IT is not surprising that a decade that has produced the yuppie, designer chocolate chip cookies, and college tuitions equal to the price of a house would tend to disdain old-fashioned, flag-waving American trade unionism. Worker ``solidarity,'' after all, seems rather irrelevant when the work line is more often than not a fast-food establishment instead of the town factory - which has closed because the business went overseas. And when the ``best and brightest'' among young people are clamoring to get into business schools.

Moreover, many Americans have been wary of some unions, given reports of dubious leadership practices.

For just such reasons, it is refreshing to read that a number of unions are turning to family interests when negotiating contracts. Involved are such matters as maternity and parental leave time, equal pay for men and women, and child care. One upshot: More and more women seem interested in joining a union.

Does this mean a sudden resurgence for American trade unionism? Hardly, in this entrepreneurial age. Still, those unions that examine issues of family survival warrant society's appreciation.

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