The amount of monthly dues paid by members of AFL-CIO Ironworkers Local 627 at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. in San Diego was stated incorrectly Friday. Monthly dues collection at the company is about $25,000.
United Mine Workers leaders were squabbling among themselves this week when a Senate panel made them think about solidarity.
The subcommittee on labor, health, and human resources cut $98 million from federal mine safety funding proposed for fiscal 1982, a reduction that UMW President Sam Church said would "completely destroy the ability of the Mine Safety and Health Administration to protect the health and lives of the nation's coal miners."
Church, who that hour was fighting with other UMW leaders for control of the union's 21-member executive board, said yesterday he "was surprised" by the Senate subcommittee's actions.
Church's intraunion troubles are instructive as thousands of members of the AFL-CIO gather here tomorrow for the labor movement's Solidarity Day protest against the Reagan administration's economic and social policies. For as the labor movement mobilizes against one of the greatest assaults on its pet programs and prerogatives in a generation, it is divided and weakened.
Great portions of the U.S. labor movement have been affected by battles of the kind now enveloping the UMW's executive board. Labor has been battered by the national shift from a manufacturing-based economy, where organized labor built its first home, to a service-oriented economy. And while it has been putting up with intraunion battles for political clout and interunion struggles over people who already belong to a union or other labor group, organized labor's share of the U.S. workforce has been declining steadily.
These are not the kinds of things labor leaders like to talk about, certainly not before a national celebration of labor solidarity.
"Solidarity Day wasn't designed to talk about whether a union keeps a staff or doesn't keep a staff, or things like that," said William Lucy, secretary-treasurer of the 1-million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employes. "This is a demonstration against a change in the role of a government that is drastically affecting the lives of the people it serves. It's a protest against a wholesale attack on programs to help people," he said.
But Lucy conceded that the U.S. labor movement might have been in a better position to meet the challenges had it divested itself of "a lot of internal battles that have wasted a lot of time and a lot of money."
"You have different kinds of philosophies for different unions. Unions and people in them have different agendas. But that does News Analysis News Analysis not mean we aren't clear on the basic issues," he said.
As they will be presented tomorrow, the "basic issues" will be labor rights, civil rights, women's rights, senior citizen and other programs being trimmed back or eliminated by the Reagan administration's budgetary knife.
But, from another viewpoint of organized labor, the morning after Solidarity Day will look like this:
* The 1.6 million-member National Education Association and the 500,000-member American Federation of Teachers still will be fighting each other in California, where union representation of the nation's largest pool of public higher education professionals, 20,000 people, is at stake.
* NEA still will be outside of the AFL-CIO, largely because AFT is in it. Meanwhile, according to an AFT announcement, 44,000 teachers in the 1981-1982 school year "will be victims of layoffs" because of a decline in public school enrollment "and an upsurge in fiscal problems."
* In San Diego, the rebel United Shipyards Workers Union will either be licking its wounds, or celebrating its victory over AFL-CIO Ironworkers Local 627 after a bruising battle to represent 2,800 employes of the National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. The company's unionized employes now pay $250,000 in union dues a month. The rebel unit claims that the AFL-CIO union has not been militant enough in representing the company's workers.
* The U.S. labor movement, largely because of a downturn in automobile manufacturing and related industries, will have 608,000 fewer members than it had in 1978. According to the Department of Labor, that means unions will represent 20.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force of 106.82 million workers.
The total U.S. labor force will be up 4.2 percent since 1978, mostly because of job growth in the service sector. Organized labor's representation of that labor force will be down 1.9 percent since 1978.
* The United Auto Workers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the nation's premier industrial unions, will be heading toward the bargaining table for 1982 negotiations. But leaders of both unions have said that their main objectives won't be higher wages and better benefits. With the Teamsters out of 60,000 to 100,000 trucking jobs and the UAW down about 300,000 jobs in auto manufacturing, both unions say they will be more interested in job security.
Still, labor leaders, such as UAW President Douglas A. Fraser, believe there is meaning in and purpose to tomorrow's Solidarity Day. "Everybody's questioning our ability to organize and mobilize," Fraser said. "We realize that many of our problems won't be addressed by the march . . . . But it's a starting point. It's something that'll be good for the soul of the labor movement."