AFL-CIO renews its charge that Reagan administration has 'strong' anti-labor bias
The AFL-CIO is renewing its charges that the Reagan administration has a ''strong bias'' against organized labor in the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, and other agencies.
Coming in a presidential election year, the charges must be considered political; the federation has an intensive campaign underway to unseat President Reagan and the Republican Party. But the unions says that if politics weren't a consideration, labor would be seriously concerned and equally critical - of the administration.
During April, the AFL-CIO:
* Urged a Senate appropriations subcommittee to ''look skeptically at recommendations made by a Labor Department, which has shown no sympathy for its basic mission of protecting workers.'' The federation's legislative representative, Peggy Taylor, accused the Labor Department of filling key staff positions with ''persons hostile to programs protecting workers from health and safety hazards, discrimination, and joblessness.''
* Told the Senate that it is ''gravely concerned'' that Reagan's nomination of Rosemary M. Collyer to be general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board is ''another step in turning the NLRB over to management agents, lock, stock, and barrel.''
AFL-CIO has been critical of other Reagan appointees to the NLRB, including the board's chairman, Donald Dotson, and Patricia Diaz Dennis, both former management lawyers. The federation charges that the administration is ''politicizing'' the NLRB, an agency that oversees labor-management relations.
* Attacked a new ruling of the NLRB that frees employers from an obligation to bargain with a plant union before moving operations. The AFL-CIO said the ruling, which reversed an earlier board decision against the Otis Elevator Company, is ''further evidence that the board has become a tool of management.''
Owen Bieber, president of the United Auto Workers, the union involved, called the ruling ''another in a series of frontal attacks by the Reaganized board on the collective bargaining process and the protection workers enjoy under the National Labor Relations Acts.''
The Otis ruling expanded the powers of employers set forth by NLRB in a Jan. 23 Illinois Coil Spring Company ruling that employers may move production from a union to a nonunion plant unless a labor contract specifically bars such a move.
Mr. Bieber said the Otis and Illinois Coil Spring rulings should spur Congress to act quickly to ''restore balance and equity to labor laws'' and to curb what could be ''a new wave of plant closings, joblessness, and community misery as companies are released from any obligation to bargain with their workers before transferring or subcontracting work.''
Meanwhile AFL-CIO is continuing its attack on the administration's claims of gains against unemployment. The March rate of 7.8 percent, with nearly 8.8 million jobless, is ''historically high,'' and if part-time workers and those who have given up looking for work are counted, AFL-CIO says, ''the nation's true jobless rate in March was 11.3 percent, with 12.9 million unemployed.''