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STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
The American Psychological Association strongly urges that the Committee support significant increases for the the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Specifically, we recommend an FY 1992 appropriation of $128 million for expansion of the NIOSH budget to include $4.5 million for workplace stress initiatives.
With over 110,000 psychologists in academia and practice across the country, APA has a diverse membership including a whole division of experts in the area of performance measurement, quality of worklife, engineering psychology and training and development; all issues which are critical to NIOSH's activities. As the problems of the national economic downturn and increased competition in a global economy continue to demand attention from the Congress, methods of improving worker performance, attitude and motivation will be of critical importance.
A key to improving worker performance is the individual's psychological well-being. An estimated 11 million workers report health-endangering levels of mental stress at work and 70% of Fortune 1000 firms believe mental health problems are pervasive in their workplaces. Worker compensation claims for occupational stress related problems are one of the fastest growing categories of compensation claims. Mental disorders is the most prevalent disabling condition among Social Security Administration disability allowance recipients, accounting for 21% of all allowances. Estimated annual costs exceed $15 billion in disability payouts and lost wages alone (i.e., excluding health care costs and productivity losses).
Occupational stress has been correlated with job productivity absenteeism, turnover, motivation and other factors directly affecting industry effectiveness. It has been identified as a major factor in the etiology of a number of physical conditions such as coronary heart disease, peptic ulcers, hypertension and diabetes. Relatedly, health insurance premiums are rising steadily as is spending for health care. Spending by private sources, primarily employers, for health care has tripled since 1975 to an estimated $40 billion in 1986. Research to discover effective means of preventing and treating occupational stress must be a critical national priority.
Occupational stress will only increase in coming years without a major national commitment to prevention. This commitment must be based on sound social and behavioral science research. Thus, APA's NIOSH funding recomendation of $128 million for NIOSH would permit an expansion of workplace stress initiatives.
Specifically, this recommendation would allow for a $4.5 million to the NIOSH occupational stress program, with $1.5 million for extramural research, a $1.5 million for extramural training grant, and $1.5 million for intramural research. The additional funding is needed to support prevention and other research, primarily to improve knowledge of stressful working conditions and worker populations at risk for job stress, and to better understand the health effects and related social and economic costs of job stress.
The President's Budget request provides no new funds for the Occupational Safety and Health Activities of the Centers for Disease Control. This lack of any funding increase exacerbates underlying trends which have disadvantaged NIOSH for the last ten years. Although the NIOSH budget has increased over the last several years in terms of constant dollars, its funding profile in terms of actual dollars has been much more flat and in real dollars, NIOSH has actually experienced a decline since 1980.
As NIOSH has experienced a loss in its ability to buy research, the impacts have also been felt in the stress research arena. The NIOSH stress research program is housed in the Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Science. Leadership for the stress program resides with the Motivation and Stress Research Section of the Applied Psychology and Ergonomic Branch. Currently, the stress research program is focusing on issues such as the identification of: which workers are at risk for stress-related disorders; what are the most important risk factors for job stress; what are the health consequences of job stress; and, how job stress can be controlled. At present these questions are addressed mainly through in-house laboratory studies and date base studies using data obtained from NIOSH health hazard evaluations or from outside organizations. Field studies and contract research have been curtailed due to budgetary restraints.
The increase proposed by the APA request would help address many of the research needs in occupational stress which are beyond the scope or capacity of the current stress research program at NIOSH. Issues which NIOSH would be able to address with these increased resources include:
More concerted efforts toward validating suspected risk factors for job stress, identifying occupations at high risk for stress, and determining how the changing occupational landscape is affecting the potential for stress among workers. In this regard, specific attention needs to be given to: 1) the effects of an aging workforce, 2) the growing health and caretaking sectors, and 3) the effects of new technologies such as the computerization of work. Well planned epidemiologic studies, which are beyond the current resources of the NIOSH stress program are key to this objective.
More research attention needs to be given to the interplay between job and extra-job stress. The consensus is that current statistics significantly underestimate the true prevalence of job stress disorders since effects on family well-being, including children, are ignored.
International research suggests a link between job stress and interpersonal violence at work. This suspected association needs investigation in the American workplace. Risk may be greatest in the health and helping professions.
Added research attention needs to be given to the interaction of
Intervention or demonstration studies investigating payoffs of job
As indicated above, $1.5 million of the proposed APA increase would support post-doctoral extramural training. The role of job design and organizational factors in the cause and control of stress is not a part of the training of health and mental health professionals. While the President's budget does not permit NIOSH to fund extramural graduate or postgraduate training in occupational stress, APA believes that this training is especially critical if we are to develop the professional capacity to address these issues.
We appreciate the opportunity to present these views and look forward to any support the Committee can provide in this area.
STATEMENT OF THE INDIAN AND NATIVE AMERICAN
The Native American programs authorized under the Job Training Partnership Act continue to be the main source of support for employment and training services for the most seriously disadvantaged segment of the American work force Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian workers.
Native American workers are currently served under special set-asides authorized by Section 401 of Title IV of JTPA and by Section 252 (a) of Title II-B, the Summer Youth program.
In Program Year 1989, the last for which figures are available, nearly 31,000 Native American youth and adults were served by the Title IV program in all parts of the United States. The Indian portion of the Summer Youth program reaches an estimated 12,000 economically disadvantaged youth in reservation areas, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii.
The programs provide a wide range of services, including remedial education, occupational training, work experience and a variety of employment and training-related services. The service provider network includes 183 Indian tribal governments, intertribal consortia, off-reservation Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian organizations.
Despite persistently high levels of joblessness 80% and more on some reservations 55% of those terminating from the program found jobs in PY 89. This was the highest job placement rate in the program's history.
Nearly 87% of those terminating from the program either found jobs or successfully upgraded their education and work skills.
Indian workers face the most severe unemployment problems of any people in the country's labor force. The Bureau of Indian Affairs estimates that an average of 48% of the available workers on or near reservation areas have no jobs. Although not regularly documented by any federal agency, the conditions of Indian workers in many urban areas is little better.
The size of the Indian population, and with it, the number of workers needing JTPA services, continues to increase. According to Census Bureau data, the Indian and Native Alaskan population grew by 38% over the decade from 1980 to 1990. This population has the fastest growth rate from natural increase of any racial group.
At the same time Native American JTPA grantees face more people in need of services, they are trying to intensify the services they offer. Changes to the program that will take effect this July 1st will lead many grantees to provide more long term, intensive (and expensive) educational services in order to more thoroughly prepare their clients for the escalating skill requirements of American employers.
While both the quantity and quality of services needed are increasing substantially, the resources available continue to shrink.
Inflation has taken a massive toll on Indian JTPA funding. Between Fiscal Year 1983 (the last year of CETA) and Program Year 1991, the total amount of Native American JTPA funds has declined
by 48% in constant dollar terms.
For every $1 in services they were able to provide in FY 83, grantees in PY 91 have only 52 cents to spend.
The recent increases in the federal minimum wage add to the resource shortfall. Work experience positions, vital to providing the many long term unemployed and discouraged workers with needed job skills, must be paid at the minimum wage level. The Coalition estimates that the equivalent of 2,000 such positions may be lost to the program because of the minimum wage increase.
In its February submission to the Congress, the Administration asked for a total of $70,099,000 for Native American JTPA programs.
The request, which assumed enactment of a still-to-besubmitted legislative proposal, would eliminate all funding for the Indian portion of the Summer Youth program. In constant dollar terms, the request, if approved, would represent the lowest funding level for Native American programs since they started 16 years ago.
The elimination of the special youth funding now provided to reservation areas, Oklahoma, Alaska and Hawaii would terminate services to 12,000 economically disadvantaged Native American youth, and do it in the name of a legislative proposal which is supposed to stress youth services!
The Indian and Native American Employment and Training Coalition urges the Committee to recommend $80 million for the Native American program in Section 401 of Title IV of JTPA and $20 million for the Native American portion of the Title II-B Summer Youth program.
STATEMENT OF THE RAILWAY LABOR EXECUTIVES'
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
My name is James J. Kennedy. I am Exccutive Secretary-Treasurer of the Railway Labor Executives' Association and its National Legislative Director. The headquarters of the RLEA is located at 400 North Capitol Street, Washington, D.C.
The RLEA is an unincorporated association with which are affiliated the chief executive officers of standard national and international railway labor unions representing the vast majority of railroad contract employees in the United States.
The RLEA strongly supports the Railroad Retirement Board's request for 1,711 full-time equivalent employees and whatever funds are needed to support that level of employment. In view of the Board's ongoing initiatives and commitments to improve services through automation of its retirement claims processing operations, those staff resources will be needed to prevent a deterioration in current service levels. As a representative of one of the parties in the railroad industry which pays the expenses for administering the Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts, we urge that the Board be granted the resources required to provide the services desired and needed by its beneficiary population.
In addition to the issue of administrative funding, we would like to comment on one of the legislative proposals advanced as a part of the Administration's 1992 budget. Limitations of space precludes our comments on the other Administration proposals.
The proposal I address represents a renewed effort to require the Railroad Retirement trust fund to bear a portion of the costs of vested dual benefits. This proposal would adversely affect the solvency of the benefits paid by the Railroad Retirement System. In past years, the Reagan Administration advanced several different schemes to achieve such a purpose. This year, as last, the recommendation is that 25 percent of dual benefit costs be financed by the Railroad Retirement Account because an employce's tier 2 Railroad Retirement benefit is reduced by 25 percent of the amount of any dual benefit he or she receives. The Administration's rationale is that the reduction in tier 2 benefits due to the receipt of dual benefits produces a cost saving which is, in effect, "a Federal subsidy" to the trust fund. That rationale overlooks the original basis for the tier 2 benefit reduction and incorrectly assumes that there is a relationship between the reduction and the obligation accepted by the Federal government in 1974 to fund the phase-out costs of dual benefits.
This proposal was thoroughly considered and addressed by the Commission on Railroad Retirement Reform in its final report, released in September 1990. The report states:
"In summation, the current 25% Tier 2 benefit reduction for receipt of a vested
Concerning the appropriation request of $315 million for payment of vested dual benefits in fiscal year 1992, it is our understanding that this request does not take into consideration the inherent uncertainties associated with estimates and projections, or funds needed to pay past due but unpaid vested dual benefit categories identified by the Railroad Retirement Board. As Congress is aware, if the amount appropriated is not sufficient to fund full payments, reductions in individual vested dual benefits payments to some 220,000 retirees must be made. We understand that between $319 million and $322 million must be appropriated to address all contingencies in fiscal year 1992 and thereby avoid any possibility of a reduction in benefits taking place due to insufficient appropriation.
The RLEA also supports the request of the National Mediation Board for an appropriation of $7,008,000 for FY 1992 of which only $2,287,000 is slated for the adjustment of employee grievances. This represents a severe reduction in support of the NRAB from 57.9% of NMB's total appropriation in FY 91 to a mere 32.6% in FY 92, which we strenuously oppose.
In 1934, the rail unions, in order to secure a means of resolving disputes over the interpretation and application of collective bargaining agreements were compelled to give up their right to strike over such disputes--characterized by the courts as "minor" disputes to distinguish them from disputes involving the making or modification of agreements, i.e., "major" disputes. This concession is unique in American industry. Although Congress has made a number of significant changes in the Railway Labor Act since the NRAB was created in 1934, it has never retreated from its original agreement with rail labor that the federally funded services provided by the NRAB would not be curtailed. It should not do so now; nor should it permit the NMB to do so.
With the reservations stated regarding the NMB, we strongly support the requests for appropriations by the Railroad Retirement Board and the National Mediation Board.