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Could be a sign of the times for business and labor. . . .

Lyle Taylor, president of an AFL-CIO local union at the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo, Iowa, is leaving that post to become executive vice-president of the company. The struggling firm became totally owned by employees earlier this year, but management and the union had remained separate. The company said the appointment is intended to give ''a broader vision'' on Rath problems and to ''help us do a better job.'' Taylor says labor relations won't be affected. He says hopes to help reverse Rath's financial losses and restore jobs of union members who have been laid off.

Company officials and Mr. Tylor say the change is ''a commentary on how the adversarial climate between labor and management has relaxed.''m

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