A recent advertisement attacking proposed increases in federal excise taxes featured the seals of 14 "sponsoring unions" without disclosing that the trade association of the tobacco industry, rather than the unions, paid for the ad, an official of one of the unions has acknowledged.

Raymond F. Scannell, assistant public relations director of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union, said it was "my call" not to reveal that the Tobacco Institute Inc. had picked up the $13,000 to $14,000 tab for the ad. He said his union has more members in the tobacco industry than in any other industry.

The ad ran in newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post. A full-page version in The Progressive magazine's September issue was accompanied by an editorial denunciation.

"... It is improper for the cigarette manufacturers to hide their interests behind the good names of 14 labor unions," the editorial said. "And it is contemptible of the unions to lend their good names to such a shoddy deception."

Scannell responded in kind, saying it was "contemptible {of the magazine} to take off on a self-righteous tirade" without contacting any of the unions.

All but one of the unions (the United Mine Workers of America) are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, which opposes higher excise taxes as excessively burdensome to workers. The increases would raise the taxes on and prices of such commodities as beer, cigarettes, gasoline and phone service.

In addition, five of the 12 AFL-CIO unions have contracts with tobacco companies. The ad headline -- "The drive to increase excise taxes could drive us out of work" -- appears over a photo of three persons identified by Scannell as members of his union.

"People shouldn't have to pay higher excise taxes -- or pay for them with their jobs," the ad says. "Let your representatives in Washington know that you oppose an increase in the excise tax."

The Tobacco Institute referred queries to Scannell, who gave this account:

Last fall, after the fight over the tax-reform legislation ended, it became clear that a hike in excise taxes was probable. While affected industries organized for battle, Scannell said, "We came up the idea of putting {the regressive impact} squarely in front of the public and Congress."

As a result, the bakery, confectionery and tobacco workers' union, mainly, put the idea for what became the ad campaign before the Tobacco Industry Labor Management Committee, which sponsors union-initiated projects that the Tobacco Institute pays for.

The committee has two members from the institute and six from unions, including two from the tobacco workers' union and one each from unions representing machinists, carpenters, sheet-metal workers, and firemen and oilers.

"We talked the industry representatives into it" and then found other unions, including the mine workers, willing to cosponsor the ad, Scannell said. "We're stuck having to use the money contributed by the industry because we don't have the cash.