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Big labor making big bucks off of tough economic times?

High interest rates are swelling union reserves - including pension and strike funds - by millions of dollars. The United Auto Workers says assets in 1981 rose $103.5 million, compared with an $8.5 million drop in 1980. Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills and other investments have fueled the increase. However, UAW dues income is down sharply with 216,000 members out of work indefinitely. The union has been forced to cut operating costs: 100 of its 900 employees have been laid off or have taken early retirement. And the union has had to tap the interest on reserves to stay financially sound.

Smaller unions are not faring as well. Many are as worried as employers about high costs and declining income. m

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