Carter administration officials are discovering that applying guidelines to a $2 trillion ecomomy is not simple.
Yesterday, officials at the Council on Wage and Price Stability said they are trying to "clarify" the 7 percent wage and fringe benefit guidelines as they apply to four specific areas:
How does an employer insure that his payroll and fringe benefit increases average 7 percent or les.
How make sure inequities do not crop up in the treatm
How can workers and employers establish that a "tandem" relationship exists between union and nonunion employes. A tandem relationship exists if it can be shown that one group of employes traditionally receives the same pay increase that another group gets. Tandem raises are exempt from the 7 percent standard if part of the tandem relationship got a raise before the president's Oct. 24 address.
How make sure inequities fo not crop up in the treatment of union and nonunion employes with regard to the 7 percent standard.
How to deal with the myriad ways in which executives are paid.
Does a stock option count against the 7 percent standard when the company decides to grant it, when the employe earns it or when the employe exercrised the option?
Council officials also are discovering that it is easier to apply the president's general "deceleration" principle - companies should raise their prices half a percentage point less than they raised them in 1976 and 1977 - to some industries than to others.
Robert Russell, deputy director of the council, said the agency is studying whether to develop special rules for such industries as wholesale and retail trade, insurance, medical care, and energy and public utilities.
Russel said all major decisions on special rules should be made within the 30-day comment period on the regulations that the council proposed last week.
The regulations (the council calls them details because the program is not mandatory) try to define what constitutes acceptable behavior under the terms of the 7 percent pay and benefit standard and the general deceleration standard for prices.
Council officials said they met with representatives of 10 major companies last Thursday to discuss compliance with the program. The council will monitor closely the 400 or so companies with annual revenues of more than $500 million.
Represented at the meeting were General Motors,Alcoa, Exxon, bethlehem Steel, B.F. Goodrich, General Electric, ITT, Bendix, Beatrice Foods and Georgia-Pacific.
Russell said each company had two representatives at the meeting. One representative was a high-level executive who could speak for the company's policy, while a member of the technical staff of each company was there to deal with the nitty-gritty standards.
Over the next month, the council has scheduled meetings with hundreds of companies and several industry groups.
A council spokesman said the agency - which will be beefed up from about 40 staff members to 150 to monitor compliance with the anti-inflation program - has talked almost daily to representatives of the American Association of Railroads since Oct. 31. The railroad industry has asked the Interstate Commerce Commission for a $1.7 billion rate increase which the council contends is in excess of the standards.