The government's biggest employe union has urged its 300,000 members to end their eight-month-old boycott of U.S. savings bonds. Sales are down in the program, which normally draws about $1.10 (of every $8 it takes in) from federal and military personnel.
Members of AFL-CIO's American Federation of Government Employees have been told to rejoin the payroll savings plan -- backbone of the U.S. savings bond system -- if they choose.
Since April AFGE and other unions have been boycotting savings bonds. The idea was to protest a variety of wrongs -- real and imagined -- President Carter has committed against his increasingly militant 2.9 million federal and postal staffers.
Federal officials are glad to see the AFGE boycott end. Sales have been down sharply in many areas, especially in major federal agencies that are normally the government's blue ribbon customers. Although Treasury brass say economic condition (and more favorable interest rates elsewhere) contributed to the downturn in sales in many areas, they concede the bureaucratic boycott took its toll.
The end of the boycott also may signal a new era of cordiality between the AFL-CIO federal union and the White House. The latter is looking for friends within government union ranks. Federal unions have been highly critical of President Carter for holding down federal pay, ordering workers to pay for parking and making "antibureaucrat statements on the campaign trail.
Recently, the influential, independent Nation Treasury Employees Union blasted Carter and endorsed Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) for the presidency. NTEU represents workers in key agencies such as the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Communications Commission and even the Federal Election Commission.
AFGE, while taking potshots at Carter policies and his newest plan to "reform" federal pay, has avoided any presidential Endorsement. President Carter made a point of inviting Kenneth T. Blaylock, the AFGE president, to the White House Monday when he signed an order giving federal (but not postal) workers an extra paid holiday on Dec. 24.
AFGE's executive council was in town last week, voting to lift the bond boycott. It did so because Carter raised the October pay raise amount to 7 percent, and because the White House is working on an executive order designed to provide greater job-safety protection for federal workers.