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Connally Opposes $1.25 Minimum Wage quoted Blodgett, in its Feb. 22 issue, that the minimum wage rate “will ‘sabotage’ programs in his state. ‘Communities just can’t live with it,’ says Mr. Blodgett.” Blodgett declined to comment further, but he had already wired Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz on Jan. 11 declaring: “To require the federal minimum wage of $1.25 per hour would render the entire program inoperative in this state. . . . [S]tudents would often be paid at a higher rate than their parents. . . . They also would be paid more than the full-time employees doing the same type of work.” Blodgett specifically asked that the $1.25 ruling be rescinded, and he added: “Otherwise I cannot foresee how I can recommend to the governor any projects under Title I-B, since to do so would upset the entire wage structure in each of the many communities involved.” In Corpus Christi it was well understood among officials in the poverty program that the governor was opposed to $1.25; there was a general impression that he would veto programs based on this pay rate. Blodgett, it appears, had not actually said there would be a veto in conferences with Corpus Christi officials; he had conveyed the governor’s and his own objections to the $1.25 pay rate. In the context of the required resignation of Lewis, some Corpus Christi officials concluded a veto was in prospect. The dispute broke into the open when Washington reporter Ned Curran quoted an unidentified Labor Department official that Connally’s opposition to $1.25 endangered the success of the war on poverty in Texas. “Frankly, we are surprised with resistance from the President’s home state and from Gov. Connally,” Curran quoted the official. Connally called a news conference on minutes’ notice. He denied opposition to the Neighborhood Youth Corps, which he called “a fine program with a lot of potential.” At the first the Labor Department had said wage rates in the N.Y.C. would be slightly less than those prevailing in the region, Connally stressed; 23 Texas school districts applied, but then the $1.25 wage ruling was issued. “The consequences of this ruling are very serious, in my judgment,” Connally said. “As a practical matter, this action would place local school districts in the awkward and unrealistic position of paying inexperienced school age students of underprivileged families a rate of pay for casual chores that in many cases would exceed that of adult employees working in the same facility, the average earning of their own parents, and the wages he himself might reasonably expect to earn in the days immediately following school.” The requirement was “unfortunate,” the governor said. “We have many state employees, unfortunately, who do not receive $1.25 an hour,” he said. 2 The Texas Observer “In spite of” the ruling, he said, he would consider each N.Y.C. application on its merits, but would require, “before approval, a statement from the school board setting forth the following: “1.The prevailing wage in the area. “2.Signature of a majority of the school board approving the application. “3.Written acknowledgement by the board reflecting a full understanding that this program will in 1966 be on a 50-50 matching basis. . . .” Connally cited these hourly wage figures from the 23 school districts: Austin, 90c; Beaumont, 90c to $1.10; Big Springs, 80c; Cleburne, 80-90c; Corpus Christi, 80c; Dallas, -90c to $1.20; Dimmit County, 75c Goliad 75c; Harris County, 80c to $1.10; Laredo, 80c; Lockhart, 75-90c; Los Fresnos, unspecified; Olton, 90c; Pharr-San Juan, 90c; Port Isabel, 75-80c; Rio Grande City, 75-90c; Lubbock, $1; San Saba, 75c; San Felipe, 75c; San Marcos, 80c; South Park, $1-$1.25; and Victoria, 75c. That same day the House of Representatives disapproved the $1.25 minimum in the program by a vote of 117 to 13. \(The 13 voting against this were Reps. Bonilla, Eckhardt, Green, Harris, Haynes of Orange, Johnson of Bexar, Lee, Ligarde, Parker, Richardson, Vale, Weldon, and Jack Howard, director of the N.Y.C., Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incor, porated the State Week and Austin ForumAdvocate. We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of man as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Editor and General Manager, Ronnie Dugger. Partner, Mrs. R. D. Randolph. Business Manager, Sarah Payne. Contributing Editors, Elroy Bode, Bill Grammer, Larry Goodwyn, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Willie Morris, James Presley, Charles Ramsdell, Roger Shattuck, Dan Strawn, Tom Sutherland, Charles Alan Wright. Staff Artist, Charles Erickson. Contributing Photographer, Russell Lee. Subscription Representatives: Austin, Mrs. Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos, HO 5-1805; Dallas, Mrs. Cordye Hall, 5835 Ellsworth, TA 1-1205; El Paso, Mrs. Jeanette Harris, 5158 Garry Owen Rd., LO 5-3448; Houston, Mrs. Shirley Jay, 10306 Cliffwood Dr., PA 3-8682; Lubbock, Doris Blaisdell, 2515 24th St.; Midland, Eva Dennis, 4306 Douglas, OX 4-2825; Odessa, Enid Turner, 1706 Glenwood, EM 6-2269; Rio Grande Valley, Mrs. Jack Butler, 601 Houston, McAllen, MU 6-5675; San Antonio, Mrs. Mae B. Tuggle, 531 Elmhurst, TA 6-3583; Tyler, Mrs. Erik Thomsen, came to Austin to calm things down and told the Observer in the Capitol that the governor had not opposed or vetoed any N.Y.C. projects, since he had not been asked to approve any yet. Howard took two positions: One, that since improving the lot of the impoverished youths in the N.Y.C. was the objective of the program, $1.25 an hour would help do this; but two, that local officials should consider, in figuring the wage rate, that the youths in the program would not be paid for part of their participation. \(A Corpus Christi pilot project has been announced, for instance, in which 70 youths will work April to June for 30 hours a week at $1.25 and study ten with Connally Howard said, “We’re going to work it out.” IT’S A “SAD COMMENTARY,” Hank Brown, Texas AFL-CIO president, said, “when it is publicly admitted that should Youth Corps job trainees be paid $1.25 an hour, they will be making more per hour than _their parents. . . . “Of Texas’ approximately 3.7 million working people, 1.5 million earn less than $1.25 an hour and 500,000 earn less than 75c an hour.” There is a “distinct flavor of racial exploitation in the Texas wage picturein the efforts of states’ righters to hold down worker income,” Brown said. “The vast 3332 Lynwood, LY 4-4862; Cambridge, Mass., Victor Emanuel, 33 Aberdeen Ave., Apt. 3A. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them, because this is a journal of free voices. The Observer publishes articles, essays, and creative work of the shorter forms having to do in various ways with this area. The pay depends; at present is is token. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by return postage. Unsigned ; articlesare the editor’s. During the current legislative session, unsigned legislative stories may sometimes embody or be the reportage of Capitol reporters who cover some events for the Observer. The Observer is published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd., biweekly from Austin, Texas. Entered as second-class matter April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Second class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.00 a year; two years, $9.50; three years, $13.00. Foreign rates on request. Single copies 25c; prices for ten or more for students, or bulk orders, on request. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 504 West 24th St., Austin 5, Texas. Telephone GR 7-0746. Change of Address: Please give old and new address and allow three weeks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the SoUth 59th YEAR ESTABLISHED 1906 Vol. 57, No. 6 7e 0S0 March 19, 1965