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is a reduction in the rate of absenteeism. One recommendation involved the identification of the need for the Superintendent to have more interaction with the night shift employees. Therefore, in recognition of this, night time walk arounds by the Superintendent have been initiated.
LONG-TERM USE OF TEMPORARY WORKERS
Question. I am concerned about the AOC's long-term use of temporary workers who do not receive the employee benefits available to most federal workers. Focusing on your largest category of temporary workers, those who work on construction projects, how many such workers do you now employ and what benefits do they receive?
Response. As of December 2000, the AOC employed 289 individuals engaged in construction and special maintenance work. These workers were hired for a variety of reasons, including for work that must be performed pursuant to a deadline when there is insufficient time to compete for a contractor, for work that would be disruptive to the operations of Members of Congress, Committees and staff and that must be frequently stopped and started, for which a contractor would charge excessively, and for work that is funded by an annual or multi-year appropriation.
The AOC pays Social Security contributions on behalf of these workers. In addition, after one continuous year of employment, these workers may participate in the Federal health benefits program, but must pay the entire cost of the premium (both the employee and government shares). As part of their pay, these workers receive an additional hourly payment for fringe benefits that is intended to cover the cost of such benefits.
Question. How long is the typical temporary construction worker in your employ? Please provide detailed overall data derived from the employment histories of the temporary construction workers now in your employ.
Response. As of June 1, 2001, the average tenure of an AOC temporary construction worker is 4.5 years, excluding 58 workers who have under one year of employment. This average tenure rate reflects the aggregate service history of these workers given that they work an intermittent work schedule. The following chart reflects a detailed summary by year of the number of Davis Bacon workers' service history as of June 2001. To provide a comprehensive review of individual service histories would require staff resources and additional time of approximately 6-9 months as this involves a manual review of individual employee records.
Number of Employees
* The hiring and separation activity of Davis Bacon workers changes from pay period to pay period.
QUESTIONS FOR THE RECORD
Question. Of the present temporary construction workforce, how many have been with AOC for more than a year? Temporary workers with over one year's service can participate in the federal health-insurance program, if they pay the entire cost, correct? How many of those now eligible actually participate in the FEHBP, paying both shares? Does a typical temporary worker's fringe payment cover 100% of the cost of the blue-cross standard option, which exceeds $340 per month for a single person, and more for a family?
Response. As of June 1, 2001, 261 temporary construction workers have been employed by AOC for more than one year. Workers hired to perform construction and special maintenance work that are paid in accordance with rates established by the Secretary of Labor for the Davis Bacon Act are, after one continuous year of employment, eligible to participate in the Federal health benefits program, but must pay the entire premium (both the employee contribution and government contribution). A December 2000 report reflected that 17 employees had elected to participate in the Federal health benefits program.
The fringe payments (established by DOL) of AOC temporary construction workers vary widely based on occupation and range from $2.85 per hour to $8.40 per hour. The average fringe payment made to temporary construction workers in calendar year 2000, was $8,883.00. For 39 employees whose fringe rate is $2.85 per hour, the cost of self and family coverage exceeds the fringe rate. However, for the majority of employees, this amount is sufficient to pay the entire cost of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Standard Option) health benefits plan for either self-only coverage or self and family coverage. The annual cost of the self-only coverage, including both the employee and Government contribution, is $3,142.10; the annual cost of self and family coverage, also including both the employee and Government contribution, is $7,194.98
BC/BS Self Only Std EE Cost-$34.26/PP Govt Cost-$86.59 = $120.85 × 26 = $3,142.10.
BC/BS Self & Family Std EE Cost-$80.91/PP Govt Cost-$195.82 $276.73 × 26 $7,194.98.
Question. The report provided to the subcommittee on this subject in May says you have recently limited the appointment of new temporary workers to less than one year. Why have you chosen to limit new appointments in this way?
Response. We are not limiting the appointment of new temporary workers to less than one year. We implemented a process of making appointments with a not-toexceed one year time frame so as to review the need at the end of the year to see if there was a sound business need to make a new appointment. Past practice had been that once employed, the appointment could go on for years without a periodic review to see if there was a continuing business need. Based on this review, if it is determined that there is a continuing business need, another appointment is made for the employee, if not, the appointment ends.
Under this practice, if a determination is initially made that the temporary worker is needed for more than a year (i.e., for a project expected to last 2 or 3 years), the appointment is made for that length of time. If at the end of the appointment (i.e., the 2nd or 3rd year) it is deemed that there is a continuing business need for the temporary worker, a determination is made as to the appropriate length of another appointment. If the needs have been met, the appointment ends.
Implementation of this practice was to ensure that temporary appointments did not go on continuously for long duration without the benefit of a periodic needs assessment and to base another appointment on business needs.
Question. Further to the preceding question, what, if anything, prevents you from establishing a shorter threshold period, such as 120 days? What prevents you from converting the hundreds of temporary construction workers who've been with you for years, but who do not currently receive full benefits, to another category (e.g., temporary without time limitation or temporary for more than one year) which would afford them full benefits?
Response. The 261 workers with aggregate service of more than one year are excluded from retirement, life insurance and thrift savings plan coverage by regulation because they work an intermittent work schedule, not because of their temporary employment. When AOC recruits for short-term construction projects, we appoint Davis Bacon workers for 90 days, 120 days, 6 months, etc., depending on the nature of the project.
As discussed in the April 2001 report "Temporary Employment at the Architect of the Capitol", AOC provided three alternatives to use of temporary workers. The advantages, disadvantages as well as cost estimates for these alternatives were out
Question. Assume that congress is going to require you to eliminate the long-term use of temporary workers. What is your preferred approach and the associated cost? Response. Should Congress require the elimination of long term use of Davis Bacon temporary workers, the AOC preference would be to convert all these temporary workers, employed at that time, to temporary Wage Rate employees. Employees may choose not to accept the conversion appointment in which case AOC would have to recruit extensively for the vacant positions or would need to contract out for such work.
This option would provide AOC the ability to work around congressional schedules to minimize noise, dust and other disturbances, but at a higher cost based on fixed shift work schedules. This option would also necessitate an increase in the AOC budget to cover additional salaries and related expenses.
Total Projected Additional Cost to AOC
* Cost projection is based on 289 employees employed as of December 2000.
Mr. HOYER. I asked a question about the restaurant. I am concerned about performance. I want to pay people well and give them good benefits, but I also want to expect outstanding performance from them. I think that is true of everybody in the Congress. I think that is fair, treat people well and you expect them to work hard and do well. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me that opportunity.
And the Harris case if you can for the record, I would like you to respond so the committee would have on record the resolution of the case.
Mr. HANTMAN. Absolutely.
[Subsequent to the hearing, the Architect of the Capitol provided the following:]
RESOLUTION OF THE HARRIS CASE
The parties have agreed to terms.
The Court has given preliminary approval to the settlement and a Fairness Hearing is scheduled before the U.S. District Court on September 28, 2001.
At the Fairness Hearing the Court will determine whether or not to give final approval to the settlement. The settlement will become effective upon receiving final approval.
O'NEILL BUILDING DEMOLITION
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. LaHood?
Mr. LAHOOD. Mr. Chairman, I had some questions, but I wonder, given the fact that Mr. Sherwood was here ahead of me
Mr. SHERWOOD. Go ahead.
Mr. LAHOOD. What is going to happen to the O'Neill Building? Mr. HANTMAN. The O'Neill Building is a building that, as you know, was designed as a hotel. The floor loading is about 40 pounds per square foot. The configuration of it really does not lend itself to other uses. We are currently entertaining proposals to come up with a demolition program and a cost for demolition that we can bring to this committee for consideration.
Mr. LAHOOD. And then what would happen, after the building is demolished then what happens to the property? What do you envision?
Mr. HANTMAN. What we need to do is take a look, create a master plan for the needs of the House in terms of space needs. We have talked about the page dorm and the pages going over there for a discrete period of time, not forever. They might be brought back to another facility ultimately.
Initially, that might be an expansion of the existing parking lot until we come up with a plan for what kind of space and what the program is for that space in the House.
EMPLOYEE FITNESS FACILITY
Mr. LAHOOD. Let me just tell you what my idea is on this. And I know you will be thinking long range on this. I want to pick up on what Mr. Moran said. I think with as many people as we have working on Capitol Hill, we are well within our blue sky opportunities to think about some kind of a gym or gym opportunities for the