to help AFI-CIO State and local central bodies in cooperation with other interested citizen groups to develop new services, resources, and facilities for older and retired citizens, and (2) to help workers prepare for retirement through education and personal planning for the afterwork years.

The focus of this department of the AFL-CIO is the local community. Other departments of the AFL-CIO are concerned with other aspects of aging, such as health insurance for the aged, income maintenance programs, such as social security and federally sponsored housing for the aged. The community services program is directly concerned with helping the older or retired worker find whatever community resources that are available to solve his particular problems.

In developing the community service activities program for the older and retired worker, we have been guided by the many surveys that have been done on varying aspects of the problem, but, even more importantly, we have been guided by the many reports we receive from local AFL-CIO-CSA staff representatives describing the needs which exist and as they affect retired AFL-CIO members. As the dimensions of the problem have increased, this department has given it added emphasis so that in 1959 we made retirement planning one of our priority programs. CSA has stressed two areas of activity (1) retirement planning and (2) day centers, or drop-in centers, as they are sometimes called.

By emphasizing these two areas it is our hope that we can, through preretirement education, help workers to prepare themselves for a satisfying and meaningful retirement. By helping the worker to think about his retirement and to make his own plans based on his expectations of retirement we hope to obviate many problems. The preretirement planning course which we have developed (copy attached) runs for 8 weeks, with one 2-hour session each week. The content of the course includes such topics as “Financial Planning," "Health," “Living Arrangements," "Your Retirement Plan."

This course was designed for adaptation to the needs and resources in the local community. In developing these courses in the local community we will of necessity have to rely on a great many skilled professionals to share their information with the union members. We have had good experience with some of these professional people in the past and we expect that they will cooperate with us again.

In the long run, if an effective job of preretirement education is to be done, there will have to be a basic reevaluation of society's attitude toward retirement itself. Unfortunately, in our work-oriented society retirement has many negative connotations. I believe we should view senior citizens as assets who have something of value to give to the community. If we can develop this as a public attitude, then perhaps we can begin to prepare for retirement in earlier years, maybe in high school or college. In the meantime, I would suggest that local communities ought to make better use of their adult education and social welfare resources and develop courses in preretirement planning for all interested social and economic groups in the community and invite in all age groups.

Our second area of emphasis is the day center. Our program calls for the establishment of centers convenient to public transportation that will be open from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 5 or 6 days a week, and that would provide opportunities for companionship, education, recreation, and, when needed, service.

Many communities have developed some kind of recreation program for their older citizens. By using already available personnel in the park and recreation departments, communities have been able to develop limited recreational programs. Some communities have even set up makeshift day centers in the basements of public buildings or in abandoned schools, etc. But few communities that I'm aware of have developed day center facilities specifically designed to meet the needs of our senior citizens. Many AFL-CIO unions in an effort to provide something better for their retired members have set up day centers in their union hall. These centers have of necessity been limited in the kind of program they could provide.

The AFL-CIO community service activities has recommended that unions urge public and voluntary agencies to cooperate and pool their resources so that day centers be set up in decent physical settings with a high-quality, rounded program and with adequate staff. We have urged that each day center have on duty at all times a trained social worker capable of dealing with the problems of older people.

In the light of the activities outlined above, it should be clear that the function of the AFL-CIO community services program at the community level is primarily concerned with meeting immediate needs, but it is also concerned with cooperating with other interested individuals and community groups in developing services and facilities for the total community. We see clearly that the well-being of the retired union member is dependent on the well-being of all the older people in the community.

The specific problems of aging which come to the attention of the AFL-CIO community service activities most frequently fall into the following categories :

1. Income maintenance: The inability of a retired worker to meet his obligations on his retirement income.

2. Housing: The problem of finding suitable and adequate housing for a retired worker and his spouse at rentals that a retired worker can afford.

3. Medical and hospital costs: The problem of inadequate coverage of retired workers to meet doctor and hospital bills.

4. Health maintenance: The inability or the lack of knowledge necessary to take the preventive measures necessary for the maintenance of good health including adequate nutrition, exercise, visits to the doctor, etc.

From the reports of our local CSA staff representatives in over 80 cities across the country, we hear most frequently about the retired workers' problems in these categories. We are also acutely aware that in most communities there is no pattern of service for the aged that deals effectively with these problems. There are stopgap solutions, there are plans, and there is a more general public appreciation of the problems of the aged than heretofore. But services for the aging provided at the local level, whether public or voluntary, are still meager.

Looking at the problem realistically it is clear that the role of the Federal and State governments in dealing with the problems of the aging and aged must be substantially enlarged. It is clear that in such areas as the cost of medical and hospital services and housing, the role that Government plays will be crucial in determining what other levels of government and the voluntary agencies do.

It is not my intention to discuss any specific legislation at this hearing but I can assure you medical and hospital care is one of the matters uppermost in the minds of the older people I know. The absence of protection against large medical and hospital bills is the greatest gap in the security of our older citizens. This kind of protection can best be assured to our older citizens when the Federal Government assumes its responsibility for meeting this need.

The role of State government in such areas as housing can be of utmost importance. A variety of legislative approaches exist to aid older people in finding decent and suitable housing. Low-rent housing for the aged, limited profit programs and special exemptions in public housing for the aged, are all practical approaches to increasing the supply of housing for the aging and putting such housing within their economic group. The State government can also assist local governmental units in such areas as recreation and education for our older citizens. And, of course, in the field of mental health, State governments can do much to expand existing programs for the aged.

At the community level our experience would suggest that the problem of the older person who requires social case work, the special problem of the shut-in who requires assistance in meal preparation, the older person who has difficulty in getting along with other people—in dealing with this type of problem, existing local voluntary agencies have done a fair job. When no money expenditure is involved, when adaptation of existing skills is possible, the local voluntary agencies have served older people to the extent of their ability. But when money outlay is needed, when new facilities or services were indicated, local voluntary agencies have been slow to act. The day center is a case in point. I am attaching a copy of a report of an experiment which was conducted in Lansing, Mich. several years ago. The significance of this report lies in the fact that it was left to the unions to demonstrate to the Lansing agencies, public and private, how they might work together to achieve a common goal. Organized labor is and will continue to perform this same role in many American communities.

In summary may I suggest that the AFL-CIO community service activities will continue to work with the agencies, public and voluntary, national, State and local, that are serving the needs of our older citizens. We believe that by participating with other groups in the community in solving the problems of our senior citizens, we will be helping to build a better community for all.

Thank you for the privilege of appearing before this subcommittee.

My name is Joseph A. Beirne and I am president of the Communications Workers of America affiliated with the AFL-CIO. I am delighted to have the opportunity to appear before you today.

In all societies, the problems of the aged and the aging have been most serious and warrant special consideration due to their nature. It has been estimated that by 1975 there will be 20 million people aged 65 or over. Although the science of extending life's span has progressed tremendously in the 20th century, not enough has been done to produce happiness and eliminate the sufferings of the senior citizens. State governments and local communities cannot do many of the things which are needed without their efforts being supplemented by Federal assistance.

There is a dire need for public housing for these people. It should not be the ordinary type of construction Special consideration should be given in the building of these houses to the needs of the people who will be occupying them. I am thinking of the structures not being more than two stories high. Also ramps should be built instead of stairways. They should be located close to public transportation. Assurance should be made that transportation will be made available. There should be recreation areas surrounding these buildings so the older people can enjoy being outdoors. These are but a few of the special considerations that should be given to the housing problems.

Social security must be improved. Even though unions have been fighting to obtain from industry decent pensions, we have yet to accomplish our goal. People on fixed incomes are always the hardest hit in a rising economy. Public assistance is overtaxed due to the tremendous increase in the number of people reaching retirement. In connection with the Forand bill as it applies to social security, it certainly should be adopted. There is a great need for providing hospital care for persons eligible for old-age and survivors' insurance.

There should be established drop-in centers to provide recreational and leisure time activity for this group. These drop-in centers should be properly equipped so that the most pleasant and entertaining visits can be had. These should be manned by competent and skilled social workers. It will take professionals to enable these people to make the most of their leisure time. Age discrimination in hiring should be eliminated. U.S. Labor Department studies have demonstrated that older workers have favorable records with respect to productivity, dependability, absenteeism, safety, and adaptability. Older worker specialists should be added in all government employment offices to assist these older workers in securing employment, be is either full time or part time.

One area which needs special attention is the providing of hospital and medical care. It is very difficult for these older workers with their small incomes to afford even a meager measure of protection against diseases which normally and naturally affect the old-age group. Because of the natural body deterioration they need much more medical and hospital attention than do the younger people. Hospital service at a very nominal cost and medicine are vitally needed to protect their health. This should also include nursing if needed. These services, probably more than any others, should be acted upon with dispatch.

Also, there should be established a program for educating those approaching retirement. Either the Federal Government should establish a program on its own or it should at least subsidize State programs. It is my opinion that if such a program were established together with providing these people with a decent income we will have gone a long way forward in meeting our responsibility. Although the 1956 amendment to the Social Security Act is a right step in the right direction in this respect, it is not enough.

CWA and its members have been cooperating with Community Chests and United Givers Funds in trying to promote programs for these people where such funds or chests exist. In other areas we work with whatever kind of institution or committee is working on this problem. I have in mind some of our locals which cooperate with hospitals by donating time and assisting in their raising of funds. Our annual conventions have adopted resolutions directed to these problems. As requested by the chairman, I am submitting with this statement copies of three resolutions, one which was adopted in 1958 and two that were adopted at our recently concluded convention in June. You will note that one commended the work of this subcommittee and wholeheartedly ap proved its aims and objectives. It further reminded our members to cooperate with your subcommittee whenever possible.

In closing, I would like to state that I have touched only briefly on several aspects of this total situation. The problem is presently acute and will worsen with each year. It is my sincere desire that this subcommittee will come

« PředchozíPokračovat »