The AFL-CIO executive council called today for abolition of the Council on Wage and Price Stability, which President Carter is proposing to retain and strengthen as a centerpiece of the administration's anti-inflation policy.
George Meany, president of the labor federation, said the administration should refrain from any idea of suppressing wage increases in favor of a vigorous effort to control interest rates, especially those on home mortgage loans.
AT a press conference during the executive council's mid-winter meeting here, Meany also disclosed that the AFL-CIO will ask the Senate Labor Committee to investigate involvement by "outsiders" - many of them liberals opposed to Meany's brand of labor union leadership - in the recent United Steelworkers election.
Edward Sadlowski had the backing of a number of prominent liberals from outside the labor movement in his challenge earlier this month to Lloyd McBride, who was backed by most of the union's hierarchy and many other AFL-CIO leaders in his campaign to succeed retiring Steelworkers' president I. W. Abel. McBride's victory is currently under challenge by Sadlowski who has charged irregularities in the voting.
Meany said he has no particular legisation in mind, although McBride at one point proposed a law to ban contributions by non union members in a union election. A Meany associate suggested that a congressional investigation, even if it didn't lead to legislation, might deter intervention by "outsiders" in future union elections.
The executive council's attack on the Council on Wage and Price Stability, which it called a "dismal failure," appeared to be part of a larger effort on the part of the AFL-CIO to "jawbone" the administration into avoiding anything that might lead to wage guidelines or controls.
Earlier this week, Meany attacked President Carter's suggestion that business and labor notify the government voluntarily in advance of any wage or price increases. Carter Wednesday told a press conference he was not proposing any specific plans but would continue to pursue a voluntary approach to curbing inflation.
In its diplomatically worded statement today, the AFL-CIO council praised Carter's rejection of wage and price controls but opposed "any back door attempts to do the same thing," including pre-notification of wage and price increases and continuation of the inflation-impact statements that were ordered by former President Ford.
At his press conference, Meany said the wage-price council, which succeeded the Cost of Living Council as the government's chief inflation-fighting agency, has recently been preoccupied with inflation-impact statements assessing the cost of health and safety rules for workers.
"They put a money value on the health of a worker, the life of a worker . . . We think this is really cruel," said Meany.
Meany did not specify what governmental agency might take over the anti-inflation fight but said labor is willing to discuss alternative approaches, including what the executive council calls "governmental planning to forestall future shortages and bottlenecks which contribute to inflation."
The most effective action would be "leadership from the White House," especially to bring down interest rates, said Meany. After the press conference, he told several reporters that the administration could press the Federal Reserve Board to expand the money supply and Congress could require pension funds to be invested in the construction industry.