Organized labor and a coalition of allied groups are mobilizing a grass-roots battle against a "totally misguided budget cutting mania." They say President Carter's efforts to balance the federal budget pushed US unemployment to 7 percent in April, the highest level in 2 1/2 years.
With layoffs rippling out from the construction and auto industries into other fields, the number of jobless rose last month by 825,000 7.3 million.
Carter administration economist concede their earlier forecasts of 7.2 percent unemployment in the fourth quarter probably were over-optimistic. Generally, 8 to 9 percent unemployment is considered likely before election day in November.
Labor says that such a rate is "intolerable" and a violation of the intent of the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978.
Rep. Augustus F. Hawkins (D) of California, co-author of the act with the late Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D) of Minnesota, recently agreed.
Rising unemployment is deepening the rift between organized labor and the Carter administration. But union spokesmen complain that given recent primary results, they may have no alternative to the President this November.
As a result, the AFL-CIO and other major labor organizations are intesifying their pressures on Congress.
The AFL-CIO helped found a coalition of 150 unions and civil rights, womens, religious, consumers, health, senior citizen, education, and housing groups.
The coalitions aim is to strongly oppose in Washington and in congressmen's home districts "policies that help destroy jobs, lower incomes, reduce purchasing power, and deepen and prolong recession."
Now the latest unemployment figures have given them new and potentially strong ammunition.