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Mr. KEMP. That is all I have at this time.
Mr. Bates. Now, you mentioned brick, and I presume this is waterstruck brick, is it, General, that they are talking about?
General YOUNG. Yes.
Mr. KEMP. It is wire-cut brick; they use a wire and cut it and put it into the oven.
I would like very much to have Mr. Xanten follow me and explain some of the problems of the city refuse, if you do not want to hear Mr. Johnson now.
Mr. Bates. Mr. Xanten, will you proceed, please?
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM A. XANTEN, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE
CITY REFUSE DIVISION, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. XANTEN. Mr. Chairman, I have here broken down by objects our comparative figures for '37 and 47, and I have shown here the percentage of increase in each object.
I want to read simply what the explanation is of the increases. The over-all increase over the years has been 112 percent.
Mr. BATEs. What department is that?
Mr. XANTEN. That division handles the solid wastes of the city and cleans the streets and alleys and collects the animals.
Mr. BATES. You call it sanitation ?
There are three important factors to be considered and emphasized in connection with money expended for sanitary services performed by the Refuse Division:
First, as indicated in the statement, 85 to 90 percent is expended for wages, and the appropriation as a whole is therefore critically affected by wage increases.
It is also to be noted that 80 percent of the forces employed are in the labor group, where the largest percentage of wage increases took place. In that connection, I want to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that you might have heard enough about wage increases, but we have made a very thorough study of the effect of the per diem side of these wage increases, and have here charts and statements showing the comparative purchasing power of a wage dollar ever since 1920 on the one hand, and 1930 on the other.
Mr. Bates. That is for materials and supplies?
Mr. XANTEN. It is a wage study, and it shows the effect of some of the things that do not show up necessarily in stating comparative wages.
We might say the comparative wage for labor was $3.60 in '37, and $6.32 in 47, but in that time there have been lots of other things that we consider nonproductive, and benefits to per diem employees that have caused the percentage of cost to go even higher.
For instance, you have heard of the abolition of apprentice labor, the apprentice labor group. That was an act of the Wage Board which eliminated the possibility of employing labor at a lower rate for 1 year. Now, that happened in 1942.
Mr. Bates. What was the reason that that was enacted; can you tell us that?
Mr. XANTEN. It was in line with the general upward trend for labor at that time, Mr. Chairman. The apprentice labor wage was very low, and we were putting men on at a very nominal rate for a period of 1 year. The position of the Wage Board was that it was simply too low a rate, and we began to reach a point where we could not get anybody to go to work at that rate.
Mr. Bates. But you are still carrying on a so-called apprentice program?
Mr. XANTEN. We do not have any more apprentice laborers in the wage scale; we have laborers at a straight wage.
Senator Cain. So, regardless of knowledge of their labor before they come to your employment they start out
Mr. XANTEN. As a laborer.
Mr. BATES. Is it the same rate that applies for new labor as it does for old experienced labor ?
Mr. XANTEN. No; there is a graduated scale for those men and when they have been here 12 months they get a step-up in salary; that is another thing
Mr. BATEs. In other words, you have an apprentice system as far as wages are concerned; you have a graduated scale?
Mr. XANTEN. Yes, sir.
Mr. XANTEN. That is right; but that is an item of cost that has not yet been and is very difficult to apply on a percentage basis.
Senator CAIN. Yes.
Mr. XANTEN. The same thing goes with the 10-percent night-wage differential. It is difficult to apply a percentage basis as to cost, but nevertheless we have to pay it.
In connection with this study that we have made, it might be interesting to point out that the number of man-hours that we have been able to purchase, say, any year you want to take-but taking 1920, on street cleaning alone we had about 950,000 man-hours of labor on the streets cleaning the streets; and in 1948 we have gotten up to, with the new estimate for 1948, we have gotten up to 819,000, so we are still 130,000 man-hours behind 1920.
Mr. Bates. That is in cleaning the streets; since 1920 we have had considerable progress in mechanized street-cleaning operations.
Mr. XANTEN. Unfortunately, Mr. Bates, that does not apply to Washington.
Mr. Bates. You have not acquired the machinery?
Mr. XANTEN. Well, you cannot get a machine to go under an automobile, and there are 200,000 automobiles on the streets all night long, and the net result is that it is still primarily a labor job.
Mr. Bates. That is because they have no way of apparently enforeing the parking regulations.
Mr. XANTEN. Correct, sir.
Mr. Bates. Of course, even in New York you will see the street cleaners operating from midnight on all night along, but the streets are cleared of automobiles.
Mr. XANTEN. That is right, sir; we have that problem here.
Mr. BATES. And I can well understand the mechanized system of street cleaning.
Mr. XANTEN. Let me say that we have made some improvements in the way we have done the work by using flushers. Mr. Bates. That is right.
Mr. XANTEN. They are the backbone of the street-cleaning operations.
Senator Cain. You are using essentially the same method you pursued 25 or 30 years ago and your costs have gone up; in the number of man-hours that have performed duty they have gone down.
Mr. XANTEN. Exactly so, sir.
Senator Cain. Well, of course, today compared again with 1920, you did not have the automobiles then, and necessarily you did not have the maintenance, the high maintenance cost of the highways; you did not have the hundreds of miles of asphalt-surfaced streets that would be readily adaptable to flushing, let us say.
Mr: XANTEN. That is right, sir.
Senator Cain. So that you could cover a given area today with a flushing machine at much less cost than you did a good many years ago with hand labor.
Mr. XANTEN. Mr. Bates, you may take 1920 or 1935, and you find the same thing.
Senator Cain. But 1920 was your comparison. Mr. XANTEN. As a matter of fact, you can see from this chart that we have prepared that the mileage of paved streets has gone up; the appropriation has gone up materially; in fact, it has more than doubled, but the purchasing power of the dollar for labor is not up to where it was in either one of those years. It is a very important consideration with respect to keeping a city sanitary. It costs so much today to maintain cleanliness that we just do the best we can.
Mr. Bates. How many flushing machines do you have in the District all together?
Mr. XANTEN. We operate about 10 on an average_8 at night and 2 during the daytime. We have more flushers than that, but they are all very old and we do not use them. We hope to some day replace them, Mr. Bates. We should be operating about 20.
Mr. Bates. Well, a good operator on a good flushing machine will keep the streets pretty clean, where there is a proper grade.
Mr. XANTEN. We do not dare run it into the sewer catch basins. Mr. BATES. What do you do?
Mr. XANTEN. We cut it over to the curb, where the white wing cleans it up, because once it goes into the catch basin, then it is more expensive to remove.
Mr. Bates. Well, is it as expensive to get out as it is to clean up with a shovel!
Mr. XANTEN. Yes; it is much more expensive to service a catch basin than to have a man clean it up with a shovel. That has been proved on a cubic-yard cost basis, that the sewer is no place for refuse. Mr. BATEs. But the flushing of a street does it I do not think that very much of your refuse stays in the catch basin. It flows off in the water basin. Of course, sometimes you have got to come around and clean out the basin.
Mr. XANTEN. Mr. Bates, with the tremendous problems we have here, the number of leaves, it would very quickly clog up the basins if we attempted to run it into the basins.
Mr. Bates. That is right, if you run it at that time each year, but I am speaking of the principal streets.
Mr. XANTEN. In the outlying districts the flusher is an over-all cleaner, with due apologies to Mr. Johnson's Sewer Division, because he does not
Mr. KEMP. Mr. Bates, I would like to make the statement that all of our catch basins are trapped, and they are deliberately trapped to catch that kind of material, and it costs money to take it out of the traps.
Mr. BATEs. Do you not have a mechanical means of taking the material out of your catch basins now?
Mr. KEMP. No, sir. The only way we can get it is by labor with a long-handled shovel; the shovel is designed to scoop it out.
Mr. BATES. I know, but there has been a recent invention within the last 10 or 15 years for catch basin cleaning—a mechanical cleaner. Do you not operate that at all?
Mr. KEMP. Well, we have eductors that we can use on them to flush it out.
Mr. BATES. I see.
Mr. 'BATES. Oh, no; it is not necessary to go into detail. I am quite familiar with that. But they also have mechlinical cleaners?
Mr. KEMP. Yes, sir.
Mr. Bates. That you can just put it down and, as you say, clean it out quickly instead of by long-handled shovels; that is pretty expensive work.
Mr. XANTEN. Mr. Bates, I will submit these statements to you, sir, that study if you care to have it.
Mr. BATEs. Very well.
City-refuse personnel, 1937–47
1, 119 1, 156 1, 158 1. 206 1, 250)
1, 673,537 1, 8.52 474 1. 855, 796 2,021. 246 2, 403, SO
1910 1911 1942
1 Includes street cleaning, refuse, dead animals.
City Refuse Division, District of Columbia-Résumé of appropriations, fiscal
years 1937 and 1947
Percent of increase
01 Personal services, classified (salaries of classified
employees). 01 Personal services, per diem (salaries of per diem em
ployees). 03 Transportation of things (garbage freight, Wash
ington-Cherry Hill). 04 Communications (telephones, telegrams, postage). 05 Rents and utility services (toolhouses, power, light,
gas). 06 Printing and hinding07 Other contractual services (night soil contract and
major repairs to plants). & Supplies and materials. 09 Equipment (replacements and additions to fleet).
1 Available from other source-expenditures $328. ? Includes pending deficiency of $380,700.
There are three important factors to be emphasized in connection with moneys expended for the sanitary services performed by the City Refuse Division:
As indicated above 85 to 30 percent of this appropriation is expended for wages and the appropriation as a whole is therefore critically affected by wage increases. It is also to be noted that 80 percent of the forces employed are in the labor group where the largest percentage of the wage increase took place.
B. The work load has been affected in direct proportion to the increase in the number of homes built; to a large degree by the population increase of 40 percent, and by a large per capita increase in the amount of rubbish produced over the years (1930—201 pounds per capita ; 1947–378 pounds per capita).
C. The absence of sufficient areas of low ground within the city for dumping purposes; the need for the city to engage upon a high standard of disposal practice; and the constantly increasing length of haul to available land fills.
Under the personal service object, approximately 75 percent of the increase is attributable to wage benefits. The balance of the increase since fiscal year 1937 is justified by the increased task performed as follows:
Increase in number of dwellings, 21,000 (approximately), or 22 percent. Increase in number of apartments, 4,400 (approximately), or 142 percent. Increase in units collected by the municipality (garbage, ashes, and trash), 40 percent.
Increase in street sweepings handled, 81 percent.
In order to perform these essential services without interruption and to extend service to all new derelopments under the conditions above and with the funds available it was necessary to recluce service frequencies as follows:
Ashes, from twice a week in winter to once a week, in fiscal year 1938: Garbage, from three times a week in summer to twice a week, in fiscal year 1942.
All services are now considered at minimum frequency.
The increase in the materials and supplies item can be attributed both to the increase in material costs as well as the proportionate increase in the amount of materials and supplies required for the expanding task. It is significant that thie sercentage of increase in this item exceeds the over-all budgetary increase.
The item for motor equipment has a twofold justification:
A. Failure to appropriate any appreciable moneys for the replacement of obsolete motortruks frem the neriod of the motorization of these services from 1927 to 1931 until the bulk of the fleet had become obsolete and the fleet-replacement program was instituted in fiscal year 1910.