"The civil rights issue of the 1980s." That is how Lane Kirkland, president of the AFL-CIO, characterizes the Reagan administration's budget cutback proposals. Organized labor and human-service and public-interest organizations contend the White House plan would dismantle vital programs and reverse social progress achieved over the past 20 years.
Opposition to President Reagan's budget proposals will be at the top of the agenda when the AFL-CIO's executive council meets in Baltimore May 7 and 8. Top federation officials have devoted almost full time for weeks to regional meetings intended to whip up grass-roots opposition against budget slashes and to promote a powerful nationwide Budget Coalition of 186 labor, social service, civil rights, and public-interest groups organized to press Congress to refuse big budget cutbacks.
"If you want to know what the civil rights issues of the 1980s are, look at the President's budget proposals, at the programs that would be dismantled," Mr. Kirkland says.