Declaring themselves "on a collision course with the Democratic Party," representatives of about 100 liberal and labor organizations agreed yesterday to form a new coalition to combat what they called the growing power of corporations and conservatives.
Douglas A. Fraser, president of the United Auto Workers union and principal organizer of the movement, denied it was the forerunner of a drive to dump Jimmy Carter, but he said it would try to discipline Democrats who break campaign commitments.
Members of the coalition, representing a variety of labor, civil rights, environmental, community and "public interest" groups, expressed frustration with the record of the Democratic Congress and called on Carter to veto the tax bill they said contradicted his campaign commitment to tax reform.
The one-day meeting called by Fraser did little more than authorize him to name continuing committees on issues and political strategy. But Fraser said it would be the first step in a battle for changes in both party and congressional rules aimed at making the Democrats deliver on platform promises.
"Rich-wing corporate powers, with the assistance of faceless politicians, are winning the legislative flight," Fraser said. "They are outlobbying, outworking, outspending and outhustling us, and unfortunately, at times, they are outhinking us."
Fraser denied the meeting was aimed at promoting a challenge to Carter from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) or anyone else, saying. "I'd like to stay away from personalities."
But reflecting the disillusionment of many liberals with the conservative turn in Washington, he said. "We're on a collision course perhaps with the Democratic Party, but that's the legislative branch as well as the executive."
Thirty international unions and some 70 assorted liberal organizations sent representatives to the meeting. AFL-CIO President George Meany did not send an emissary because Fraser said, the federation does not want to intervene directly in Democratic Party affairs.
Many of the groups, including the UAW. Played an important part in Carter's nomination and election. Many are heavy contributors of money and manpower to Democratic congressional campaigns.
Acknowledged that it is "very, very difficult to discipline" elected officials. Fraser said, "I still don't think you have to give them a choice committee spot or a chairmanship when they turn their back on the party platform."
Complaints about Congress ranged from the energy and tax bills to the weakening of the Humphrey-Hawkins full-employment measure.
The speech with the most anti-Carter feeling came from Washington lawyer Joseph L. Rauth Jr., a veteran of the liberal wars.
"The real problem," he said "is the total absence of any presidential leadership. Most of the Democrats in Congress did not want to deregulate natural gas prices. They were forced to do it by the White House or bribed to do it. The White House watered down the Humphrey-Hawkins bill. The White House has led the fight against federal funds for abortions.
"If we're going to get things turned around," Rauth said "we've got to send President Carter a message that our enthusiasm in 1980 depends on Chis living up to the platform of 1976."
The White House sent no identifiable observers to the meeting but Democratic National Chairman John C. White is known to be wary that some of the groups represented here may try to raise the same issues at the mid-term party convention in Memphis in December.
However, Rep. Donald M. Fraser (D-Minn.) a leader of that effort, told this meeting the Memphis agennda "is so tightly structured it will be difficult to have a general debate. The real risk," he said, "is that the delegates may die of a massive attack of boredom."
The unions represented here ranged from such giants as the machinists, the carpenters, the teachers and the public employes to the National Football League Player's Association. The citizen groups spanned the spectrum from the American Indian Movement to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Much of the day was consumed by their representatives reiterating their traditional issue concerns, and many of the later speakers warned that the diversity of interests would make it difficult to construct a broad coalition.
However, Fraser and his allies believe the increased activism of business and conservative groups and their legislative successes in Congress require that they at least try a new political effort.