Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

crystallized concept of what public relations embraces; and there is no uniformity of practice under its banner. It means different things to different people. Yet in the past decade or so, it has become part of the comon talk in this country.

Public relations is alternately held out as the cure-all for most of our social ills and condemned as a business of hoodwinking the public. Doctors are told that the only way to defeat socialized medicine is to "adopt a sound program of public relations.” Industrial leaders are advised that “sound public relations" will be the salvation of free enterprise. Union members are told that the way to get favorable labor laws on the books is "to improve your public relations."

On the other hand, public relations is condemned as a "space stealing profession," and worse. An editor tells his readers, “If you want to get plausible disguises for unworthy causes, hire a public relations expert.” Walter Lippmann once said that some people think of a publicity man as a press agent with a tie, and when he puts on a coat, he becomes a "public relations counselor.”

Agreement on a definition with utility and meaning is more than a problem in semantics, though that's part of the difficulty. Fundamentally, it is the long-term task of crystallizing a concept and building a profession. This is in process. Amidst the confusion, there is emerging substantial agreement on the role of public relations. In the center of its growth, there is a solid layer of sound, ethical practice. At its core is the concept of public relations as a systematic means of repairing and restoring the broken lines of communications in America's industrialized and urbanized society. A working definition is in the making. A profession can be seen building around this definition. But it will take years for both.

Public relations, by definition of this committee and others, is "doing the right thing, and getting credit for it."

Public relations is a function of management—in and out of government. Everything an agency does, or says, or doesn't do or say, has an impact on its publics.

Good management cannot exist very long without good relationships, but it can and often does get along without a formalized public relations specialist or public relations operation.

It is gratifying to the committee, as we know it must be to all delegates here, that a liaison between the labor commissioners in the States and the Federal Department of Labor has been designated. It is particularly satisfying to this committee because the suggestion for such a liaison was originally made by the public relations committee in 1965, under the chairmanship of Commissioner Boggs of Virginia.

Commissioner Boggs, in his report to you last year, emphasized the need for communication channels, particularly between the States and Provinces and the Federal Government.

Commissioner Catherwood, in his report to you today, enumerated some problem areas existing in the States, some of which are the result of a breakdown in communications with the Federal Government.

Communications, then, is a major part of a good public relations program; without good communications, little can be accomplished that will endure.

The public relations committee acknowledges that effort presently underway by the Federal Department of Labor with respect to its relationship with the States. The Secretary of Labor and his staff deserve our thanks for convening the March meetings with the labor commissioners. The Secretary's willingness to meet periodically with the IAGLO executive board also suggests that the communications channels are open.

A public relations program is more than producing a catchy slogan or a press release. It requires understanding and effective communications.

This association has made progress in many areas partly because it has communicated effectively.

PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

RALPH VATALARO, New York, Chairman

NORMAN O. NILSEN, Oregon [Accepted.]

President CATHERWOOD. Thank you, Ralph. We are indebted to you and Norman Nilsen for a very interesting and appropriate report on a subject that has not received a great deal of specialized attention.

Are there any questions or observations?

Commissioner CRANE. This is an observation. We went out to get a public relations man for our department but did not find it too compatible with the legislature. So, we changed over and called it public information officer; that became more compatible and has worked out very well.

President CATHERWOOD. The point and the suggestion is a good

one.

As a matter of fact, public information officer is your title; isn't it, Ralph?

Chairman VATALARO. Yes.

[blocks in formation]

Report on Walsh-Healey Contracts Discussion President CATHERWOOD. We will now hear from a special committee that will report to us concerning progress relating to the contracts for Walsh-Healey inspections.

Commissioners Ricciuti, Laney, and Boggs, and Nelson Bortz, will you please come forward.

You will recall in my report, I made reference to the contracts that had provided for State inspections under Walsh-Healey, and the concern and furor they have created for some 3 or 4 years. This issue has been discussed with Federal representatives. But, in my opinion, we really got some serious consideration of the problem on the part of the Secretary when the IAGLO executive board met with him. The question arose as to our own unhappiness and just what the score was. So the Secretary turned to Nelson Bortz and asked for a briefing on the subject. Frankly, Nelson gave him a better briefing on the subject than most State representatives would have been able to do. He spelled it out and treated the problem areas.

In the absence of Ernie Webb, who was the chairman of our special committee, I have asked Nelson Bortz to speak, not for the committee, but to describe what has happened as he sees and understands the picture. This can be elaborated on by the three members of our special committee who are here. They may wish to respond to questions you may have.

NELSON M. BORTZ, Director, Bureau of Labor Standards,

U.S. Department of Labor Thank you, Mr. President. There is so much that can be and has been said on this subject. While listening to the report of Mr. Vatalaro, I thought this is certainly an area where a public relations function could have been performed over the last several years. But I certainly hope after our discussion this afternoon, that all eyes can be pointed forward, and the past hopefully buried.

I will not attempt to give a background or history of this problem. The Walsh-Healey law, as you know, was enacted in 1935 and it provided for protection of the health and safety of workers employed on contracts being performed for the Government. There developed over the years a number of agreements or arrangements with some 22 or 23 States wherein those States would inspect plants for compliance with State safety and health regulations for the public contracts work. There then developed an issuance of regulations by the Secretary of Labor of a more specific character in 1961, I believe. Several years later, additions were proposed to those regulations which stimulated a great deal of discussion when the public hearings on them were held. Roughly, about the same point in time, there was an administrative decision to bring about a change in types of arrangements which had existed with a number of States. The result was a reduction in the number of States in which there were cooperative understandings or arrangements from 22 or 23 down to 6. This was a matter, understandably, of concern to IAGLO and was discussed in several preceding conventions.

The matter was then, as your President indicated, discussed with the Secretary of Labor about a year and one-half ago, specifically, and out of that, there was an understanding that there would be a review of the current situation. There then developed, some time during the latter part of last year, an ad hoc safety advisory committee to the Secretary of Labor to review this problem with the Department and to make recommendations.

Concurrently and even prior to that, there was the designation by the IAGLO of a committee to work with the Department with respect to these same problems. There was a meeting early in January with what I will call the general ad hoc advisory committee, composed of 12 individuals, not necessarily representing their particular constituencies or group interest. There were four from labor, four from industry, and four from what might be described as the public, including the safety community, also the President of the National Safety Council, Mr. Pyle. The Under Secretary of Labor, Mr. Henning, was assigned responsibility of chairing the meeting and guiding these discussions.

At the first meeting of this committee, it was briefed on the various safety activities and functions being performed within the Department of Labor or, basically, in terms of the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, the Bureau of Labor Standards, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the statistical injury accident field. Later, in January, there was also a meeting with the Under Secretary on the part of the special IAGLO Walsh-Healey committee. Present at that meeting for IAGLO were Mr. Webb, who served as chairman, Mr. Boggs of Virginia, and Mr. Laney of Arkansas. Mr. Ricciuti was not able to be present. You received, through the Secretary-Treasurer of the IAGLO, in March, a report on this meeting, prepared by Mr. Brown, your Secretary-Treasurer. I will summarize quite briefly, by reading from a portion of the minutes or the summary of this meeting, that part which seems to me to be particularly important or germane with respect to the overall question. I am sure that the members of the ad hoc committee here at the table will have other comments or observations, either related to the portions which I may not read or to other questions, as your President indicated, stemming from it.

There are four or five more or less basic points to which this meeting addresses itself. And it is phrased in this way in the minutes:

“Should the safety and health standard for enforcement of the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act be minimum Federal standards or the standards of the States in which the work is being performed ?

The first sentence or two of the summary under this general question: "The members of the committee agreed unanimously that there should be Federal minimum standards. However, Mr. Webb urged that when State standards were substantially in keeping with or exceeded the Federal minimum standards, the Secretary should approve such standards and permit the State to enforce its own standards in Walsh-Healey inspections."

The second general question: "If there are Federal standards, should they be by reference to those nationally recognized ones established by such agencies as the United States of America Standards Institute, the National Fire Protection Association, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Public Health Service, and other standards which are already established, or should there be a Federal compilation or codification, or should there be a combination of these two approaches ?"

Then, again, a brief summary or quotation from the summary: "In the course of the general discussion of this item, Mr. Webb urged that the Federal safety standards be developed with full recognition of the existence of various national standards but that they should be issued as the Secretary orders without reference to national standards. If this approach were taken, Federal standards could be higher than national standards, which are regarded as minimum requirements. Also Federal standards could be modified as the occasion arose and, in that way, action by the national standard-making body.”

The third question: "If there are Federal standards, who should make investigations and enforce them! The Federal Government or the States ?”

“There was general agreement that this item had been discussed earlier in the meeting. The members of the committee”—this is your committee"stated that when a State was qualified as to the number of competent inspectors, it should be encouraged to administer the safety requirements of the Walsh-Healey Act. Further,

« AnteriorContinuar »