The head of the nation's largest government workers' union castigated the Carter administration yesterday for paring aid to states and localities in its fiscal 1980 budget, and hinted he might reject the president's new wage guidelines unless the money were restored.
Jerry Wurf, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes, listed as "this union's conditions for cooperation" with the wage-price guidelines restoration of funds in four major federal aid programs, including public service jobs.
He also called on Carter to impose mandatory controls on all sectors of the American economy, from wages and prices to credit and consumer costs. Wurf called the present voluntary program "nothing but sweet talk and happiness." The AFL-CIO also has urged such a step.
Wurf made his remarks during a 45-minute speech to a conference of top AFSCME officials that appeared to be designed partly as a political forum. He criticized the administration's new austerity policies as "Proposition 13 politics" that were not likely to help slow inflation.
But while the AFSCME leader complained about several of the administration's budget cutbacks in recent weeks, he insisted the union still had "no need to regret" its endorsement of Carter in the 1976 election.
"This is in no manner, shape or form a break with the administration," he said. Later he criticized several of Carter's proposed cuts in minor Sccal Security programs as "outrageous," and said AFSCME will fight in Congress to have the money restored.
Wurf's comments came after a series of meetings between White House officials and the AFSCME leadership, and a gesture by the administration two weeks ago to "restore" some of the money budget-makers wanted to cut for the criticized public service jobs program.
The new spending levels will provide enough to finance 540,000 jobs in fiscal 1980, with the total declining to 475,000 by year end -- compared with 625,000 in force now. By contrast, the Office of Management and Budget had sought to trim next year's level to $325,000.
However, Wurf said yesterday the administration not only should boost the number of public service jobs again, but also should increase spending for key urban programs, anti-recession aid to cities, general revenue sharing and other grant programs.
He called the cutbacks the administration is planning "a serious error" by the president. Cutting $10 billion to $20 billion from the budget would reduce the inflation rate by only 0.1 or 0.2 percentage points, but will be "depriving all the have-nots" in society, he said.
Wurf's reaction was one of the most vocal rebuttals to its new austerity program the administration has had to face. Until recently, Carter aides have managed to keep the offensive by portraying the cutbacks as necessary to slow inflation.