Augustus F. Hawkins is not complaining, but he is one of the more famous unknown men of the day.

He is the other half of Humphrey-Hawkins, the shorthand term for the controversial employment and economic policy bill pending in Congress.

In that context, Hawkins' name rings a bell in millions of minds. It is a subject of White House statements, a topic of presidential campaign debate.

Yet for all the name recognition that has brought him, Gus Hawkins remains a famous unknown - at least outside the small circle in which he moves.

His circle is the House of Representatives, where he sits as the Democratic congressman from the Watts area of Los Angeles. He was elected in 1962, the first black to come to Congress from west of the Rockies.

Fifteen years in the House have lifted Hawkins to chairmanship of the Education and Labor, subcommittee on employment opportunities, which makes him a central actor in every job creation and welfare revision proposal that comes along.

For those emotional and fight-provoking issues, his colleagues and acquaintances say, Hawkins is the right man: fair, thorough, persistent, shrewd, low-key, willing to let others take the credit and win the headlines.

Humphrey-Hawkins is a perfect example.

Hawkins drew up most of the legislation and got it started through the House in 1973. The late Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.) added features to it and began pushing it in the Senate.

Humphrey's name and enthusiasm helped. The press, business, labor, and people in Congress soon named the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act the Humphrey-Hawkins bill.

Some blacks insist on callin it the Hawkins-Humphrey bill, but fate seems unstoppable. Others who labored as hard and long as Hawkins also ended up something like foodnotes to legislative histroy.

Hartley of Taft-Hartley (labor law); Burton of Hill-Burton (hospital building), Harris of Kefauver-Harris (food and drug law) are three who come to mind.

If that bothers Gus Hawkins, he isn't letting on.

"I put in my bill to deal with jobs and discrimination, but Humphrey and Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.) had a planning bill in the Senate - they had done the pioneer work - so we joined together," he said the other day.

"I was trying to get a handle on how to fight discrimination and strengthen the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. But I had to convince others that the issue was much broader than discrimination. Humphrey had pretty much the same ideas. We discussed it and decided the job problem had been handled too much on a Bad-Aid basis."

The result is a bill that directs the President and Congress to establish programs and poliices to achieve full employment, while combating inflation and job discrimination.

It has been controversial, a sbject of debate in the 1976 presidential campaign but now, in revised, watered-down from, his wider support as a policy measure.

"I am hoping for a final vote in the House by March 1," Hawkins said. "The debate is going to be heated. Policy is always controversial and it should be deated. But that is how you commit the country to a policy."

The whole idea, as Hawkins sees it, is that none of the big problems - housing, healthcare, equal opportunity - will be settled until everyone who wants to work can do so.

Hawkins could make his crusade a parochial crusade, with unemployment in Watts running at 15 per cent and youth unemployment at least 60 per cent, but solutions will not come that way.

"I think our bill presents the soundest way of dealing with the issues of my district and the country, because they all fit a pattern," he said.

"Race is just not an issue where I am concerned. I don't think I represent black people. I am not considered a black leader and I don't seek that type of role. I feel I am here fighting for issues, causes, principles."

He continued: "Racializing an issue defeats my purpose - which is to get people on my side. Blacks might profit from it, but it affects all people in the country. A job is a right in this country and we are trying to see that everyone who is willing and able can wirj."

Hawkins is a short, bald, trim man who looks a little like everyone's favorite uncle. He is 70 but he works with the energy of a man of 50. He smiles quickly, closes his eyes throughfully before answering a question, keeps his voice low.

After his father lost his shirt in the Depression, Hawkins took a Works Progress Administration job and mexed sodas to pay his way through the University of California at Los Angeles.

The Depression got him interest in politics, so he ran for the California legislature in 1935 - a relatively poor, unkown Democrat in a Republican district. He was elected and he has been in public office since, which may make him the country's most experienced black legislator.

Hawkin's popularity is obvious. He was unopposed for re-election in 1974. In 1976 he won 88 percent of the vote in his south Los Angeles district.

Not long after he got to Congress, Hawkins achieved a mark that he'd like to be remembered for - the incorporation of his fair-employment bill as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hawkins finds some amusement in the confusion that his light skin color causes. He often is mistaken for white, putting him in situations where deprecating remarkd are made about blacks. Some unknowing whites - and blacks, as well - are curious about his devoton to minority issues.

"He is so solid, just so determined, believing in what he's doing," said Carl Holman, president of the Urban Coalition, "that he's like water dripping against a stone."

The time it takes to get things done is Congress is what bothers Hawkins most about the place, his staying power notwithstanding.

"I get impatient with the process because I think of the damage done in the meantime. We've been on this bill since 1973. But the damage to million of individuals who are unable to find work is irreparable. You can't repair that damage and that bothers me very much," he said.

But Hawkins stays right after it, a quality that never fails to impress. Arnold Packer, an assistant secretary of labor who has gone head-to-head with Hawkins on the jobs bill and welfare revision, expressed it this way:

"He is a very serious legislator with persistence to stay with an issue. He is a hard negotiator, but nobody ever goes away mad. He's fair and he's looking for a solution - not a political advantage."

Which isn't a bad way for a politician to be remembered.