Federal workers who are in danger of being demoted - and that is three of every 10 people in some offices - will not get any help from Congress or the Carter administration for at least five months.
Legislation to take the sting from no-fault demotions is not going to make it through the House this year. It will be late spring or early summer (1978) before the job protection bill can become law. Meanwhile, many U.S. workers will go under the grade-cutting knife thanks to reorganization, or the discovery that their jobs (through no fault fault of their own) are overgraded. (Estimates of the number of "overgraded" workers range from 50,060 to 150,000).
Nobody knows yet what the casualty figures will be from the current epidemic of reorganization that has struck most Carter cabinet officers, giving full employment only to the people who makes charts, press releases and organizational tables.
In addition to demotions resulting from the discovery of old job classification errors, many workers will be demoted as a result of "realignments" in their agencies. Federal officials don't use the term "reorganization," since President Carter promised nobody would be hurt as a result of a reorganization. But "realignments" are not covered by that oft-repeated presidential promise, apparently, so thousands are being "realigned" downward.
At the moment "realigments" are taking place at Commerce, the Defense Department and even in the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA - as reported here Sept. 7 - is realigning 820 jobs out of existence, mostly at headquarters in Langley. Housing and Urban Development will chop hundreds of workers in the field and bring others, who originally had been shipped out in a decentralization exercise, back to headquarters here in Washington.
When and if legislative relief does come, it could restore pay nad grade cuts to some federal workers depending on the effective date of the bill. The plan that will be cleared by the Post Office Civil Service Committee was presented by Chairman Robert N. C. Nix (D-Pa.). It would have freeze no-fault demotion actions against employees for as long as they remained in their jobs. Once they left that job, it would be downgraded to its proper level.
The Carter administration rider to the Nix bill deals with workers affected by reorganization-related demotions. It would give employees temporary protection and half-step annual pay raises until their salaries leveled out to the lower rates for their grades.
Neither of those bills will clear the House this year - as was the original plan - and the Senate will not act until the House does. Looks as if federal workers worried about their jobs will have tolive on promises for a few more months.