Major business organizations charged yesterday that they were left out of consultations leading to a tentative White House-labor accord on business and union cooperation in fashioning anti-inflation wage restraints.
But some indicated that the idea of a tripartite wage advisory board of labor, business and public representatives, if approved today by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, would win at least "grudging cooperation" from the business community.
Many, however, voiced skepticism that such an effort would produce anything more than a warming of the chilly political relations between President Carter and organized labor as th 1980 presidential race approaches.
The plan, negotiated over severla months by top AFL-CIO and administration officals, envisions broad advisory powers for the panel in drafting and modifying the government's pay standard, currently 7 percent a year for wage and benefit increases. It would also provide a forum for hearing appeals for exemptions.
It is reportedly similar in design to the 15-member pay board created to administer wage controls in the Nixon administration, although the Carter administration disavows any intention to make its voluntary guidelines manadatory.
Sources said it may take several weeks of delicate three-way negotiations to iron out final details, a task that reportedly will be spearheaded by John T. Dunlop, a Harvard professor who was the architect of the Nixon administration's pay board and played a major behind-the-scenes role in developing the new plan. Dunlop has also been described as a likely chairman for the new pay board.
Among the business groups that claimed not to have been consulted in developing the plan are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business, three of the country's biggest business organizations.
Also, Peter Estill, a Goodrich executive who serves as chairman of the labor-management committee of the Business Roundtable, representing chief executives of big companies, said he "couldn't find any colleague who'd been consulted."
An aide to Treasury Secretary G. William Miller said Miller "has been in touch with many of the business leaders," but declined to disclose who they were or what their response was.
The strongest criticism came from Robert T. Thompson, chairman of the chamber's labor relations committee, who described the pay board plan as "totally political" and "the beginning of an evolution toward broad controls over the whole economy."
Pestillo said he believers the business community would wind up giving its "gruding cooperation," but added that he doubts whether the new program will be a "force for restraint."
It may provide a forum for unions to seek guideline exemptions for contracts they have negotiated, but could also provide a "layer of expertise" that does not now exist in dealing with wage issues, Pestillo said.
Like Thompson, Pestillo said he thought the new program was "largely political," but he questioned whether it would lead to controls, saying that is "long leap."
The AFL-CIO Executive Council is expected to approve the plan today, and yesterday Douglas A. Fraser, president of the United Auto Workers Union, indicated that the UAW will probably go along. "almost anything is better than what we have now," said Fraser in an interview.