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we feel, are the provisions requiring a contractor to give the home buyer a warranty against faulty construction and materials, and allowing the home buyer a moratorium on his mortgage payments if he is sick or unemployed. These two new provisions are essential if the FHA system is to serve its original purpose of protecting home buyers.
When wage standards are broken down, not only the wage earners themselves, but their whole family suffers. For this reason we feel it is of crucial importance that wage standards are protected by amending titles III and IV of S. 1592 to require that not less than prevailing wages are paid on all FHA insured projects. We feel strongly that passage of S. 1592 now is necessary since it is the only measure now before Congress which will make a positive contribution toward lasting jobs in an economy of full employment and full production. We must plan programs now which will contribute constructive jobs for all our workers if we are to prevent a peacetime decline in production. The goal of S. 1592 is 1,500,000 homes a year for the next 10 years. This means millions of jobs-jobs not only in the construction industry, but also in all the industries, from textiles to teapots, which make household furnishings. This large area of assured employment will do much toward achieving the prosperous and peaceful America, with homes for all and jobs for millions, for which we all hope. Respectfully submitted.
Mrs. HERMAN H. LOWE,
STATEMENT OF OFFICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION AFFILIATED WITH THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR TO THE SENATE BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF GENERAL HOUSING BILL S. 1592
The Office Employees International Union, affiliated with American Federation of Labor, urges the immediate passage of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft general housing bill, S. 1592, as essential to a sound solution of our past and present housing crisis. The present housing emergency facing this country is the result of our long-time failure to build an adequate supply of satisfactory homes for all our families. This failure can only be remedied by planning now a comprehensive long-range program aimed at building an adequate supply of respectable homes for all our families at prices they can afford to pay. This goal, which is the basis of S. 1592, can at last be achieved through the concerted application of the programs and provisions of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.
The members of our international union feel that among the most important provisions of the entire bill are those in titles III and IV amending the FHA system. As members of that large class of "white collar" workers of middle income, we have been unable, in the past, to pay the prices of privately built FHAinsured homes. If the improvements and changes in the FHA system embodied in S. 1592 are enacted, we can at last look forward to buying these privately built homes. The combination of the extension of the amortization period to 32 years, the reduction of the interest rate to 4 percent and the reduction of the required down payment are all essential to bring home ownership within the financial reach of our members. Equally essential to encourage our members to make use of the FHA system are the two new provisions aimed at protecting the home buyers. The knowledge that an FHA-insured mortgage carries with it a warranty against structural defects and a provision for lapsed payments will cause millions of families to give preference to the FHA system over all others.
As salaried workers with modest but relatively stable incomes, our members are harder hit by the ups and downs in our economy than almost any other large group. For this reason, we are deeply concerned with all measures aimed at stabilizing our Nation's economy at a high level of production. Stabilizing the construction industry is essential to the stability of the rest of the national economy. The plans and programs of S. 1592, aimed as they are at an annual production of over a million new homes, can help achieve this high level of production. It will stimulate an annual investment of over $6,000,000,000 and provide more than 4,000.000 jobs a year. But this goal can only be achieved if we start now. If the industry takes speculative advantage of the present emer
gency to build only for the high-priced luxury field, it will bring on a repetition of the boom-and-crash catastrophe cycle in building. Such a speculative outburst can end only in unemployment for all in the building and construction industry, bankruptcy for builders, foreclosures and homelessness for all our people, and a grave impediment to the achieving of a stabilized national economy. This can be prevented by starting now the long-range plans of S. 1592.
We are deeply concerned about a serious omission in S. 1592. This is the failure to require that not less than prevailing wages be paid on all work done on FHA-insured construction. Tearing down of wage standards for any group of workers has a detrimental effect on the wage standards of all groups. For this reason we urge that an amendment, requiring that not less than prevailing wages be paid on FHA-insured construction, be included in titles III and IV of S. 1592. The inclusion of this amendment will not only protect the already prevailing minimum wage standards in each locality, but will also make the policy of S. 1592 consistent, since this requirement now applies to all large-scale FHA-insured projects.
With the inclusion of this prevailing wage amendment, the Wagner-EllenderTaft general housing bill has the wholehearted support of the Office Employes International Union.
J. HOWARD HICKS,
UNITED CEMENT, LIME, AND GYPSUM WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION,
Hon. ROBERT F. WAGNER,
United States Senator of New York, Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR WAGNER: The United Cement, Lime, and Gypsum Workers International Union strongly urges that the Senate Banking and Currency Committee act promptly in reporting favorably the Wagner-Ellender-Taft general housing bill, S. 1592, in order to speed its passage by the Senate. We are equally insistent
that the glaring omission in this bill-the omission of a requirement for the payment of not less than prevailing wages on all FHA-insured homes-be remedied through the immediate inclusion of a prevailing wage amendment in titles III and IV.
Our concern with the immediate passage of this bill is twofold: First, in view of the national crisis we are now facing due to the tremendous housing shortage, it is essential that we enact comprehensive housing legislation which is designed to provide homes for all our families, rich and poor, farm and city, at prices they can afford to pay. The course that we follow during the next few years in our housing program will have a crucial effect on the stability and growth of the construction industry for decades. We cannot afford to repeat the experience of the 1920's in this field.
We are faced now, as we were at the end of the last war, with a situation in which the demand for housing far exceeds the supply. Taking advantage of the speculative profits made possible by that situation, builders after the last war overbuilt in the high-priced field and within a few years the entire construction industry collapsed. We can prevent these economically and socially disastrous effects for the whole Nation if we plan now for a coherent program aimed at meeting the housing needs for families of all incomes. Such a program for the welfare of the whole Nation is soundly provided in S. 1592.
Our second reason for urging the immediate passage of S. 1592 is our concern, as American workers, in all measures which will stimulate an economy of full employment. The construction program contemplated under S. 1592 will contribute more than any other single measure now before the country toward this goal of jobs for all. It is not only as members of one industry which will directly benefit from an expanded construction program that we urge immediate passage of S. 1592. This bill will provide jobs for many millions of workers in other industries and occupations in the production of all types of building materials, in household equipment, household furnishings, textiles, and many others. S. 1592, as it now stands, will provide jobs and opportunities in all these fields. But these jobs will not prove lasting if the established wage standards are permitted once again to become submerged under the pressure of wage competition. It would be a calamity for the whole Nation if, in the process of rebuilding
America, we permitted these prevailing-wage standards to be undermined. This is the prospect we face unless S. 1592 is specifically amended to assure that not less than prevailing wages are paid on all construction work which is aided in any way by our Government, through FHA mortgages, insurance, or otherwise. It is inconceivable that the Senate of the United States will fail to safeguard the prevailing minimum-wage standards which are essential to maintain the American standard of living. We, therefore, urge you to amend S. 1592 to require that not less than prevailing wages are paid on all homes built under titles III and IV of the bill.
With the inclusion of this prevailing-wage amendment, S. 1592 will have the full and wholehearted support of the United Cement, Lime, and Gypsum Workers International Union.
On behalf of wage earners in a major basic American industry, I urge your favorable consideration of this legislation.
Anticipating your favorable consideration, I am,
WM. SCHOENBERG, General President.
GRAND LODGE, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILWAY AND STEAMSHIP CLERKS,
Subject: General housing bill, S. 1592.
Hon. ROBERT F. WAGNER,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Currency,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR WAGNER: This organization representing one-third of a million American wage and salary earners urges Congress to enact without delay the Wagner-Ellender-Taft general housing bill.
To the members of our organization, S. 1592 has two special merits which lead us to urge its immediate passage. The first is that it is general, comprehensive, legislation, soundly designed to meet the Nation's major need, the need for good housing within financial reach of the mass of its wage earners. It is an over-all program for building new homes for families of all incomes. This legislation will launch a large-scale peacetime housing program in whose benefits everyone will share, producers, investors, workers, and farmers. It will assure largescale construction of moderate-priced homes, and help change the pattern of successive boom and collapse in the construction industry to that of long-term stability. The second reason is that it places special emphasis on encouraging private enterprise to build more and better homes in the "no man's land" of housing-housing for families of moderate means-that area which comprises the majority of our people but where the fewest homes have been built.
There are approximately 2,000,000 railroad workers in the United States, most of whom are in the income group comprising this "no man's land" of housing. In 1944 about 25 percent of these workers were paid at the rate of less than 75 cents an hour. Wage rates of all railroad employees average 93 cents an hour. Wage rates of clerical, professional and general employees on our railroads averaged only 88 cents per hour. The incomes of the vast majority of these workers were too low to meet the rents and pay the prices of most well-built new homes. The result is that most of our members have never been able to obtain decent housing. Like the millions of other Americans in this "no man's land" we need and want new homes. We believe that the comprehensive program embodied in S. 1592 will answer this real and pressing need.
There are a number of basic provisions in S. 1592 which are vital if private enterprise is to build its best for an increasingly large number of families. Of 'special importance are titles III and IV, designed to improve and strengthen the FHA insurance system. We heartily endorse the proposals to increase the period of amortization to 32 years, to lower the maximum interest rate, and to raise the coverage of FHA insurance to 95 percent. All these changes are essen-* tial if our members, whose plight is representative of that of mililons of middleincome families, are to be able to afford privately built homes.
Another set of proposals of S. 1592 to which we would like to give special support, are those amending the FHA to bring it more in line with its original purpose of protecting the interests of the home owners. If the FHA is to survive as a system and to encourage more people to seek FHA insurance, it must give
additional protection contemplated by the provisions requiring a contractor to give the home buyer a warranty against faulty construction and granting the home buyer a temporary moratorium on his payments if for a time he is unable to maintain them because of sickness, unemployment or other emergency. The proposed plan makes this possible without placing any financial burden on the lender or the Government.
We also recommend that additional protection be given to the home buyer who derives his livelihood from wages by an amendment prohibiting deficiency judgments against him if his mortgage is foreclosed.
In urging the acceptance of this new and additional FHA program, we ask that another provision of equally crucial importance be added to the measure, The present requirement of the law, that not less than prevailing wages be paid on large FHA-insured projects, should be extended to all FHA-insured homes. The existing law limits this requirements to housing costing over $16,000. In the past this differentiation has led to gross abuse of the FHA system and has served to undermine all minimum-wage standards. It has meant great instability in the construction industry, injustice to construction workers, and has served to degrade the standards of home construction.
Since the Congress has already recognized the soundness of requiring that not less than prevailing wages be paid on most construction on which Federal aid is extended, we urge that this congressional policy be made consistent through requiring payment of not less than prevailing wages on all such construction work financed with Federal aid.
The responsibility for resolving America's chronic housing crisis once and for all rests upon this Congress. The comprehensive program embodied in the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill is a nonpartisan, statesmanlike program, democratically conceived. The 250,000 members of the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, who have served their Nation loyally and unstintingly in war and who stand ready to serve America on its way toward prosperous peace in every city, town, and hamlet, in every State of the Union, call upon their Congress to enact without delay the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, as the major step toward better living and full employment for all Americans.
GEO. M. HARRISON,
STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF TECHNICAL ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS AND DRAFTSMEN'S UNIONS TO THE SENATE BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF THE GENERAL HOUSING BILL, S. 1592
As technicians in the field of housing, the International Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects and Draftsmen's Unions has a deep concern in encouraging the production of good homes for all families throughout this country at prices they can afford to pay. We feel that the most important step we, as a Nation, can make toward achieving this goal is the immediate passage of the WagnerEllender-Taft general housing bill, S. 1592. We strongly urge the Senate Banking and Currency Committee to report out S. 1592 promptly and favorably in order to assure its speedy passage by Congress.
We recognize that, at the moment, emergency steps are necessary to meet the most immediate need for shelter, a need especially acute in the case of returning veterans and war workers whose emergency jobs have terminated. But even greater is the need for a permanent solution, which S. 1592 provides. The members of our international union are the technicians who help translate plans and ideas into the brick and mortar of completed homes. The architects develop the plans for comfortable living. The engineers design the lighting, heating, and plumbing for healthful sanitary homes. Their full employment and the full utilization of their technical skills depends on a continuous high volume of residential construction. Prompt acceptance of the national housing objectives stated in the bill will determine whether we achieve this sustained high level of construction and the employment it generates. If we reject the goals and the policies, we are bound to repeat the speculative boom and bust in building of the 1920's.
We must make our choice now. We can go along in a planless way. taking speculative advantage of our present housing emergency, in which the demand for housing so far exceeds the supply, and building homes only for those who bid
the highest price. That is a sure way to a repetition of the 1920's-a way which will inevitably end in a collapse of the construction industry with the ensuing unemployment for workers and bankruptcy for builders. Or we can start the construction industry, which has such a vital influence on our whole economy, off on a sound basis by adopting the broad and comprehensive program of homes for families of all incomes which is embodied in S. 1592. Our membership and all of organized labor has made its choice. That choice is the wholehearted support of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.
The most important factor in achieving this high and stabilized level of residential construction is through reducing the home buyer's payments to the point where the great mass of moderate-income families can afford good new homes. The amendments to the present FHA system of mortgage insurance embodied in S. 1592 are crucial in accomplishing this. The provisions for the extension of the period of amortization and the reduction of the interest rate, the requirement of a warranty against faulty construction and for a temporary moratorium in mortgage payments are essential if we are to encourage sound home ownership on a large scale.
A high level of residential construction means jobs not only for workers directly employed in building, but also for all workers in the industries making the materials, equipment, and furnishings that go into houses. An annual production of 1,500,000 units would mean jobs for approximately 4,000,000 wage earners. All these workers have a concern in the immediate passage of S. 1592. All wage earners have an equally great concern in seeing that wage standards are maintained throughout our industries.
S. 1592 has one glaring omission which, unless remedied, will lead to a breaking down of the established minimum-wage standards long fought for. This is the omission of the requirement that not less than prevailing wages be paid on all work done on FHA-insured construction. This requirement now applies to all large-scale FHA-insured projects. We urge that the policies of S. 1592 be made consistent by including this prevailing-wage amendment in titles III and IV of S. 1592.
With the inclusion of this fundamental amendment, the International Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects, and Draftsmen's Unions gives its wholehearted support to S. 1592.