Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

THOMPSON v. BOYLE

October 1, 1979

Dorothy M. THOMPSON et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
John J. BOYLE, Public Printer, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This class action is brought by five named plaintiffs on behalf of the 324 female Journeyman Bindery Workers of all grades ("JBWs") employed in the Binding Division of the United States Government Printing Office ("GPO") on May 25, 1973. All of the named plaintiffs are grade 4 JBWs who have operated the Smyth sewing machines in the Binding Division as early as 1971.

 The defendant, John J. Boyle, is the Public Printer of the United States. He is sued in his official capacity as chief administrative officer of the GPO, which produces printed matter for the United States government. Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. § 305, he classifies all positions in the Production Department, which includes the Binding Division, and establishes the wages paid for these positions.

 The plaintiffs allege that the defendant has continued to engage in patterns and practices of sex discrimination against the class in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and Executive Order 11478, 34 F.R. 12985 (1969), as amended by Executive Order 11590, 36 F.R. 7831 (1970). Plaintiffs also allege that defendant's practices violate the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), which became applicable to the defendant by 1974 amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Pub.L. 93-259, § 6(a)(1).

 After exhausting their administrative remedies concerning their Title VII and Equal Pay Act claims, the plaintiffs filed suit on July 24, 1974. The Title VII class was conditionally certified pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Proc. 23(b)(2) on December 4, 1974. The case was originally tried before the late Judge Waddy in March, 1978, but Judge Waddy died before issuing a final decision; and a new trial was held before this Court from March 7, 1979 through March 22, 1979. At the time of trial, the named plaintiffs and 191 other members of the Title VII class had filed consents to become members of the Equal Pay Act class.

 The primary issues before the Court may be stated as follows:

 (1) Whether the defendant's requirement that JBWs complete a four-year apprenticeship program before attaining craft bookbinder status is a pattern and practice of sexual discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act;

 (2) Whether the defendant's classification of all JBW positions as noncraft positions, with lesser pay and opportunities for advancement than those available to craft employees, is a pattern and practice of discrimination under Title VII;

 (4) Whether the defendant violates the Equal Pay Act by refusing to pay wages to JBWs equal to those paid to bookbinders for jobs the performance of which require equal skill, effort and responsibility and are performed under substantially equal working conditions, and whether any such violation is willful.

 On the basis of the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, with certain exceptions, these issues are resolved in favor of the plaintiffs. The Court will conduct further proceedings to determine the relief to which the plaintiffs are appropriately entitled.

 I. FINDINGS OF FACT.

 A. GPO and Industry Practices.

 The Binding Division of the GPO is organized on a production line basis to perform all of the hand and machine functions necessary to assemble hard and soft-covered books, pamphlets, bills, passports and the Congressional Record.

 Employees in the Binding Division are classified as follows: 1) craft or bookbinder; 2) craft-uprate, earning salaries above the regular craft rate; 3) noncraft, including JBWs and unskilled Printing Plant Workers ("PPWs"), and general grade ("GG"). Craftsmen and craft-uprates supposedly perform jobs which have traditionally been recognized in the printing trades as skilled trades or crafts. These jobs require a four-year apprenticeship. Noncraft employees perform tasks which have been considered unskilled or semi-skilled. Only craftsmen are entitled to compete for supervisory and printing specialist positions.

 Regardless of the tasks to which they are actually assigned, all craft employees receive higher wages than noncraft employees. All bookbinders earn $ 11.16 per hour, regardless of the duties they actually perform. In contrast, the noncraft JBWs are categorized according to job grades 5, 4, 3 and 2, and perform different tasks according to their grade. The five grade 5 JBWs are considered work leaders and they currently earn $ 8.01 per hour. The 36 grade 4 JBWs, including the five named plaintiffs, who operate the Smyth sewing machines, are paid $ 7.59 per hour. Grade 3 JBWs operate the Oversewing and Singer sewing machines, earning $ 7.37 per hour. Grade 2 JBWs, who comprise the majority of the work force, earn $ 7.17 per hour.

 In 1973, 2,015 of the 3,977 Production Department employees were craftsmen. Males held approximately 1,980 of these positions, and 35 females held the remainder. All first-line supervisory positions were retained by males. There were 1,184 positions in the Binding Division. All of the 279 craft bookbinders were males, while 324 of the 325 noncraft JBWs were females. Approximately 80% of the 580 PPWs were males. Approximately 82% of the females in the Production Department as a whole were employed in the Binding Division. As of October 31, 1978, the Binding Division employed 241 craft bookbinders, all but one of whom were male, and 246 noncraft JBWs, all but one of whom were female. The Binding Division still has no female supervisors.

 Approximately 75 to 80% of the 279 male bookbinders employed in the Binding Division in 1973 operated various industrial machines used in the bookbinding process. The remaining 20 to 25% of the bookbinders performed some hand work and small machine operations. Only hand bookbinders in the Library Section perform hand craft operations.

 Grade 5 JBWs, or Bindery Worker Supervisors, direct JBWs under their supervision. However, they are not permitted to discipline or evaluate JBWs, or to control their leaves; they also receive lower wages than first-line supervisors. The Smyth, Oversewing and Singer sewing machines, operated by grade 4 and 3 JBWs, are the only machines in the Binding Division not operated by bookbinders. JBW machine operators perform the same set up, adjustment and operation functions on their machines that bookbinders perform on the major machines which they operate.

 JBWs are the only noncraft employees other than clerical workers who must meet a minimum experience level to be hired. JBWs are required to serve a two-year apprenticeship in the printing industry and to possess some skills before they enter the GPO. In addition to the two-year apprenticeship required of all JBWs, grades 3 and 4 JBW machine operators must serve an additional eighteen months of training on their machines.

 It is the defendant's position that, despite their apprenticeships and job experience, JBWs may attain craft status in the bindery only by entering and completing the GPO four-year apprenticeship program, or by gaining equivalent experience in the private binding industry.

 Although under no obligation to do so, the GPO patterns its wage scales, general manning practices, and divisions between craft and noncraft occupations on practices maintained in private industry. Traditionally, it has not been possible for women to obtain craft bookbinder status in the industry, either by undertaking a four-year apprenticeship program, or by obtaining equivalent experience. While men have held skilled positions, women have been permitted to undertake only tasks considered noncraft, which entail only two-year apprenticeships. Major industrial machines have been set up and operated by men, who have been assisted by women. The only major machines operated by women are the sewing machines. Men perform hand binding tasks. Women also perform various hand tasks, including hand sewing, and serve as assistants on the machines operated by men. This widespread practice in the trade is evidenced by the fact that as late as 1969 the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders (the predecessor of the Graphic Arts International Union, separate locals of which currently represent bookbinders and JBWs in the GPO) provided different registration requirements for men and women; i. e. a four-year apprenticeship period for men and a two-year apprenticeship for women; classified bindery work as men's and women's work; set women's wages at not less than 70% of journeymen's, or bookbinders' wages; and stated in Section 64 that "Bindery women shall not be permitted to perform any work classified as journeymen's work, except in a case where a journeyman is not available." *fn1"

 B. The Classification of JBW and Bookbinder Positions.

 Prior to the filing of the administrative complaint in this case, grade 4 JBWs, who operate the Smyth sewing machine, made several attempts, beginning in 1963, to have their positions reclassified as craft positions and/or to gain credit toward the four-year craft apprenticeships for their two-year apprenticeships and machine experience. In a 1966 request for reclassification, the JBWs alleged that the classification violated the Equal Pay Act of 1963. In response to an unsuccessful attempt in 1972, the then acting Public Printer stated that a full investigation had been made of the matter. However, the defendant was unable to provide the plaintiffs with a copy of this supposed investigation or name the methods employed or the management employees who participated in it.

 1. The O'Connell testimony: Smyth machine operations are equal to bookbinder machine operations in difficulty, responsibility and qualifications.

 For purposes of the administrative proceeding in this matter, the defendant requested that the Civil Service Commission appoint an investigator to conduct an investigation of job classification issues raised in the complaint on the defendant's behalf. The Civil Service Commission appointed its regular employee, Mr. James R. O'Connell, who is broadly experienced in job classification and position management in industrial, professional and scientific areas. Mr. O'Connell has been responsible for more than 2,000 job classifications during his federal employment, and is qualified as an expert on position classifications. Using Civil Service Commission standards, he performed a job comparison study of the Smyth sewing machine and the machines set up and operated by bookbinders. Mr. O'Connell followed standard Commission procedures, and based his conclusions on his own observations and the answers of defendant's employees to particular questions. The defendant offered no objection, at the time of the study, to the 25 machines selected by Mr. O'Connell for his study.

 Mr. O'Connell concluded that there is no rational basis for distinguishing the grade 4 JBW Smyth operation from work performed by virtually all bookbinders. With few exceptions, Mr. O'Connell was persuaded that the difficulty, responsibility, and qualifications required for all bookbinder machine operations were equal to those required on the Smyth assignment. His evaluation, using these terms, was identical in substance to the assessment of skill, effort, and responsibility required under the Equal Pay Act. His conclusions were stated for purposes of the administrative investigation (see plaintiffs' exhibit 1, apps. 14 & 16), and were reiterated and amplified in his testimony before the Court in March, 1978 and March, 1979.

 Mr. O'Connell found it significant that bookbinders and sewing machine operators work as part of one production process both in physical proximity as well as within the same organizational structure. Thus, the working conditions and materials handled by the two groups are identical. He observed that each machine operator's job, including that of the Smyth operators, requires manual dexterity, mechanical aptitude, attention to detail, and a sense of responsibility for the machine and the product. He concluded that only the four quad folder machines in the bindery require more physical and manual dexterity to set up and adjust than does the Smyth sewing machine. Defining job content as an analysis of the specific tasks performed for a specific job, Mr. O'Connell found that all the bookbinder machine operations and the Smyth operation involved substantially the same job content. He stated that the Smyth machine operation was virtually identical to the bookbinder machine operations. Perhaps most significantly, he found that, to the extent difficulty, qualifications, and responsibilities could be separately evaluated among the machines, the Smyth operation was more closely related to many of the bookbinder operations than certain bookbinder operations were to one another.

 Mr. O'Connell's conclusions as to the comparability of Smyth machine operations and bookbinder machine operations are supported by the statement of H. Kenneth Kingsbury, then Superintendent of the Bindery, at the administrative proceedings. Mr. Kingsbury acknowledged that several machines operated by craft bookbinders are not as complicated to operate as the Smyth. Specific machines mentioned were the stamping machine, the nipper, the stripping machine, the cutter and the tipping machine. William Hammill, defendant's Director of Personnel at the time, concurred in Mr. Kingsbury's conclusions as to these machines. Mr. Kingsbury also stated that he knew of no management reason for excluding the Smyth operator function from the bookbinder craft other than that GPO management adhered to the manning practices of private industry, which so categorized them. He explained the inclusion of less complex machines than the Smyth in the bookbinder tasks on the ground of industry tradition.

 Mr. O'Connell's conclusions as to the equality of the Smyth operator function with bookbinder operator functions stands unrefuted by any credible evidence presented by the defendants. For the purposes of grade 4 JBW claims under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act, the Court accepts his conclusion that the Smyth sewing machine operations are more like many bookbinder machine operations in skill, effort, and responsibility than many bookbinder machine operations are like one another.

 2. The Gottlieb testimony: The skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions required for JBW positions in general is "substantially equal" to that required for bookbinder positions.

 Plaintiffs supported their evidence as to their Equal Pay Act and Title VII claims through the testimony of Bertram Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb is an industrial engineer with 30 years of experience in job classification, evaluation, and wage incentive plans. He has had extensive experience as an arbitrator and was industrial staff engineer for the AFL-CIO for twelve years. He is qualified as an expert in industrial engineering and personnel classification.

 Over a fifteen-day period, Mr. Gottlieb performed an on-the-job analysis of all the machine and hand functions at the bindery. He observed normal job operations, including set ups and changeovers, and spoke to employees at the bindery. When Mr. Gottlieb performed his study, defendant did not dispute plaintiffs' contention that individual bookbinders performed individual primary tasks. Therefore, he did not attempt to evaluate the accuracy of this contention. However, his findings are consistent with the truth of this contention. For the study, Mr. Gottlieb evaluated the skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions under which individual bookbinder and JBW hand and machine operations are performed. He defined skill as basic knowledge that must be brought to the job, experience needed to meet the employer's standards, and ingenuity or initiative called upon in the performance of the job. His definition of responsibility included responsibility for equipment and material, nonsupervisory responsibility for the work of others, and responsibility for the safety of others. Effort included both physical and mental effort.

 Based on his observation of JBW and bookbinder functions, Mr. Gottlieb found that within the JBW functions, the Smyth sewing machine required the greatest skill, effort, and responsibility, the Oversewing machine involved somewhat lesser requirements, and the Singer sewing machine involved the least of these factors. He determined that the skill, effort, and responsibility required to operate the Smyth is substantially equal to that required to set up, adjust and, in some cases, operate certain bookbinder machines. These machines include:

 
Gathering-Stitch portion of Gathering Units
 
Inset, Stitch and Trim
 
Round, Back, Crash, Line Unit
 
Moffett Automatic Saddle Sewing Machine

 In Mr. Gottlieb's opinion, the following bookbinder machine functions, including set up, adjustment and, in some cases, operation, were equivalent to JBW oversewing functions:

 
Three-Wing Casing In Machine
 
Casing In and Building In Machine
 
Tipping Machine
 
Flat Bed Cutter
 
Rotary Board ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.