The AFL-CIO wound up its five-day convention here today after receiving an olive branch from President Carter and offering a peace gesture of its own to an old union rival, the embattled United Mine Workers.
It was a low-key end to a listless convention, marked by extraordinary harmony in which the festering problems of the American labor movement were blamed on everything from imports to right-wing ideologues, union-busting corporate lawyers and ungrateful Democrats.
Although AFL-CIO membership dropped from 14 million to 13.5 million since the last convention two years ago, there was little talk of organizing workiers.
Instead, attention was focused on government action to create more jobs and protect workers from low-cost foreign competition - as reflected in the convention's call for a $31 billion Federal economic stimulus package and quotas on imports.
AFL-CIO leaders appeared pleased with the results. Federation President George Meany described it as "one of the best convention we've ever had . . . solid . . . a good program." Said Albert J. Zack, AFL-CIO public relations director: "You can have a good convention without blood on the floor."
The convention revealed a continuation of the strained relations between the AFL-CIO and President Carter, who ruffled feathers here by declining to address the delegates, making him the first Democratic President not to do so, in person or by telephone, since the federation was founded in 1955.
Carter called Meany last night to congratulate the 83-year-old labor leader on his re-election as AFL-CIO president and invited Meany to the White House to discuss the convention-adopted legislative program.A Meany aide said Meany told the President he would be "delighted" to go.
Meanwhile AFL-CIO leaders are discussing in private the withholders of supports from Democratic members of Congress who have defected on labor legislation such as the House-passed labor law over-haul bill that is before the Senate. But there are disagreement on the precise tactics, with some strategists fearing that a "hit list" approach could backfire.
There are no such differences between the AFL-CIO and the civil rights movement, according to Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the NAACP, who told the delegates in a speech todays that - desptie some disagreements - the labor and civil rights movements are still marching together, united in their goals.
In one of its final actions today, the convention approved a resolution pledging its full support of the United Mine Workers' week-old coal strike. The UMW is an independent union with a history of stormy relations with much of the rest of the labor mlvement and Meany, as recently as a year ago, was sharply critical of UMW President Arnold Miller.
In remarks on the resolution, Meany said the UMW is "in great difficulty" and charged that "it is quote obvious that the coal operators have come up with the idea that this is the time to totally destroy this great old union."