Box 7, Folder 12, Document 13

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The Urban Coalition Action Council has strongly supported
public service employment legislation since the Council's
formation last year. Public service employment was a primary
goal of the Urban Coalition's Statement of Principles, adopted
in August, 1967.

The Action Council is now preparing for a major effort to
secure enactment of this legislation, and will give public service
employment top priority this fall.

There are three central phases required to assure success:

1) Preparation of testimony for Senate and House hearings
to be scheduled in late September or early October;

2) Overall coordination of educational and legislative
activity; and,

3) Development of strong business support.

Hearings - Work is now underway to obtain the most current

employment facts which prove the case for public service
employment. We wish to provide up-to-date information to
the appropriate Congressional committees.

Information is being obtained to show that:

(a) Unemployment and underemployment still loom large in
major cities as well as rural areas; and,

(b) Jobs needed by cities, counties, states and nonprofit
institutions of all kinds can be matched with the
available unemployed and underemployed willing and able
to work.

To demonstrate the reality of "matching," we are probing
three major cities through resources available to the Action
Council such as the League of Cities, Conference of Mayors, and
municipal employees' unions. Using the same resources, we will
develop testimony that shows that to do the job properly and now,
Federal funds must be provided for wage subsidy or supplementation
as well as for training and supportive services.

2. Coordination - By frequent contact with the Action Council
constituency, we plan to coordinate the overall activity
in order to have the greatest impact on Congress and the

Conversations to date with segments’of the Action Council
have indicated a strong measure of support for the effort we
are undertaking. Many of these groups predate the Action Council
in their commitment to greatly expanded public service employment
opportunity. The somewhat newer concept of underemployment as a
critical factor has enhanced, rather than diminished, the interest
and commitment of most of the groups.

3. Business support - Despite the clear commitment of the
Coalition convocation that included many prominent members
of the business community, we are uncertain about the
support of business as we go down the road.

The uncertainty rests on one major ground. Preliminary and
limited conversations with several business representatives pinpoint
the issue of wage subsidy.

Most who have been contacted would support a JOBS type program
transferred to meaningful work in the public sector with Federal
support for training and supportive services (such as those
programs embodied in MA-3 and MA-4 contracts). Beyond that,
however, shoal waters seem to appear.

Resistance to wage subsidy or supplement seems to be based on
fear of creating uncontrollable inefficiencies in cities and public
service institutions, supported by Federal dollars. The specter
of WPA seems to come to mind as the idea of wage support triggers

The cities regard any public service program as meaningless:
without the wage component. .

Therefore, we seek advice on this issue from all segments of
the Action Council constituency, but particularly from the business
community at large and from the business members of the Executive

We have had preliminary discussions with representatives of
organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers,
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Merchants
Association, and the American Trucking Association. In addition
to the national business organizations, we have been talking with
representatives of corporations such as AT&T, Kennecott, and Sears

We are now intensifying our contacts with the business
. community on this issue.

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We are closely watching other types of legislation and
particularly that receiving Administration blessings. If
alternative solutions to the same problems appear to be emerging,
we will be prepared to reassess our own position in the light
of such developments and make appropriate recommendations to the
Action Council Executive Committee.

We are particularly mindful that the Administration proposes
to announce a large 'package' on August 8. Although the contents
are closely guarded, it is assumed that it will include some tie-in
between income maintenance and enlarged employment opportunity.
Whether this program will satisfy the demand and need for public
sector jobs, and whether it will reach sufficient numbers of the
unemployed and underemployed remains to be seen. We will
scrutinize the program carefully.

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