Carrol Daily Times Herald from Carroll, Iowa on April 22, 1976 · Page 8
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Carrol Daily Times Herald from Carroll, Iowa · Page 8

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Carroll, Iowa
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Thursday, April 22, 1976
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Page 8
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Yanks Sent to Germany Must Learn Language FUNNY BUSINESS By Roger BoHen By Hubert J.Erb BERLIN (AP> - After three decades of service in Germany, the U.S. Army has launched a mandatory program to teach its troops the language of the host country. The educational work done in the Berlin Brigade is held up as a model of what can be accomplished in classroom work now under way at all Army installations in West Germany. The Army also is taking steps to expose new commanders to German before they leave the United States. Getting often reluctant GIs to study German is a pet project of Gen. George S. Blanchard, commander of U.S. Army Europe. In a West Berlin interview. Blanchard said he has broadened an original 40-to 50-hour concept for younger new arrivals to include a mandatory program of up to 120 hours of instruction for senior officers and noncommissioned officers. The Army chief of staff. Blanchard said, has approved giving all new battalion, brigade and division level commanders assigned to Germany a 120-hour course at the Army language school in the United States before they depart for Germany. This program takes full effect July 1. A knowledge of German is Ticnei Herald, Carroll, la. Thonday, April 27, 1976' 8 TH.oimill . indispensable to better community relations as well as important operationally, Blanchard declared. He said that added language capability is but another logical step for the Army in Europe as it becomes more qualified in its men and much better equiped. On the personal side, Blanchard added, it becomes a question of helping to give especially the young soldiers in Germany a sense of fitting in among the German population. "I've never seen an American soldier who has a good German friend who is unhappy in Germany," the four-star commander observed. Blanchard said the most effective teacher he has seen so far was a young German girl New Dimension to Bargaining Process By Harrison Weber (lowi Dally Preii Aiioclatkinl DES MOINES — It appears that a new dimension is going to be added to the collective bargaining process for state employes. A bill has been approved by a Senate appropriations subcommittee which would create a joint legislative committee on employment relations. This legislative committee, consisting of 10 legislators, would, in effect, serve as a buffer between the governor and various employe organizations on salary negotiations. Before any salary package for the 40,000 plus state employes could be approved by the Legislature, it would have to be okayed by the legislative committee on employment relations. Negotiating would be done by the public employment relations coordinator which would be a new position created by the bill. This coordinator would be appointed by the governor and the office would be under the state comptroller. The bill mandates that the public employment relations coordinator consult with the legislative committee on employment relations on the positions of an employe organization and the public employer. Tentative collective bargaining agreements would have to be submitted to the legislative committee for approval; the committee, which would meet in secret, would have to accept or reject the total agreement. Sen. Earl Willits, chairman of the Senate appropriations committee, said the bill is an attempt to deal with the problem of what the relationship is going to be between the executive and legislative branches on public employ bargaining. Under existing law, it would be possible to have collective bargaining going on now. The reason it is not, Willits expalined, is that none of the employe units have been organized at the state level. "They probably won't be as long as \ve have a law that requires a majority of those eligible to vote, instead of those voting, in order to form a unit." Willits asserted. He also criticized Gene Vernon, director of employment relations in the comptroller office, for advocating only 13 or 14 units, which Willits said would average about 3,000 employes each. A lot of research has gone into this bill, Willits commented. "Our staff people have contacted the Council of State Governments and have examined statutes of other states." An ad hoc committee consisting of legislative leaders from both sides of the political aisle plus Vernon, State Comptroller Marvin Selden and Wythe Willey, executive assistant to Governor Robert Ray, has been meeting on the bill. "We found that we were mutually distrustful of each other," Wfllits said. "To paint a scenario, some members of the Legislature are afraid if the Democrats are in control of the General Assembly next year, the governor might say, 'fooey, we'll just given the employes what they want.' Then the Legislature is put in a position of either having to raise taxes to fund the package or reject the package and thus undermine collective bargaining. "Conversely, the governor is afraid that he and his bargaining staff will arrive at an agreement with bargaining units and come to the Legislature and we'll undermine the process by having those employes come directly here and lobby for benefits above and beyond those bargained for. "The problem is that we both have learned to think somewhat as employers," Willits quipped. In threshing out the mechanics of the proposed bill, the committee decided not to require Senate confirmation of the public employment relations coordinator. Willits, a Des Moines lawyer, said the reason for striking Senate confirmation is that the governor said such a provision is totally unacceptable. "The reason, talking straight-out, is the traditional affiliation of the Democratic party with labor unions. There always will be enough Democrats in the Senate to reject the governor's appointee if it wasn't someone they considered friendly enough. I think that is a little bit of an overwrought fear on the part of the governor, but I told Willey I was willing to take that out in good faith if he was willing to look at the bill. Willits charged Vernon with doing a lot of things that he doesn't have statutory authority to do. When asked what, Willits replied that Vernon is telling the state merit commission not to grant merit reclassifications. "We're able to document that. He (Vernon) may claim he has such authority and that he is working with merit director Wallace Keating, but right now that's a,merit commission function." teaching at one Army post. "The first thing she taught the soldiers was how to meet a young German girl without • getting their faces slapped," . he added. "You don't just say, •Hello, Baby'." Blanchard maintained that changed times, tighter money, fewer marks to the dollar and other influences have caused the GI in Germany to turn in on himself more and more. But, he said, the effort to get the men out of the barracks and circulating is an objective that must be undertaken. Sgt. l.C. James White of Louisville, Ky., who is taking the course in West Berlin, said: "I.'ve been in Germany 11 years, three tours, and this is the first time I ever studied German. Before I learned it all mixed up. This program is straightening it out for me. But how well it comes across is still up to the ability and interest of the guy taking the course." 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