Vice President Bush has accepted an invitation from AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland to address the federation's midwinter executive council meeting in Bal Harbour, Fla., White House officials said yesterday.
The invitation marks a political success for Bush, who last December was drafted by President Reagan to help smooth the administration's ruffled relations with organized labor.
Reagan had also asked Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan to help in "starting over . . . again" on the administration's approach to labor unions. Donovan said last week he has followed that directive, but he apparently has not impressed the AFL-CIO's leaders, who often have criticized his performance in office.
No invitation has been sent to Donovan to attend the week-long meeting, which begins Feb. 15, said Rex Hardesty, a federation spokesman. Murray Seeger, Kirkland's chief spokesman, said invitations are still going out, including some to other administration officials, but he said "it's a good assumption" that Donovan won't get one.
The AFL-CIO leaders set policies, including their lobbying agenda, at the annual executive committee meeting.
Donovan was invited last year, but he angered federation officials by telling reporters that at least half the 35-member council supported the administration's economic program, which the council had unanimously rejected a day before his arrival. Donovan said he was misunderstood.
Kirkland still rejects Reagan's economic policies. "The administration's experiments with voodoo economics are a failure," he said last week. But Pete Teeley, Bush's press secretary, said yesterday that the vice president and Kirkland have been talking regularly since December and that Bush will attend the meeting as part of the administration's "general attempt to improve the lines of communication with organized labor."